Our final home game of the season today has a lot riding on it.

On a celebratory note, it is our academy day, so all our player age groups, from our under 23s to our under sixes, will be doing a lap of honour at half-time - it gives them a taste of what is to come and a proud moment for their parents and grandparents to watch, as they take the applause that they fully deserve.
Joe Taylor, who came out of our academy, won the League One Player of the Month award for Lincoln City yesterday and I am delighted for him. My only regret was that he did not make more appearances for our first team, and I am sure that Joe, being a King’s Lynn fan, feels the same way.  

I remember sitting down with Ian Culverhouse, who was our manager at the time, and almost pleading for his inclusion in the team. Culverhouse’s response was to ask me “if I knew more about football than him”. I explained that was not the point, I just could see that he was a player. The rest, as they say, is history.
The key part, though, was that Joe could not wait to be part of our academy; he dropped back a year to ensure that he could participate when the program opened and worked very hard every day on the training pitch.  

His wages were hardly anything, but the key thing was the opportunity – he wanted to be coached, to play and to develop and everything else was secondary. I am sure he will go on to become a top player.

Staying on this theme, I looked at David Beckham’s first contract this week, which showed wages of £210 a week in January 1993 (£432 in today’s money) rising to £270 per week (£556 today) at the start of the 1996/97 season.

I am sure that he got an improved deal quickly after signing, but it shows Beckham’s mentality - the money was secondary to the football. When young players sign a deal, money should be the last part of the equation. The coaching and pathway into the first team and enjoyment of their environment are more important factors than the weekly pay cheque – that will eventually look after itself, if they do the business on the pitch.
Back to today's game, which is not only a derby, but both teams need just a point to ensure their safety. There are many permutations that could happen, but if we take a point or if either Blyth or Farsley fail to take maximum points from their games, then safety will be assured. We will see the return of Michael Gash, Rory McCauley and Ryan Fryatt to their spiritual home, and I am sure we will have a decent crowd for our last home game of the season.
Finally, our manager Adam Lakeland and his assistant Sam Walker deserve credit for their efforts. When they arrived, we were 22nd with eight points from 10 games, or 0.8 points per game. We now have 55 points from 44 games, an average of 1.25 points per game, which is more than a 50pc improvement on our points per game tally.  

It has not been easy. I am sure that it has been as hard to change the mental side of the team as the physical side. When you are losing games and a goal goes in against you, it is hard to keep those heads and shoulders lifted high as déjà vu strikes and the players assume what is coming. They kept at it, as have the team, putting in the work and becoming hard to beat.  

Next season will be a different season and I am sure that whilst it is not a lesson that anyone at the club will want to take again, everyone will have learnt a huge amount from this one.  It will make us stronger next season as a group, and we will be better for it.