Winning Promotion, In The Longest, Most Dramatic Fashion - Kings Lynn Are Going Up With Bevan Asher

Bevan Asher has started building a name for himself with coverage of Kings Lynn and his Ramble podcast all posted on Youtube. I always look out for people that are doing bits for football clubs, whatever it's, if your doing something for a club that puts non-league in a good light or presents valid arguments, we at FTGIG are interested. Bevan reached out to us about being involved and we were more than happy to come to agreement for coverage of Kings Lynn starting next year. We encourage more people to contact us by email, emailftgig@gmail.com or by twitter @tweetftgig if you want to write, blog, vlog or just be involved, let us know and we will sort the rest out.

 

 

So meanwhile Bevan and I have been talking and i came up with an idea of getting him to write a story of the season for us. This is it, completely unedited, In Bevans own words, a story of how Kings Lynn turned their season around, winning promotion through the Super Playoff in front of an army of supporters. We hop you both enjoy and are left looking forward to what Bevan will bring next year.

 

The Linnet in the Canaries’ Shadow

 

Kings Lynn Town Football Club are based in Norfolk and would be classed as the second-best team in Norfolk. The yellow giants down the A47 have left Kings Lynn in a mighty shadow for some time now. A little bit of background on the club before I delve into this season. In 2009, the original Kings Lynn Town FC folded due to £65,000 in taxes that had been unpaid. However, they fought back and re-formed in 2010; in which the FA put them in the 9th Tier of the English Football Pyramid. Within 3 seasons they were back league below National League North/South after back-to-back promotions. They then went onto win the Norfolk Senior Cup in 2017, which was the last bit of silverware their long serving manager Gary Setchell won. He left and was replaced by ex-Norwich player and assistant manager Ian Culverhouse. In his first season he guided Kings Lynn to the play-off final, but in the 90th minute they went down 2-1 to Slough. After disputes with the owner Stephen Cleeve, Culverhouse resigned before this current season.

 

 

Simon Clark was brought in to push Kings Lynn forward. Kings Lynn fans were optimistic ahead of the season, after they had reached the play-off final the season before, it seemed certain with the players bought in that they would go up. 1 month goes by and it seems like that optimism has vanished. 7 games into the season, Kings Lynn were 19th in the league with only one win; this was Simon Clarks downfall and he left after 7 games. I wouldn’t have said, at this stage of the season, we would have been fighting to be promoted through the ‘Super’ play-off final.

 

Step up Neil Fryatt and Robert Back. I don’t think this season these two guys got enough praise for the work that they did with the club. It was run down. It looked as if the players didn’t want to play for the club. Fryatt and Back knew that they had a job on their hands and went out to try and find those players that were willing to fight for the club. In their spell as joint managers, they signed; Adam Marriott (Lynn top goal scorer and player of the season) and Chris Henderson (integral part to the Lynn front line). They did turn the club around and Lynn were pushing back up the table towards those play-off spots.

 

However, November comes back around, and Culverhouse is back at the helm with Fryatt and Back taking backroom staff roles within the club. From a fans point of view, this is the time when I could see Kings Lynn doing something special. We had given the teams around us a 3-month head start practically, and we were still in the midst of the competition. Culverhouse is the kind of manager that will get every single drop of energy out of players and this season it has been proven. Michael Gash has worked tiresomely, players like McAuley have become stalwarts at the back. It changed the whole way the team played, and it seemed like morale had gone back through the roof. It was visible watching as a fan the fact the team seemed to gel and work like clockwork. During this period, Kings Lynn went on a huge run of games, getting crucial wins and sometimes draws. They sat in 3rd with 7 games remaining. Knowing that Kettering were going to be the team that went up automatically, Kings Lynn had to settle for play-offs. The harder way.

 

 

The real drama came to light with 2 games of the regular season left. Needham Market at home. I felt nervous heading into this, knowing that if we didn’t pick up any points, we would have a major struggle trying to get into 2nd. I was proven right; Kings Lynn went down 1-0: until the 94th minute when Rory McAuley rose highest from a Michael Clunan cross to make it 1-1. It gave the team motivation going into 3rd v 2nd battle at the end of the season. Stourbridge away, this game was the game to decide who came 2nd and had the home semi-final and home final. Adam Marriott scores twice and Kings Lynn win 2-1, giving them a massive advantage going into these play-offs. However, queue the drama.

 

A couple of days after the final regular game of the season, it was brought to light that Stratford had fielded an ineligible player. The game was rescheduled 3 or 4 times and was finally put in place for Saturday 4th May. But this didn’t stop the mighty Lynn, after going 1-0 down in the first half, goals from; Hawkins, Clunan and McAuley gave Lynn the 3-1 win and set up a final with Avlechurch. After a day break they were back at it again, bank holiday Monday and 1,700 people at The Walks, Lynn turn on the style and beat Avlechurch 3-0.

Saturday 10th May. Warrington away. The winner of this game goes into Step 2 of the Non-League pyramid. Fans knew that it would be a tough game and travelling all of the way up there, it would’ve felt like an eternity travelling back if Kings Lynn didn’t go up. 3pm comes around. Lynn start slow but get the first goal after 15th minutes, Jordan Richards. It went mental. However, it was short lived with Warrington equalising after 2 minutes. It got more nervy as the game went on and after half-time our fears became reality, 2-1 Warrington. In my heart I thought “I’ve been to two play-off finals, surely we can’t lose again”. Time went by and then in the 84th minute, Adam Marriott gets a penalty. It felt like the world and time stopped for 20 seconds as he set himself and stepped up. The fate of Kings Lynn getting into the next tier was depending on this penalty. It didn’t affect him though, as cool as you like and the fans go mental again. This time, we know this game is ours for the taking, we feel like it’s now going to be our day. It flowed into extra-time and Lynn were massively on top. Then, the minute 114 ticks over, Lynn have a corner. Gash rises highest but his header is blocked, then has a shot, that’s blocked. After a 1-2 with Blake-Tracy, he picks it up and curls it in bottom corner. I have never in my life, seen what happened at this game. It went off. Fans on the pitch and memories of hundreds of people have been made. I’m 19 and if I was to relive any day of my life, it would be this day. It tipped off what had been a brilliant second half of the season.

 

 

This was the 2018-19 season run down, after the ups and down’s of a non-league season. After all, Kings Lynn are promoted, and it feels amazing. National League North here we come.

Bevan Asher

 

Bevan's YouTube channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCqXKvZh3efrAq9kUMKKzDw

 

Bevan's Twitter

https://twitter.com/bev_asher

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