The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Writing myself out of a sulk

23 February 2021

Middle-Aged Diary surfaced this morning to the most astonishing promise of a sunrise. Not just on the eastern horizon but above us, wherever we looked, the sky glowed. Hurrying to find my boots, I walked to the one area of high ground in this flat part of south-west Manchester, but already the colours were fading to no more than the memory of their earlier splendour. The sun was there, somewhere, but nowhere to be seen beyond the clouds.

I've woken today not with a sense that a cloud is lifted but feeling, in part, how long it will be before the sun is truly out again; and in part the work which we've had to shelve over the last year. The pandemic should have brought home how small a part of human activity is truly essential to our wellbeing. For instance, the world would be not one whit poorer if Elliot Raccio had not been prevailed upon, in some content factory, to provide a content-free preview of tonight's game between the Towns of Grimsby and Crawley. Such material - really nothing but padding for the adverts around it - must be so far from the ambitions that spur any writer, yet were the Crawley Observer to announce redundancies, would Raccio feel liberated to produce something worthwhile instead, or worry about how he'll house, clothe and feed himself and those who rely on him? Such are the reasons I guess why, when we have a better world in our grasp, we so often choose instead to feed our fears.

What has this to do with the Mariners? Not so much perhaps, except that for most of this century the way the club has been run has been a pint-sized model of the wider world, thoughts of change met with a cautionary "be careful what you wish for" as though to dare dream of someone better than John Fenty is simply to open the doors to an Owen Oyston or, indeed, an Alex May.

Change is coming, and now even the introverts among us who have quite enjoyed the excuse to shun human contact have no choice but to emerge blinking into the new day, and to reflect that we can build better only if we do it together. Soon, surely, the club will have new owners, and offer us a chance to reset the relationship between it and its fans. The Mariners Trust remains the best vehicle for managing that relationship, and elections for its board are happening now. I won't tell you who to vote for, but I do urge you to vote, and to vote for the people who offer the prospect of a Grimsby Town not as it is, nor even as it was, but as we know it could be and should be: an expression of our best selves.

Too many people care too much about the Mariners that our existence can truly be in doubt, but our status certainly is, and the things we want to achieve will be far easier if we start 2021-22 in the Football League. Starting tonight, we have an intense series of fixtures, with everything to play for. It isn't a time for fear, it is a time for heroes to emerge.