King’s Lynn FC legend Mick Wright refused Freedom of the Borough by West Norfolk council

Former Linnets footballer Mick Wright. Picture: Ian Burt

Former Linnets footballer Mick Wright. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A footballer who holds the record for playing the most games won't be given the Freedom of West Norfolk.

West Norfolk council's ruling cabinet met tonight to discuss an application by the former Linnets manager Keith Rudd to grant the honour to Mick Wright.

It came after the council formally apologised to Mr Rudd, who took the case to the Local Government Ombudsman when it seemingly dismissed his nomination.

The Ombudsman said the council had not followed its own procedures, which state applications should be discussed by its cabinet.

Tonight councillors went into closed session to discuss whether Mr Wright should be given the honour.

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After the meeting council leader Brian Long said: 'The cabinet has given careful consideration to the Freedom of the Borough being awarded.

'The cabinet was unanimous it did not meet the council's previous published criteria.'

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Mr Long said the council would ask the FA if had an honour it could bestow on Mr Wright.

Mr Wright, who is now in his 70s, joined King's Lynn FC in 1961 aged 19. He holds the British record for playing 1,152 games without ever getting booked or sustaining an injury. He also twice scored the winning goal during the club's celebrated FA Cup run of 1961-62 and is in the King's Lynn FC Hall of Fame.

After the meeting, he said he was 'disappointed but not bitter'.

Mr Rudd, who played alongside Mr Wright, said: 'You had to know the man to know what a quiet, unassuming, strong-willed individual he was. He stayed loyal to the club for 20 years though thick and thin and bankruptcy.

'The thing that really did for me wasn't so much the fact it wasn't a priority, it was the way they went about it. Every other borough exalts its sporting achievement. Mick played 1,152 games - any other town would think that was special.'

The freedom of the borough is the council's highest honorary title which can be given to an individual or group.

Councils can award the title of honorary freeman to 'persons of distinction and any persons who have rendered eminent services'.

In West Norfolk, it has previously been awarded to members of the armed services, the Queen Mother and Lynn historian Dr Paul Richards.

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