'The last thing I wanted was to be a failure' - ex-Premier star on Lynn spell
- Credit: Archant
Former Premier League star Julian Joachim has revealed how he offered to end his short-lived spell at King’s Lynn in the months before the club went bust.
Joachim joined Lynn in July 2008, but left a year later as the financial difficulties began to bite - six months later they were wound up.
Lynn was his first club outside of the professional game and he admits in his new autobiography You Just Be Joachim that it proved a much tougher step to take than he first envisaged and that he took drastic action to bring it to a premature end.
“The last thing I wanted was to be a failure,” wrote Joachim, now 47. “I always enjoyed the battle, but King’s Lynn were a small club and I was earning decent money for that level, so I went to see the manager, Keith Webb, and gave him the opportunity to rip up my contract and bring someone else in.
“Keith was fantastic, explaining that the club were okay financially and told me to keep working hard and I would come good. It was exactly what I needed to hear and gave me some much needed confidence. I did get better, scored a few goals and my performances improved.
“Unfortunately, towards the end of that season, the club were in a mess off the pitch and none of us was being paid.
“I’d been at Leeds and Coventry when they were experiencing financial difficulties but it is much harder for clubs lower down the leagues as they have very little money coming in. In the end we received 50pc of the amount that we were owed and I left at the end of the 2008-09 season, having played 38 games and scoring eight times. Sadly, King’s Lynn were wound up at the High Court a few months later which was a real shame for the fans, players and staff.”
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Joachim’s move to Lynn, having been a free agent after his contract at Darlington expired, was considered something of a coup after a career which included spells at Leicester, Aston Villa, Coventry and Leeds.
“There were rumours of interest from league clubs, but I surprised a few people by dropping down two divisions and signing for King’s Lynn, who were in the Conference North. After two seasons away from my family I just wanted to be closer to home,” he wrote.
“I knew that I was coming towards the end of my playing days and I wanted to take things a bit easier. I’d achieved a lot in my career and didn’t feel that I had anything left to prove. If I signed for a pro club, I’d have one or two more years, but dropping down a level might mean that I had three of four because it would be less demanding on my body. At King’s Lynn I’d be expected to train twice a week, play the games and I’d have the rest of the time to myself. It was a local club too, so it was the perfect opportunity for me and it felt like the right thing to do.
“I signed for King’s Lynn on July 2, 2008. The following morning, I awoke with the realisation that I was no longer a professional footballer.
“I hadn’t really considered what I wanted to do with myself when my football career ended. There was no way I was going to be a pundit and although I ran some coaching sessions for the kids at the school where my daughter taught, coaching wasn’t something that interested me. I’ve always been a laid back character and never one to plan ahead. It’s hard to plan too much in football anyway because things can change very quickly. I saw so many players who were regular starters become transfer listed in the blink of an eye. Football is a subjective game that is full of opinions and the manager’s opinion is the one that counts. If the manager doesn’t rate you, it’s very hard to get back into the team. My attitude throughout my career was to work hard, focus on one season at a time and not worry too much about the future.
“I found it hard to adapt to not being a full time footballer. Motivation was never an issue. I still had the buzz to play – as I still do today – and I prepared for every game in the same way.
“The biggest challenge for me was fitness. Although I wanted to ease off a bit, I was used to training every day and I found it hard to get to grips with just two sessions a week. I didn’t feel as razor sharp or as lively as I had previously and my form suffered. I had just come out of the pro scene, was a bit of a name at that level and I was really disappointed with myself.”
You Must Be Joachim: My life in football is published by Morgan Lawrence Publishing, priced £15.