Back at The Walks - but is this the last hurrah for Linnets?
- Credit: Ian Burt
Ian Culverhouse has made his views clear: he wants the season to end.
The tragic background to that has often been drowned in the wake of the sometimes delirious social media responses to the Linnets’ situation which has seen them run out of money by virtue of the simple fact they are not able to make any - and they don’t have parachute payments or rich benefactors to get them out of the spot.
To be fair to the Lynn manager, his first utterance about the possibility of Lynn sitting out the second half of the campaign was an expression of sympathy for those affected by Covid. That’s not always been the case in the great debate when greed and self-serving voices have often been the loudest.
That a clubs’ vote to carry on playing went against Lynn didn’t change his view. But now, with the owner trying to raise funds to continue, the club, after Saturday’s game at home to fellow strugglers Weymouth, is in a sort of no man’s land. Will they head for Notts County on Tuesday or is this your lot? Will owner Stephen Cleeve be able to come up with a plan that will probably require some costly acts of charity from players?
Football types always want to play. But this hybrid semi-pro system at The Walks means for some it is a large slice of their monthly bread and butter.
Which makes a 5-1 win on Tuesday over Barnet rather remarkable given that football is a game played largely between the ears, and with their short-term futures uncertain, the Lynn players did a good job of forgetting what Culverhouse calls the ‘uncontrollables’ and went out and produced their best performance of a sometimes difficult season.
Culverhouse hasn’t always been completely at ease speaking to the media – always friendly, but occasionally reluctant – but post-match walked out with a grin and said: “I don’t mind talking about that!”
Amidst the doom and gloom, the manager sees the quality in the squad which, if this season is to end prematurely, will stand him in good stead for wherever and whenever the next campaign kicks off.
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Sonny Carey is the future: a local lad who, at the ripe old age of 20, is showing a discipline beyond his years. Culverhouse’s example was the way, on Tuesday, he slotted in at right back as Lynn's defensive resources were struck by injury after injury.
“At the start of the season he always made an impact coming on and didn’t really contribute that much and got lost in the games when he started, but now he is starting games and contributing right from the start,” he said. “I thought his all-round game was very good and him slotting in at right back showed a real high intelligence the kid’s got. He has got good discipline and he knew what the team wanted at that time because the numbers were low. He is an outstanding prospect, I have always said he has been, and he is.”
Culverhouse points out that Carey learns from those around him, and at the moment there is no finer midfielder than Cameron King.
“Kingy was awesome again tonight, he was magnificent,” said the Linnets boss. “He carries the ball really well, he glides past them and we are seeing the Cameron we always knew we had here.”
And then there are the glory boys, who put the ball in the net: Michael Gash scored twice in the first half against Barnet, with Adam Marriott hammering home a spiteful fifth.
Gash is back to his supreme best after a horrible illness last summer.
“He has come back and really worked hard on his fitness and you can see that,” said Culverhouse. “I think he is relishing the challenge and he is leading the team. I have always said he is a massive leader in that dressing room. He’s been a big parr of what we’ve achieved here and he led the team really well tonight. It is a positive – he is a big part of what we do.”
How long they ‘do it’ is an unknown, but Culverhouse goes into today’s game having lost defenders Ross Barrows (hamstring), Kyle Callan-McFadden (calf) and Rory McAuley (knee).
“It’s going to test us,” he said, “and whoever comes in will have to step up, but that’s the beauty of the squad we have got.”
Football problems – if only that was all.