Danger warnings for King's Lynn Town's future

Stephen Cleeve watches on from the director's box. Picture: Ian Burt

Stephen Cleeve, right, admits he is concerned for the club's future - Credit: Ian Burt

The immediate future of King's Lynn Town is in danger because of the on-going financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Club owner Stephen Cleeve has voted to end the National League season - currently being played out in games behind close doors and with income dropping like a stone.

But he believes he is fighting a losing battle, that other clubs will vote for the season to continue - and that Lynn will be left with no option but to pull out of games.

"I don't think we could go on," he admitted. "It is already costing me a large amount of money and it cannot carry on.

"We will play on as long as we can, but I suspect at some point we will just run out of money.

"If they vote to carry on it will have severe repercussions because we can't keep paying out whatever it is we pay out a week. For example, going to Torquay with all the costs, could cost £5,000 and you can't have that with nothing coming in."

The National League's 66 clubs have until the end of the month to vote on whether to carry on or not, as they continue to argue with the government over funding promises. The league says they were told cash would be available through grants, but the government says only loans are possible - with grants in extreme hardship cases.

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Cleeve said a loan agreement would be crippling for the Linnets.

"Even if we got a loan it is a 10- or 20-year commitment," he said. "How can we commit ourselves to that when we don't know where our future is?

"I literally don't know what is going to happen to us."

The National League only started in October when it received £10m of funding through the National Lottery. The league claims it was told in a meeting in November that the next package of funding would be in grants, something which DCMS has since denied.

The funding crisis has already seen some clubs in the regional North and South divisions, which has been suspended for a fortnight, refuse to play when action resumes this weekend.