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We should always go for strong silent type in charge

PUBLISHED: 09:28 02 September 2017

Ian Culverhouse tends to let his team do the talking. Picture: Matthew Usher

Ian Culverhouse tends to let his team do the talking. Picture: Matthew Usher

Matthew Usher Photography

The Walks was a very pleasant place to be as King’s Lynn Town took their unbeaten league run to four matches.

There had been one or two dissenting voices in the crowd after a 0-0 draw against Frome Town (what is it about football fans moaning when there is nothing to moan about?) and Linnets boss Ian Culverhouse was clearly keen to make his point that the team would be playing his way, and he would not bow to pressure from some who wanted the ball hoiked into the penalty area.

Culverhouse is a nice chap, not one who is overly keen to shout from the rooftops: in fact, this was his first post-match appearance of the new campaign. The former Norwich City player and assistant manager much prefers to let his players do the talking - and then they earn the credit when it is due.

It’s hard not to like a bloke who just wants to get on with the job of managing a football team, and forgets about the shenanigans that sometimes go with it.

That’s how non league football should work. We’re fortunate in this part of the world: I can’t think of a non league manager who acts all Jack the Lad. They all work hard and there really isn’t that much glamour: ditto the people who work behind the scenes.

And the more immoral our national game becomes, the more we love non league.

Now, not a million miles away from here is a very different non-league story evolving: it’s at Billericay Town, where Glenn Tamplin is owner, chairman, manager - you name it, he is IT.

Tamplin is a big chap, larger than life in many respects. I doubt many people argue with him. The home team dressing rooom is covered in bizarre murals of the jungle and lions. The team join arms pre-match and sing the song ‘World’s Greatest’ (which is by R Kelly if you, like me, have no idea). Frankly, it is probably as uncomfortable to watch as it is to take part in.

Not everyone thinks Tamplin’s going about it the right way – it’s no surprise Billericay Town are probably the most hated team in non league football – but he doesn’t seem overly bothered: “My changing room’s a one off. Crack on all you sheep, lions don’t lose sleep over sheep’s opinions.”

The murals continue for the away team, who are greeted by ocean scenes which apparently, give them a feeling of being swallowed up by Billericay: curious that the same mural is outside the home team dressing room door, so presumably he tells his players to keep their eyes closed just in case.

Anyway, Tamplin, who has made a fortune from the steel business, is investing big-time: former Premier League players Paul Konchesky, Kevin Foley, Jamie O’Hara and Jermaine Pennant are on the books. The weekly wage bill is £20,000, although he says his top earners are on no more than £1,000 a week.

Crowds are up – they have more than 700 season ticket sales – and more than £1m has been spent on the ground. Tamplin is ambitious. “I will get League Two in five years, I’ll have a bet with any man in the world,” he said.

There is nothing wrong with what Tamplin is doing, but my word is he setting himself for a big fall. Sticking your own team talks on social media platforms; spending around £2m on the club in nine months, taking on a managerial role despite having no previous experience.

Tamplin, is, no surprise, considered flamboyant. That doesn’t hurt. But what of the Joe Bloggs players, the ones on £300 a week? Their efforts on the pitch are in danger of falling under the considerable shadow of the boss.

Up here it seems things are done in a different way – I’d much rather the occasional chat with a modest manager who lets his team do the talking.

Entente cordiale

Wroxham Football Club have done their bit for Anglo-German relations – and ensured one family are strictly Norfolk.

Frank Weber and his family have been holidaying in these parts. Football has clearly been on their itinerary – they went to Ipswich on Saturday and saw the Tractorboys lose 2-0 at home to Fulham. Then, on Tuesday evening, they headed to Trafford Park, where Wroxham beat Walsham-le-Willows 5-2.

Herr Weber’s conclusion is interesting, as revealed in an email to Wroxham’s secretary, Chris Green:

Dear Mr Green,

We went to Trafford Park with the whole family and saw a very good match of your team. I’ve been very surprised by the very fast, physical and tactical advanced playing. This is something which in my opinion in Germany you only see in 4 (or seldom 5) league and above. And the match has been more interesting than our visit at Portman Road on Saturday.

Also our eight-year-old son had a great time while playing his first international friendly with some young Yachtsmen!

We’ll go back to Germany on Friday morning and had a great time here at the Broads and Norwich. Best wishes to you and the Yachtsmen.

Kind regards, Frank Weber & family.

Chris was quick to respond: “Thanks Frank, I’m glad you enjoyed the evening and even more so that your son played his first international friendly! If you thought Ipswich were bad on Saturday it was a good thing you didn’t get to see our local pro side Norwich, as by all accounts they were even worse despite the German contingent!!

We have quite a young team and they are beginning to gel at this level. We played at a higher level last season and struggled.

I’m sure you underestimate the standard of football in Germany. We are in awe of all the 3G pitches you have as we are still catching up, while at international level all we ever talk about when England play Germany is “penalties”, as we nearly always lose.

Pleased also, you have had a good time in this area. Spread the word amongst your countrymen around Munich as we would still like to see them despite our plans to leave the EU!”

Cracking line-up named!

Norwich City Fans Social Club made a hat-trick of signing ahead of their players’ forum next Tuesday.

Christoph Zimmermann, James Husband and James Maddison will be giving an insight into their lives at Carrow Road and Colney before the floor is thrown open to fans to ask questions.

Topics covered are always many and varied with much more than the usual football related queries to enlighten fans. Tattoos, swearing in a foreign language, laundry and fishing have been some of the subjects to raise a laugh from both the experienced players and the young prospects in previous forums.

The event is on Tuesday, September 5 at the Top of the Terrace lounge at Carrow Road. Doors open 7pm, with the evening kicking off at 7.30pm. The bar will be open throughout and there will be the usual raffle in aid of the Community Sports Foundation.

Entry is £3 for adults, £1 for children – best get there early and, as they point out, the players line-up are subject to change.

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