King’s Lynn Town boss Gary Setchell has challenged fans after his young-guns were booed off the pitch following a 1-1 draw with St Neots on Wednesday night.
Less than a year ago, the Linnets couldn’t buy a win and just avoided relegation from the Northern Premier League.
This season, Setchell has given young, local talent their chance to shine - transforming the Linnets into Southern League play-off contenders – all on a miniscule budget.
But the team have continued to come in for criticism from certain sections of the crowd.
A bitterly disappointed Setchell said: “Some of the young players are a little bit disillusioned in the dressing room if I’m being honest.
“I don’t care as I have been involved in football for more than 20 years, but I do feel for my players.
“They’ve tried their best, but they have been booed off for drawing 1-1 at home.
“The same thing happened at half-time when we were 0-0 with Hitchin Town, who are third in the league, last week.
“If we had turned in a Merthyr or Kettering performance at home then I could understand it, but these players are giving everything and trying their best.”
Setchell has also questioned Lynn’s stay-away supporters.
Despite a young and vibrant Linnets side finding themselves in the top half of the table, gates at The Walks have dwindled since the beginning of March.
Only 523 turned up for a crunch game against Dorchester, before gates of 366 and 354 against Hitchin (last week) and St Neots on Wednesday night.
Setchell said: “Tonight I gave Liam Fryatt a chance and I thought he did reasonably well. I could have started with either Jacek (Zielonka) or Liam (Hurst), but I wanted to give another youngster an opportunity.
“But that doesn’t matter here. It’s just about results, not how many local lads you play or how they are developing.
“The last three or four weeks have proved that. The supporters are not coming, even though we are in the top half of the league.
“Again we have given youngsters a chance, but to top it off some of the supporters boo you off.”
Setchell added: “When we took over six years ago, people said if you try hard then the fans will come. Well the players are trying their best so that’s a myth.
“People also used to say ‘Play local players and we will come,’ but that’s also a myth because we seem to have less people coming through the gate now than last season when we were playing poorly.”
On Saturday, the Linnets travel to Biggleswade Town who are a point behind them in the table.
Midfielder Michael Clunan is due to return after completing a two-match suspension, but injury is likely to rule out Lee Smith.