Shock as Linnets midfield star leaves club

Chris Henderson in action for the Linnets Picture: Ian Burt

Chris Henderson in action for the Linnets Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Chris Henderson is to leave King’s Lynn Town - an unwitting victim of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Goal celebration time for departing Linnet Chris Henderson Picture: Matthew Usher

Goal celebration time for departing Linnet Chris Henderson Picture: Matthew Usher

The 30-year-old midfielder is expected to drop down the non-league ladder to play for Thurlow Nunn Premier Division side Gorleston.

The bombshell came after Henderson admitted he could not commit himself to the rigours of the National League – the travelling to away games as well as training for the Linnets, which has now increased to three sessions a week as manager Ian Culverhouse looks to compete against a whole host of full-time opponents.

“Like millions of others, I find myself in a far different position now than pre-Covid,” said Henderson. “There have been changes in my personal circumstances which, without delving into too deeply, require me to dedicate much less time to the heavy demands of being a non-league footballer.

“While playing in the National league would have been a highlight of my career, I’ve had to make a decision which will benefit me and my young family long term.

Ian Culverhouse is unlikely to bring in a replacement for Chris Henderson Picture: Ian Burt

Ian Culverhouse is unlikely to bring in a replacement for Chris Henderson Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

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“The journey since I joined King’s Lynn in October 2018 has been nothing short of insane, a constant rise which has led this great club in to the elite of non-league football.

“I’d like to place on record my thanks to the best supporters I’ve had the pleasure of playing for, a manager who’s given me nothing but total belief, and a group of players I’ve had the pleasure of sharing this experience with.

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“I will look back on my time here with huge pride and thankful for every time I was lucky enough to pull on the Lynn shirt.

“I’ll be returning to The Walks as a fan once fans are allowed back in.”

Henderson joined Lynn two years ago, from Leiston, having spent six seasons with Lowestoft Town. He was one of two Linnets players - along with leading scorer Adam Marriott – named in the National League North team of the year after helping Lynn to promotion. He made 27 starts last season, scoring seven goals. In total he made 72 appearances in all competitions, scoring 19 goals.

His exit leaves Culverhouse needing to either find a replacement or, more likely, to give one of the other midfield options a chance to stake a claim for the shirt. Either way, there were no hard feelings.

“For the two years that I have been here he has been outstanding for us,” he said. “He goes with a blessing from us because we all wish him well and we thank him for his efforts here because he has been excellent.”

Culverhouse was speaking after the Linnets concluded their pre-season schedule with a 2-2 draw at National League South side St Albans. Lynn went ahead on the half-hour mark when Dayle Southwell was denied by home keeper Michael Johnson and Jamar Loza prodded home from close range. The hosts twice came from behind, both times from corners. The first saw Joy Mukena knock the ball past Archie Mair on 67 minutes, although Southwell put Lynn ahead again almost immediately when a long ball over the top caught out a defender and the striker took it past the keeper before sliding it home. But another corner from the right again proved Lynn’s undoing, this time Solomon Nwabuokei scoring on 73 minutes.

One bright spot was the return of striker Adam Marriott, whose 20-minute cameo was his first appearance since damaging ankle ligaments five weeks ago.

“We will have to be careful with Mazz because you can see he has lost a bit of sharpness, he’s been out for too long,” said Culverhouse.

It was a contest that meant little, although Culverhouse will have been pleased with his team’s fitness levels, if not their sloppiness on midfield where far too often they lost possession.

“Glad pre-season is done with,” he said. “Hopefully we can start now – the serious stuff starts next week. Minutes are alright, fitness levels are good. This week now we are just building for Saturday and we are ready to start.”

Linnets: Mair, Jones, Smith, McAuley, Brown (Barrows 77), Jarvis (Clunan 71), King (Carey 74), Richards, Power (Hawkins 77), Loza (Kelly 71), Southwell (Marriott 71). Subs not used: Street, Fleming.

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