King's Lynn chairman has plans on making National League club a 'Box Office' hit
Almost ten years ago, Stephen Cleeve spelt out his vision for Wrexham FC and the Racecourse stadium as a drawn-out saga to buy the club rumbled on.
Tomorrow, he welcomes the club he previously tried to purchase having taken the Linnets to the promised land of the National League.
Wrexham, for much of the last decade, have stood still while the Linnets have quietly gone about their business with a meteoric rise up the non-league pyramid – much of it down to Cleeve’s investment since he arriving at the club back in the summer of 2016.
Now you could say both clubs are on a level playing field. Or perhaps not.
The Linnets are still finding their feet at the level while Wrexham are enjoying much limelight since Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney bought the club at the end of last year.
Reynolds put forward his vision to turn Wrexham into a “global force” during an online meeting with the club’s fans in November.
The duo are using their own money to invest in the club and have also revealed their plans to renovate the Racecourse Ground and build a new permanent training ground.
Cleeve, in his own way, has brought a bit of Hollywood to The Walks by appointing Ian Culverhouse as manager and helping the club to a level that many thought they would never operate at.
“When the fixtures came out before the start of the season, it was the first one I looked for,” admitted Cleeve.
“I nearly bought Wrexham a few years ago and they are in exactly in the same position as they were back then, although that’s likely to change in the next few months.
“We’re streets apart as we haven’t got two billionaires pumping money into the club and Wrexham fans could be in for a rollercoaster of a ride with their vast investment.
“When I looked into buying King’s Lynn Town, it was a very different project compared to the one at Wrexham.
“I could see the potential with Lynn, but they didn’t have a history quite as rich as Wrexham, who had a Football League history, a great fan base and an old international ground.
“There are still tings to be sorted at Lynn, but it’s great to see how far the club has come in such a short space of time.”
Despite the effects of Covid-19 and the ongoing cash crisis, Cleeve still harbours ambitions to take Lynn onto an even bigger stage than the Red Dragons.
“Some big clubs look down at Lynn, but I think we could go on and surprise a few if we can keep the momentum going,” he said.
“I’m certainly not done with trying to progress the club through the leagues and the aim still remains to take them as far as I possibly can.”
Little old King’s Lynn in the Football League? Now that would be a Box Office hit in itself.