The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

A, always, B, be, C, closing. Always be closing

16 May 2019

Minimum Diary writes: I haven't written for CA Towers in a while and I did wonder whether I should go back over the last few weeks to make sure today didn't mirror the work and thoughts of others. I haven't, though, because these thoughts are mine, and they should not and do not change because of others. So I will apologise now for any repetition of subjects and views.

I love my football club like no other, but it also frustrates me like nothing on this Earth (and that includes the teenagers I have to deal with). Looking on Twitter, I am not the only one, and yet we all display this frustration in different ways.
A football club – any football club, but especially this football club, which relies so heavily on the community that it resides in – should be able to deal with and handle this in a way that makes the individual feel valued. But they don't. Or at least, I don't think that they do – and that is an important factor.

The club seems, on the whole, to dislike any sort of social media discourse. Any fan who uses this method to vent is ignored, or sometimes ridiculed. Their view is rarely taken at face value and digested beyond being seen as the position of a 'vocal minority'.

This 'vocal minority', however much they may be a pain in the backside, should not be treated with contempt as long as the venting doesn't turn personal in its content. They are supporters who still care: if they didn't, they wouldn't bother tweeting or posting about it in the first place. So does the club care enough to listen?

The club will say it listened when fans were upset that no finance scheme was set up for season tickets, and sorted one out quickly. Yet plenty, including myself, would suggest that this should have been taken care of well before it became an issue. They knew months ago, as did every other club, yet got nothing into place. This week they managed it within days when it because a reactionary process. The problem? Not enough value, empathy or understanding for the 100 or so fans who took up the offer – or so it looks to us, and feels like to them.

It's a mindset that flows throughout the club, from top to bottom. No doubting that people involved in the club are good people, but football has changed beyond all measure since the 1990s, yet the club continues to persist with systems and structures not fit for the modern game. Suggest change? If it's not the financial aspect, with little or no foresight of the longer-term benefits, it's how it'll impact on staff. Priorities that seem, from the outside looking in at least, to be taken on board long before the paying fan is looked at.

We could go around the houses on the shift worker system but ultimately the worry about finances and how it'll impact on staff time outweighs the wants and needs of fans. There is a lack of understanding from those higher up in the club as to exactly what a shift worker does in this area and how much they get paid. Which, when you think about the main club sponsor, is more than a little worrying! Fans aren't on shutdown, earning thousands on the rigs and refineries. The majority are earning minimum wage for dog's work, with 4-on 4-off shift patterns.

The club's lack of grasp and understanding of where the area hasn't changed for some time should be addressed – but it's not, because the club doesn't see it as important. Or again, at least that's how it looks from the outside. If that's not the case, Grimsby Town, then show us, tell us. You do plenty of good stuff in the community, but it seems that apathy has set in there too when it comes to communicating it.

The club has just spent good money on installing a lift in the Youngs stand for people with mobility issues, but done nothing to communicate it

The club has just spent good money on installing a lift in the Youngs stand to get people with mobility issues up to McMenemy's. The thing was there ready for the end-of-season awards, but the club has done nothing to communicate it. Zero, zilch on the website and only a cursory tweet from the supporter liaison officer weeks ago. If we lack capacity in working hours for this sort of stuff then employ somebody. Take up one of the umpteen offers of help with it. Stop being precious, because it's losing you money now and in the long run.

Linked neatly to all this are the season ticket books themselves – why do we still have those books with details on and why do we still have paper tickets for season ticket books? Because it's easier for staff, because it's cheaper for the club in the short term not to install the necessary equipment to get it off the ground.

Yet plenty of other clubs at this level have done it. They see the value in such a system – it makes things easier for fans; and, logically, making it easier for a supporter to spend money with you means they will spend more money with you.

A system like this could allow the club to set up points schemes based on purchases. In this way, exiled fans who get to far more away games than home games could be rewarded and made to feel valued. Currently it seems from the outside that the club cares little for these supporters (but again, GTFC, show us or tell us if this is not the case) are feeling valued. That little bit of value might mean a few more ££ in the coffers for the club in the long run.

Our thirst to want better for our football club and from our football club should not be met with "it could be worse – look at Bolton, Charlton etc etc etc". In the instances of what I've covered here, they aren't linked, and they should not be linked. The failings of others should not be used as a shield to not do more and be better.

We're not asking for the world; we're merely asking to feel welcome and respected – which is exactly what the new project just launched by the club is all about. If you've missed the announcement about the graffiti wall there is more information on the club's website.

There is so much more I could say about a whole number of things. It's been said before and it'll be said again. But the shoulders will shrug because there is no value in your opinion. Or at least that's how it feels. If that's wrong, one more time – show us, tell us.