Linnets stalwart set to take back seat

Loyal King's Lynn servant Maurice Ebbs is finally taking a back seat due to ongoing health problems after more than six decades behind the scenes with his hometown club.

'Mr King's Lynn' will be absent when the Linnets begin their Southern League, Premier Division build-up this weekend.

Loyal servant Maurice Ebbs is finally taking a back seat due to ongoing health problems after more than six decades behind the scenes with his hometown club.

The 71-year-old's enduring love affair started in 1941, when he watched his first game before graduating from tea boy to travelling first team secretary in recent seasons.

Now the North Wootton grandfather is putting all his energies into preparing for a series of medical tests to decide whether he must undergo a liver transplant.

“I'll miss it terribly, but I just want to enjoy my football for the next few years,” he said. “At the moment I'm too weak to think about all the travelling and organising. I've had some great support from people at the club. The chairman has told me there's always a seat in the stand to watch the games and Tommy (manager Taylor) came to visit me when I was in hospital.

“I'd like to thank everyone who allowed me to do my little bit over the last 64 or so years. I wish all the officials, supporters and many friends I've made the very best in the future.”

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Linnets' spokesman Mark Hearle admits Ebbs is an irreplaceable character.

“Maurice really is one in a million,” he said. “You can't put into words what he has done for the club and everyone is very sorry to hear about his health problems. We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing Maurice and the family at games next season.

“On a personal level I've spent several long hours on coaches coming back from matches. Even when we've been beaten he was still cheery and good-natured. It's very rare to find volunteers at our level but for someone to devote his life to the club marks him out as an exceptional person.”

Ebbs highlights Lynn's historic 1961/2 FA Cup run when they met mighty Everton in a third round tie at Goodison Park as a personal highlight.

“I was at the Chelmsford and Coventry games before that as well,” he said. “I remember getting lost at Everton. I finished up on my own amongst the Toffees fans but they were good as gold. Everton were top of Division One and we were bottom of the Southern League but it was only 1-0 at half-time even though we eventually lost 4-0.

“There was more spectators at our game than Liverpool versus Chelsea on the same day. In recent years one of my favourite memories had to be winning the Eastern Division title under Biff and Boony.”

The club stalwart singles out the goal scoring feats of Cliff Whitelum, Dick Everitt and Malcolm Lindsay plus British record appearance holder Mick Wright as the men in blue and gold who made a lasting impression.

Ebbs remains convinced the current generation - both on and off the pitch - can finally help realise the club's undoubted potential.

“When I look at where some of the clubs we used to play on a regular basis are now I do wonder where it has gone wrong,” he admitted. “We should be on an equal standing with the Bostons, Cambridges and Cheltenhams. Without doubt the lack of a big sponsor has been a major reason, plus the lack of management continuity and ability.

“Even with all the problems and upheavals over the years I can honestly say I wouldn't have missed my time at The Walks for all the tea in China. Let's hope before too long King's Lynn will start moving onwards and upwards.”