Will King’s Lynn FC stalwart Mick Wright be granted freedom of West Norfolk tonight?
- Credit: Ian Burt
Council leaders will tonight discuss whether a King's Lynn footballing legend should be granted a civic honour.
West Norfolk council formally apologised for not following its own procedures last month, after seemingly dismissing an application to give the symbolic accolade to former King's Lynn FC player Mick Wright.
On Tuesday, April 11, its ruling cabinet will discuss the nomination, made by ex-Linnets manager Keith Rudd, who took Mr Wright's case to the Local Government Ombudsman after the council 'dismissed it at the front desk'.
Today Mr Rudd said: 'People have been really dismissive of the whole thing right from kick off. They said football's not civic criteria. It's not civic, it's outstanding achievement in the community over a long time.'
Mick Wright joined King's Lynn FC in 1961 aged 19, and holds the British record for the number of games played without ever getting booked or sustaining an injury. The Linnets stalwart was primarily a wing half but played for the team in every position including in goal. He also twice scored the winning goal during the club's celebrated FA Cup run of 1961-62.
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Officials wrote a letter of apology, after the ombudsman found the council had not referred the nomination to its ruling cabinet, as per the rules. 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. Ultimately it is my responsibility, which I fully accept. Members will now formally consider the proposal, as has been requested.'
While most items on the agenda will be discussed in public, the press and public will be excluded while Mr Wright's nomination is discussed at the council offices in Chapel Street, tonight (5.30pm).
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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.'
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 'speechless' at being nominated.