Lowestoft Town and King's Lynn - a tale of two very different clubs
PUBLISHED: 16:21 03 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:21 03 November 2017
It was sad to see Ady Gallagher leave his job as Lowestoft Town manager this week - but on hearing the news I immediately had to decide... why?
Was I saddened because a local club had parted company with a servant of 18 years? And I use the word servant not just carefully, but accurately.
Or was it because Gallagher is a good bloke, a proper football man, and someone of high personal credentials. With Ady, there was no agenda, there was no messing around, no politics. If you called him and asked a question, he would answer. That smelly thing bulls dispose of was never anywhere close by when it came to dealing with Ady.
So, he was a friend of the media, if you like. But at this end of the relationship we mustn’t let that cloud the issue.
His exit statement on the club’s website started off with this: “Following discussions with the new chairman (Alan Green) I have decided that it’s time for me to step aside.”
Ever since I have known him, Gallagher has been involved with the club. That old guff about bleeding blue and white? It’s true. So much so that I do believe he would rather go out quietly than allow the club to be on the end of any criticism - including from those who, like me, are finding it hard to believe Gallagher walked away from Lowestoft Town without a bit of a nudge.
Maybe it is just the conspiracy theorist in me...
So, now he is no more, and, if he decides to carry on in management somewhere, there is a club that is going to benefit greatly.
Lowestoft have had to find someone to replace a local legend – not an easy thing. Football legends are built by supporters. They are part of the furniture. And we all know what happens when you move the furniture.
Dale Brooks, who had been Gallagher’s assistant, was installed on Thursday night – although I wonder if they ever gave former player Jamie Godbold a proper opportunity to put forward his own claim. Brooks has plenty of experience and you would expect the transition would be seamless, but will he be working under the same financial constraints that Gallagher was?
Whoever takes the job needs some guarantees on that front. It’s well documented that the club has cash problems. Getting into the Conference set-up proved too costly for Gary Keyzor, who recently stepped down as chairman but remains on the board.
If they want to get back there, it will cost them.
I know Lowestoft and King’s Lynn aren’t exactly on each other’s Christmas card lists, given some player movements over the summer. Lynn got the best of the deals, but that is probably because they decided to take a bit of a plunge and pay better money. It is a decision not to be taken lightly and I am sure Stephen Cleave, the Linnets chairman, was working overtime on his calculator to make sure his sums were right.
I do recall an informal chat with him when he went even further and signed ex-Norwich City pair Grant Holt and Simon Lappin. It is betraying no secrets when he said attendances would have to go up to help finance the deals.
But the first match after that news was announced, Lynn’s home crowd was 1,067. Their average this season is 817, which is 50pc up on last season. That’s second in the Southern Premier League only to Hereford United (2,382).
It does prove that if you get it right, punters will come through the gates.
What Lynn need to do is keep winning - they’re second in the league and the pressure is on manager Ian Culverhouse to produce results. So far so good.
But it’s all precarious: come Christmas the crowds might well slip away given the need to spend Saturday afternoons traipsing around stores rather than doing the sensible thing and watching grown men play sport.
The dynamic from west Norfolk to north Suffolk is, this afternoon, very different... wonder what the future holds?
Tough on City
What I am about to write is not “late to the party” – it’s more a case of “where was the after-shock?”
It concerns City’s matches against Ipswich and Arsenal, played two days apart. City and Arsenal agreed their League Cup match had to be played on the Tuesday, not Wednesday – Spurs were also at home on the Wednesday and the Met couldn’t cope with policing both.
I understand that – but the repercussions could be dramatic for City. Players were clearly tired by the games – did that effect the next two results, when City lost at home to Derby and Wolves? Maybe. Maybe not. But no team should have to play games in such a short space of time. It short-changes players and it short-changes fans.
If I were in charge of City I would be furious – and I’d make it known. Very loudly.
I applaud Daniel Farke for naming a strong team at Arsenal, but with 9,000 fans there and an unbeaten mentality to maintain, he had little choice. But it was so unfair.
What a pleasure it was to watch Spurs beat Real Madrid on Wednesday – 24 hours after trying and failing to last the full 90 as Manchester United laboured to a win over Benfica.
Spurs were glorious, United tedious. It’s all very well Jose Mourinho pointing to the results and second place in the Premier League, but he is at a club which has always demanded some style. And he is strangling that out of his team.
The only good thing about the game was that Mourinho didn’t prevent the club reaching a stunning statistic: a homegrown player has been included in every United first-team squad since October 30, 1937.
Academy graduates Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Scott McTominay were all named in his 18-man squad, marking 80 years of representation from the youth ranks – although I fear Mourinho is the man who will end the sequence. And by the way, it’s 3,883 consecutive matches with a homegrown player in the squad.