Cod Almighty | Diary
I'm scared of toasters
21 June 2016
Today your original/regular Diary is thinking about John McDermott. Granted, I quite often do. But today I'm thinking in particular about the way he was treated by John Fenty in his last year or two at Grimsby before retiring.
There was the bit where Town's then chairman responded to a glittering, multiple award-winning season for Macca by cutting the club legend's wages from £650 to £300 a week. And before that there was the bit where a transfer to Hull City fell through and Sir John signed a new deal at Blundell Park after all – only to find that the terms on offer had been cut in the meantime, seemingly as some kind of punishment for exercising his legal and moral right to talk to another club.
I'm thinking about all this in the light of Pádraig Amond's departure yesterday. Town's most successful striker for about 50 years, we have discovered, was offered only a one-year contract to remain at the club this summer after turning down a two-and-a-half-year deal back in mid-season.
Now it's not clear whether this about-turn on the offer to Podge originated with the non-chairman or the manager. But it would be fair to say it bears the hallmarks of Fenty's petulant handling of the McDermott situation. Perhaps our majority shareholder has learned less from six years in non-League than we had hoped. But wherever the blame lies, this is a loss that need not have happened.
And wherever the blame lies, I'm not blaming the player.
Another exit confirmed today is that of Nathan Arnold, who will be remembered forever by a generation of Town fans for his injury-time clincher in last month's play-off final, and the primal convulsion of brutal ecstasy that it unleashed. Personally I will keep that memory of Arnold alongside another: his devastating two-goal display in the win over Gateshead last October. To perform in such a way, when returning to the football field for the first time after the death of his mother, was an act of fortitude as moving as it was astonishing.
Fond thanks, then, to both Podge and Nath for playing indispensable roles in the first heroic Mariners side in nearly 20 years. Arnold's destination has not been confirmed but right now it's probably safe to assume all departing GTFC players are pitching up in Hartlepool unless we're told otherwise.
To the future, then – and what looks like three new signings for Town today.
We know all about Andrew Boyce already, of course, after his two successful loans to the Mariners from Plucky Scunny in 2014. Now 26, the Doncaster-born centre-half finds himself released from Glanford Park and rocking up in Cleethorpes as a direct replacement for some other bloke who went to Hartlepool. The acquisition of Boyce is yet to be confirmed by the club but Radio Humberside has reported his arrival at BP to sign, so this deal looks done. I think we'd all have settled for entering the Football League with Messrs Pearson, Gowling and Boyce to choose from in central defence, wouldn't we?
Second up, and staying with matters Scunthorpian, Matt Dean of Radio Humberside reports a sighting of previous GTFC target Dominic Vose at Cheapside this afternoon. You may recall a slightly odd tug-of-Lincs for Vose's services a few months back, when Town were gazumped by the noisy neighbours in their bid for Vose – who hadn't even asked to leave Wrexham and wasn't particularly happy about it. Looking at his total lack of first-team opportunities at Scunny, you can't really blame him.
Any old how, word is there's a loan in the offing, and if Vose resumes the more than healthy scoring rate he attained before his time at the Racecourse was so rudely interrupted, it should be a successful one.
Also on the way in – and this one's already official – is Aldershot winger Rhys Browne. Pacy, tricky and very young, Browne scored seven times in 41 appearances for the Shots last season, including a belter in Town's 4-3 win down in Hampshire just a couple of months ago. Rhys has given a free-access interview to the Mariners' superb new official website and sounds chuffed – in as much as you can tell from such a laid-back individual – to be joining a team that plays the ball on the deck. He has four caps for Antigua & Barbuda and youth team experience with Norwich, Charlton, and the School of Cool.
By the way, is it just me who's ridiculously excited about Browne because we've paid a fee?
Any more for any more? Boston United's Dayle Southwell is set to become someone else's Dayle Southwell in the next 36 hours or so. Probably Lincoln City's.
Finally, the Conference has proposed an expansion of the play-offs to involve six teams bidding for a place in the Football League starting in the 2017–18 season. Teams finishing second and third would be placed in the semi-finals automatically, as at present, while those from fourth to sixth would play off over one leg for the right to face them – again, though, over only one leg. I know we're not non-League any more, so none of this should interest us in the slightest, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves while the ownership of the club remains unchanged from 2010, eh…