What next for Linnets after relegation?

King's Lynn Town manager Tommy Widdrington

Tommy Widdrington at full-time - what next for the King's Lynn Town boss? - Credit: Ian Burt

If you’re going to go down, then go down with a bang. 

Lynn did just that – but the drama was being played out in the knowledge that their fate had been sealed by a surprise result 150 miles away, as Aldershot beat Notts County 3-1. 

Theo Widdrington is consoled by Josh Coulson at full-time, knowing Lynn have been relegated from the

Theo Widdrington is consoled by Josh Coulson at full-time, knowing Lynn have been relegated from the National League - Credit: Ian Burt

It meant the mountain Lynn had been slowly climbing over the last few months and weeks suddenly presented them with a rockface that it was impossible to scale. 

They’d scrambled their way to points here and there and found some hope to grab hold of. Ultimately, they slid down, but at least they didn’t go with a whimper. The enigmatic character that is manager Tommy Widdrington wouldn’t allow that.  

He and his predecessor Ian Culverhouse, the man who took Lynn to consecutive promotions but who refused to change his footballing principles as Lynn tried to gain a foothold in the National League, are chalk and cheese. As is their football. Culverhouse’s was a philosophy. Widdrington’s was a necessity. 

There are now two dead rubbers to go, starting with the trip to Woking on Monday afternoon and then Wealdstone next Saturday. Pride is at stake, of course. But no one will remember the matches no matter the outcome. The only thing on the manager’s mind should be next season. 

Josh Coulson applauds the Lynn faithful - Credit: Ian Burt

Josh Coulson applauds the Lynn faithful - Credit: Ian Burt

“It's one of those things where I have to take stock and have a look,” said Widdrington. 

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“I always analyse the staff and myself and see whether we could have done anything differently, but ultimately there was an accountability before I came in the building and that's why we are where we are. 

"I genuinely believe I've got as much out of these players as I could, probably more than they thought I could, and made us a lot more competitive.” 

Michael Clunan gives the Lynn fans the thumbs up at full-time - Credit: Ian Burt

Michael Clunan gives the Lynn fans the thumbs up at full-time - Credit: Ian Burt

Lynn are likely to have a very different dynamic next season – a reduced budget has to be dealt with and a big decision made on whether they retain the full-time model to give themselves a best chance of a swift return.  

Vitally, they need to rebuild the supporter base that, when push came to shove, didn’t really come out in force to back the team – for whatever reasons. 

Lynn fans keep the faith

Lynn fans keep the faith - Credit: Ian Burt

Lynn’s average home gate of 1,187 has never been enough to sustain a full-time team, which is necessary to compete at this level. And it is nowhere near most estimates at the start of the campaign – estimates that determine a playing budget and, consequently, the chances of success. 

Widdrington is unlikely to be able to shop in similar circles – the days of paying for loan players like Josh Coulson are over. For now. 

And what of the quality of football? Culverhouse’s dependence on talented individuals playing a passing game was failing. Widdrington’s was more direct, more aggressive, but that meant there were square pegs in round holes. 

Gold Omotayo taps the badge - Credit: Ian Burt

Gold Omotayo taps the badge - Credit: Ian Burt

Did some fans turn their back because of the preference for quality over endeavour? Coupled with poor results and ticket prices some found unaffordable it is not surprising they decided to spend Saturday afternoons in search of less expensive and more fulfilling pastimes. 

Whoever puts next season’s team together will have to work out that equation, because it’s the one that puts bums on seats – and ultimately, that is where the owner, Stephen Cleeve, needs them. 

Lynn's owner Stephen Cleeve looks on knowing his team have been relegated from the National League -

Lynn's owner Stephen Cleeve looks on knowing his team have been relegated from the National League - Credit: Ian Burt

On that subject, no one should doubt that he has put his hands deep into his pockets to fund the club. He is harangued from Wrexham to Chesterfield, as well as some of the scurrilous elements that hang about on the fringes of King’s Lynn Town FC, but he has put his money where his mouth is. 


Kyle Callan-McFadden will be hoping to be fit for Lynn next season - Credit: Ian Burt

Kyle Callan-McFadden will be hoping to be fit for Lynn next season - Credit: Ian Burt

A very disappointed Aaron Jones at full-time - Credit: Ian Burt

A very disappointed Aaron Jones at full-time - Credit: Ian Burt

Lynn fans will be hoping Tyler Denton stays at the club - Credit: Ian Burt

Lynn fans will be hoping Tyler Denton stays at the club - Credit: Ian Burt

Lynn fans applaud their side at full-time - Credit: Ian Burt

Lynn fans applaud their side at full-time - Credit: Ian Burt

A Lynn fan sums up the moment - Credit: Ian Burt

A Lynn fan sums up the moment - Credit: Ian Burt

A thumbs up from Paul Jones - Credit: Ian Burt

A thumbs up from Paul Jones - Credit: Ian Burt