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Season 1954-55 Season 1955-56

The summer had seen the Wilf Mannion saga. Many internet sites show Wilf Mannion as a former Lynn player, this is not true although he was probably one of the greatest players of the 1950s who almost joined us. An England international, scoring in their first World Cup game, Mannion had been capped 26 times, scoring 11 goals and is still regarded as one of Middlesborough's greatest ever players, scoring 110 goals in 368 league and cup games for the Boro. He was also controversial in that he attempted to fight the transfer system in the days when players had a maximum wage of £10 a week. In an attempt to break out of this he tried to move to Oldham Athletic, he wanted to play and run his own business, but was prevented by an enormous price tag Middlesborough had placed on him. In June 1948 he went on strike for eight months in protest. Retiring in 1954 he then changed his mind and joined Hull City. However, in a series of newspaper articles he made several highly contentious statements, including allegations of illegal payments. When asked by the FA to provide evidence he refused and was subsequently banned from playing. In stepped Lynn manager Paul Todd who attempted to sign him on loan, thus helping keep Mannion's match fitness as the ban did not apply to non-league football. Mannion was agreeable to coming to The Walks but Hull then decided to make Mannion available for transfer with a price of £2,500. There followed weeks of negotiations whilst the club tried to find the money. One area they could not call upon for funds was the Supporters' Club – they had already committed £25,000 for the building of the new grandstand.
After some four weeks, by which time the national press had taken an interest, Mannion announced he was retiring. By September it became apparent that he had not retired and had signed for Poole Town and, a short time later, Cambridge United. The FA lifted the ban the following year but he remained with Cambridge. In Middlesborough he is still remembered as “the golden boy” and there is a statue of him there.
Meanwhile other players were joining the club that summer. Matthew McIllwain was an inside forward/wing half-back from Bolton Wanderers – he moved from Ayr to Bolton for £6,000 four years earlier. Tony Dryburgh was a left winger who had made 30 appearances for Hull the previous season. Also signing in were two Eire internationals, Terrance Murray from Bournemouth and Middlesborough left winger Jim Harnett. John Downie was another arrival – the former Bradford, Manchester United, Luton and Hull player turning down Swindon to join Lynn.
Lynn were ambitious, manager Paul Todd announcing at the beginning of the season that Lynn would be applying for Football League status.
Lynn Reserves continued to play in the Peterborough League but there was no A side. Despite finishing runners-up in Division 1 of the Peterborough League the previous season they withdrew as a “question of expense” and applied to the NW Norfolk League but were not admitted as they were outside its 15 mile limit.
It was Lynn's second season in the Midland League. In the FA Cup Lynn easily overcame Histon in the Preliminary Round 6-1 and were drawn away to Chatteris but the tie was switched to The Walks as Chatteris were persuaded that they couldn't cope with the anticipated crowd.
An unimpressive 4-2 win over the Peterborough League outfit set Lynn up with a home tie against March Town – the side that had removed them from the competition in the previous two seasons.
After a 1-1 draw at The Walks Lynn once again went out of the competition, going down 0-1.
There was some consolation in the March went on to defeat Wisbech in the next round and eventually reach the First Round Proper.
The Monday following the FA Cup defeat saw the delivery of the seats for the new grandstand. These were used for the first time on 15th October – available to Season Ticket holders whilst other supporters could upgrade to a seat in the stand for one shilling and sixpence. The attraction did not bring in the fans, however, many of whom had lost interest following the cup defeat despite Lynn being well placed in the league. The gate was just 3,704 – very much the average for the season whilst the club were looking for 5,000 to cover costs. Gate receipts were bringing in £75 a week less than expected. The Supporters' Club, who in previous season had contributed around £1,000 to the club were still committed to ground improvements. It was inevitable that cuts had to be made.

The 1955-56 campaign had begun with a number of high profile signings but defeat in the FA Cup to March Town, for the third season in succession, and gates well below the 5,000 target meant that Lynn's income was some £75 below what was expected. By November it was clear that something had to be done to raise income or reduce expenses.
Lynn's players volunteered to take a cut in wages whilst the gatemen volunteered to lower their fees. King's Lynn F C Committee and Supporters Club officials agreed to man the gates and turnstiles at Reserve team games. The Committee Members of the club also agreed, on a rota basis, to convey players to away matches. Season tickets covering the remainder of the season were made available for sale in order to raise money whilst the Supporters Club purchased a house in Valingers Road, Lynn, which was used to accommodate players – thus reducing travelling costs.
Lynn had a good Christmas with two away games ending in draws and winning two home matches including a 3-1 victory over Wisbech Town in front of 7,352
The turn of the year saw Lynn in third place in the Midland League but two defeats against leaders Peterborough United ended any hopes of the title.
With the new grandstand edging towards completion the Supporters' Club announced their next project– floodlights: with installation planned for September.
Lynn played under floodlights for the first time against Doncaster Reserves – the match being re-arranged to give Lynn the experience of playing under artificial light in readiness for the next season - they lost 2-0.
Lynn Reserves reached the final of the Norfolk Intermediate Cup with a 17-0 win over Gorleston Reserves. Lynn included three first teamers but reserves player Len Bridges, with seven goals, impressed enough to be asked to complete professional forms. The Reserves went on to retain the Norfolk Intermediate Cup – defeating Norwich City B at The Walks 2-0. They also won the Pamela Cup with a 4-2 extra time win over Sutton Bridge.
March saw Lynn Reserves apply for membership of the Eastern Counties League – their hopes of this being improved with the resignation of West Ham A., but they were to be unsuccessful, in fact they did not make their debut until 1959.
Lynn reached the final of the Norfolk Senior Cup for the fifth successive year and defeated Gothic in a hectic Easter programme which saw four matches played in five days. The last of these was in the East Anglian Cup when March Town once again defeated Lynn.
Hopes of new floodlights took a blow – Supporters' Club Chairman Mr L L Hall announcing that
“Our plans for floodlighting next season might be put back a month or two.” (Floodlights were not in action until 1963).
Lynn applied for membership of the Football League. Whilst there was little hope that Lynn would be elected under the current league structure there were talks of restructuring the league and creating a new division which would be a Midland Section of Division Three but, as this was an idea promoted by non-league football, it had little hope of being adopted.
Admission was by election. The bottom Football League clubs and those non-League clubs wanting promotion were voted into the league by the existing members, the four clubs with the most votes being elected.
The end of the 1955-56 season the four bottom clubs were all re-elected, of the unsuccessful clubs three came from the Midland League - Peterborough United getting eight votes, Boston United one and Lynn none.
Lynn finished their league campaign in fourth position – one better than the previous season.
The end of season saw a flurry of cup matches including the Tottenham first team who competed for the Culey Festival Cup. Lynn put on a brave show, going down 2-1. The following day it was not such a good show as they lost 0-1 against Boston United in the Culey Victory Cup.
Victories were obtained in the George Miller Shield (5-2 against Gorleston) and the Lynn Charity Cup (3-1 v Spalding) but defeat in the Thetford Charity Cup at Thetford, 2-3.