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Cod Almighty | Other stuff

 

When did Cod Almighty turn up? I didn't see you arrive.
We went online in summer 2002 in a blaze of no publicity.

What are you all about then?
We don't wanna sound pompous about this, but we know for a fact that the CA team are far from alone in thinking too many football fan sites are spoiled by crap writing, unimaginative editorial decisions and commercially dictated design; and so we set up this one to do a little bit towards providing an alternative.

But how will I ever find an internet betting shop without adverts on your site to guide me?
Ah, you noticed. We choose not to compromise the site – visually or editorially – by carrying advertising. This approach even extends to the site's editorial style guide, which discourages authors from using the names of sponsors when referring to football competitions, and so we tend to talk about the League Cup, for instance, rather than the Carling Cup (this will probably be illegal one day, so let's enjoy our freedom while we can). Feedback from readers suggests that they very much appreciate CA's non-commercial environment.

What about the other standard stuff, like news stories and a messageboard? 
We try to avoid duplicating ideas from other fan sites and to come up with areas of content that are at least vaguely original. 'News' pages on fan sites invariably draw from other news sources like the BBC and clubs' official sites, and even if they acknowledge the source it still seems a bit duplicitous; so we have the Diary instead to provide a straightforward daily summary, carrying emails from readers in response to current events, and sometimes looking at the hidden agendas of the media running the stories.

Because, as I say, we like to try and offer something slightly different, we have a letters page instead of a messageboard. Give it a try, why don't you? If you want to use a messageboard then have a go on The Fishy or A Grim Outlook.

By the way, just while we're on the subject, why do some Town fans think 'website' and 'messageboard' mean the same thing? Answers to the Postbagplease.

Come to think of it, gorgeous, haven't I seen you somewhere before?
Cod Almighty has contributed a column ('Cod Psychology') to Town's match programme; several of our authors took it in turns to write. Al Wilkinson appeared on TV reading his poem for the 2006 play-off final. From 2003 to 2008 Pete Green wrote a weekly column in the Matchday supplement that comes with the Grimsby Telegraph on Fridays, and he appeared on BBC Look North and elsewhere in the media in March 2004 in features about CA's ace T-shirts. Si Wilson and Mark Stilton, meanwhile, have been interviewed about GTFC by Radio Five Live, while writing by Tony Butcher and Pete has featured in When Saturday Comes. Tony got up lots of people's noses by going on Radio Humberside to diss the Fentydome just before the council OK-ed it, which was a good laugh. And there's some other stuff we've probably forgotten about, because we've got a memory like Rio Ferdinand's.

What do you have to use all these big words for? 
What big words? We're just making an effort. The internet has been to writing what karaoke has to singing, and there's a lot of sloppy, joyless, functional prose out there that gives nobody any pleasure. Cod Almighty is intended to be a source of information second and a source of enjoyment and interest first. 

Now you are sounding pompous.
Too bad. You've got to have ideals.

Pah. You lot have all been to university and Cod Almighty is too highbrow for the average Grimbarian who works down the docks or in the factories.
Bollocks. The way I look at it is that my dad never passed an exam in his life and there's nothing on this website that he wouldn't have understood and enjoyed. We're just ordinary Town fans and so are our readers. Pack it in with your daft inferiority complex.

All right then – so what you're saying is I should only visit Cod Almighty from now on instead of all the other GTFC sites?
No, no. The administrator at the old Electronic Fishcake (in its Rivals incarnation) used to delete messageboard postings that contained links to Cod Almighty – and even banned one of us from the board for posting a link to a CA match preview – on the grounds that they were "spam" and we should have been paying him for allowing them on his site. This seems to us to be contrary to the principles of the worldwide web, or at the very least to the spirit of fan websites, and it is absolutely not what we're about. We encourage you to visit all the other GTFC sites as well as ours, because we just want a healthy online community for Town fans (and because in the case of the club's official site they make money from each visit). See our links section for an extensive list of other Mariners websites – all of which are included free of charge!

I'm starting up another Mariners fanzine or website. I like some of the stuff you have on this site so I reckon I'll just copy and paste a big chunk of it without asking you first. I'll put a note next to it saying it's from Cod Almighty originally, so that'll make everything all right.
No, you cheeky sod, it will not. As explained above, we want there to be more good GTFC sites and zines and stuff, so if we like what you're doing and we're in a good mood then we'll support you, but if you want to republish something from Cod Almighty then please pay the courtesy of asking us first.

I run a fan site for another team. Could you answer some questions for the preview of our match against Grimsby/profile of our opponents next season/type thing?
We like doing stuff to help out other fan sites (particularly if you're a non-profit-making proper indie site rather than a commercial network thing), but if you're going to let us spend an hour coming up with some half-decent copy and then not run it because you wanted a bunch of bland old bollocks about what a decent side you've got and what a close game it should be, then don't waste our time or yours. Sorry to be blunt, but this has happened before (with a Premiership fan site: go figure) and we don't want it to happen again. If you don't take yourself too seriously – and don't actually mind us reflecting that your star centre-forward might be a bit rubbish really, or asking where most of your fans where when you were shit – then fire away.

What have you done to make Cod Almighty accessible to readers with visual impairments?
All text is rescalable in size and we have included a printer-friendly option on as many pages as we can. We have also tested the site on text reading software (such as Simply Talker). If you are a disabled user we'd like to hear of your experience of this site. Please use the feedback page to let us know.

There are evil swear words on this website. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't call the police right now. 
There is nothing more profane on this site than can be heard every fortnight at Blundell Park, and we assume you're not too delicate to attend football matches. Worried about your kids? Better ask their school to put them in solitary at playtimes then. Like everything else, swearing can be big and clever if you do it with a bit of style; and we think the use of asterisks, as in f**k, is both patronising and hypocritical. 

I thought this was a Grimsby site. Why do you cover stuff like FIFA and AFC Wimbledon?
The site is obviously for Grimsby Town supporters, but we want fans of other clubs to be able to understand and enjoy it as well, so we try to avoid in-jokes and cliquey references and to acknowledge the wider world of football. In any case, GTFC don't exist in a bubble, and events at Lancaster Gate, in Brussels, or in Sepp Blatter's cocktail lounge will always, eventually, have implications further down the line for clubs like ours.

I thought this was a football site. What's all this stuff about the Dock Tower and the word nunty
It's just interesting. And aren't you proud of your Grimbarian roots?

How come you use the word 'footy'? Isn't it an unacceptable nouveau fan neologism to be avoided at all costs?
Er, no, actually. I dunno about that lot down south, but we used to say it in the playground at Old Clee First School in the late 1970s, so I don't see what the problem is.

Why didn't you hate Peter Furneaux? Is he like your dad or what? 
We just find it a bit mystifying why people did, to be honest. Cod Almighty is as independent of the club as it is of advertisers and sponsors, and we're quite prepared to be critical of any club regime if we think it justified. But Furneaux's board, like Fenty's after it, was a group of small businessmen very much like any other group of small businessmen, and given ITV Digital and the complete indifference of most of the local population, the very fact that the club still exists suggests to us that they did a pretty good job. We just can't stand all the pointless negativity about Town. Proper fans do not set conditions for their support.

So there'd be no point me sending you a compelling critique of the directors? 
Oh but there would. We don't only publish people who agree with us. You just have to make an effort at writing well. We would fairly consider running a piece arguing for the board to be exiled to Antarctica, so long as it were coherent and well argued.

You do consider material from external contributors then?
Well, yeah – we're a fanzine. That's kind of the whole idea. So we'd love to hear from you. If you fancy tapping something out, have a read of our submission guidelines (and feel free to ignore them if they cramp your style).

So you're independent of the club and of advertisers and sponsors. Are you affiliated to any fans' organisations or any other group?
We are just about 100 per cent independent of everything. We have bought a few shares in the club but are not in formal or informal association with any other shareholder. We support the aims of Grimsby Town Supporters Trust; some of us are members of the trust and Si has joined the board, but Cod Almighty is not affiliated to it collectively, or to any other organisation.

Right then – what's in it for you?
Cod Almighty is run on a non-profit-making basis by the contributors, most of whom spend a fair bit of time every week working on the site for free, sometimes at great cost to their social lives and domestic harmony. Our CA T-shirts are sold to cover the costs of hosting the site.

Aren't you Mr Perfect.
Well, we try. In the 2002–03 season Cod Almighty responded to the club's appeal for a sponsor for the Bradford game by organising something calledFans' Day and, with the help of local media and businesses and other GTFC sites and supporters' groups, made around £2,000 for the club. As mentioned earlier, we have bought a few shares; and we have also sponsored the odd player here and there. OK, so Disco Des Hamilton didn't turn out to be the new Joe Waters, but that's hardly our fault. 

Why did you call him that? 
It just sounded good.

So you don't make any money out of Cod Almighty?
Kid, you're catching on. We are no nostalgia freaks, but we are old enough to remember when not everything that happened in Britain was about raking in as much moolah as possible. And you know what? It was nice.

Don't suppose I can interest you in advertising Cod Almighty with my magazine or website, then?
No. Now let's talk about something else, before I start ranting about the train companies using premium rate phone lines for their lost property offices.

I have another question that is not answered on this page.
How lucky for you, then, that the Cod Almighty feedback form will allow you to send it to us, whereupon we will answer it as fully and honestly as we can.

You're just too good to be true.
Please tell that to our wives and girlfriends.