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Monday, March 01, 2010

Without a Trace

Founded in 1879, King's Lynn FC had a long history of footballing tradition under its belt.

But in November 2009, the Linnets ceased to exist. Lakes takes a look at the club's history and where it all went wrong for the Norfolk side.

Football is officially dead in Lynn.

Interest in the collapse of their senior side King's Lynn FC is at an all-time low and, despite the brave efforts of a trust dedicated to keeping the memory of the side alive, it's a cause which is fighting a losing battle.

The club was officially wound up at the high court, with reported debts of £77,000 to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. Nobody raised the money required to keep the club afloat and the club was dissolved.

Football trivia fans will probably best know King's Lynn FC as "the only club to have an apostrophe in its name," but it was more than that. For generations of local supporters, it was their club; their place to go on a Saturday.

As one King's Lynn fan says on the Supporters' Trust website: "Half a season and no meaningful football to watch or a team to support is a first for me.

"I have never gone as long as this without a match to watch. I for one am at a complete loss."

What do these fans do on a Saturday now?

For a whole town, the regular event of chatting and socialising on the terraces has suddenly ended, leaving only a void where the club once was. Soon, only memories will remain - and then nothing. 130 years of history gone.

As one fan says on the Supporters' Trust website: "I think interest in football in this town has gone. Even this site for die hards has little input.

"This window of no footy has left people to find other interests and ways to spend their time."

It's hard to imagine how I'd feel if my football club was suddenly no longer in existence. It's a worry that must be coursing through the minds of Chester City fans following their dismissal from the Blue Square Premier League.

It brings up an interesting talking point. Should clubs be allowed to go bust completely? Or do local councils have a duty to intervene on behalf of their residents?

From my uneducated standpoint, it seems that £77,000 isn't much compared to what the police bill or road repairs costs may have been in Lynn that year.

There was hope, though. Some fans refused to accept their club simply not existing anymore.

In 2010, Lynn FC was formed. Fans are being asked to rename the club themselves as a move to revert to the old club's name was rejected. But interest is waning.

If the club gets their way, they'll be playing in the Ridgeon's Football League next season.

But pitting themselves against high-profile opposition like Wivenhoe Town, or Histon's reserves, is not seeing a wave of enthusiasm sweep through the town.

So is this the end of the journey for the club? Perhaps - or perhaps it is the start of a new cycle, leading to those Saturdays on the terrace returning to the townsfolk of Lynn.

Some will desperately want those days to return. Others, it seems, have simply moved on.

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