‘Friendly’ old rivals King’s Lynn Town and Wisbech Town not bitter about Thurlbourne approach

Ross Watson, yellow, and ex-Linnet Chris Bacon in action during Lynn's pre-season friendly with Wisb

Ross Watson, yellow, and ex-Linnet Chris Bacon in action during Lynn's pre-season friendly with Wisbech. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Managers of two of the area's fiercest rivals insist no damage has been done to their blossoming relationship by a failed transfer bid.

Wisbech Town boss Steve Appleby tried to entice Jamie Thurlbourne along the A47 but the winger decided to stay with higher-level King's Lynn Town. He wouldn't have been the first player, or manager, to cross the divide and Gary Setchell admits he has no problems with the Fenmen's approach for his midfielder.

The Linnets' boss, who started out in management with Wisbech, said: 'There's no animosity between us. Apps was only trying to do his job and the best he can for Wisbech. Jamie Thurlbourne is a good player and Apps made the approach in the right way.

'We played a friendly in the summer, which was good for both clubs, and as part of the agreement we'll do the same at their place this summer. If I can help them I will and I'm sure it's visa versa. I wish Wisbech well. They gave me my start in management and I've still got a lot of friends there, including 'Snips' (David Parsons, vice-chairman), Barry Carter (chairman) and Cousi (Paul Cousins, defender, who has played for Lynn and Wisbech).'

Appleby, whose side beat Lynn 4-1 during pre-season, thought he had a good chance of landing his target after Setchell waived his seven-day approach last week. But, after Steve Spriggs left The Walks, Thurlbourne was reassured of his future and indicated he wouldn't be joining the Capital of the Fens' outfit.

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Appleby said: 'Jamie was keen to come but then Spriggs left and I think Setch told Jamie he would get more game time. When a player of Jamie's quality becomes available you have to ask the question - and that's all we did.

'Myself and Setch have spoken. We are fine. We have tried to build bridges between the clubs and we have done. We're certainly not going to ruin that over this approach.'

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Lynn back-up 'keeper Alex Street returned to Wisbech for three games earlier this season during a 'loan' arrangement which also benefited both clubs. And Setchell admits he will keep working with a number of lower level sides' managers to help out his Evo-Stik Division One South promotion challengers.

The Linnets' boss said: 'I've got good relationships with a lot of Step Five managers. In the Thurlow Nunn League I speak to Matt Henman (Dereham) on a monthly basis and Apps as and when.

'In the UCL (United Counties League, where Lynn played last season) I talk to John Chand (Holbeach) and Pat Rayment (Spalding) on an almost weekly basis. It's important to have some good local links, especially now we play at Step Four.'

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