King’s Lynn Town’s Lee Stevenson has been around a while now as the Linnets head into tomorrow’s Southern League encounter at Redditch United.
At 32, and as player-assistant manager, he is by no means a veteran, but time served in the game definitely qualifies him to be tagged “experienced”.
At non-league level, he’s been in six different dressing-rooms, tasting promotion with Mansfield back in 2013.
So when the midfielder tells you the changing-room at The Walks is one of the best he’s ever been involved with, you sit up and take notice.
That said, those who’ve watched the Linnets regularly this season won’t be surprised to hear the togetherness of the current group of players is very strong.
The way Gary Setchell’s players battle for each other on the pitch strongly suggests that.
Monday’s victory over St Ives, where Lynn were forced to come from behind, was a prime example and Stevenson has touched on what a tight-knit group the squad is.
Stevenson said: “This is the best team spirit we’ve had since I’ve been at the club.
“We had a bit of a poor run before Smithy (Lee Smith) came back and people were having a go at the manager.
“This run goes to prove that we are all behind the Gaffa and that we’re all in this together.
“The team spirit is excellent. We all go out together and everyone is prepared to help one another on the pitch.
“There’s a really good feeling around the club at the moment.
“We are taking one game at a time at the minute but, more importantly, we are all enjoying our football.”
Stevenson has likened the current togetherness to when he won promotion with the Stags to the Football League in 2012/13.
“The spirit and togetherness in the dressing room is right up there with the best of them,” admitted Stevenson.
“At Lynn, it feels like it did the season I won promotion from the Conference with Mansfield.
“There are a lot of similarities. Mansfield were tenth at Christmas that season and went on to win the league.
“We kept setting targets each month and if we exceeded them that was a bonus. Every club I’ve been at, I’ve either made the play-offs or won things.
“All players want is to feel wanted by a football club and that’s how it is at Lynn.”
Meanwhile, boss Setchell praised Monday match-winner Jacek Zielonka after the substitute’s last-gasp winner.
Speaking on the 2-1 victory, Setchell said: “That’s probably the best bad ball Jacek has ever put into the box, but he’s deserved that to be fair.
“He’s a versatile player and wherever you ask him to play he always gives you a 110 per cent. I pulled him in during the week and told him that he is very much part of my plans. I told him not to let his head drop and he was fine about it.
“He had two or three opportunities to put in other crosses before that mis-hit cross somehow managed to find the back of the net.
“As a manager, Jacek is an absolute dream for me.
“He is never injured, he never misses training and always gives you everything when he is out on the pitch.
“He is frustrating sometimes but today he has come off the pitch a hero, and quite rightly so, as there isn’t a nicer lad than him at the football club.”
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