Promotion means some big decisions for King’s Lynn Town’s top brass
- Credit: Archant
Portugal has been blessed by the presence of King's Lynn Town players for their promotion celebrations in recent days - but for some of, er, more mature (in years) people at the club, it's been a week of planning for the new season.
Ian Culverhouse will have to decide who stays and who goes - the players won't find that out until they return because who needs to spoil a holiday?
At the same time, they will need to work out which positions needs strengthening and where to look for replacements. Culverhouse will call director of football Robbie Back into the room for that one. The educated and informed guess is that Lynn will be playing in National League North next season, but they won't know for sure until June 8 - which seems a ridiculously long wait given the geographical influence on player recruitment. If it is North, then there might well be a reluctance to look south for players. But that's probably by the by at the moment.
Culverhouse will know the weak spots, he will know who wants out because they're not getting game time and he will know who he wants to lock down with a ball and chain so they don't move on.
Because Lynn have gone up a league it will cost more, which is where owner Stephen Cleeve needs to do his sums. I spoke to him a couple of days ago and it's clear that there is a very delicate balancing act to perform. It was a conversation that took place before the announcement of ticket prices for the new season, and Cleeve was eager not to push his luck with supporters.
The general range of North clubs is £15-£17, give or take a quid or two. Lynn's average home attendance last season was 712 but they would probably need to double that to cover the increased costs. Assuming more fans will come because of the higher standard of football and visiting clubs bringing a few hundred, he might not be far away. Clearly some clubs will bring more visiting fans than others - Lynn ought to hit the 2,000 mark when Boston United come to town, but other clubs are rather less well supported. It's the nature of the beast and all that.
MORE: Story of Lynn's seasonSo crowd figures will be extremely important and that depends on what happens on the pitch - and to make Lynn competitive and attractive to watch costs money, which is where the attendance income comes in ... vicious little circle isn't it?
As Cleeve admitted: "It is really hard to work it all out to ensure everyone is happy. If I put the admission prices up to £20 it would solve a lot of the financial problems, but it would create difficulties for our supporters and the attendances would drop off, so it is a fine line and you have to charge what is reasonable and fair.
"I am happy to put a certain level of money in, but there is a level."
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There are also a few extra ground improvements that need doing - two new turnstiles will be installed, two new seats in each dug-out and more press seats and on a personal level it needs to be said that the press facility at Lynn is pretty much as good as you will get at this level - and above in some cases. I had worse covering Norwich City in League One.
Cleeve has also to solve the question of segregation - when Boston come to town it will be needed, we know that.
This is all tip of the iceberg stuff: Cleeve has to consider the commercial benefits of promotion and how to exploit them; how to make money from a ground that stands empty for most of its life; how to make money to build a team which brings in crowds and which brings success.
It shouldn't be forgotten that the last two seasons have ended, as far as positions go, well: losing play-offs finalists a year ago, this time around they won the divisional play-offs and last weekend went to Warrington for the 'super' final and won that as well. It doesn't come cheaply: I'd guess Cleeve can look at a six-figure sum spent on the club during his time.
It has been a great time to be a King's Lynn Town fan and the good thing is, if my barometer is anything to go by, it has caught the imagination of others: plenty of Norwich fans have spoken about popping over to The Walks to take in a game. Believe me, it is worth it.
Dodgy footnote time: a day after Lynn confirmed promotion, a news reporter colleague here at Archant Towers rang a few local councillors to ask whether a civic reception of some sort was in order for the team.
Five or six were asked, and they all said they didn't know what had happened.
Now, I can accept they might not have been football fans, but to not know that your town club has achieved promotion at this level of the game is shocking.
Couldn't help but do a bit of number crunching...
Ian Culverhouse returned to King's Lynn Town on November 1 and his first game was two days later. He was in charge for 31 league games, of which he won 21, drew six and lost four - plus he had three wins in the play-offs series which ended in promotion a week ago. Regular season points: 69
Paul Lambert was named Ipswich manager on October 27, and his first game was also on November 3. He was also in charge for 31 games, of which he won four, drew 10 and lost 17. No play-off series, just relegation. Regular season points: 24
Lambert won as many games as Culverhouse, his number two at Norwich City, lost. There are a lot of people who believe Culverhouse was the brains behind the throne during his footballing partnership with Lambert. I'm not suggesting King's Lynn are on the same level - but the clubs are only three relegations/promotions apart. Like I say, just number crunching.