The Postbag

Cod Almighty | Postbag

Moving on

6 January 2021

In this week's postbag Mariners' fans start thinking about looking ahead in 2021 rather than back at 2020.

An exciting future

So, the man who dumped us and ran back to Bristol has graciously given his first statement since running away. In it, he mentions, "therefore any relationship between me and the new regime would have been soured from the start." Well, Mr Hollow-way, no, the relationship would not have been "soured" from the start if you had been any good, as I'm certain the new Board (and don't use 'regime' please for the new Board) would have been, only too keen to stick with a manager that was truly improving Grimsby Town FC. The fact that you left us in the position that you did says it all. But Hollow-way is now a piece of unpleasant history. We now have a very good manager in Paul and we can look to the future with real excitement. Paul, we know what Hollow-way has left you and we - the fans - will be patient and not expect an instant improvement. We do, however, all possess a new confidence that you will eventually turn things around.

Finally, can I thank all at Cod Almighty for your outstanding journalism. I wish you, and all connected with the Mariners, a Happy and much better New Year.

from The Ancient Mariner of Norfolk

A new dawn

So here we are.... sat 91st out of 92 Football league clubs, although even that could get worse should Southend United win their games in hand. After a quite unpleasant - and at times embarrassing few weeks - there is seemingly a way forward, given that the tenure of John Fenty looks like it could be coming to its closure. I’ve been very vocal on that subject, not just this last few weeks - but for a period of over 15 years - and there’s lots I could say but it’s being said and covered by others far more articulately than myself and once I start....

The reasons the Fenty stranglehold, I mean tenure of the Town's football club, is ending are well known although I’m not sure we will ever get to the bottom of the May shenanigans and Holloway’s departure. The latter, in itself, is a story that could have been written in a book and you’d think it was so far fetched that it couldn’t possibly be true or have occurred.

Yet I’m left with a tinge of sadness. I’ve long been a fan (from afar) of Holloway’s antics - the jovial, bundle of fun, good for a line that’ll get a laugh, prepared to voice an opinion (or so I thought) and passionate man whose love of the game was there for all too see. But that was the Holloway from a decade ago and despite some really deep and fantastic interviews, particularly the one with Colin Murray just as he was joining, where the family man came through, it ended in a way I don’t think anyone foresaw - even those who had doubts from the get go.

Personally - I feel he struggled for various reasons. Yes, he had Covid to contend with, but after finishing the season before with some signs of promise that progress was soon curtailed. The club's approach - perhaps gamble - that the season wouldn’t finish looks like it backfired, and it could be argued he was handicapped by circumstances beyond his control but had he been away from the game too long? Was he aware of the way things are at lower league level? Had everything been done his way? Or was it the board's way?

I’m trying to defend him - for the reasons aforementioned - and even though the club has been left in an awful, dire position part of me still wishes him well. On a personal level, he suffered the loss of a friend, and I'd suggest he has suffered in some way in terms of mental health. He hasn’t looked or sounded right for weeks. He became tetchy, defensive and rude at times and it’s usually the ones who talk the loudest or are the most brash that use those traits to cover what’s really going on.

The big error I feel he made was the allegiance and staunch defence of the majority shareholder. From day one he showed a loyalty to Fenty where he could never be wrong. His working relationship with the local media was strained and he made reference to having ‘been told what you lot are like’ early on in his role. The insinuation was that this sentiment came from people within the game but I suspect that it came from someone a bit closer to home.

That’s where the lessons need to be learned. For nearly two decades the club has lost its standing and reputation. Not just arguments with local media but dealings with players and other clubs. Football is a small world and word gets around. I’ve no doubt that the club is where we are now due to its outgoing owner. There are tales of staff being disillusioned and the ground being run down. Not forgetting the poor playing surface - once heralded and envied by so many - which now looks like a school pitch at the end of an academic year. The training ground and facilities are shocking. Of course - in defence - attempts have been made to progress, only they amounted to white elephant pipe dreams and fraudsters.

The new consortium have (hopefully) taken on a mammoth task, as has Paul Hurst, but the thing is there’s a lot to be proud of and build on too. It may take time to rebuild reputation within the football world, it may take time to build confidence in it - but we don’t have the luxury of time at the moment. Let’s look at what we do have though. We have a football club with a 140-year history, with a heritage of past managers and players. A fan base, though not the largest in numbers, which is very loyal and proud and who are desperate to get their club back. With a new dawn comes new hope. It may take time, we may have setbacks on the way, but a club which works together with its supporters and community, is in a far better shape than a club which lost all its relationships with fans, community and media.

from Jason Ives

It's the hope that kills you

I last contacted you to defend the 'flat cap chap' 21st December, in the light of snippy media interviews, previous managers issues with Radio Humberside and my general dislike of the current media. The diary took my points, accepted a small few, rebutted some of my other observations. All part of a conversation and debate, people have views and we all like to air them.

Then days later, the 'flat cap chap' I defended resigned. I had been prepared to defend 'character' in place of 'presumed clownery'. I'm an honest chap, he said he was an honest chap, and as such, I trust what I see because face value is all I have to go on, rather than hearsay from others, tittle tattle. It happens in all walks of life, doesn't it. Work, within extended families, everywhere, you take as you find otherwise its 'prejudice'?

With Starmer like 'hindsight', and without Diary like 'foresight', I accept that you can't win them all, that hope and trust are noble concepts, but that human behaviour and 'character' are not definable things and cannot be trusted. I'd like to still think this isn't too cynical an observation. I'd previously contacted Diary to suggest I didn't hold a grudge against either Hurst or Jolley for leaving, giving them a benefit of doubt for their reasons. I'm less inclined in the 'flat cap' scenario to do the same.

Not sure what I'm really trying to say, other than I was trustful, hopeful and now disappointed.

What I am fearful of is this - I'm trustful and hopeful of new ownership.

from Ian Jackson

Keep your letters coming, we're enjoying having something to do.