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Cod Almighty | Diary

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts

19 September 2013

It doesn't seem all that long ago that the saviour of Grimsby Town Football Club wouldn't go on Radio Humberside to talk about his work. Now he phones up and insists on having his say when he's not even invited.

Oh dear.

Here at Cod Almighty we used to call John Shelton Fenty "Deadly John (Topcon)". Then he told us off and we felt a bit sorry for him, so we stopped. Your original/regular Diary has just had a listen to John Shelton Fenty telling Radio Humberside off last night. He's a Tory. He doesn't come across as a terribly nice man. And his spell in control of my football club has pretty much coincided with its absolute ruin. I don't feel all that sorry for him any more.

You've heard, right? Town's saviour, ex-chairman and major shareholder piled in to Sports Talk last night in response to, well, in response to the Radio Humberside sports team basically doing their jobs. A post-match interview with Shorty on Tuesday was apparently "tantamount to incitement".

What does that even mean? I have no idea whatsoever. Hell, even JSF is probably kind of hazy on that in his own mind. But the gist is that Shelts doesn't like questions being asked about the unprecedented managerial limbo in which our club finds itself. Was the club's astonishing surrender to part-time Halifax Town in any way related to the uncertainty around Shouty's position? You're not allowed to ask.

And it's not just that Deadly doesn't like you asking. He doesn't understand why you want to. Like many other 'self-made' businessmen, he appears to believe that he can make any situation better by telling someone off. More than that, he has the right to tell anyone off. And tell them what to do.

"You were asked specifically last week, and you've not accorded with it, to back off – please leave the players and leave the management alone… I don't like the way you behave… please change that… I fail to understand why you continually want to behave this way… you're all the time looking for something…"

Um, yeah. It's called journalism?

In case you didn't get the memo, John: you're not at Five Star Fish now. You can't tell everyone what to do.

Let's try and be fair to Fenty. He's given us something to talk about. I suppose, as phone-in contributions to Radio Humberside go, his intervention last night makes a change from "well, I wasn't at the game today, Burnsy, but Town were rubbish".

And if he wants us to believe, as the Grimsby Telegraph says he does, that our heroes' capitulation at the Shay was nothing to do with the Shouty situation, well, he might just be right. True, many of those who were present in West Yorkshire on Tuesday have described Town's performance as the worst they have witnessed from a professional side in their entire football-watching lives. But people said the same thing about our defeats by Bath City (2009), Chasetown (2011), Oldham (2004), Port Vale (2004), Hartlepool (2003), Braintree (2011) and Cheltenham (2006), among others, and Rob Scott hadn't just been suspended from his managerial duties in mysterious circumstances when those games took place.

(Mind you, there is one common denominator. Who was the chairman, major shareholder or most influential figure at GTFC when those games took place? Hashtag just sayin.)

Let's suppose for a moment that the Fridge Magnate is right, and that business with Shouty really is unconnected to Town's appalling failure on Tuesday. Is it just me, or wouldn't that actually make the whole thing ten times worse?

But let's give him the last word. The club has "absolutely clarified Paul Hurst's position", apparently, so that's all cleared up. And that business with Shouty?

"It's pretty clear what we're going through. Everyone can read between the lines."

Well, I'm confused. I haven't the vaguest clue what's happening at the football club I have supported and loved for more than 30 years. Or so I thought. Because for a minute back there I thought John Shelton Fenty said, actually, that's not right, and I know very well what's going on, and so do all the other fans.

He didn't really… did he?

"It's pretty clear what we're going through. Everyone can read between the lines."

Oh dear.