Football historian Leigh Edwards looks back at 10 memorable seasons for the Linnets
King’s Lynn achieved the Eastern Counties League and Cup ‘double’. They scored 108 goals to win 22 of their 34 games and were crowned champions for the first time, finishing three points ahead of runners-up Clacton Town after fellow title rivals Cambridge United lost three of their final four fixtures. The Linnets beat Lowestoft 5-2 on aggregate to lift the League Cup for the first time and also enjoyed success in the Norfolk Senior Cup, defeating Great Yarmouth 2-0 in a replay after the final initially ended in a 0-0 draw. The club then resigned from the division to join the Midland League at the end of the season.
The Linnets reached the third round of the FA Cup for the first and – so far – only time. Len Richley’s men were struggling in the Southern League Premier Division, but goals from Ron Bacon and Mick Wright secured a 2-1 win at Chelmsford, as the side progressed to the second round for a fourth successive season. Mick Johnson and Mick Wright then both found the target to secure a shock 2-1 victory at Coventry, with the team also including: Mick Manning, Gerry Mackay, John Wilson, Alan Dunn, Dave Hindle, Johnny Sanchez, Ron Bacon, Bobby Lumley and Ray Dixon. King’s Lynn were finally knocked out with a 4-0 defeat at top-flight Everton.
King’s Lynn won promotion back to the Southern League Premier Division. Despite a couple of stutters and the penalty of a two-point deduction, they finished second in the Midland Division – behind runaway champions Nuneaton Borough and three points ahead of Bedworth United. Peter Morris’ side won all except one of their opening seven games, then hammered Grantham 6-2. They bounced back from a 3-0 home defeat to Tamworth in November to enjoy eight successive victories, then overcame a lean spell to secure six straight triumphs during the closing weeks. Brett McNamara was top scorer and Darren Bloodworth voted ‘Player of the Year’.
The Linnets claimed the Southern League Division One East title. By the end of November, Tonbridge Angels held a seemingly impregnable 14-point lead at the top of the table, but King’s Lynn – under joint managers Darren Bloodworth and Kevin Boon – gradually closed the gap. They trounced Chatham 6-0 at The Walks, also winning 5-0 at Erith & Belvedere and slamming four goals past Histon, Banbury, Dartford, Fleet, Hastings, Newport (IW) and Tonbridge. Top scorer David Staff and Carl Holmes netted 38 goals between them, as the side won 28 of their 42 matches, gaining 91 points.
King’s Lynn won the Southern League Premier Division crown. Keith Webb’s troops lost just one of their opening nine games but, although always favourites for the title, they lacked consistency in the early months and were twice displaced from pole position. A crushing 5-0 defeat at Cambridge United in the FA Trophy first round heralded a determined run-in for the second half of the campaign. The Linnets suffered just one loss – 4-2 at Hemel Hempstead – in the last 25 matches and clinched the title with a 2-0 triumph at Merthyr Tydfil on the final day. Leading marksman Joe Francis and Danny Bloomfield netted 43 goals between them.
Shortly after the club were wound up in the High Court, King’s Lynn Town were established in January 2010. They were admitted into the United Counties League Premier Division for the following campaign and finished runners-up in their first season. The Linnets hammered Raunds Town 10-1, Desborough Town 7-0 and Daventry United 6-1 at The Walks, scoring 135 goals as they won 33 of their 40 games and earned 103 points – two behind champions St Neots. Managed by Gary Setchell and Kevin Boon, they were also semi-finalists in the League Cup and FA Vase, losing to St Ives and Coalville respectively.
The Linnets finished second in the United Counties League Premier Division for a second successive season, securing promotion to the Northern Premier League Division One South. Gary Setchell became sole manager in October and the side lost only two league matches, both against champions Long Buckby – 1-0 at home and 2-1 away. Danny Beaumont, Jack Defty, Robbie Harris, Jason Turner and Steve Spriggs netted 78 of a total of 122 goals, as King’s Lynn won 34 of their 40 games and finished just two points off top spot. There was a chance of silverware, but they were beaten 4-1 by St Ives in the League Cup final.
King’s Lynn won the Northern Premier League Division One South title at the first attempt. Gary Setchell’s men hammered Mickleover Sports 7-0 at The Walks and enjoyed an exciting 5-3 victory at Loughborough Dynamo. They won 28 of their 42 fixtures and collected 92 points, finishing six ahead of runners-up Coalville. The Linners also beat Barwell (1-0), Carshalton (6-1), Eastbourne (3-0), Worksop (1-0) and Telford (3-1) en route to the last 16 of the FA Trophy, before losing 2-0 at home to Southport. Steve Spriggs was leading marksman with 20 league goals, while defender Jordan Yong was ever-present.
The Linnets were placed in the Southern League Premier Central Division. They were languishing in the bottom half of the table when Ian Culverhouse returned as manager in November following a brief spell at Grantham Town, but recovered well in the second half of the season and clinched the runners-up spot on the final day. After defeating Stratford (3-1) and Alvechurch (3-0) in the play-offs, King’s Lynn were promoted to National League North following a 3-2 victory over Warrington in the ‘super’ final, courtesy of goals from leading marksman Adam Marriott, Jordan Richards and Michael Gash.
Despite being relegation favourites and suffering a 3-0 defeat to Guiseley on the opening day, King’s Lynn defied the odds and found themselves in an exciting promotion battle with York. When the season was suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ian Culverhouse’s troops were in second position in National League North and two points behind York, but crucially had two games in hand. After much deliberation, the final standings were eventually settled using the points-per-game method, meaning the Linners were crowned champions and secured a second successive promotion.