The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Tickled pink with all my ducks in a row

29 November 2019

If you want to be incredibly sarcastic and cynical and sound like a complete dick, which I sometimes do when the mood takes me, you could say that Town are probably closer to getting a shiny new stadium on the docks than they are to scoring a goal. Absolute bantz.

But to say such a thing would be a little unfair on caretaker manager Anthony Limbrick, who at the very least managed to send Town fans home on Tuesday night feeling a little more positive about our season after the Mariners put in a very decent performance against a Cheltenham side aiming for promotion.

However, there was a statistic floating around on Twitter yesterday that said the Mariners had only found the back of the net once at Blundell Park in the league since 24th August. Granted, we’ve only played five league games at home in three months, and that solitary goal won us the match against a Macclesfield side well known for their excellent record in Cleethorpes. But still, that statistic is tragic when you think about the five we stuck past Port Vale in one match, and the investment we made in strikers over the summer to address last season’s goal-shy squad.

At the AGM yesterday, John Fenty suggested that Limbrick will remain in charge for our next match at the very least, which just happens to be at ‘fortress’ Blundell Park against top-of-the-table Swindon a week tomorrow. And no team has scored more goals away from home than the Robins.

You could look at the league table and feel intimidated by the prospect, or you could look at our recent record against Swindon and feel incredibly positive, for the Mariners have won four of the last five meetings between the two sides. There’s something about Swindon that seems to bring the best out of Town. Even when we were immensely shit under Slade, we turned in a great performance under the floodlights on a Tuesday night roughly two years ago to beat them 3-2. Mitch Rose scored a late winner but, in truth, that victory re-set growing doubts about Slade’s performance at the time, meaning we had to go and lose a hell of a lot more games before he finally got the boot.

Also discussed at the AGM yesterday was the proposed takeover. In a nutshell, Fenty and the board are still waiting to see the money. We have to take it on blind faith that our board — who have proved over the last two decades, let’s not forget, that their finger is only ever on the pulse — appreciate that a good investment doesn’t always require the buyer to provide suitcases of cash up front.

Your West Yorkshire Diary has never been clear on what’s been reported as fact and what’s been rumoured as fiction when it comes to this takeover, but Fenty appears to accept that the Peaks Parkway dream is now dead, and that the potential to build a new community stadium down Freeman Street is both credible and desirable.

But there was a sense of urgency in his tone that suggested he’s losing patience with Shutes, who wants the community stadium on the docks, and he’s worried that we’ll miss out on the Freeman Street opportunity if the delay continues. It’s not uncommon for prospective buyers in a takeover to remain silent while discussions go on in the background, but it would be hugely enlightening if someone could get Shutes’ thoughts on the matter, and whether he feels he’s done enough to prove his financial commitment to the cause. Because it seems we’ve hit a deadlock.

We’re about to head into the fourth Saturday of this season without a Town game to attend, or watch online from abroad, or broadly ignore from afar and hope you don’t get push notifications to say Town have gone 1-0 behind. Our team might be misfiring, our squad might be desperately short of width and pace (again) and our boardroom might be stinking of mouldy bread but, my god, Saturdays aren’t the same when we’re not playing.

I get the feeling that the board would like to remind us that, without their prudent financial leadership, we could be Bury and have no chance of watching us play on any Saturday this season. In between the expletives, Michael Jolley told Radio Humberside that we should be grateful that we’re not where Barnet or Chesterfield are.

It’s this sort of ambition and prudent planning that has got us to where we are today. Enjoy tomorrow.