The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary


25 March 2019

Trentside Diary writes: Having mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the toilets at Blundell Park are in need of some TLC, I was interested to see the Mariners Trust have launched a crowdfunder to refurbish the disabled toilets. Hmmmm.

I’ve never been in the disabled toilets, but if they are anywhere as bad as the others then they really do need an upgrade – not least because you need to be fully able-bodied to get in and out, preferably without touching any surface! But fundraising to provide decent disabled facilities? Shouldn’t this be an obligation, or done because it’s the right thing to do? The club stated in November last year that it would be making a number of investments due to the delay in progressing a new stadium. Floodlights, toilet blocks and disabled facilities were mentioned. Why is the trust now crowdfunding for this?

I didn’t renew my membership after I was 'joined' automatically because I’ve never really understood what the trust hopes to achieve. Genuine question: what is the Mariners Trust there to do? Crowdfund on behalf of Fenty? His 'mates' are quick to point out that it is his club, not ours, and there is very little true engagement between the owners/directors and the fans who pay their money to see their team.

Some trust members understandably wonder why they weren’t consulted before the trust agreed to do the fundraiser. I think we can all agree that the work seems a good idea – but why are fans being asked to contribute to a private business? Are Maccy Ds or Marks & Sparks going to be asking me to contribute to an upgrade in their toilet facilities? No. I would expect them to use money spent in their business to do this.

When it comes to funding things, Town fans are amazing. In the 1990s we threw money in buckets to buy Ivano Bonetti out of a contract. Recently we were even more committed to getting back in the League, and gave generously to Operation Promotion. Look how they both ended. Yes, we got Ivano but a plate of chicken sandwiches put paid to a long-term commitment. Even more importantly, we got back where we belonged, only to be told by that numpty at the fans' forum that the money hadn’t been used towards the playing budget. That was an absolute betrayal of fans and the Mariners Trust and all their effort and commitment.

So I ask again: what is the Mariners Trust there for? I’m not knocking the individuals who are involved. They give up their time and effort on our behalf, but to what end?

A quick look at the Football Supporters Federation website suggests that if you are planning to set up a supporters' trust then you must decide what your purpose is. That’s the nub of it. Our trust's website states: "The Mariners Trust is a collective of Grimsby Town supporters who have a direct say in the running of the football club." That’s nice, but they have no real power. The Fans’ Charter states that fans' views will be communicated and form part of the decision making. Well, when does that happen – and how many fans agreed to another fundraiser? I would like the trust to be the voice of the fans. If investment is needed in basics, let the club crowdfund it.

And back to toilets. They might be a rich first division club but if Spurs can install toilets for assistance dogs, I’m sure we can do better for our disabled supporters who are there, home and away, to support our team. UTM!