‘For all that to be taken away from us would be crushing’- King’s Lynn Town star on promotion hope
- Credit: Archant
Rory McAuley has been as solid as a rock at the heart of the King’s Lynn Town defence - he spoke to David Warman about his hopes for the outcome of the current curtailed season
Rory McAuley admits it would be ‘crushing’ if King’s Lynn Town’s season is declared null and void.
The Linnets were right in the mix of a successive promotion and a chance to compete at National League Premier level for the first time in their history, only for the coronavirus pandemic to bring their hopes to a shuddering halt.
Eleven years ago the old King’s Lynn FC was wound up by the High Court due to financial difficulties, later reforming in January 2010 – and it is now enjoying unparalleled levels of success, with a double promotion within touching distance, against all the odds.
An extra-time play-off final win against Warrington Town last summer secured promotion to the National League North, and Ian Culverhouse’s charges have taken to the rise in challenge seamlessly. They have been far from the bookies’ pre-season favourites for relegation – when the season was suspended they were within touching distance of step five of English football.
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Now they await their fate – which is in the voting hands of the clubs in the three divisions that make up the National League.
McAuley – no stranger to the National League Premier, having made more than 100 appearances for Cambridge United at the level – feels the Linnets deserve promotion for all their efforts and success on the pitch this season.
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“Football will resume at some point and it means a lot to the people who have invested their time and effort into this season,” he said.
“The boys have worked so hard to get us to this point. A lot of us have other jobs outside of football.
“A lot of us have taken time out of work unpaid to travel four or five hours each way across the country to play football, leaving kids on a Friday and not getting home until the early hours of Sunday morning.
“So much effort has gone onto this season and for all that to be taken away from us would be crushing. The opportunity is there for us to get promoted and you don’t know when that opportunity is going to come around again.”
McAuley joined Lynn from then Southern League rivals Lowestoft Town in July 2018, signed by Culverhouse’s short-lived predecessor Simon Clark. Under Culverhouse it has been a story of almost non-stop success.
“The last couple of seasons has brought me so much joy,” said the 30-year-old.
“Signing for King’s Lynn is the best decision I’ve ever made in football.
“We’ve got great characters in the dressing room and there’s a great bond between the players. We’ve managed to instil a winning mentality and you can’t underestimate the amount of time it takes to build that up.
“There are no cliques in the dressing room, we’re one big group, with everyone pulling in the right direction and there’s a real sense of togetherness.”
McAuley was always confident that the Linnets’ passing style would pave the way for more success despite their underdog tag. Following an opening day reverse at Guiseley, Lynn embarked on 10-match unbeaten run and have remained firmly in the promotion picture ever since.
“First game of the season we lost 3-0 at Guiseley and a lot of the boys thought we were going to be in for a long season,” said McAuley. “I was confident and said if we can play our football and stick to the way we play we can have a good season.
“I never thought we would be in the top two, but I know we have the ability to compete with any team if we are on our game.”
In January, more than 4,000 packed into The Walks as Kings Lynn edged out York City 1-0 – the biggest home crowd since their televised FA Cup tie against Oldham in 2006, as excitement in the town grew on the back of the club’s success. Home attendances have almost doubled to just over 1,400 from last season.
“You’re playing in proper football grounds, going away to big clubs – it gives you a lift and brings that extra few per cent out of every player,” McAuley said.
“You’ve got to remember we were playing in front of gates of 200 and 300 people last season so to turn up in front of these crowds as the underdog it spurs you on to get a result.
“Everyone is left in limbo and we have no idea what the outcome is going to be.
“You can’t grumble as you’ve got to appreciate that there is something happening in the world that is severely affecting people’s lives and that is far more important than football.”