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All change at Heacham and Downham Town

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In his weekly Caney’s Corner, Gavin Caney talks about the merry-go-round with changes afoot at a couple of West Norfolk Clubs.The chaos has begun and boots are still being polished.The 2023/24 campaign isn’t over for all clubs yet but the madness has already kicked off.The annual non-League merry-go-round has started spinning and it’ll spiral out of control for a fair while yet.It’s the time of year that managers dread; who is going to stay and who is going to go? But this close season has already seen plenty of movement off the pitch too. Paul Hunt has returned to management by taking up the vacant post at Heacham – an astute appointment given his experience of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division during his days at Swaffham Town.‘Hunty’ returns refreshed following a break since leaving Wisbech St Mary and will attract players down to the progressive coastal outfit. Whether any of those will come from Downham Town, some who will have played under him at Swaffham, is yet to be seen.But they’re going through a change of their own with club legend Craig Dickson having stepped down as joint first-team manager after five-and-a-half years at the helm. Words cannot praise ‘Dicko’ enough for his role in the Reds’ remarkable resurgence in recent years after plenty stuck in the lower reaches of the First Division.Like David Griggs at Heacham, his legacy has been secured – perhaps even more so given his fine efforts as a player. It’ll be interesting to see who arrives in his absence, especially as Dale Stokes is not looking for a like-for-like replacement.A first-team coach or assistant manager is what Downham is after. There will be players that come and go across both clubs and elsewhere, especially with new figures in managerial positions. But one that looks set to remain the same is the personnel in the dugout at The Walks. King’s Lynn Town boss Adam Lakeland and his assistant Sam Walker will be keen to knuckle down and stamp their mark on the Linnets’ squad after keeping the club up.Town’s retained list suggests there will perhaps not be as many outgoings or incomings as some had expected – or perhaps hoped for. With key figures Paul Jones, Josh Coulson and Kyle Callan-McFadden taking up the option of new contracts, the start of a backbone is there. Some of those remaining under contract may find the exit door is still open mind, especially if new bodies come in. With key loan figures like George Morrison returning to their parent clubs, it’s likely the revolving door at Lynn will open a few more times yet.n The Woottons Football Club will celebrate its Ruby Anniversary by holding a fundraising match.The game, on Saturday, May 18 between North and South Wootton, will feature several individuals associated with teams from the club past and present, with the event designed to have a community feel.Club chairman Tim Kirby is keen to attract as many locals as possible to come along and support the game.Around 40 players have signed up, including John Ledley who played in the Woottons’ very first season and King’s Lynn legend Jack Defty.Post match a short presentation will be held with the support of founder and president Norman Cesar.The celebrations are apt given the men’s team has just lifted the North West Norfolk League Division Two title.A licensed bar and inflatables are some of the other attractions at the event, which begins at 1pm.No tickets are required but the club is hoping attendees will donate (adults £2, children £1) towards the club’s future development.n It seems like an age since I last got on the mic.But I’ll be dusting one off again on Saturday, May 18 when Northwold Sports and Social Club (doors 6.30pm, 7.45pm start) welcome me back to their stage for the fifth time.After chalking off shows with Scott Nicholls, Grant Holt, Mark Loram and Jeremy Doncaster and Iwan Roberts and Darren Huckerby, it’s the turn of another former Norwich City striking duo to take centre stage.Dean Ashton and Leon McKenzie are the special guests and I’m looking forward to working with them for the first time given their fascinating careers. Ashton wasn’t at Carrow Road long and was on the cusp of becoming an England regular before a broken ankle at the age of 26 forced him into an early retirement.McKenzie, who enjoyed time as a professional footballer and boxer, has opened up about his own mental health battles and remains an inspiration to many.The pair linked up to great effect in Norfolk and will do the same in a few weeks – and you can be there to watch them by answering this simple question:At what age did Dean Ashton retire from football? A: 25, B: 26, C: 27. Please email your answer and a contact telephone number to gavin@yourlocalpaper.co.uk by Friday, May 10.The winner of a pair of tickets will be chosen at random. For all other ticket enquiries, please call David on 07768 090004.



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