The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

You said seasons change, I hope I never will

13 September 2017

We're hearing unconfirmed reports from last night's game at Accrington that Grimsby Town's non-chairman John Fenty was heard telling a group of Mariners supporters to fuck off. But you only have to look at the club's position on the Football League Trophy, for example, to be reminded that John Fenty has effectively been telling Town fans to fuck off for years. It changes very little if he's finally expressed his position in those exact words.

Nevertheless, as your mum will doubtless have impressed upon you many times, if you can't say anything nice then perhaps you shouldn't say anything at all. So take a moment with your original/regular Diary while we say something nice. Sam Jones, in case we'd all forgotten, is a talented attacker who will score goals from a central position. James McKeown is having a good start to the season and played a key role again in securing the three points last night. And Cheltenham are still rubbish. That's nice too. Close your eyes and dream of a sunny afternoon in May 2018, where Town are safely ensconced in lower mid-table.

You know those tweets about a news story that appear three times at once, from the Telewag's central Twitter account, the Telewag's GTFC news account, and the account of the Telewag sports journo who's reported it? One of those intrigued me yesterday. I had to click through and see what it was about.

Two salient points emerge from the details of the Football League's new broadcasting deal. One is that its 72 teams will receive a bit more TV money than before. As we should all realise by now, in both football and financial terms the ultimate net benefit of this to GTFC will be zero.

All our competitor clubs receive the same increase in payments, so Town derive no competitive advantage from it at all. The extra money will go straight through to the players and agents; the directors will continue to run the club at a deficit; and we will be no more likely than before to win matches and get promoted. So, meh.

The second point is that we might be able to watch matches live through the Mariners Player service, or whatever they're calling it now. This sounds great, doesn't it? Doesn't it…?

As a dedicated fan who can't get to as many games as I'd like to – because geography/family/money/etc etc – this should really appeal to me. I can't seem to get that excited about it though. Perhaps it's because barely a month goes by without GTFC having to issue some sort of apology for the Mariners Player live audio coverage not working as it should, so you dread to think what the service will be like when it extends to video. Or maybe it's more because whenever I've watched Town on telly or online, I generally haven't enjoyed it much.

Now obviously Grimsby Town FC are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen. We would never have sung those words if they were not 100 per cent true in every way. But watching games on telly or online reminds me that, among the reasons I go to the football, the actual football is quite a minor one. Other reasons of at least equal and potentially greater significance include seeing my mates for a natter; acknowledging my literal and figurative DNA by keeping my connection alive with the place where I watched with my late dad from the Barrett stand and the hometown I left 25 years ago but which still defines me; and having a pint and some decent chips.

That's not to say I won't sign up for it. I'll think about that (pending some kind of end to real-terms pay cuts every year and nursery fees costing more than the mortgage). But it's true that football is not a TV show. The Burnley chairman Bob Lord didn't understand, when he lobbied for the Saturday 3pm broadcast blackout back in the 1960s, that there's far more to the game than the match. And, as much improved as Town seem to have been last night, given the way our teams perform sometimes it's a bloody good job there is.