King’s Lynn boss Setchell calls for an end to ‘bad blood’

King's Lynn joint boss Gary Setchell yesterday appealed for an end to the 'bad blood' with UCL Premier Division champions St Neots after two Lynn players were cleared of racism charges.

A Norfolk FA hearing found midfielders Luke Thurlbourne and Kieran Doherty not guilty in relation to allegations made by a trio of Saints players arising from the clubs' defining league meeting in April. Setchell and fellow joint boss Kevin Boon attended the Norwich inquiry to give evidence along with a Saints delegation and the referee in charge of the champions' 4-2 league win at The Walks.

'There has been a lot of bad blood off-the-field between some of the players, but we are just pleased this has been resolved,' said Setchell. 'The lads were found not guilty on the weight of evidence. They said they were innocent from the off, but even so it has been a horrible thing to have hanging over them. Now they can concentrate on playing football. Luke is a very young man and I think it had hit home to him he could be leaving King's Lynn, but now this is behind him I think we might have a big season from him. It was well-documented if they had been found guilty then he would have had to leave the football club.'

Saints' chairman Mike Kearns released a statement following the verdict paying tribute to his players.

'I would like to thank both Stefan Moore and Dan Jacobs for their honesty in what has been a very distressing time for both them and their families,' he said. 'We would like to reiterate that we do not and have not any agenda with Kings Lynn Town, its officials, players or supporters. We do though have an agenda when it comes to racial abuse either it be on the field of play, on the terraces or in social life.'

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Lynn's management confirmed yesterday Doherty had now been released following the recent close season arrival of Wisbech's highly-rated midfielder Callum Reed.

'We couldn't let the grass grow under our feet whilst that process was on going,' said Setchell. 'As managers you have to be brutal at times and myself and Kevin hold the aces so we had to plan for the possibility we would lose those two players. We've got Luke, Callum, Danny White, Spriggsy (Steve Spriggs) and Jamie Thurlbourne. I don't know how we are going to get them all in our midfield, but we want to progress. That is why we have brought in quality.

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'We lost Phil Newton last pre-season so if we have to let one or two go again in the squad then so be it. They are all committed to coming back and giving it a go. We have four or five on contract, so if someone isn't pulling their weight pre-season they will be shown the door.'

Setchell remains hopeful of thrashing out a deal to re-sign left-back Jamie Alsop.

'We have offered him a little improved deal on what he had last year but his working conditions have changed now,' he said. 'He wants us to compensate him for that extra expense when he'd have to find someone to cover his hours, but that is going to be very difficult for us. He had a great season and we want to keep him but if it's not financially possible then we'll have to shake hands. Hopefully something can be resolved. We'll also be speaking to Bacs (Chris Bacon) this week, but we would still like to bring in another striker.'

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