Setchell: Delight at Thurlbourne deal
King's Lynn joint boss Gary Setchell believes highly-rated wide player Jamie Thurlbourne can flourish at The Walks after agreeing an 18 month contract.
Thurlbourne signed a deal at training on Wednesday night committing his short term future to the UCL title challengers and Setchell insists the 22-year-old will only get better.
'I'm delighted,' he said. 'Going back to the summer he was one of our top transfer targets. I played with him at Wisbech when he was 19 and I couldn't believe he wasn't playing a lot, lot higher level. He then left and went to St Albans; then I remember my Wisbech side went to Mildenhall last year and we lost 6-1 and him and his brother destroyed us.
'About three weeks after that I got the Lynn job and at that stage I told Boony (Kevin Boon) we had to have a look at these Thurlbourne boys. We went and watched them two or three times and they were the best players on the pitch. I said at the time when we signed them people might ask who are they but, now, Jamie especially has proved what a top player he is at this level. His performances warrant getting a contract for the next 18 months.'
Thurlbourne has joined teenage keeper Alex Street on contract terms at the Linnets in a bid to fend off potential suitors from higher up the non league pyramid.
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'It's always a worry because you are aware of who is coming to watch games and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know who they are looking at,' said Setchell. 'We got Pedro on a contract early and now Jamie. With his left foot, it would be a hard job to replace him so we were desperate not to lose him or any players but when clubs are showing serious interest you have to take action.
'No-one wants to leave a winning team, a team second in the league and in the FA Vase. There is a lot to be said for enjoying your football. They enjoy playing at the Walks, the crowd, the management. Jamie didn't want to leave, he didn't want a contract or asked for one, and I would have been surprised to see him leave just for a club a league or two higher. It's a big pull with 800 coming through the doors. The crowds have got behind us after what happened last year and long may that continue.'
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Setchell praised club supremo Buster Chapman for backing the management's building plans.
'We keep going back to Buster and he keeps producing but there are only so many times he can keep doing it,' said Setchell. 'He has invested a lot of money in the ground but we have a good side and he has now put two on contract. Of course, we could easily go through the side and do the same and also some of the younger lads, but we don't want to go down the road of what happened last year. We are a new club, we are stable and we are working to a budget the chairman has given us. We have a chance of winning the league and a good FA Vase run but what I would say is these lads who have signed - the money hasn't gone bonkers. We are still working within our means. Buster has offered them a bit of security.'
Chapman reiterated Lynn will continue to operate prudently off the pitch.
'Things have been going really well at the club with fantastic support from the fans and sponsors,' he said. 'This has given me the confidence to increase the playing budget in order to gain these two signings. I hope the fans agree with what I have done and I can assure them that the club is living within its means and has not put itself in any financial jeopardy, hopefully we can continue to grow and add more players of Jamie's calibre to the squad as we look for promotion.'
Setchell believes Thurlbourne can still graduate to the professional ranks.
'He has now starting working on his fitness and doing a bit at home,' said Setchell. 'He understands his responsibility. It isn't just about turning up and crossing a ball. There has to be other sides to his game and with his left foot there is no reason he can't go higher because there aren't many better left foots about. I have played in the Conference and in the Football League. If he can work hard on the other aspects there is no reason he can't have a career in the game. Even at 22 he is still a young man.'