Linnets take a travelling army

King's Lynn's quest for FA Cup glory at Bishop's Stortford tomorrow has the backing of a travelling army of blue and gold followers.

King's Lynn's quest for FA Cup glory at Bishop's Stortford tomorrow has the backing of a travelling army of blue and gold followers.

An estimated 600-strong battalion is expected to descend on the Conference South club's Woodside Park ground.

Lynn bid to reach the second round for the first time in nine years when more than 1,800 supporters watched Peter Morris's side bow out at Rotherham.

Club officials are confidently predicting the biggest away turnout since the Linnets memorably clinched the Eastern Division title at Fisher in May 2004.

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Chairman Ken Bobbins insists the shock departure of former manager Tommy Taylor last weekend has only rallied the Southern Premier league leader's huge fanbase behind the squad.

“It's phenomenal that any club at our level can take such a huge away support,” he said. “For me, what could be the best fillip for the lads than to run out onto that pitch and see arguably more Lynn supporters than Stortford fans in the stadium. That will prove to the players the team matters more than any manager and our fans are fully behind them. I'm sure they won't need any extra motivation with what is at stake, but it has to give the lads an extra 10%.”

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Club spokesman Mark Hearle believes Lynn's vocal travelling support has a huge role to play in springing a minor cup upset against Martin Hayes' higher division Blues outfit.

“We want everyone to enjoy it, get behind the lads from the first minute and cheer us on to a fantastic result,” he said. “It'll be an extremely tough game. You would have to say Stortford are slight favourites - playing at home and doing so well in the Conference South. Even so, I'm sure the numbers we take down will come as a surprise to them.

“It's going to be one of the biggest non league followings in the first round - I know one or two league clubs who would be quite envious. We have a very, very loyal bunch of supporters who back the club through thick and thin. It's greatly appreciated by the players, directors and everyone connected with King's Lynn.

“Yes, it's a localish draw but for hundreds of people to make their way on trains, supporters' coaches and under their own steam is a great credit to a club at our level.”

Supporters' club organiser Gordon Chilvers has two fully booked coaches departing from The Walks on the 75-mile pilgrimage.

“It's not quite on the Rotherham scale yet - but we are getting their gradually,” he said. “We have about 100 on the coaches. I know a lot of people going down by train and plenty by car. My lad is taking a load from Northampton. A good few of the London boys who live and work down there are travelling up, we have others from Bristol - all over.

“I would expect something in the region of 600-700. I hope we can do it - I don't see any reason why we can't. We haven't played that well away in certain cup games this season but the lads have still managed to get through.”

A local Lynn firm struck an early psychological blow during the build up in a light hearted table football challenge match held at The Walks.

West Norfolk-based Adrian Flux Insurance edged out Herts Insurance Consultants (HIC) 9-7 to earn FA Cup bragging rights and £1,000 donated by both companies to the winning football club.

Linnets' commercial manager Charlotte Rham received the cheque courtesy of Lynn fanatic Steven Yardley and his Adrian Flux playing partner Paul Adams.

“I'm sure the Linnets will appreciate the prize - small though it is by Premiership standards,” said Mr Adams. “We'll all be rooting for them on Saturday. Let's hope they can emulate our success.”

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