Linnets silence the critics in dramatic fashion
- Credit: Elise O'Brien
Ian Culverhouse’s pre-match preparations for the trip to Maidenhead included instructions for his players to ignore the background noise.
Criticism of his players for what they are doing on the pitch, for the way they interact with supporters, for their commitment to the cause – it’s all been on the social media agenda... as if this young Lynn side need any distractions as they try to defy the odds and stay in the National League this season.
It’s all utter rubbish, of course, as Culverhouse was clearly keen to point out as he appraised a dramatic and thoroughly deserved 3-2 win at Maidenhead United, courtesy of a 90th-minute winner. But it does the team no favours whatsoever. Forget the off-field matters: accusing the players of not giving enough for the cause is preposterous.
“I am so proud of them, and I am so happy for them because there is a lot of talk going around,” said Culverhouse.
“This is a good group and they don’t deserve what’s been said and what’s floating around at the moment. I am a bit peed off with it to be honest with you. But what they showed today was absolute bundles and bundles of togetherness, willing to sacrifice themselves for the team and I couldn’t be more proud of them.
“Whoever was called upon really stood up today and I am really proud of them because this week has been tough for them since the loss on Saturday. There has been a lot of talk around the place. I have told them ‘don’t listen to the noise - just stay together’ and they did today in abundance.”
Culverhouse has always been protective of his players, preferring to take all criticism on his own chin. No doubt an away win will soften some of the verbal blows, and anyone who saw the Lynn players go to the travelling fans at Maidenhead at the final whistle will realise that there is a unity, if ever they needed convincing. But relationships with players don’t grow overnight: this team has been together for just a few months, yet some fans do expect them to go into the bar after a game and allow themselves to be harangued by supporters who feel their entrance fee gives them a right to have their five minutes of managerial fame.
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That isn’t how football works.
The players showed their commitment at Maidenhead, they proved their deserve to wear the shirt. Some fans now need to prove they deserve to wear it too.
The commitment from the other side of the white line could and should begin on Tuesday night when Barnet head to The Walks. The club owner, Stephen Cleeve, having met fans on Friday evening, has made a concession in the simmering row with some supporters over admission prices.
A statement on the club website explained all...
“With immediate effect there will be a simple two tier structure:
“Category A (which will be applicable for home games versus Grimsby, Notts County, Stockport and Wrexham) will be as per the current pricing structure. Standing: £21 (concessions £19, kids £5). General seating £23 (concessions £21, kids £11); Premier seating £26 (no concessions).
“Category B pricing will apply to all other games (excluding cup matches) and will be as follows: standing £18 (concessions £16, kids £5); seating £20 (concessions £18, kids £5). There is no premier seating in the category B structure.
“The recent back-to-back promotions, alongside the Covid pandemic have created massive and rapid changes for the club. We aspire to match the achievements of the team, behind the scenes too. The playing staff, manager, coaches, general staff and volunteers need your support, both vocally and financially to drive this club to new success. There will be further changes behind the scenes in the coming months...”
So, something done off the pitch and, at Maidenhead, something very significant on it. Culverhouse will be delighted if his players are allowed to do all the talking.
WHERE'S YOUR LUCK?
Injury has again split the new-look Linnets forward line.
Junior Morias and Gold Omotayo were signed in the summer as Lynn’s first choice striker pairing – but so far they have played just 108 minutes together.
Morias’s red card in the opening game of the season saw him banned for three games and by the time he returned, Omotayo was sidelined with an ankle injury. The big striker returned at Maidenhead – but Morias limped off with a hamstring injury after just 22 minutes.
“They were brought in for a combination the pair of them – it is frustrating,” said Culverhouse.
“We have got to see how Goldy recovers from that because that was a hell of a shift to throw 90 minutes at him, but again he was colossal for us and that is what he is.”