Linnets expect new faces in this week as Culverhouse builds for new challenge

PUBLISHED: 18:17 25 May 2019 | UPDATED: 18:17 25 May 2019

King's Lynn's owner Stephen Cleeve with councillor Elizabeth Nockolds and West Norfolk Mayor Geoff Hipperson Picture: Ian Burt

King's Lynn's owner Stephen Cleeve with councillor Elizabeth Nockolds and West Norfolk Mayor Geoff Hipperson Picture: Ian Burt

Archant

King's Lynn Town expect to make their first signings of the summer this week.

Frazer Blake-Tracy was at the civic reception but starts the new season as a Peterborough player Picture: Ian BurtFrazer Blake-Tracy was at the civic reception but starts the new season as a Peterborough player Picture: Ian Burt

The Linnets have allowed four players to leave while another, Frazer Blake-Tracy - has made the step up to the pro game by signing for League One Peterborough United.

It leaves holes to fill, but owner Stephen Cleeve says work is well underway with potential signings.

The ballpark figure of five new players is on the cards for manager Ian Culverhouse as he attempts to make the step up to National League North football following the successful promotion campaign from the Southern Premier Central.

"There are some signings in the wings," said Cleeve. "I don't know how many we are looking to sign in total but it looks like there are a couple we have agreed deals with and we should get those next week, I would hope.

Civic recognition for the Linnets. Pictured with the trophy are club captain Michael Clunan and West Norfolk Mayor Geoff Hipperson. Also pictured are (from left) Lynn's owner Stephen Cleeve, Rory McAuley, Ryan Fryatt, Ryan Hawkins, Michael Gash, Alex Street, Frazer Blake-Tracy and Charlie Congreve Picture: Ian BurtCivic recognition for the Linnets. Pictured with the trophy are club captain Michael Clunan and West Norfolk Mayor Geoff Hipperson. Also pictured are (from left) Lynn's owner Stephen Cleeve, Rory McAuley, Ryan Fryatt, Ryan Hawkins, Michael Gash, Alex Street, Frazer Blake-Tracy and Charlie Congreve Picture: Ian Burt

"One is a midfielder and one is a defender. Obviously with Frazer gone we have to fill his role and we have to speak to some other people as well to see what is available - do they want to come to us? Even loan signings - do they want to come - that is an area we are definitely looking at.

"Ian knows what he needs - he is meticulous in his planning; he works out the kind of teams we are playing, what we are up against and develops a strategy to beat them. He will have to get his squad of players in and mould them into shape and I am sure he will do that, no question."

Midfielders Craig Parker, Will Mellors-Blair, Eoin McQuaid and defender Joe Robinson have all left The Walks, although with 30 league starts between them last season it was perhaps clear their opportunities would be limited at a higher level.

"We know the areas where we have got to strengthen and the lads that have left we wish them well," added Cleeve. "But there were different reasons for them leaving - every player there was a different scenario for why they went - and some of them were not going to start very often and there was no point them traipsing around the country.

Rory McAuley, Ryan Fryatt with the play-off winners' trophy and Michael Gash, right, with their partners at the civic reception at King's Lynn Town Hall Picture: Ian BurtRory McAuley, Ryan Fryatt with the play-off winners' trophy and Michael Gash, right, with their partners at the civic reception at King's Lynn Town Hall Picture: Ian Burt

Cleeve famously signed former Norwich City stars Grant Holt and Simon Lappin back in October 2017, a deal which not only added quality to the side but, as the owner admitted put bums on seats.

Wes Hoolahan's footballing career is up in the air, having just left West Bromwich Albion at the age of 37. Whether he would consider working alongside Culverhouse - one his coach at Carrow Road - would only be guesswork. And while Cleeve, the owner, would consider it, Culverhouse, the manager, might think differently.

"I haven't heard from Wes," said Cleeve. "If he was interested we would obviously chat to him but we haven't. And to be honest, it wouldn't be my call honest, it would be Ian's.

"If you have a chance to get hold of a player who genuinely is a great player to watch, you would, if you could afford them, try and get them. But equally the main purpose of the football club is to stay in this league and that has got to be our key aim and we wouldn't sacrifice one to achieve another."

West Norfolk Mayor Geoff Hipperson gave a short speech at the civic reception for King's Lynn Town footballers Picture: Ian BurtWest Norfolk Mayor Geoff Hipperson gave a short speech at the civic reception for King's Lynn Town footballers Picture: Ian Burt

In the meantime, while Culverhouse looks for the round pegs for the round holes, Cleeve has to finance the running of the club. Promotion is costly in a number of ways, and the extra expense won't necessarily be covered by a cheque landing on the doorstep signed by the Peterborough owner.

"The money we receive will go into the budget but we are not talking enormous sums here," said Cleeve. "A lot of it is based on how Frazer performs in the future and if he does well we will be looked after as a club and that is important. There is something there of course but whatever comes in, stays in.

"There are a lot of things we need to do - we have to put sprinklers in, and that is a big cost, and we have also quite a lot of other work, including adding two turnstiles, putting a new catering hut in, toilets for the segregated areas, so there are a lot of running costs."

While all thoughts are now tuned into the new season, the delight of promotion via the super play-off final win at Warrington earlier this month is still fresh in the memory, with Cleeve and some of the players guests of the town mayor, Geoff Hipperson, on Friday night for official recognition from West Norfolk Borough Council.

Goalkeeper Alex Street showing West Norfolk Mayor Geoff Hipperson the Southern League Play-Off winners' trophy Picture: Ian BurtGoalkeeper Alex Street showing West Norfolk Mayor Geoff Hipperson the Southern League Play-Off winners' trophy Picture: Ian Burt

"I am very proud of what the players did," said Cleeve. "We did it the hard way - we don't like doing things easy at King's Lynn, but it is great for the town and I am delighted the town finally has a club to be proud of."

Alex Street speaking with Mayor Geoff Hipperson and Paul Bland Picture: Ian BurtAlex Street speaking with Mayor Geoff Hipperson and Paul Bland Picture: Ian Burt

King's Lynn Town's civic reception at the Town Hall Picture: Ian BurtKing's Lynn Town's civic reception at the Town Hall Picture: Ian Burt

Recognition. Back row, from left: Ryan Hawkins, Alex Street, Michael Gash, Frazer Blake-Tracy and Ryan Hawkins. Front: Charlie Congreve, club captain Michael Clunan, West Norfolk Mayor Geoff Hipperson and Rory McAuley Picture: Ian BurtRecognition. Back row, from left: Ryan Hawkins, Alex Street, Michael Gash, Frazer Blake-Tracy and Ryan Hawkins. Front: Charlie Congreve, club captain Michael Clunan, West Norfolk Mayor Geoff Hipperson and Rory McAuley Picture: Ian Burt

You may also want to watch:

West Norfolk Mayor Geoff Hipperson chatting to Lynn's central defensive partners, Rory McAuley, left, and Ryan Fryatt Picture: Ian BurtWest Norfolk Mayor Geoff Hipperson chatting to Lynn's central defensive partners, Rory McAuley, left, and Ryan Fryatt Picture: Ian Burt

King's Lynn club captain Michael Clunan and West Norfolk Mayor Geoff Hipperson with the Southern League Play-Off winners' trophy Picture: Ian BurtKing's Lynn club captain Michael Clunan and West Norfolk Mayor Geoff Hipperson with the Southern League Play-Off winners' trophy Picture: Ian Burt

Rory McAuley and Linnets owner Stephen Cleeve Picture: Ian BurtRory McAuley and Linnets owner Stephen Cleeve Picture: Ian Burt

Most Read

Norwich City Video

Norwich City Audio

Norwich City Stats

The Pink Un magazine

cover
A must-read for any Norwich City fan with in-depth, straight-talking, analysis from the best writers around.
Purchase

Most Read

Latest from the Pink Un - Norwich City Football Club News