Stephen Cleeve: Lynn battling on three fronts for FA silverware

Ryan Fryatt gets to the ball first. Picture: Ian Burt

Ryan Fryatt - seen here during the super play-off final win at Warrington in 2019 - makes his return to The Walks with Peterborough Sports - Credit: Ian Burt

Today, clubs across the land will battle it out to reach the first-round proper of the FA Cup.  

It is an important day in the football calendar as David and Goliath battles will almost certainly be drawn tomorrow when teams from League One and Two enter the competition.

This brings huge media interest to teams we do not usually hear a lot about, and these fixtures are talked about for many years to come. Indeed, our very own home fixture against Oldham Athletic, which was played in 2006, is still talked about by our supporters as if the match was played yesterday.

Our victory against Port Vale last season, which was truly remarkable in its own right, has sadly lost some of its grandeur as fans were not allowed into the stadium to witness the result themselves due to Covid restrictions.

King’s Lynn Town are battling on three FA Cup fronts. Our Under 18s beat Billericay on Wednesday night to set up a mouth-watering tie against League Two opponents Northampton Town. We last played the Cobblers in 2018 in the same competition, going down 4-0 at Sixfields, with three goals being conceded in the second half after an excellent first-half display.

A general view of the trophy after the Women's FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, London.

The women's FA Cup - Credit: PA

Our ladies team are also playing league opponents when they tale on local rivals Cambridge United at The Walks on October 24. Having been promoted this season, the ladies are establishing themselves very well in their new league (Step 5 of the ladies pyramid) and will no doubt be relishing the challenge.

There is no doubting the main act, though, is the one that sees Peterborough Sports visit The Walks this afternoon in a tie which many are looking forward to. Returning to The Walks are Michael Gash and Ryan Fryatt, both of whom gave years of service to the Linnets, and I am sure that they will be given a warm reception.

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Make no mistake, both Ryan and Michael are winners and are not coming just to take the applause. They want to progress, and their manager,  Jimmy Dean, told me personally that he has never managed a team in the first round of the FA Cup and he will do everything that he can to ensure that this season he finally does.

The Turbines have scored 17 goals in their last four matches, have dropped only three points out of a possible 33 and are simply too good for the Southern Central League.

King’s Lynn Town have not been scoring freely, have injuries worries and there are plenty of other teams that the manager, Ian Culverhouse, would probably rather be playing. It has all the makings of a classic cup tie.


Sadly, we often hear about clubs being thrown out of the FA Cup for playing ineligible players or other infringements of the rules.  

Players need to be registered by 12pm on the preceding day of the tie to be able to play in the cup. Players who are on loan need permission from their respective clubs to be able to take part in the competition. One would assume that this must be given the same deadline. I was surprised to find out that this permission can be given and then rescinded by the loaning club right up to kick-off. It seems that it would be quite possible for a club to change its mind at the 11th hour, and decide that they do not wish for their player to participate in the cup after all, email the FA at 2.55pm whilst the player is warming up on the pitch, oblivious. Technically, that team has then played an illegal player and could be removed from the FA Cup.

Surely a rule change is needed? Once permission has been granted for a player to play in the competition the same registration deadline should be adhered to for any reversal of this consent. It seems very unfair on participating clubs who, through no fault of their own, could find all their hard work in getting through to the next round going to waste.


The week has been as busy as ever at The Walks with a review of our entire catering offering by our new head of catering and events, Jayne Collison. In addition, Alex Cross has joined our academy at King Edward School to ensure that the pupils have not only a good education off the pitch, but a fantastic one on it as well.  

Our students are now coached on a weekly basis by our manager Ian Culverhouse, Joe Simpson, Alex Cross and our very own right-back Aaron Jones, who has his Uefa B licence which is held by all our coaches (the manager of course has his pro licence).  

Our Under 19s, who are all based at the school, are playing their cup game against Grantham on Monday night at 7.45pm at The Walks and admission is free, so it is a real opportunity to watch tomorrow’s stars in action.

The FA have set the date for Jordan Richard’s tribunal for Friday, October 22, which is challenging for myself as I will be travelling to Torquay on that day for our game on the Saturday. As it is half term the whole family are making the trip with me so if I am not able to move the date it will at least relieve me from driving duties as I am sure that appearing at a tribunal whilst driving must break several driving regulations.