Great expectations will not faze King’s Lynn Town boss Gary Setchell

Toby Hilliard, right, will aim to play a big part for King's Lynn Town in 2016/17. Picture: IAN BURT

Toby Hilliard, right, will aim to play a big part for King's Lynn Town in 2016/17. Picture: IAN BURT - Credit: Ian Burt

It seems bizarre to suggest that a club entering only its seventh season is embarking on a new era.

Lynn owner Stephen Cleeve. Picture: IAN BURT

Lynn owner Stephen Cleeve. Picture: IAN BURT

After all it's not that long ago that King's Lynn Town, formed after the original Lynn were wound up in December 2009 over a hefty unpaid tax bill, didn't even exist.

Add into the mix that the Linnets are going into their fourth campaign at the same level of the non-league pyramid – Step Three – it's perhaps an even stranger conclusion to draw.

But there's no getting away from the fact this summer has seen the fresh air of a new beginning sweeping through The Walks.

While Gary Setchell remains in the managerial hot-seat there's been a change above him. Buster Chapman sold the club at the end of last term and in his place now sits Stephen Cleeve.


You may also want to watch:


The new man's arrival appears to have already lifted dwindling interest levels in some stay-away supporters. Those who continued to attend throughout Chapman's tenure have even more cause for optimism than they have during the last couple of campaigns.

Chapman – the most important man in British speedway and the owner of King's Lynn Stars – himself would be the first to admit that things had started to go stale under his control.

Most Read

Publicly declaring he wasn't – and never was going to be a football man – as well as being increasingly busy, the drive to take the Linnets forward was not coming from the top.

Now it appears things will be different.

Cleeve has already put his money where his mouth is by sanctioning the arrivals of big-name striking duo Leon Mettam and John Sands.

Their wages of course remain unknown but with a host of clubs scrambling around to secure their services it's highly unlikely that the promise of a promotion push with only some loose change thrown in was enough to convince them to head to Norfolk.

The Linnets owner himself said he would be giving Setchell more money to strengthen his squad when he spoke to the waiting press on the day he replaced the departing Chapman.

There's little to suggest he's been nothing less but true to his word since that statement which whet the appetite of a huge chunk of the club's support base.

Put simply, had end-of-season loanee Sands been around for longer last season than he was, the Linnets may well have made the play-offs in 2015/16. Not only do they now they have the supremely confident goal-getter in their ranks from the off, and Mettam, the lack of firepower that undermined Town's promotion push for a huge chunk of last term should be no more.

With their additions, plus the captures of left-sided player Declan McAvoy and return of midfielder Dan Quigley, expectations will be higher than ever.

The pressure will be on Setchell to deliver the goods. With a football man as his boss, the scrutiny upon his results will reach untold levels.

Yet don't for a minute think that Lynn's boss isn't aware of that fact. Nor is he not ready for what's about to follow. In the area's semi-professional scene, no job carries more burden than being the Lynn manager. Their fans don't hope for success. They demand it.

Setchell has always had pressure. He puts most of it on himself. But now he's got the tools, and budget, to help ease it by bringing the good times back to The Walks after three seasons of largely uninspiring stability.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus