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Cod Almighty | Diary

Why Matt Dean is everything John Fenty isn't

30 November 2017

When your majority shareholder uses a public forum to turn on a respected broadcaster and journalist over a topic which (we were told) had been put to bed in a meeting during the week, who's the bully? When the manager you appointed also joins in while your opponent is on the ropes, who's the bully?

This ganging up from the very people who carry the most responsibility at our beloved football club is inexcusable. It's beyond professional – but then, when has professionalism ever got in the way of John Fenty doing what he wants? Let's be clear about this: I don't have a problem with him refuting what he believes to be an inaccurate or unfair story. I don't. The problem I have is in the way he refutes it. He just can't refuse a fight. He always wants to go "ten rounds" because he gets "pilloried".

No – he gets pilloried because he wants to go ten rounds. He gets pilloried because of his 'my way or the high way' attitude to everything. His complete inability to see anything from anyone else's point of view is quite startling.

He could learn a lot from someone like, say, Matt Dean – who, despite severe provocation, listened, retained his calm and kept his head. Matt didn't raise his voice. He may have suggested a story that didn't have legs in a couple of tweets, and we're all grown up enough to see how an unsubstantiated story can have knock-on effects – but, come on, behave. Rise above it. Push back by all means, but do it with dignity. It doesn't always have to resort to a slanging match on YouTube, or a splurge of nonsense on the Fishy.

But it does, because he's simply not in control. To use an analogy, he's hurtling along the M180 at 93mph without a care for others. It won't end well.

If Fenty had used just a smidgen of the umbrage he took over the Curtis Woodhouse incident and directed it at getting answers from Stevenage or the EFL, then he'd have earned himself a bit of credit. But he didn't, because he personally was not made to show his underwear outside a football ground.

So it's difficult to feel any sympathy for the man who claims he gets pilloried when he's so often the aggressor. I could list the acts of flag-snapping, radio-chirping, manager-stealing aggression that John Fenty has shown during his tenure at Town, but why bother when a diary from September 2013 covers them all. In a little over four years since that diary was published, I'm devastated – if not surprised – to say that absolutely nothing has changed. We might be in a different league under a different manager with a different squad of players but, at the core, we're just the same.

All this has left your West Yorkshire Diary wondering, who exactly came out of Tuesday night's fans' forum with any credit? More pertinently, perhaps, what do we know now that we didn't know before? Sadly, the answers to both questions are short and predictable.

Credit to the GTFC board for calling the forum. Credit to Radio Humberside for covering it and to Matt Dean for chairing it. But, quite honestly, nothing of any substance truly got answered, and the way it ended undermined any potentially positive stuff that had gone before.

There was plenty of chatter, but I still don't understand why the football club didn't release a statement of support of our fans after the EFL's inaction against Stevenage. I still don't understand why we've appointed a company that has never developed a football stadium before to develop a football stadium for us. I still don't understand why Peaks Parkway is the only place we can build that football stadium. I still don't understand how traffic will only be a problem on match days but it's going to be a seven-days-a-week community stadium. I still don't know why we voted in favour of the Checkatrade proposals.

And I'm still wondering why, when given any opportunity to stand up and be a true leader in representing the fans, John Fenty leaves me, and a few thousand others, feeling totally let down. He's fed up? Take a look at the rest of us, John.

While Marley felt it appropriate to protect the identity of his contact who he says wouldn't join the board for fear of abuse, it suddenly became inappropriate that Dean would protect the identity of his contact who gave him the Woodhouse story

While Russell Slade's presentation at the start offered some genuine insight into his defensive tactics at corners, it didn't translate for the majority listening on the radio and raised more questions than it answered.

OK, so we concede fewer goals from corners when we bring everyone back, but then what's the plan when we've cleared it to an opponent 30 yards out with no bugger in a black and white shirt anywhere near him? If we conceded a minute later because we weren't able to get out of our own half, did we defend the corner successfully according to your stats, Russ? It seems a very grey area to me.

I admire Russ for talking the fans through his thinking. I admire that he's trying to do something different on the pitch and off it, but not for one moment do I think anything else he showed, with the help of video footage, is anything more than what any other football club is doing as standard.

I admired how he spoke with passion, and showed awareness of what fans wanted to hear, but then he ruined it all by joining Fenty in picking on Matt Dean. Is his working relationship with our playing staff so weak that he thinks two tweets could tear the squad apart? This was just one rumour in a world of unsubstantiated rumours, and if he took just five minutes reading the Fishy he'd lose his shit. He spoke – and then shouted, while wagging a finger – about losing trust, presumably forgetting about the time he walked out on us in 2006 after having his head turned by Yeovil.

And the double standards continued. While Mr Marley felt it entirely appropriate to protect the identity of his contact who he says wouldn't join the board for fear of abuse, it suddenly became entirely inappropriate that Dean would dare to protect the identity of his contact who gave him the Woodhouse story. Both Fenty and Slade have been so defensive over the issue that it makes me, for one, believe there was some truth in it.

If the fans' forum was a window into the inner workings of our football club, then God help us all. Because, once again, nothing of any substance got answered, and it all got unnecessarily aggressive, personal and immature at the end.

John is "frankly" fed up, Russ is annoyed that fans don't get his tactics, they both don't like the local radio reporter, the fans don't like Fenty or Slade – and no-one will invest in us. I'm not bloody surprised.

If you honestly see a brighter future for our beloved football club with John Fenty in the driving seat then I'd suggest you knock the drinking on the head, stop smoking crack and stand outside Blundell Park in a bracing North Sea wind to help bring you back to reality.

We are being treated with utter contempt. And every week we give the club our money. That money pays Russell Slade's wage. He could do with remembering that before he next tears into a fan of the club.

The AGM was this morning, and you can watch a recording on YouTube. Hopefully it didn't descend into a full-on brawl.