Watson leaves King’s Lynn Town ahead of Grantham Town’s visit to The Walks
- Credit: IAN BURT
Fans of reformed King's Lynn Town will start life without Ross Watson tonight when Grantham Town arrive at The Walks.
The Linnets, reformed in 2010 after the original club had been wound up in High Court due to an unpaid tax bill, have flown up the non-league ladder with supporters seeing plenty of changes during the past three-and-a-bit seasons.
New faces, new divisions, new teams and new hopes. And among that time, only a handful of players have remained.
One of those was popular figure Watson. The versatile defender signed from Stamford in December 2010 and went on to become captain and a leader at the heart of the Linnets defence.
He soon became a fans' favourite for his passionate approach – even when he found himself moved to right-back for the duration of last season's title-winning heroics.
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However, after the signing of Ryan Clarke, the 25-year-old has found himself used mainly as a substitute during the new campaign in the Evo-Stik Premier Division. And when he did start, during the 3-1 Bank Holiday Monday win at Barwell, Watson found himself playing as a holding midfielder.
He was unused during the weekend's 1-0 loss at Witton Albion, as new loan signing Gary Mills made his debut off the bench in the middle of midfield, to compound his frustration.
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The former skipper gave an indication of what was to come on social networking website Twitter in the early hours of Sunday – after a long journey home from Witton – when he posted the message 'If only.....'.
And the next day he called time on his spell with Norfolk's non-league giants after making 113 appearances and scoring eight goals for the Linnets.
Boss Gary Setchell was disappointed with Watson's decision but said he understood why the tough-tackling player wanted to leave as he steps up his search for regular first-team football.
Setchell said: 'Ross has played a big part in what we've achieved at this football club in the last few years. He just wants to play first-team football on a regular basis and I fully respect that.'
Watson leaves The Walks having only made less appearances for the 'new' Lynn than Alex Street and his good friend Steve Spriggs. He departs with a host of well-wishes from the Linnets faithful, back-to-back promotions under his belt and an Evo-Stik Division One South championship winner's medal in his personal trophy cabinet.
In his absence, Lynn look to return to winning ways against the Gingerbreads – who were hammered 5-1 by FC United (of Manchester) at the weekend.
They will have to beware the visitors' management duo of Gary Sucharewycz and Ian Robinson mind.
The pair masterminded a shock victory for struggling Hucknall Town at The Walks last year when the troubled club stunned Setchell's men by winning 4-2.
A host of that squad have sinced moved up a level to Grantham, who look set to name a familiar face in their squad. Ex-Linnet Emeka Nwadike will be missing but summer trialist Gary King looks likely to be trying to show Setchell he was wrong to not sign him.