Setchell relishing ‘proper’ football after King’s Lynn Town placed in Evo-Stik Division One South
King's Lynn Town boss Gary Setchell insists he is relishing the opportunity to meet some 'proper' non-league clubs next season in the Evo-Stik League Division One South.
Setchell's Linnets will travel to a host of well-known semi-professional outfits, such as Northwich Victoria and Sutton Coldfield Town, after being placed in the Northern League set-up by FA chiefs yesterday.
Following the club's rebirth, after Lynn were wound up in the High Court in 2009, Linnets fans have watched Step Five football in their hundreds every week.
And Setchell, pictured, believes yesterday's decision is just desserts for the club's loyal supporters: 'There's a lot of big clubs in the league,' he said. 'Northwich Victoria are ex-Conference, Halesowen and Sutton Coldfield are well-known too, and there'll be no easy games.
'No disrespect to the UCL (United Counties League) but it was localish football and this is a real football league. It's a man's league. You travel 100-odd plus miles to some big grounds and that's what higher-level football is about.
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'We've crossed swords with many of these teams before in the past and hopefully the supporters will look forward to facing them again too. Some of the stay-away fans will come back because now they'll be travelling to better grounds and seeing a better standard of football.
'However, this chance to play at Step Four is what our fans – especially those who stuck with us over the past two seasons – deserve as much as anything and I hope they're as excited as we are.'
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The Linnets achieved promotion to Step Four despite finishing runners-up to Long Buckby in the United Counties Premier Division last season.
After a host of clubs were refused promotion, many like Buckby for failing ground grading requirements, The Walks outfit were granted permission to go up for having the best points per game average of runners-up in the Step Five divisions.
For weeks it looked like Lynn would be placed in Ryman Division One North, where Wroxham will play next season, but Setchell insists he never minded what league his outfit were put in.
The Linnets boss said: 'We're happy to be at Step Four. It didn't matter what league the FA put us in.
'It's going to be a tough league wherever you are but this will be a hard northern division. Lynn have been in the set-up before, I've played in it, so we know it's going to be physical and competitive.
'You never expect to get promoted and it be an easy league you're going into so it's going to be a step-up in class. But I think the players, myself and the fans will enjoy and relish that and we'll be ready to give it a go.
'Wroxham took their stance and that's down to them what they do. We didn't demand where we wanted to go, we just let the FA decide and took it on the chin. The journeys might have been less in the Ryman Division One North but we're looking forward to our new challenge.'
Setchell will be meeting all of his current players today to discuss their futures as he looks to build a squad that will be competitive at Step Four.
He moved quickly, however, to reassure supporters that the club will not throw 'ridiculous' amounts of money at players in the hope of securing back-to-back promotions and a return to Step Three – the level the club were at before it went under.
Setchell said: 'I've had a good meeting with the chairman and we've got a very good budget again next season.
'We won't be trying to buy the league, even if it our budget is slightly better than last season, because we'll be working to a sensible budget.
'We'll be looking to be competitive. We'll try and be in and about the top end of the league and without sounding big headed I think we can do that.'
Lynn are likely to begin their pre-season programme next month and hope to announce the club's friendlies in the next few days.