New campaign to net civic honour for football hero
PUBLISHED: 16:07 12 August 2019 | UPDATED: 17:16 13 August 2019
A former King's Lynn football manager is launching a fresh bid to have one of the club's legendary players awarded the freedom of the borough.
A former King's Lynn FC football manager is launching a fresh bid to have one of the club's legendary players awarded the freedom of the borough.
Keith Rudd had appealed for Linnets legend Mick Wright to receive the Freedom of West Norfolk in 2017, however his nomination was dismissed.
Undeterred by this Mr Rudd took the case to the local government ombudsman, which said West Norfolk Council had not followed its own procedures in dismissing his application, which state all applications should be discussed by the cabinet.
The council formally apologised, but when the cabinet discussed the matter, it said Mr Wright did not meet its criteria.
Mr Wright holds the British record for the most consecutive games played without getting injured (440) and without getting booked. He also played 1,152 games for King's Lynn, a club record.
He scored the winner in the club's 1961 FA Cup giant-killing match against Coventry City and played against Everton a year later.
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A ruptured spleen ended his record-breaking injury-free run, however Mr Wright still attempted to leave hospital to play the following Saturday. Mr Wright broke his leg four times while playing for Lynn, but only found out after a hospital scan years later.
Mr Rudd is still trying to get recognition for the Linnets legend, who is now a wheelchair user, as the criteria states any person who has given "superior service" to the borough can be honoured.
He says a number of councillors support the application and is currently lobbying others to get behind the campaign.
Councillor Jim Moriarty said he is set to meet with Mr Rudd and others to discuss how Mr Wright would be honoured by the town.
Mr Wright said he felt a certain type of person is usually nominated for the awards, often from the military, with civilians regularly ignored.
He said: "I was pleased to be nominated, and it would be a great achievement for doing something that I love."
Mr Rudd said: "I won't give up on it because I know other councils would give him it. It's just so remarkable, he was a remarkable character and was always a very loyal man to the football club."
Footballers have received the award from other councils including Eddie Howe, by Bournemouth Borough Council, Steven Gerrard, by Liverpool City Council, and Kieran Trippier, by Bury Council.
A council spokesperson said that any reconsideration on the decision would be based on the evidence given by Mr Rudd and others supporting Mr Wright's nomination. The spokeperson added that historically the award has not been given to sports people, however they added that they were unaware of any part of the criteria that would disallow a candidate because their "superior service" was in sport.