The poverty of a dilapidated Blundell Park

Cod Almighty | Article

by Chris Smith

15 December 2019

Meagre football in a neglected ground - a symbol of austerity Britain. Chris Smith can't forgive Grimsby Town for making personal anguish feel even worse

Friday 13th. An appropriate day to wake up to a nightmare. I fear for the town that was my home and I fear for its football club.

I've never felt more negative about the future of either. I started following the Mariners in 1979-80, the last season that we won a title and the first year of the slide to the right politically.

I've been a season ticket holder since I moved back to the north in 2004 but that's it for me after this season. I live in Doncaster and despair at the poverty of what is on offer at a dilapidated Blundell Park each home game. This is after a journey on what I consider to be the worst rail franchise I have had the misfortune to suffer.

It seemed hopeful in August but there is seemingly no end in sight to the club's decline. I dread the game against Scunthorpe. I've renewed my season ticket previously to tie in a game while paying an extra visit to my ageing parents. Sadly I lost dad this summer - mum died eight years ago - and I have no further reason to visit. I'd given it one more year to keep up with friends, but some of them will also be finally turning their back on the club. Perhaps some away games but we won't be putting money in Fenty's pocket.

I'm a public sector worker and have seen my pension eroded by the party that Fenty supports, despite paying more into it. It would therefore seem perverse to give money over to fund his. My pension will become my main source of income next year and he won't get a penny of it.

Grimsby Town FC certainly reflect the years of austerity. A bit of patch up and mend but no serious investment. A lack of hope for those who really need it

I know I can't blame the club for dad's final illness but I remember going to games under Slade 2 and feeling even worse afterwards: something I couldn't have believed possible given the overwhelming personal anguish of that time. I can't ever forgive them for that.

I don't even think we could compete in the conference at the moment so we would be looking at the York/Hereford scenario for the future. We had plenty of warning about what could happen to this club after 2006 but ignored it with the inevitable result. I can see it happening again.

Grimsby Town FC certainly reflect the years of austerity. A bit of patch up and mend but no serious investment. A lack of hope for those who really need it.

I lived in west London for many years, and when Town are away have been going down to watch Brentford, my old local club. I'm very fond of them but it isn't the same and I wouldn't pretend otherwise. They move to a new ground next year and I'll miss Griffin Park.

I'm not sure I'd miss Blundell Park. It's a testament to decades of failure. I bought a membership at Brentford for this season and an average game there with the discount is a pound more than pay on the day at Town. The football at Brentford this year is even better than that under Buckley 1, not something I say lightly.

Finally, when I look at Town's situation and some comments in the diary, I'm reminded of an elderly man on a Sheffield tram in 2005. I was on the way back from a Brentford win at Hillsborough. He was asked by an acquaintance if he'd been to see Wednesday and he said "No, they've broke me heart too many times. It were too painful." I've never forgotten that. I know how he feels.