Lynn hampered by big-spenders tag
Chris Lakey King's Lynn are eager to shed their reputation as big-spenders this season - but are refusing to write off another high-profile signing by manager Keith Webb.
King's Lynn are eager to shed their reputation as big-spenders this season - but are refusing to write off another high-profile signing by manager Keith Webb.
The Linnets pulled off a major coup when they secured the services of former Premier League star Julian Joachim in the summer, and chairman Ken Bobbins says more could be on the way.
“I think initially Julian was a one-off, but I feel that if we can continue to be successful then there is no reason at all why we shouldn't attract more players of his ilk,” Bobbins said.
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“It will be difficult, it is always difficult, but it is like most things in football. If you're successful then people want to play for you.
“Each player has to be taken on his financial merits, and it is an old cliché and I keep on about it, but we are not going to bankrupt the club. If we can afford players then we will do everything we can to get them if they are that good, but we won't take them if we can't afford them.
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“Keith and (assistant) Lee Glover they know where they are; they come to the board if they want players, we discuss the situation and we do everything we can to make sure that they get the players they want. In the time Keith has been here we have never turned a player away yet.”
The big-spenders tag has hampered manager Keith Webb as he tries to build a team to compete on a level footing in Blue Square North, but Bobbins says it was around long before he joined the board in December, 2003.
“This reputation as big spenders hasn't been built over the last year or so, this is a reputation that was built some seven, eight years ago and it makes it very difficult for the club when we start negotiating with players,” he said.
“This year we have been far stronger in terms of wage demands and we have turned away a number of very good and high profile players because in our view they were asking ridiculous monies. Some that are not that high profile - one player said he could get £950 in the league, that X, Y and Z had come in for me and he wouldn't come here for less than £600 a week - that's league football wages.
“Consequently Keith kicked him into touch, having spoken with me, and he still hasn't got a club so he's coming back to us now saying, 'actually, what you were offering wasn't too bad'. But we don't want him now because we have already filled the slot.
“I went to the Conference AGM and the first thing that one or two of the lads who were there from other clubs were saying was, 'oh, you're King's Lynn, you're the ones that pay big money for players', so it's gone all around the conference as well.
“But it has levelled out a lot more. When we were in the Southern League we were always regarded as the big spenders, and that really related to our gates more than anything, but since we have gone up there are teams, Telford in particular, with bigger gates than us and bigger spending budgets.”
Lynn's faith in Webb and Glover paid dividends with last season's thrilling Southern League title success - but Bobbins says the learning curve continues for a man who moved into non-league football after more than two decades with Norwich City.
“Keith is fantastic - he is football through and through,” said Bobbins. “He has got a vast depth of knowledge. It is still a learning process for him, even now, because he has not come from a non-league background and with all the best will in the world we haven't the resources that Norwich have. But he is adapting well, he has got a good aide in Lee and I think this will be a defining year for him.”
It will be Bobbins' last year as chairman - although he refused to rule out involvement in some other capacity.
“I certainly wouldn't be looking for pastures new in football,” he said. “When I give up the job I won't be looking to go anywhere else.
“I have been here coming up to five years which is a long time. I have been very fortunate to have a lot of people around me which has made the job pretty easy for me. They have worked hard with me. We will see how this season goes, but at the moment I would see it as being my last season as chairman.”
(.) Read Linnets' press officer Mark Hearle's exclusive weekly behind-the-scenes column at www.edp24.co.uk/kingslynn