Gary Setchell opens up as assistant Neil Fryatt remains tight-lipped on his King’s Lynn Town exit
Gary Setchell insists he would welcome long-term sidekick Neil Fryatt back to King's Lynn Town with open arms.
The Linnets' miserable Tuesday evening – when they were thumped 5-2 at St Neots Town – got even worse when Setchell confirmed in his post-match interview that Fryatt was absent because he had quit his role as assistant manager over the weekend.
The stalwart's shock exit has sparked debate online with many fans offering their theories behind the surprise news. But Setchell was quick to dispel the majority of them.
Lynn's boss, speaking after the game, said: 'We had a blow. Neil's left the football club.
'He rung me on Sunday. He's got to dedicate more time to his wife and his family. He rung up and said he's been 46 years in football and it's personal reasons for him. I don't want to talk about it too much as he wants to spend more time with his wife.
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'She's been a football widow, if you like, for a number of years. Neil said towards the end of last season and this season he hoped he'd get his spark back but he just said he felt flat. I told him the door is always open for him as me and Neil are still friends.
'We'll go for a curry next week, me him and Millsy (Gary Mills, first-team coach), and it's a shame. But the door is open for him whenever he wants to come back to the football club.'
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Setchell's explanation suggests rumours of a spat between the pair after Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Merthyr Town are wide of the mark.
Neil's son Ryan – who is in the Lynn squad along with his younger brother Liam – gave away a penalty as the Linnets conceded an injury-time equaliser. Ryan was sent off and then given a public dressing down by his manager who told reporters that 'one player has cost us two points'.
It left many supporters asking what else may have been said that could have angered and hurt Fryatt senior.
Accusations that the summer arrival of Mills, following David Bridges' departure, may have left Neil feeling pushed out are understood to be nonsense. The pair are said to have a great working relationship in a Lynn dugout that usually contains three members of the coaching staff.
We gave Fryatt, Setchell's assistant since then joint-boss Kevin Boon quit in October 2011 following an internal dispute, the chance to explain his exit further. But he declined the opportunity.
The father of Ryan and Liam has always been seen as a Linnet through and through, despite brief spells elsewhere in the area's non-league scene. He played for Lynn for 15 years as a player during a period which saw him pull on the first-team shirt.
A successful seven-year stint at Swaffham Town followed before he tooks his first steps into life away from the field of play as a player-coach for Downham Town.
Fryatt returned to his hometown club in 2006 to concentrate on his coaching career, helping the youth and reserve teams, until the 'original' Lynn were wound up. When the Linnets were reformed in 2010 he linked up with Jonathan 'Joff' Hawes to take over the club's second-string. That's where he remained until he joined forces with Setchell in a partnership that ended unexpectedly just one game into the new season.