Cod Almighty | Article
by Dan Humphrey
7 April 2005
Time for the Grimsby Town Supporters Trust to have its annual general meeting, and they've also found time for a bit of a 'race night' and Grand National draw. I went along as an admittedly rather inactive trust member to see how things are progressing, and as at any AGM, the main issues were reports and elections.
The chairman's report gave a brief overview of the financial situation at the club, demonstrating that the ITV Digital fiasco hit some clubs harder than others. Teams on the way up, such as Cardiff, benefited from being in the right place at the right time, while teams sliding down the divisions - like the Mariners - received less compensation, so had to trim the wage bill accordingly.
The meeting highlighted the achievements of the Keep the Mariners Afloat campaign, but stressed that further financial challenges lie ahead which the Trust must continue to tackle. How? Through share purchases, through continued sale of the wristbands, through fundraising events; ultimately through hard work.
Chairman Dave Otter concluded by reminding us that the club is an "important community resource". The challenge: getting the community to recognise this and to get involved in the club's future. Another issue is to get a "new generation" of Town fans attending games.
Other reports told us that the trust has put money into sponsoring players and matches, and into the KTMA campaign, while membership has increased from little over 100 to over 300. The next target is the 500 mark, and all trust members should aim to get a friend to join up as soon as they can.
The elections? Four new board members were unanimously appointed to the trust board to spread the workload and contribute their ideas. Mike Taylor, Bev Altoft, her fella who I think is called Matt, plus Dave someone. Dave Roberts? It all happened so fast.
Plenty of Mariners players and staff turned up to support the AGM and the race night. Special mentions went to Terry Fleming for accidentally reading out a winner's telephone number, and to Graham Hockless for outdoing himself hairstyle-wise. It was encouraging to see almost the entire first team squad in attendance, including the elusive Glen Downey of legend. To be fair to Glen, we've seen as much of him on the pitch as Stuart Campbell this time last year.
I mentioned the 'Leeds Whites' gig at the Winter Gardens as featured in today's GET, suggesting that John Fenty and Russell Slade attending a local function for fans of another club isn't that helpful to the Mariners. It gives me mixed feelings, I said. Dave Otter replied that he didn't have mixed feelings: he was clearly angry about it, possibly because Town's chairman and manager will not be attending the forthcoming GTST fundraising night with Frank Worthington, which Dave is organising. (Noticeably, Slade was absent tonight, but the man has the benefit of my doubt due to his new-born daughter.)
But summing up, my verdict on the trust is that things are going well. It is well organised and well thought out. More members are needed, and if you have a bit of spare time, get involved! If you don't have spare time... give money, or raise money, or just buy a wristband. Or get your boss to give their time and money as well!
Rachel Branson of GTST adds: "Russell Slade did attend the race night, but he arrived after Dan had gone home. I know he was there because me and Bev took his money off him at the Tote.
"John Fenty hasn't said he's not attending the Frank Worthington event, and if he can't make it I'm sure someone else will attend on the club's behalf.
"And the other two new board members are indeed Dave Roberts and Matt Lewis."
For more information visit the GTST website at www.gtst.net