COMMENT: King's Lynn Town crisis not of its making
Anyone who has been following the current crisis affecting King’s Lynn Town Football Club would be forgiven for wondering how the hell it had come to this.
The club and its fans should be riding the sporting rollercoaster of competing at the highest level in its history against teams it could never have dreamed of facing on equal terms just a few short years ago.
Instead, as I write this, we face the distinct possibility that this week’s two matches will be the last it plays for some time, as the financial mess that has engulfed the National League shows little sign of being resolved.
My team, Grimsby, were in that league for six seasons. During that period, I lost count of the number of times I heard fellow supporters refer to the league, and sometimes other clubs in it, as “tinpot.”
Most of those jibes were, in my mind, unfair, and stank of an attitude that we were apparently too big and too good to be at that level, despite the on and off-field failures which took us there.
At present, similar failures are at risk of taking us back there and thereby creating the unpleasant (for me, at least) scenario of the team I support playing the team whose fortunes I follow professionally.
But this crisis reinforces every single one of them because it is, in my judgment at least, the National League itself that is most culpable for where the Linnets currently find themselves.
I can understand the reasoning behind the decision to start the season in October with only three months’ guaranteed financial support for member clubs. I can even understand the rationale for allowing the clubs themselves to decide whether the season should continue or not, once the full extent of the present problem became clear.
What I struggle to understand, though, is how the officials who took those decisions remain in their posts today, given what we now know about their failure to ensure their clubs could play on without putting their financial futures in jeopardy.
I haven’t always seen eye to eye with Linnets’ chairman Stephen Cleeve during his tenure at The Walks. But there can be no doubt whatsoever that he has been put into a position that no club owner, in any sport, should have to face.
The fact that he has been forced into that position by the actions of the league his club have done so much to earn the right to play in - a league that is bringing disciplinary proceedings against a club with similar financial issues created by its decisions - makes their actions even more reprehensible.
I hope, even at this late stage, that a solution can be found which enables Lynn and the other clubs hit hardest by this situation to complete the season as intended. But, if one cannot be found, it is clear who is to blame.