Cully and Bazza - King's Lynn Town's odd couple
PUBLISHED: 16:59 12 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:59 12 May 2019
They're chalk and cheese, the odd couple perhaps, but Ian Culverhouse and his assistant at King's Lynn Town, Paul Bastock, are a potent mix.
Bastock - who last year claimed a record as the world's highest appearance maker for a goalkeeper - missed Saturday's super final at Warrington due to a prior commitment, but was quickly on to his 'gaffer' after the final whistle.
The pair hadn't set eyes on each other until Culverhouse joined Grantham, where Bastock was goalkeeping coach, as manager at the start of the season. Things quickly gelled and when Culverhouse left and joined Lynn, Bastock soon followed.
"He came in at Grantham as the goalkeeper coach and his enthusiasm with the players was infectious, it really was, and I thought, if I ever get the chance again, I would love to work with him again," said Culverhouse. "The phone call went in and he didn't even blink, he just said, 'yes, I'm coming'."
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Culverhouse is renowned as a student of the game and a master tactician: his tweaks, sometimes not obvious to observers, can - and have - changed the course of a game. Bastock is much more vocal - and the mix works.
"He is very, very out there and he tells the players what it is," said Culverhouse. "There are no airs or graces, and that leaves me just to stand back a little bit and digest what is going on - and it works tremendously."
Their first game in charge was on November 3 when Lynn went to Alvechurch and won 3-0 - a scoreline they repeated in the Southern Premier Central play-off final at The Walks last Monday.
"I said to Baz at the time, you watch these players, and he stood on the side and said, 'oh my god, this is just a different level' and the performances from that day to this day are unbelievable and it's a massive achievement for all of us," said Culverhouse. "I said after Alvechurch if we get this thing rolling it becomes unstoppable and this thing kept rolling and rolling and the players believed in what we were doing. We know the league we are going into is going to be a physical league, but we won't change. We are still going to play the way we play because you get the best out of them, you really do."