Reasons to be cheerful: the world according to Baz

Cod Almighty | Article

by Barry Whittleton

3 March 2021

It may seem that Town are staring at relegation, but there are still grounds for hope says Baz

Before John Fenty took over, in 112 years since joining the League, Grimsby Town had relinquished that status once. Following our defeat by Leyton Orient, we now look like repeating the feat for a second time in 16 years.

You should be under no illusion that this is down to Holloway the runaway, the current manager or the pandemic. The path to today began the day we restored our League status, just as the path to losing it had begun long before 2010. Six years to recover, another four years of poor decisions, bad management and a board of puppets and here we are. We neither consolidated nor kicked on, letting our team break up and our manager move on.

In our current position, you might think even the brilliant Ian Dury would be hard pressed to find reasons to be cheerful, but...

Part one: Fenty will be gone

If we are relegated, by the time it is confirmed, Fenty will have gone. As Lloyd Griffith's article showed, we should not underestimate how much of a drag in recruiting and retaining good players he has been. I doubt Paul Hurst would have been keen to join us had Fenty not been on the way out.

Part two: we have been in worse positions

Fenty's departure is inevitable, but a return to the Conference is not. We've been in worse positions twice since the end of the 1960s.

Two seasons ago, I'd given up when Michael Jolley was appointed. He managed to save us in 10 games. We have 16 games left.

In 1970-71 a side that had sought re-election two seasons before were locked in the bottom four again, and lost the first four matches of March, shipping 14 goals and scoring only 3. Then they won seven and drew three of the last eleven games to steer comfortably clear of danger. Given that our geographic outpost status matched that of Barrow, who were flung out unceremoniously a year later, it is doubtful we'd have survived another re-election vote.

Part three: the decisions taken will be better...

It is a low bar but the incoming owners will surely make better decisions than the current board. So far they have shown themselves to be competent, engaging and clear sighted. They clearly have a plan and have considered the prospect of starting in non-League football.

... with our help

With owners keen to engage, the role of the fans' representatives becomes even more important and Thursday sees the AGM of the Mariners Trust. It will be streamed so that members can take part, unlike the club's own AGM. I have asked at least three times if the trust representatives spoke out against that closed shop of a meeting but have had no answer. As the trust were instrumental in urging fans to buy shares over the summer, I'd like to think everything had been done to enable us, as new shareholders, to engage with the club.

For reasons like that, I hope members will participate in the trust AGM. Part of the agenda for the meeting is the election to the executive of six members. Cod Almighty has no "slate" but I am happy to give my personal view and encourage everyone to vote for Kelly Billings and Wayne Brightmore. I don't level the accusation at all the current post holders by any means - some of them I'm also voting for - but I do believe that the trust has got too close to the club board in recent years. An influx of new ideas and enthusiasm can mirror that of the new owners and play a vital role in building the club back to the status it enjoyed prior to the Fenty era.

There is a final reason to add a spring to your step. After averting re-election so splendidly in 1971, the team went on to enjoy the iconic Champions season of 1971-72. In the 14 times we have achieved promotion, eight times it has come in the first three seasons of a decade. Let's hope 2021-22 makes it nine in fifteen. Wherever we end up next season let's be optimistic.