Linnets owner finds financial help from an unlikely source

King's Lynn Town owner Stephen Cleeve Picture: Ian Burt

King's Lynn Town owner Stephen Cleeve Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

King’s Lynn Town owner Stephen Cleeve has revealed how he was ‘humbled’ by an act of kindness from one of the club’s young players.

Cleeve is working to lessen the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen the Linnets games suspended until April 3 at the earliest.

He has held talks with players to soften the financial blow, but one act of generosity has stood out.

“We have a number of young players, not in the first team squad, on deals where they earn a certain amount a week,” he said. “It’s not huge, but it is reasonable money. One of the fathers has offered to pay back all the money his lad has earned from this season so far.

“You get moments like this which humble you, choke you even. Then you get fans who will be buying season tickets for games which might not even be played.”

Cleeve says the ever-changing picture over the coronavirus is making financial planning virtually impossible.

“It is hard to come up with a sensible solution because once you do, the situation changes,” he added.

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Cleeve has put a financial plan to his playing staff, but the government’s offer to pay up to 80pc of wages to those not working because of the pandemic has confused the issue.

Lynn players are paid weekly – last week’s wages were paid and the next three weeks are covered. But with no decision as to when football will resume or how the current season will pan out, the picture quickly becomes murky.

Whatever solution I come up with, the national situation chances so it is hard to nail it down,” said Cleeve. “If we can do a deal with the players that solve an awful lot of things.”

The government’s salary top-up offer has immediate ramifications – but without the fine details makes it impossible to determine whether that will relieve the financial pressure on the football club.

“There is no perfect solution but what we are trying to do with the players is, I think, fair,” added Cleeve. “But there are many issues: for example, I pay the players for these weeks and then the games get played in the future, do I have to pay again? And some of the games like Southport have already been paid anyway. We can live with that there may need to be compromise on all sides.

“We have quite a few players who have said they are happy at what I have offered them, a compromise agreement, but with the government announcement we may not need that, but we have to wait for the details. Most players are being reasonable but some do have questions.”

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