King’s Lynn FC legend Mick Wright could be honoured after council apologises
- Credit: Archant
A council has formally apologised for not following its own procedures when dismissing a soccer hero's nomination for the freedom of the borough.
After 18 months of petitions and legal battles, ex-manager of King's Lynn FC Keith Rudd, has secured the nomination for football legend Mick Wright which will be considered by the full council next month, after taking his case to the Local Government Ombudsman.
Mr Rudd and other supporters argued that in 2015 West Norfolk council disregarded Mr Wright's nomination without following correct procedure and 'dismissed it at the front desk'.
Mr Rudd said: 'The council just said the nomination didn't fit the civic criteria and we were more or less told it was a no-go.
'They treated us like we were morons but we didn't give up.'
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The ombudsman found the council had not referred the nomination to its ruling cabinet, as per the rules. Officials have subsequently written a letter of apology to Mr Rudd.
Council chief executive Ray Harding said: 'We got it wrong, we have accepted that, and we're doing what we can to put the mistake right.
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'Ultimately it is my responsibility, which I fully accept. Members will now formally consider the proposal, as has been requested.'
Mr Rudd said he is now relieved the nomination will go ahead to a cabinet's meeting on April 11.
He said the pressure mounted from an online campaign set up by Mick Wright's supporters played a hand in the council's decision to re-consider Mr Wright's nomination.
The campaign has garnered international support, including sports journalist Henry Winter.
Mr Rudd said: 'I think you had to be alive in the 60s to understand what Mick meant to the town, he was instrumental in getting awards for the club.
'I'm amazed at how the council mishandled the whole thing, it's crackers isn't it?' He added.
The freedom of the borough is the council's highest honorary title given to an individual or group. Councils can award the title of honorary freeman to 'persons of distinction and any persons who have rendered emininent services'.
Mr Wright said he was honoured to be nominated, adding: 'I am speechless, I'd be very pleased to get something like that.'