End this farce now - Linnets boss believes season should be stopped

Ian Culverhouse gives his instructions from the sidelines. Picture: Ian Burt

Ian Culverhouse gives his instructions from the sidelines during King's Lynn Town's game against Wrexham at the weekend - Credit: Ian Burt

Ian Culverhouse has called for King’s Lynn Town’s season to be brought to an end amid what he calls the “farce” currently surrounding the future of the National League set-up. 

The Linnets - the only non league Norfolk team still playing - head to Chesterfield on Tuesday night not knowing whether their first ever season in the National League will be curtailed before it even reaches its halfway point. 

The National League’s 66 clubs are divided over what to do next as they come to terms with the financial repercussions of the pandemic, which has forced them to play behind closed doors and consequently lose a substantial part of their income through gate receipts. 

That financial hit was offset at the start of the season by grant aid from National Lottery funding, but the government are now offering only loans, which many clubs insist is just putting off the inevitable financial disaster. 

Michael Gash holds the ball up. Picture: Ian Burt

Action from King's Lynn Town's game against Wrexham on Saturday - Credit: Ian Burt

Linnets boss Culverhouse  whose assistant manager Paul Bastock missed the game at the weekend  because of Covid-related issues - left no doubt as to his personal view of the situation. 

”It is a bit of a farce at the moment, when 100,000 lives have gone as well and we are still mucking about as well,” he said. 

“It is not right, I don’t think it is the right thing to do personally.” 

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Some of the bigger clubs have sufficient financial backing to support a continuation, while many smaller clubs, plus those in the regional leagues, North and South, are in very different positions. There is a scenario where the regional divisions may call a halt, which would then mean no relegation from the National League, meaning meaningless matches for Lynn – an expensive scenario which owner Stephen Cleeve would not sustain. 

Michael Gash holds the ball up. Picture: Ian Burt

Action from King's Lynn Town's game against Wrexham on Saturday - Credit: Ian Burt

While EFL clubs are testing players, that is not financially feasible for most of the National League. 

“I think at this level we can’t afford testing so we are gambling with people's lives and livelihoods,” said Culverhouse. “It is not the player but it is the families I think of. It is not right that we should be carrying on. We can’t afford to do it. We need grants to help us and the EFL have left us on our own to fend for ourselves and I think they should have some more support to us really, in testing, because the EFL are testing now all through their level and for us not to do it and call us elite football is wrong. 

“The grants that they should give us should allow us to test. 

“Teams the size of us can’t survive. We can’t survive without that money. My belief was at the start of the season we were under the illusion that it was going to be in grants, that is why we started, and gradually the fans would come back so the revenue would start. 

“This place can’t survive without that and we have only got one owner - he can’t keep putting his hand in his pocket to keep it running.  

“Even though the big six might turn around and say. ‘we want to carry on’, I am afraid teams the size of us can’t. 

“It is a farce, it really is. There is no clarity in anything we are doing at the moment.” 

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