Bazza on the Culverhouse effect at King's Lynn
- Credit: Ian Burt
Ian Culverhouse has been regarded by many as the man who has transformed the fortunes of King’s Lynn Town – CHRIS LAKEY spoke to assistant boss Paul Bastock ahead of the Linnets trip to Eastleigh
Few of last season’s players survived the summer at King's Lynn Town – many were loanees, others just helping out in a game that was crippled by the effects of the pandemic. One player who performed above and beyond the call of duty and then came back on a permanent basis is Ethan Coleman.
The midfielder was excellent in the home defeat by Chesterfield last week – a man of the match performance that didn’t quite get the champagne reward it deserved. The sponsor, Andrew Jarvis, was waiting to do the honours, but word never made it to Coleman.
One of the main reasons for Coleman returning for a full-time stint at The Walks is Ian Culverhouse.
Assistant boss Paul Bastock explains: “Ethan has come back because he likes the way Ian plays football and he loves the lads and everything else. He is a magnificent signing for us, a big, big signing and that is all down to Ian. I’ve spoken to Ethan many, many times on our travels last season and he just loved everything about the way Cully does things and the way we try and play, instead of just crashing it we want to get on the ball and play – that's down to Cully, really, the reason we have got a player like him, because there were a lot of other teams in for him.
“He is just a lovely lad on and off the pitch and if he carries on the way he is doing he is only going to go forward isn’t he?”
Leading from the back
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Bastock - Lynn’s goalkeeper coach as well as assistant manager - knows a good keeper when he sees one. As the holder of the world record for club appearances, Bastock is well qualified to assess the strengths of the former Norwich City man.
“Last year he would have had a lot more to do – it’s just organising. He is a joy to work with. He is outstanding, but his attitude from day one when we first came back pre-season, has worked his nuts off. He doesn’t question anything, and I work him hard and he thrives on it. He is one of these old school keepers - loves the hard graft and we have really good sessions and he comes away with a smile on his face. It is nice to get relationships with players and straight away we felt a connection. It was an instant bond, I will always have his back.
“He is quiet off the pitch, he is a leader on the pitch.”
Sofa, so good
It’s very different from last season when Bastock was looking after Archie Mair and Theo Richardson, young lads looking to make their way in the game. Very different – he admits at times he and Culverhouse were looking at set-pieces from behind the sofa.
“When he comes for stuff, nine times out of 10 he gets it and that gives the rest of the team belief when you know your keeper is coming and claiming stuff. You know you have safe hands and reassurance.
"I think if we looked at the stats last year, 85pc of goals came inside the six-yard box so hopefully this year that is going to stop.”
There were seven bookings during Lynn’s home defeat to Chesterfield a week ago, referee Robert Massey-Ellis winning few friends among the locals as he bought into the visitors’ carefree attitude to the Corinthians spirit of fair play. But it helped win them the game – and Bastock knows a similar approach by the Linnets is required.
“You look at them – when we’re breaking they are giving petulant fouls, but they are doing a professional foul, stopping it, happy to take the yellow card, because it stops your momentum. They get back behind the ball – we have got to learn from teams like this, their experience. We are a young group of lads and that is what they are going to learn each and every week, to do things, to go down on every incident. Football has changed now, it is not the old -fashioned game any more, it is people diving all the time. We've just got to learn that.”
Last season: Eastleigh 0 Linnets 1; Linnets 2 Eastleigh 1.
Final position 2020-21: Eastleigh 9th; Linnets 21st.