Addition of former Everton academy stalwart Ray Hall who nurtured Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley raises ambitions further at King’s Lynn Town
- Credit: Matthew Usher
The addition of former Everton academy stalwart Ray Hall is the latest sign of King's Lynn Town's growing ambition, believes chairman Stephen Cleeve.
Hall has been unveiled as a football consultant at The Walks, bringing with him the experience of over 20 years as an academy chief at Everton, during which the likes of Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley emerged.
'I'm delighted, it's the best signing I've made,' said Cleeve, who bought the Linnets this summer. 'Ray has a wealth of experience and a huge amount of football knowledge.'
The 66-year-old will initially be working in a part-time role and continue to live near Liverpool but will assist Cleeve and manager Gary Setchell in building the club up.
That follows six years of the club reforming following its previous incarnation folding in 2009 due to financial problems but with the club now back at step three of non-league, the future is looking bright.
Highly-rated winger Ryan Hawkins was signed for a four-figure fee from St Neots last month and Setchell's team are also making good progress on the pitch.
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'Six wins out of six is pretty good,' Cleeve continued. 'We've got a tough away draw in the Trophy (at Gateshead), it's not going to be easy but we'll go up there and give it our best shot.
'The team is now gelling together and we've added some quality and the options for Setch on the bench are now much better.
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'We've got game-changers on the bench now, like Ryan Hawkins coming on against Banbury and setting up the winner, whereas before we had young kids going on trying to seize their opportunity.
'So it's exciting times. It's taken a few months to get things together but the building blocks are in place now and we're starting to spread our wings.'
Hall had been working as a football development officer for the Football Association when he was taken to Everton by Howard Kendall in 1990, taking on a number of different academy roles over the years.
'Wayne Rooney was eight when he first came to us I think, I've got his first registration form somewhere at home from when he signed in 1998 or 99,' Hall recalled.
'Obviously in terms of players I worked with I didn't just train them on the coaching field but oversaw their development off the pitch as well.
'Wayne was the outstanding player to come out of the programme but obviously there were many more, such as Ross Barkley.'
Now the Linnets hope they can learn from Hall's vast experience, as they continue to try and strengthen the club on and off the pitch.
'A mutual friend was speaking to Stephen Cleeve, who was saying that since he had come in as chairman he had got the football club running okay but he wanted to move forward with it,' Hall explained.
'So I get a phone call out of the blue from Stephen saying 'you don't know me but would you mind listening to what I've got to say' and he told me about his plans for what he wants to do with King's Lynn Football Club – and I was sold.'