The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary


23 June 2020

The return of football has left Casual Diary underwhelmed. Having watched two games - one featuring the Champions elect - the lack of any real quality I found surprising. Having long since ceased watching the interminable analysis on Match of the Day, I was not familiar with the "World's Greatest League"™. Bournemouth in particular looked a side the pre-lockdown, resurgent Town would have given more than decent game.

In the fourth division, the play-off final, to be played at an empty Wembley, will feature Exeter versus Northampton. That the latter reached the final with a 3-0 away win after losing the home leg 2-0 is laudable. That it came at the expense of Cheltenham is more pleasing.

Football can sometimes throw up some temporary odd rivalries and dislikes. My distaste for Cheltenham grows each season. It's a mixture of things. Their god- awful fans are a factor as was Harry Pell. Maybe it's something about the area but they and Forest Green Rovers both have sets of fans who seem to believe their club is bigger than Town despite spending most of their time outside the Football League. Both clubs' stewards also seem to up their antagonism levels whenever we visit their soulless outposts. Add in the fact that Cheltenham has no decent pubs and is miles from the station and it has nothing to recommend it. That they join Stevenage in their misery is the source of a sly grin, if not delight.

Town's new chairman has told us that the new ground is at the very bottom of the club's priorities. While this will not be surprising given the current situation I am a little lost as to why background work cannot continue. With the economy at rock bottom the likelihood of some investment funding from the state being available is enhanced. With the ground offering much needed opportunities for the building trade and potentially providing 100s of equally vital jobs the club will be in a good position to secure some of the cash sloshing around. There seems no pause in the areas of the Town regeneration plan being overseen by our would-be owners. It would be ironic if they were to hoover up all available investment while Town dithered.

Phil Day also stated Town continue to look for outside investors. The fans meanwhile show fantastic commitment to the cause with their support of the fundraisers. A quick check at the time of writing the total amounts raised to be £65,000. Most encouragingly £51,000 is in the form of share issues. As I wrote last week, if we can organise into a functioning group even half of those shareholders our voice at future AGM meetings will at the very least be heard.

The Prime Minister is set to announce that pubs, theatres and museums are to be opened on 4 July. It seems unthinkable that our return to live action with fans will be later than September. The biggest barrier was the two-metre rule, but with that likely to be halved, the task of accommodating a return to Blundell Park should not be beyond the wit of the authorities. We live in hope.