Linnets hold talks with Conference chairman

PUBLISHED: 07:30 01 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:14 10 September 2010

Paddy Davitt

King's Lynn chairman Ken Bobbins has held high level talks with Conference chairman Brian Lee over his club's ground grading crisis. Lynn have requested a personal FA hearing to overturn a pending demotion from Blue Square North after failing to initiate a £250,000 upgrade to their council-owned Walks Stadium.

Paddy Davitt

King's Lynn chairman Ken Bobbins has held high level talks with Conference chairman Brian Lee over his club's ground grading crisis.

Lynn have requested a personal FA hearing to overturn a pending demotion from Blue Square North after failing to initiate a £250,000 upgrade to their council-owned Walks Stadium.

But Bobbins revealed the Conference hierarchy are sticking to their original hard line stance after informal discussions with Lee earlier this week.

The Conference chief recently hinted in a radio interview his league should 'show compassion' to clubs affected by ground grading issues.

“I had a 35 minute phone call with him after I'd heard him saying the Conference should be flexible and judge each case on its merits,” said Bobbins. “His response was that there is no flexibility in our case. We hadn't started work on the date given and that was the end of that. Yet it appears Hampton & Richmond have had some similar well documented problems and been treated differently.

“They insist we must have six turnstiles but I don't know any clubs at our level of football who do have that. We currently have a ground clearance of up to 5,300 with our existing turnstiles. The chairman said as far as he is concerned it is cut and dried. I asked him where the compassion was and in our case he said we didn't warrant any.”

Lynn majority shareholder Michael Chinn revealed in the EDP yesterday he is prepared to begin possible legal proceedings if the FA uphold the Conference's initial ruling.

“Both myself and the board are fully behind that course of action should it be required,” said Bobbins. “The letter of appeal has gone to the FA and the Conference so both parties are now fully aware of what we feel are grounds for appeal. Once we are given leave to appeal and we request a personal hearing then we can get down to the nitty gritty.

“It's hard to say at this stage what the timeline will be. As normal with these matters they want you to comply with them - not the other way around. I know dates exist regarding re-drawing leagues at this time of year but we were caught up in that last summer and only knew for definite which league we were in three weeks before the kick off. Irrespective of our situation there are clubs who are struggling with financial issues so I think it could be total chaos this summer.”

Bobbins met borough council officials to formalise the club's pending FA appeal.

“The council and ourselves were talking to the Conference on a regular basis dating back to October of last year,” said Bobbins. “The council people told them we couldn't meet their deadline all through that process. We were led to believe they would be happy for the work to begin after that April 1 date provided it was completed in time for next season. The council provided that undertaking.

“At no stage did the Conference come back to us to say that was unacceptable. Had they done so we would have acted. Rightly or wrongly, we assumed everything was fine.”

Read Mark Hearle's latest exclusive behind-the-scenes club column only on edp24.co.uk/kingslynn

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