No more honeymoons

Cod Almighty | Article

by Alistair Wilkinson

31 March 2011

Two home games, two 2-0 leads, two capitulations and two new managers who are already in a no-win situation. The run of terrible twos is broken as we return to normality with a 1-0 reverse at home to Darlington. This is comfortable, this is normal. When we beat Darlington at home something terrible happens like dropping out of the Football League.

Normality has changed. The new fellas will soon find out what normal is around here. Things can only get better, or at least nothing can get worse. Sounds familiar? To us it does. To Scott and Hurst it's a half-inflated balloon that's not even gonna pop, just squash and deflate sadly, if they make any attempt to rest on it.

You're in Grimsby now, your own fans already don't trust you, already don't rate you. They're fed up with the annual event of changing the names in the songs, so they're not sung anymore, and you've complicated it even further. Buck-New-Woo whoever's army's got to have two names in front of it, so the chances of it making a return are slim to none. The beginnings aren't honeymoons any more. The bigamist just gets sick of the cake, the clothes and the weekend in Skeg - still no Niagara Falls for our polygamist chairman. It'd be a little crass to have the big wedding with the brides still married.

The sackings don't work, not even for a fillip - the dead cats don't bounce at Blundell any more. In November '06 Buckley III got just two points from his first three games; Newell took over in October '08 and had to wait nine games for his first win; Woods, well, we don't need to go over that again. If the new partnership follows the trend then forget about football 'til Christmas.

"I honestly wish I hadn't bothered with this season. It's been the one that almost got away and I wish it had wriggled a bit harder"

I've managed to forget about it recently. I've missed several games including the two 2-0-up debacles. I've got a dose of survivor guilt but I reckon I'll get over it. On my return to the morgue-like Blundell Park the seats were empty, the songs were unsung, the players were energetically ineffectual and the opposition looked happier, healthier and just generally more pleased to be there than our boys. In short nothing had changed. The management might come in a pair with matching tracksuits but the view and temperature are still the same: grey and tepid.

Two points from three home games means the play-off hopes aren't even that any more, and that particular coffin has had its final nail. I honestly wish I hadn't bothered with this season. It's been the one that almost got away and I wish it had wriggled a bit harder. There were other, better uses of my time and my money. Back in August I knew that and I ignored it. I'm older now, somewhere approaching the middle, too old and too young to put Town first, but this summer I'll have to wrestle with the same decision.

Novelty management in a football graveyard isn't attractive right now. In a few months I'm hoping that Something New will have happened. Our managerial changes have led to a macabre cycle of homogeneous players as each manager slams his mark on the squad. Ikea flat packs in studs, which come in different colours but carry the same badly written instructions. There doesn't feel any point as we watch the new bosses trot the young, the old, the has-beens and the never-will-bes across the pitch. They'll demolish and then they'll rebuild but there's never any difference.

It's April. Time to take a deep breath, write off another season, put on the hopeful hat and come back in August when the bright new dawn won't be foggy Tuesdays, cold Saturdays. And hopefully there'll be no Darlington, or at least not for the first few weeks.

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