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Cod Almighty | Article

by Barry Whittleton

29 September 2016

Barry calls on Town fans to remember that Podge Amond and Toto Nsiala are returning heroes when they step out for Hartlepool on Saturday

This Saturday will see the arrival of Hartlepool United at Blundell Park. Sadly Carl Magnay will not figure due to a long-term injury. Toto Nsiala and Podge Amond will.

Last January social media and the messageboards were awash with pleas from Town fans for Podge to stay and help us win our place back in the Football League. He did, and so did Toto.

The circumstances in which both left afterwards have been well chewed over. It would be fair to say some fans took the news of their departure differently from others.

Toto’s exit seemed inevitable since the infamous incident in the rancid, vile atmosphere of the Shay. That day was without doubt my least enjoyable of last season – if not any season, bar Burton. And not only because of the result.

Podge, on the other hand, I was confident would be a Grimsby player this year. The club's explanation of his departure and his own are at odds, and the fans tend toward differing views. For me the loss of your top scorer, not only of last season but of many previous, is at best careless. But we move on.

Some Town fans link Omar Bogle's blossoming this season with Podge's departure. Sadly, there seems a slight glee that he has so far not fired for Pools. I don't share this view and neither, I believe, do the majority.

Football at this level is not life-changing salaries. It's the uncertainties of 12-month contracts on money that London plumbers earn. It's worrying that a groin injury leaves you looking for a new club come June, having not played for six months

Football at this level is not full of life-changing salaries. It's the uncertainties of 12-month contracts on the money that London plumbers earn. It's worrying that a groin injury leaves you looking for a new club come June having not played for six months.

Podge and Toto were faced with decisions to make between a 12-month contract with that uncertainty with GTFC or a 24-month contract with Hartlepool. In a week when a man earning £3million a year gets sacked for seeking another £400,000, take that into account. 

These players all have mortgages, gas bills and in some cases families to consider, just as we do. Certainly in Podge’s case it may well be his last chance of a decent signing-on fee and salary. Think about this when they run out on Saturday.

I hope that when Podge and Toto step onto God's green acre they are met not only with warm applause but rousing renditions of "we've got Amond" and "whoa Toto". I hope theres a "viva Carl Magnay" too. These players deserve their place in GTFC folklore. Without their efforts, abilities and skills, instead of Hartlepool it could have been North Ferriby running out. Instead of catching a train to Exeter next week I could be catching one to Gateshead, my least favourite place and fans.

I know that ex-players traditionally get a lukewarm reception, and there are more than a few that I'd be happy to boo everytime I come across them (hello, Mike Lyons), but these are different. They took us back to the League. That should entitle them to free beer and chips every time they enter North East Lincs.

Let's show some class and respect their contribution to our cause. It's because of them that I will, I hope, never have to visit Gateshead again. For that alone – Podge, Toto – thank you.

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