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Diary - Friday 12 September 2003

12 September 2003

The tension between GTFC and the Grimsby Telegraph that arose last season after changes in the paper's editorial team explodes into a new row today as the Telegraph reveals that the club is withdrawing recognition of its reporter Stuart Rowson for "continued misleading coverage of the club". The move follows a front-page splash last Friday in which the paper reported that Town bosses were saving cash by cancelling the ambulance that stands by at Blundell Park on match days. Today's Telegraph reports that club directors have invited Telegraph editor Michelle Lalor to Blundell Park to discuss "several inaccuracies" in last Friday's report but adds that "no meeting will take place unless Mr Rowson's press rights at Blundell Park are reinstated". The Diary, as you know, remains critical of the Telegraph's coverage and is less than convinced that lots of people will die because the ambulance isn't there, but can't help thinking GTFC would have been better off simply saying as much themselves.

Jonny Rowan will continue to partner Michael Boulding up front for tonight's visit to Hartlepool, as no fewer than three strikers have clambered aboard the "say no to Grimsby" bandwagon this week. After two permanent signings fell through, Paul Groves was cleared by a Premiership club to offer a loan deal to a striker on their books, reports the Telegraph, though I'm not sure how; but whoever the pampered little shit was, he clearly didn't fancy sullying his good name by associating with real footballers. "He did not give a reason, only that he was not coming," says PG. But! BBC Humber Sport (remember them?) reveals that Phil Jevons is close to a renegotiated contrzzzzzz...Young David Soames and even younger Liam Nimmo are added to the squad to travel north this evening.

Jason Crowe, meanwhile, remains doubtful after missing last week's draw with Peterborough with a gammy toe or something but Darren Barnard should resume left-back duties after returning from international bench-warming duties with Wales. After Cristiano Ronaldo's recent debut for Lancashire side Manchester United was put in the shadows by Graham Hockless' emergence from the bench at Blundell Park last Saturday, many Town fans are hoping to see the youngster start on the left of midfield tonight, with Stuart Campbell returning to the centre and Chris Bolder receiving therapy in a sensory deprivation tank; but Mr Groves is playing down the chances of a reshuffle in the middle. "You have to remember that Graham came on after 60 or 70 minutes," he tells Town's official site, "where the game had started to open up and there was a bit of room for him to play."

Over now to Mr Mark Stilton - hello! - for Markie's Refwatch, which informs us that tonight's man in the middle will be Scott Mathieson of Stockport. "Mr Mathieson has issued 14 yellows and 1 red card in the 4 matches he's officiated this season," Mark tells us, "roughly the same rate of reds as last season, when he issued 100 yellows and 11 reds in 37 games. Last time he was involved in a Town match was on 18 August 2001 when he was kind enough to award Town a penalty. Pouton put that away to secure a fine 1-0 victory away at West Brom." Oooh, that was great, that was. "He's been around a while, has Mr Mathieson," adds Mark, "but amazingly, in all these years, he's never sent off a Grimsby player or a Hartlepool player. You'd think we'd be OK then, except Tony Butcher's report on the West Brom game says: He managed to get both sets of supporters raging at his inconsistency. Very, very poor...I give this man 4.2." Marks out of ten, I think Tony means; not iced lollipops.

Our match preview is completed by Miles Moss, who has very kindly phoned the Pools ticket office on the Diary's behalf, and reports: "Hartlepool United put the milk in tea last. The man was very nice, and a little confused."

Email from Diary readers has kept us going all week, and there are many more musings that will appear here tomorrow evening. Thank you all. For now we will conclude with news that the other half of Town's hoped-for reprise of the 1997-98 double season begins in a Sky studio in about 20 hours' time, as the draw for the LDV Vans Trophy - which is apparently what the Auto Windscreens Shield has been renamed since we were away - has been brought forward to 9:55 tomorrow morning and will be broadcast on something called Soccer AM. Yeah, all right, I'll put that in tomorrow as well, but I'm not bloody getting out of bed for it.