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Diary - November 2004
Tuesday 30 November
Tuesday's diary is brought to you from the city of Nottingham, in a hail of inner-city bullets and puffa jackets with hoods made of lace. Now, that'd make gang-on-gang violence a lot more palatable, wouldn't it?
It's pretty slow on the news front today, other than the fat boys in the reserves getting too full up on Rowntrees chocolate and losing 2-0 to York City stiffs. Graham Rodger puts this down to Town's players not breathing or walking or stuff, saying: "In the second half we stopped doing the basic things." Now call me old-fashioned, but I'd have thought that's the first thing you'd be teaching your players. I mean, I'd have even forgiven Rodge if he'd have mentioned putting one foot in front of the other at half time. Seems he couldn't be arsed and was too busy munching his way through the second half of December on his free Fimbles advent calendar. Oh, and Simon Ramsden played for 70 minutes on his comeback from injury.
As alive to commercial opportunities as ever, Town's official website has also caught on to the fact that the shops are full of delirious twats buying shit off people who don't want to sell them it, for people who don't need it at all. In other words, everyone's gone Christmas shopping crazy. And now you can too! Or at least you can send your Aunty Sandra a GTFC Christmas card. She'll be well chuffed, and you won't have to scoot round Wilko's in a furtive manner clutching a sensuous lady's grooming kit.
Back to more serious matters, and the Grimsby Telegraph is reporting that the people of Grimsby have had a moment of clarity, and have come out in favour of the free as a bird Terrell Forbes. Proof, if it be needed, that those scaremongering headlines are really never needed, are they, chaps? Even if it takes the Rector of Grimsby to tell you.
Town's nippers get to play in big, beautiful Pride Park tonight in the third round of the FA Youth Cup, when they take on Derby. At only £3 to get in, your correspondent is sorely tempted to cross the county border and make a break for it. Plus, Pride Park is handily situated next to a Pizza Hut. Mind you, the good burghers at the Derby Telegraph (what is it with these newspapers called 'Telegraph'?) seem to think that they're entitled to beat us tonight, having been booted out of the competition last year: "Academy set-ups like Derby's, given the time and facilities available to them, should not lose to clubs so far down the pyramid." Imagine their sheer shock and horror if they lose tonight. They'll have to go and shag a sheep, or something. I didn't say that. OK?
Right. I'm off Freddie Shepherd hunting. I trust you'll join me...?
Monday 29 November
Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday and you're not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you: "Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays"? Mondays themselves are rubbish for those of us blue-collar types who are contracted to work Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 - and then whatever other hours our employers deem necessary for us to endure, probably so we pay for our days off.
Today, however, is a little different, for over the weekend Town have only gone and nabbed a mighty and impressive point at Southend, surprising everyone connected with Grimsby Town Football Club. And, according to Andy Parkinson (three goals in 22 appearances this season), were it not for a "world class save", it would have been two goals conceded for the home side. Yes. Those bastard goalies, eh. Goal hero Sir John exposes why Town might not have been knocking the goals in on their travels this season. "I nearly killed Parky because he was screaming for a square ball and it was putting me off." Cod Almighty is already DHLing a gag over to Blundell Park for the gobby Scouse scamp. And when I say 'gag', I don't mean a joke. Anyway, have a read of Andy Holt's rather sublime match report and revel in Russ's wise words for more info.
"Forbes is a free man," said the little teaser for Friday's Diary. Not any more he isn't, as TJ (as he is more affectionately known) has decided to sign on with the Mariners until the end of the season with only the 'i's to dot and the 't's to cross, according to Town's chief gardener Rusty Spade. Those who have seen Forbes's performances this season (gormless gaffe at Chester aside) will be breathing a little easier at night now (which seems to be many, going by the Riby Square Tatler). Those who haven't... they're probably going scarlet in their homes in Australia as Town's name is dragged further though the mud.
Talking of whom - if you're interested - the Electronic Fishcake (which isn't an oxymoron; possibly just an euphemism) sticks to its cutting editorial policy of rewriting wordy prose so the fans can understand it by totally, totally fucking up what the club's intentions for the forthcoming EGM are. Ah, those Australians they're quite useful at humiliating us Brits with an egg-shaped ball, but words? Bloody rubbish.
Searching for a little warmth and cheer? Raise a small glass of brandy and a mince pie in the direction of the club's official site, the Winnie the Pooh of Town websites all the right letters, just in the wrong places. One imagines that if it weren't for the internet, club officials would be forced to stand outside the Imp crying: "Penny for the sign!" so Russ can have a carrier of copper coinage to bring in another player. Which, according to Andy Holt, sounds like just the case: "Some West Ham youngster is going to play for us against York reserves today so Slade can run the rule over him, as they say. He's called Greg Pearson, in case you're bothered." Which sounds to me like Russ has learnt from getting his fingers burned and trying the 'promising forward from supposed top team' option, which seems to have worked for Scunthorpe for the past two years.
You can't keep a good man down and unless he's had more than two cans of bitter - that includes our very Diary, a man who very much lives in the past, not the future. Fresh from partying over the weekend (week off working, my arse), the old boy seems to have rediscovered some of his vigour with this email: "Paul Raven! First-team coach at Barrow! Might re-register as a player!" What the Diary has neglected to mention is James T Kirk Wheeler extending his loan period at the same club as well. Lets hope Wheels picks up some of his mentor's, er, more distinctive and effective skills.
Um, that looks like it. By the way, no-one's ever asked if I'm suffering from Mondaysitis. But if they did I'd hit them very hard in the face - let alone kick their arse - for saying something like that, man.
Leeds office, over and out.
Friday 26 November
No sooner I had uploaded yesterday's Diary and headed for the kitchen to congratulate myself with a minestrone Cup-a-Soup than the muffled AM tones of Radio Five Live were informing the world that former Mariners trialist Kevin George was not the only relieved man emerging from Kingston Crown Court. No indeed, for all five of George's co-accused were soon likewise cleared of all charges of rape, including GTFC's very own (though for how much longer is anyone's guess) Terrell Forbes. Speculation is running high that the players will now call for the sacking of web administrators who drag the name of Grimsby through the mud.
After concluding that evidence given by the alleged victim in the case was "seriously inconsistent", the judge, Michael Hucker, directed the jury to return not guilty verdicts, reports the BBC, among others, and Mr Russell Slade is now bidding to secure the player's services on a longer-term basis. "We stuck by him hopefully he will stick by us now," the Town boss told the club's official website, shortly before being taken to Grimsby magistrates' court to answer charges of emotional blackmail.
The intricately constructed second paragraph of yesterday's Diary proved similarly to be all in vain, after it emerged yesterday afternoon that Noddy's top transfer target Richie Barker resisted the lure of the best fish and chips in the world but couldn't resist the lure of Carlton Palmer. But while Mansfield's coaching staff are already sharpening up Barker's skills at smashing his arms into defenders' necks, Mr Russ is chasing three more frontmen, one of whom may turn up next week within four minutes of Darren Mansaram recovering match fitness.
But nobody goes away empty-handed, except Anthony Williams after a Shrewsbury free kick, and Slado is able to add two names to his squad for tonight's spine-chilling trip darner fackin Sarfend: Michael Reddyo and Terry Flemingo, who were both suspended for last Saturday's win over Kidderminster. Should you wish for a perspective from Essex, and it's no business of mine what you get up to in the privacy of your own home, the Diary is happy to direct you to an unusually decent preview on a Shrimpers' fan network site. I had no idea Town were anyone's bogey team, and it's a bloody nice feeling, actually.
It's Friday, and that means it's not only time for the population of England to alleviate its frustration at another five days of wage slavery by pouring millions of gallons of lager down its throats; it's also the time of week when a randomly chosen member of the GTFC squad tells a Grimsby Telegraph reporter how the team needs to start getting its act together, living up to its potential, and just generally stop being so rubbish. This week the Telegraph's big computer has come up with the name of Thomas Pinault, who reckons: "Last week we proved to the fans, ourselves and the boss that we can do it now we need to keep it going." Never has the phrase 'deja-vu' seemed so apposite.
"Hi Diary," writes Sibbo, in an email to the Diary, which is a good start. Hi, Sibbo! "Pleased someone's found the whereabouts of good old Simon Ramsden," continues our man. "I was beginning to think he'd been locked in a room with Greg Downey [sic]. Yes he will make a difference at the back. Heard Terrell Forbes is a free man as well, perhaps you can confirm that tomorow. Have a good hol, and if you're going to some exotic location, don`t forget the Cod Almighty T-shirt." Ha! The reason I'm on holiday from the Diary, Sibs, is that I have to do some bloody proper work for once in my useless life. Thanks for your good wishes all the same, though, mate; no bugger else bothered. And still, if my Ivano top turns up in time, I might slip it on under my McDonalds uniform.
Well, that's all from me until until a week on Monday: that'll be the sixth of December, already! Next week this column will be brought to you by Special Guest Diary, Miles Moss, and whoever else they can drag in off the street and strap to a chair; so until then, farewell, keep the faith, and keep it in perspective. The final word for now goes to our old friend Mark Wilson, who has taken the almighty trouble to compose an email just to say: "Isn't an oxymoron an idiot with spots?" Yes, Mark, and a paradox is where skydivers buy cod.
Thursday 25 November
When the Diary was a little 'un, and was forced to undertake perilous ten-week Arctic voyages on the trawlers as a mascot for the superstitious fishermen in order to cobble together a few pennies to buy the latest New Order album, the other kids used to watch Sylvester Stallone films on Betamax and come to school drawling: "Don't push me!" and miming the action of firing rocket launchers at the Vietcong. Little did any of us know that a few short decades later we would be anxiously scouring an amazing high-technology information source called the internet in search of news relating to another Rambo altogether: Simon Ramsden, most recently employed as a centre-half for Grimsby Town Football Club, now missing in action in the fourth division jungle. The former Sunderland man clearly the best central defender on Town's books by a country mile hasn't cleverly brought the ball out from the back since leaving the field against Rochdale in early September, but is now recovering nicely from his neck injury and could be playing again within a month. Please God.
As the Mariners inch gingerly towards tomorrow evening's seismic clash with Southend United, all may not yet be lost in Mr Russell Slade's epic struggle to sign Richie Barker. The Rotherham striker, who has made, like, one appearance all season or something crazy like that, turned down proposed loan moves to Town and Brentford ahead of last weekend's round of games, but BBC Humber saw this thing on ITV the other week and they still reckon we could be in, even raising the quite dizzying prospect of an initial loan deal being made permanent next week. Just to keep us on our toes, the possibility is mentioned that GTFC's violent fourth division rivals Mansfield may also be working up a vigorous appetite for a taste of Barker's goalscoring feet. Crumbs, DM.
The trial of six footballers on charges of rape, including probably the second best central defender on Town's books, Terrell Forbes, has resumed at Kingston Crown Court, rather than the Old Bailey, and now it's only five. The BBC reports that charges have been cleared against one of Forbes co-accused, Kevin George who, incidentally, failed another kind of trial at Blundell Park in early 2003. "I'm determined to get back into the game professionally. I will try somewhere," announced the player, as his agent opened the contacts list on his mobile and frantically keyed s-l-a-d-e.
Well, is "Lincs FM fame" an oxymoron? "That depends if you work for Chandler's Oil and Gas," writes Al Wilkinson in an email to the Diary. And as I gently incline my head, the better to hear the unmistakable sound of a reference flying over it, I will bid you farewell until tomorrow. Tomorrow? Yes, readers: next week I am on holiday from being the Diary, but I'm feeling a bit clingy, so instead of your regular Special Guest Diary this Friday, I shall be sticking around for you to give me lots of electronic hugs before waving tearfully as my virtual taxi departs. 'Til then, adieu.
Wednesday 24 November
Grimbarians who may have taken a particular dislike to Kidderminster left-back Jon Beswetherick, and wished to see Town get him sacked in two consecutive seasons after Marcel Cas gave him the runaround at Hillsborough last September, will be disappointed by the news that it is in fact Youssou Diop who is to be shown the door at Aggborough following Harriers' 2-1 defeat in Cleethorpes last Saturday. Immediately following his hilarious spat with Kiddy physio Jimmy Conway, the fast but not terribly skilful forward was subbed off, and in the cold light of four days later Diop the Strop is being ushered out of Worcestershire quicker than you can say "saucy git". For providing a brief but glorious moment of comic relief in the bleakest of epochs, Youssou, the Diary offers a hearty salute, and expects to see you reporting for trial at Blundell Park early next week.
Secondly today, the Diary's thoughts turn, as they so often do, to Tony Crane's articular cartilage (a phrase that works particularly well, incidentally, when chanted to the melody of "You're going home in the back of an ambulance"). After yesterday's incisive example of investigative journalism whereby the Diary sensationally exposed a DEAD LINK on Town's official website which stopped Crane fans listening to the player's interview about his return from injury, the OS has now added the words "Link now fixed" to the appropriate section of its front page. Too late! I've read about it on the BBC now! The expansively buttocked Mariners defender hopes to return to action by the end of January, and judging by the tone of his comments "This league will suit me... dealing with the physical aspects of the game" he will be aiming to make up for lost time in his quest to accumulate more red and yellow cards than any other footballer in the history of time.
With the other week's humiliation at Glanford Park painfully fresh in the memory, and the four home fixtures in the 17 December8 January period threatening to leave me all Towned out, the Diary has decided to give the Lincoln game just after Chrimbo a miss. And it looks like I'm not the only one, as only 200 tickets have so far been shifted for the only bank holiday local derby all season. Hey, well, you can have too much of a good thing, you know.
"Why is the GTFC OS selling a signed photo of legendary dogsbody Nobby?" writes Dave the Engineer in an email to the Diary. "By the look of the picture he hasn't aged well must be all that forking of the pitch, or carrying the keys to the royal establishment that is BP." Dunno, Dave, but thanks for not crowbarring in a Slade reference this time. A Diary reader calling himself Sibbo, meanwhile, but who was christened David Burton, has emailed to agree that yes, Young Greg is better than Rob Jones. "If this is Dave the Engineer of Lincs FM fame," adds Sib, "I know he's looking for a Hillman Imp (you know those 1960s cars with no boot room cos it was full of engine). Where would he put Noddy's hat?" Gah!
Isn't "Lincs FM fame" an oxymoron?
Tuesday 23 November
"Windows Media Player Error. The system cannot find the file specified." Town fans hoping to see Tony Crane back in action soon will have to keep their fingers crossed that the big-ass central defender's recovery from long-term injury is proving more straightforward than listening to the interview with the club's official website in which he describes it. Crane limped out of the Mariners' pre-season friendly at Scunthorpe, I think it was, with something called an articular cartilage problem, which it was feared/hoped (delete as applicable) could sideline him for an entire season, but the huge-rumped former Sheffield Wednesday man could be back in training right now for all I know, given that I can't listen to this sodding interview. Hang on, then, let's try doing it another way... right click, save as, open file... "Windows Media Player Error. No error description could be found for this error." No, that's no use now it seems to be talking about Terrell Forbes' performance at Chester last month.
Greg Young is better than Crane and Rob Jones anyway, isn't he?
A rather sad recent story that has gone almost unnoticed is that the coaches to away games run by Town's ancient official supporters' club may not be long for this world. The venerable Bernard Morley, organiser of said transport, has told the Grimsby Telegraph that only 28 fans took the coach to the recent FA Cup match at Exeter and fewer still are expected to travel thusly to this Friday's fixture at Southend. "We don't want to take the option away but it may be a case of 'use it or lose it'," explains Berniebaby, clearly drawing little solace from the knowledge that even the underwater silicon-based ink-breathing lifeforms of the Tau Ceti system knew the Mariners would lose at Exeter and that away games and Friday nights go together like Matchbox Maya and Dev Alahan's chain of flammable convenience stores.
Occasional Cod Almighty letters editor Mark Stilton followed the link from yesterday's Diary to read about the demise of the video recorder, where he read that "The early 1980s saw a battle between VHS and its main competitor Betamax, from Sony. VHS eventually won, largely because it was the format favoured by rental shops which many households used due to their cost." He's not having it though. "Pah," exclaims Mark in an email to the Diary. "The truth is: VHS won over Betamax because it was the format adopted by the porn industry. It's the same reason that DVD has taken off so quickly the porn industry adopted it at an early stage because of its 'multi-angle' capabilities. Porn is also the reason internet/broadband has done so well. Hooray for porn. Hope this makes it through your spam filter." I'd be more worried about your eyesight, Mark; then again, given the way Town have been playing lately, maybe you're better off blind.
Monday 22 November
What am I supposed to play my 199798 season highlights video on now, eh?
Striker search continues is today's top story on Town's official website, and while people are still seeking a cure for the common cold, proof of the existence of God, and intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe, why would GTFC abandon a quest that's been in progress for a mere decade? The club's need to replace Clive Mendonca remains in evidence despite Saturday's painfully narrow 2-1 win over Kidderminster, and after failing last Friday to render Rotherham's Richie Barker unconscious with chloroform and bundle him into the boot of his Beamer, Mr Russell Slade today announces: "You don't want to bring someone in for the sake of it. They have to be someone you think can make a difference and help us out." The Diary cannot help but wish Noddy had thought of this before loaning Chris Williams, Jon Daly and thingy Robinson forgotten his name already.
A quick glance at BBC Humber, then, and your licence fee is this week paying for a shoddily punctuated story which begins with the observation that "Grimsby Town start this week in a better state than last week". Sadly, some might say, this does not preface a revelation that the Mariners have jumped on the football franchising bandwagon and relocated to Sweden.
It's a rare occurrence, but it does happen from time to time: no, not the Diary being wrong although, before I heard it, I did briefly think the first Polyphonic Spree album might be worth listening to we're talking about Michael Boulding scoring for a club other than GTFC. Keen scrutineers of football's third division will have spotted that the former volleyball star found the net for Barnsley at the weekend for only the third time since joining the self-aggrandising Oakwell club in February. The player's other two Tykes strikes came in his side's 4-3 home defeat by Luton back in August, and Boulding goals continue not only to resemble the excrement of wooden equine toys but also to portend ill fortune for Barnsley, as his efforts were again wasted on Saturday, when Oldham overcame the South Yorkists by three goals to two. Quick Mick's club lies in 20th place, keeping out of the relegation spots only on goal difference. No, I'm not choking on something it's laughter.
"I knew we would start winning if we play Slade songs before we run out," writes Dave the Engineer in an email to the Diary. "It's all to do with Noddy appearing on the road to nowhere Friday night." No, readers; I've no idea either.
Friday 19 November
You lookin' at me?
Good. This is Special Guest Diary reporting for duty, and today's big news is that an unnamed Russell Slade has failed in his unnamed attempt to sign an unnamed striker from an unnamed club. Apparently this striker was really good and would have scored fifty billion goals and built us a new stadium, but that's not going to happen now. We do need a striker though and according to the GrimTel, fans have been heard saying: "Oi, Slades you mupet, why haven't you signed Daryl Clare or summat he would score a big bagful of goals for us every game. You should be sacked or something." Russell reckons we can't afford him anyway - wages is one thing, but to keep that lad topped up with Mars Bars would ruin the club.
So, given the lack of strikers it looks like Slade may have to switch to a 4-4-2. This isn't such a bad thing now, thinks our Russ - in fact, he's gushing at the mere thought of it. Apparently he loves a good old bit of 4-4-2 and reckons all good teams like Arsenal, Chelsea and Scunthorpe play that formation. I lied about that last one, if I'm being honest.
The rest of the team isn't looking too strong either. Whittle has a taken a little knock, we're told; Fleming is suspended; and Coldicott has been filed under 'doubtful'. This means that Shaun Cunnington has been drafted in to the midfield for this weekend's games. Oh, there I go with those fibs again. Hockless is definitely back from Leigh RMI though - although I'm sure one of those expensive texts from the club will correct me if I've got that wrong. So, in attack we're buggered, midfield is empty... defence? No new injury worries there, but I doubt we'll see Terrell Forbes there given that he's busy in court with you-know-whatsit. Our man on the spot Mat Hare sent in a rather graphic report of the case so far - one which I couldn't possibly report here for fear of legal proddings - but the bit I can print is that Forbes "looked calm" early doors, but became "a bit more agitated as the day wore on." "He was dressed in a smart suit and tie," says Mat. Thanks for the fashion report Mat - what shoes did he wear?
Mr Pat Bell emails our regular Diary with his thoughts on Jonny Rowan - and because of the wonderous advances in modern technological wotsits, Mr Normal Diary is able to 'forward' this message on to me with a singular extension of his magic digits. Pat says: "You remember how it used to be quite a cachet for someone if they could claim to have had a trial with Orient or played a couple of reserve games for Crystal Palace (As I recall, that was the claim made for one of the characters in Abigail's Party)?" Yes, Pat, go on. "Do you have a nasty feeling that making several appearances for Grimsby is of about the same status? We can't aspire to know real professional footballers, but at least we can know people who used to play for Town." There's a horrible ring of truth to that, Pat.
And that's it for... oh hang on...what's THIS? Rob Jones says we have to "get back to basics". Oh for the love of the baby Jesus Christ Almighty. Can you get more basic than repeatedly lumping the ball upfield, Rob? Shite. What's on at the cinema at 3pm on Saturday? Oh well. Tune in next week when Russ tells us how he loves the long ball game rather than all this namby-pamby passing it about bollocks. I'm off to the bloody pub.
Thursday 18 November
And... action! As a lifelong devotee of the silver screen, the Diary has always fancied being a director. Glug, glug! Society not yet being entirely meritocratic, I have instead been forced to devote my years to consuming endless pints of Courage Director's ale. Neither of these fascinating facts qualifies me join the board of Grimsby Town Football Club, sadly, as the requirements of a new director of the Mariners are (i) a reasonably sized wodge of cash; and (ii) the ability to read and understand complicated announcements about EGMs and Articles of Association. And a good thing too; otherwise board meetings would just be dominated by people like me interrupting to say: "Urrr? Eh? Wossat mean?" Anyway, it looks like Town need a new director, because there are only four right now, and the rules say you need five, so they're changing the rules to say they only need three, but they'd still really really like a new director regardless, so much so that you can be one even if you haven't got £337,000. I suspect there may be other websites out there which will be able to pronounce on the matter with considerably more authority than the Diary, so keep me posted if they do.
The flower of Grimsby's youth will be looking to blossom all over an east Midlands industrial estate after the club's under-18s this morning landed an away tie against Derby County in the third round of the FA Youth Cup. Instead of having a set time when these games have to be played, the FA seems to leave it pretty much up to the clubs and just sets a deadline, giving the kids a taste of academic discipline for when they have to find alternative careers, and the visit to Pride Park must take place by 18 December, apparently. "It's a great draw for the lads," enthused the Mariners' youth team manager Tony Hart.
Diary readers with attention spans longer than Jason Crowe's or, indeed, than the Diary's will have deduced from the above that the youths stopped worrying about girls and acne long enough to prevail in their second-round game against Bury last night, inspired, no doubt, by the smart dress of the spectators watching from McMenemy's Bar and Restaurant. You may not yet be aware, however, that the winning margin was three to two, Town's goals coming from Peter Bore and the excellent man-boy of the match Danny North (2). Today may be grey but tomorrow is sunshine yellow, or something.
Think Kettering Town, and you think Alan Buckley. Unless you're a bit thick and you think he joined Town from Nuneaton Borough or somewhere else instead. Well, from now on you might be thinking Kettering Town and thinking Jonathan Rowan, as the Tetney-born former GTFC frontlad is on a week-to-week down in cobbling country and appeared on Tuesday in his new club's 1-0 defeat to Raunds Town in the Northants Senior Cup. What do you mean it's a bit of a step down from Anfield? "Jonny was at Grimsby and had a couple of substitute appearances for the first team," Poppies manager Kevin 'Bloody' Wilson tells the Non-League Daily of the player, who came off the bench for the Mariners 25 times, in addition to making 34 starts.
"Andy might not be free around your birthday but I definitely am," writes Mat Hare in an email to the Diary, hoping for a free fish supper at Steel's. "When is it again?" Well, if you need to ask, Mat... hmmmph... let's see what Mark Wilson has to say. "I'm really looking forward to the night out you have generously offered to all readers. As I live so far away I wondered if you would be prepared to pay for my train fare as well. I'll stay at my mum's in Grimsby rather have an hotel room though. I wouldn't want to take the piss." Very funny, Mark. Very funny. Although if you lot keep buying these fantastic new Ivano Bonetti T-shirts then we might raise enough cash yet.
That's all from me for another week in Diaryland, then: tomorrow I will leave you in the strong yet soft hands of Special Guest Diary, and the day after I'll see you for the Kidderminster requiem. So long, dudes.
Wednesday 17 November
Jug-eared scamperer Andy Parkinson "limped out of training" yesterday, reports Town's official website, and is "a major doubt" for the weekend's spectacular footballing extravaganza against Kidderminster. Pigging heck! With Clint Marcelle released back into the wild, Michael Reddy banned following his stupid red card at Exeter last Saturday, Stockport loanee Jon Daly suspended and seemingly in limbo somewhere between Cleethorpes and Cheshire, Darren 'Darren' Mansaram suffering from back stuff, Michael Boulding having been sold to Barnsley and Matt Tees short of match practice, it looks like the Mariners' fantastic recent scoring record could come to an end against the Harriers. Mr Russell Slade is frantically scouring the land for more inadequate replacements as we type.
It's better news at the other end of the pitch, though, if only in the sense that Tony Crane wasn't as bad as Rob Jones. Tony who? The limited but big-hearted centre-half who missed most of last season through suspension and most of this through injury, that's who! Crane acquired some kind of horrible life-threatening niggle in Town's pre-season friendly against Scunthorpe in August, and was expected to miss at least six months of football if not the whole of the current campaign, but is "back on the road to recovery and hopefully ready to put his injury nightmare behind him". Can somebody with Mariners World watch the interview and find out a bit more for us please? Ta.
The GTFC official website's campaign of psychological warfare against the Diary continues. After barring me from McMenemy's on account of being just too damn hip and stylish, the OS is today trying to taunt me by promising tonight's visitors to the club's square and stuffy new restaurant three of the five things it knows I love best in the world. The doors to Town's eaterie are open for tonight's FA Youth Cup game against Bury, which the OS announces by gloating mercilessly at me: Fancy Some Great Football, Curry & A Pint?, as if the Diary will sell out and wear a suit without also being promised great pop music and... um... actually, the fifth thing is just too rude.
Rather than copy and paste today's story about Terrell Forbes' rape trial, which is now is in its third day, and pass it off as my own work, I will give you this link so that you can read it for yourself.
Ahahahand finally, Andy Holt has emailed in response to yesterday's Diary, to say: "You're taking us all to Steel's? Woohoo! Or was it artistic licence?" Well, are you free around my birthday, Andy? No, thought not.
Tuesday 16 November
That Hitler bloke, right well, all you ever hear about him is the negative side, isn't it? You know all that stuff about how he turned the persecution of ethnic, religious and other minorities into an evil ideology that persists to this day and ordered the imprisonment, torture and slaughter of millions of people all over Europe. Nobody ever seems to mention what a smartly turned out individual he was. That hair, that uniform immaculate.
The reason I mention this is that, while Adolf would presumably be welcomed at McMenemy's with open arms, the Diary has been sensationally barred from Town's new "quality restaurant and bar facility" on the grounds that "No jeans or trainers are allowed". So says an item on Town's official website about the club's youth side playing in the next round of the FA Youth Cup against Bury this Wednesday, for which the Upper Stones will be open instead of the Main Stand. Quickly alert to the possibility of bagging a few quid, the club has realised that the players' mums and dads will be turning out in force, tarted up to the nines, and more than likely in the mood for larging it in McMenememenemy's. Suppose it'll all help to pay for another year of Graham Hockless doing nothing, but if the Diary's money isn't good enough then it looks like I'll have to take the entire Cod Almighty team to Steel's for my birthday now and spend hundreds of pounds there instead.
With a thousand and one "loyal" and "disgusted" Town "fans" using the Grimsby Telegraph to express their frustrations at the team's current unedifying plight, the Diary can barely stand to glance at the local rag today. It is amusing to note there, nonetheless, that the reason the Mariners' second gate-naming auction thing in as many seasons has been extended is that the leading bid was discovered to have been made by a waggish Scunthorpe United fan who proposed to rename Blundell Park's side-of-the-Findus exit "The Scunthorpe 2 Grimsby 0 Gate". It is also mildly diverting to observe that BBC Humber has renicknamed our neighbours "the Irons", and yet more entertaining to reflect upon the fact that the ferrous ones have still beaten GTFC only 12 times down the years, as against 22 victories for Lincolnshire's senior League club. Well, if the straws are there then you can't stop me clutching.
Not content with hauling the idle sods out of bed on a Sunday to make them run up and down Cleethorpes beach avoiding dog droppings, Russell Slade has been further attempting to sort it by giving his players double training, today's Telegraph also reports. "The training has been hard going the last couple of days with afternoon sessions following on from the morning," elaborates our leader, "but that's what it will be like until they get their act together." With Darren Mansaram's back still giving him gyp, Sort It is also looking at bringing in a fourth loan striker of the season for this Saturday's six-pointer against Kidderminster. The Diary's money is on the tricky young centre-forward Lucy Ashford of Allerton Primary School year sevens.
"Oh Astley in the noose/He hasn't got a use". That was The Wonder Stuff's succinct appraisal of their chart contemporary Mr Rick Astley, but Diary reader Dave the Engineer may be about to prove them wrong. "Now is the time for all Mariner fans to go out and buy Rick's album," he writes, in an email. "Infuriated, humiliated and ashamed we might be, but just like Rick, we're 'never gonna give you up'. Bring on the Hillman Imp and get in touch with UB40, Slade is showing were all crazee now." Yes, Dave, but at the moment the good times seem far far away, and the team need to cum on feel the noize of the Pontoo... oh, I can't be bothered.
Monday 15 November
"We're not winners if we don't win headers, if we're not putting tackles, if we're not putting on a run, if we're not chasing lost causes, if we're not doubling up. If we're not doing that I'll be going crazy. I'll be going crazy. You won't ever see me sitting down." These were the words of Mr Russell Slade, when speaking to Cod Almighty's Simon Wilson back in August, and after watching his side defeated on Saturday by non-League opposition for the second time this season the Town boss has lived up to his promise, flipped his lid, and pulled in the players for extra training on a Sunday. "I didn't think we turned up first half," barked Crazy Russ after the match (although if truth be told he could have been talking about any game in the last two months). "I thought that it was a poor performance overall," added the manager madly, concluding: "That's why we're in tomorrow," in not at all measured tones.
Given that the Mariners' FA Cup exit at Exeter was notably not referred to by the BBC or anyone as a "shock" or an "upset", the casual reader might be forgiven for thinking that the mainstream media, having had the Grecians down as favourites from the off, had just this once done their homework on GTFC. The casual reader is reckoning without the Daily Telegraph, however, which has reported that "Grimsby's limp performance infuriated their manager Dean Gordon, the former Middlesbrough defender", and thus proved that it is a newspaper every bit as committed to quality sports journalism as it is to social justice and progressive thinking.
With the execrable Boston boss Steve Evans emerging victorious from his latest confrontation with Hornchurch's Garry Hill the manager whose Dagenham & Redbridge side were denied promotion to the Football League in 2002 by Evans' dodgy financial dealings at York Street not to mention wins for other local rivals (so I won't), the weekend just gone will have left Town supporters colder than a southerner visiting Blundell Park in January. Before you turn in despair to the use of very hard drugs, though, allow the Diary to warm your cockles with the news that Grimsby's public enemy number one, Mr David Challinor, faces a long lay-off after being stretchered from the field of play in agony during Bury's weekend cup tie! The Pringle-crippler is suspected to have suffered medial ligament chaffing, explains Shakers boss Graham Barrow, who adds: "I'm hoping it's only weeks instead of months." If there's such a thing as karma, Graham, then you're going to be sorely disappointed.
Finally today, the Diary would like to applaud Warren Fothergill of Bramhall Street, Cleethorpes, whose letter to the Grimsby Telegraph shows that, while seasons come and go, managers and players arrive and move along as the decades relentlessly march on, Town fans can still add a letter S to the name of Bobby Cumming. Sort it, Slades!
Friday 12 November
Your SGD returns this week to an earlier diary than normal - I'm outta here by 12.30 you see. I don't agree with the whole working on Friday afternoon ethos. Or the working on afternoons in general ethos. Or mornings. Well, the whole work thing really: concept, implementation, execution. Waffling? Turn left at the traffic lights, and it's the next road on your right.
"So Colin Cramb is scared of flying like some big scaredy blouse of a pre-pubescent girl, is he?" That's what you might say to Mr Cramb's face, should you want your own face punching - very hard. I'd never make such a remark. Still, it seems Mr C will be travelling by car to Exeter, glass of milk to hand I'm sure. He ain't getting on no plane, fool.
And whilst on the subject of strikers, news reaches us that Hull have just signed their one millionth striker this season - well done to them. As a result, those of us who are struggling to sign goal-baggers are having to make do with players they've decided they don't want anymore. Snooty rich bastards. We remember when they came begging for loose change, and look at them now, all high and mighty in their ivory towers with their solid gold backscratchers. Sorry...news: Town are taking a looksy at Hull City striker Jon Walters with a view to loanage I imagine, now that Daly has returned to Stockport. Any deal is unlikely to happen before the weekend though.
With DazMans in limbo between Grimsby and Halifax - that would put him in his native Doncaster I think - that leaves Town with fewer striker options this weekend. As a result, they've decided to release ageing bench warmer Clint Marcelle in to the wilderness. Where Clint will go, or why he was here in the first place, no-one will ever know.
In other loanee news, Graham Hockless hasn't actually returned yet - and he's still at Leigh until Monday "despite reports elsewhere", says the text from the club, snottily. Which leads us to injury news - and the OS reports that Town are injury free going in to the Exeter match. So Simon Ramsden and Tony Crane are back, I assume. And that comment about Dean Gordon being doubtful with knee wotsit - they just made that up for a laugh.
Those wanting to face further humiliation against our local rivals are told that to buy tickets for the Lincoln match they'll need to sit through the home matches against Kidderminster and Notts County and collect vouchery things. Whether Season Ticket holders get priority again, or not, they care not to mention.
I love it when a plan comes together.
Thursday 11 November
Darren Mansaram's rapid transformation from official fan scapegoat to official stick to beat manager with (see also: Cooke, T; Jevons, P; Hockless, G) is set to be completed now that Halifax Town appear to have given up trying to sign the player on a permanent basis. After two successful months on loan at the Shay, the player this week became the subject of a cash bid from Fax manager Chris Wilder, which was waved contemptuously aside by our nouveau-riche Mariners, and the West Yorkshire side are now set to sign Leigh RMI's Alex Meechan instead. Now that Jon Daly is back at Stockport, observers can expect severe heckling from the unreserved seating if Dazmaz is left out of the side to face Kidderminster on Saturday week. Even if he's still got that back injury.
Contrasting fortunes, as they say, for GTFC's youth and reserve sides yesterday. The seconds were defeated 2-1 by Darlington at Blundell Park, with much-touted Hinckley United trialist Wayne Dyer, unsurprisingly, nowhere in sight, although the Mariners' 16 included some excellent names in Capper, Downie, Chuck, Powell Liam, Bunce, Hikey and Call. I'm assuming for now that these are real players and not greyed-out ones that are invented by the computer in Chammy Manager, and by lucky hap the Grimsby Telegraph is on hand to inform us that "Powell Liam", or Liam Powell, as he is known to friends and family, is a former Leicester defender and Stephen Capper plays for oh, surprise! Scarborough. Giovanni Carchedi, heartwarmingly, scored Town's goal on his return from a horrible year-long injury nightmare hell torment spiky grrrrr ow!
The young 'uns, meanwhile, advanced to a second-round FA Youth Cup tie with Bury after winning 2-1 at Hednesford Town with goals from Paul Ashton and a lad called Peter Bore. Good on 'em. Youths See Of Hednesford, proclaims Town's official website jubilantly. There's a missing word there, and I hope it isn't 'willies'.
Other than the fact that results and league positions seem to have no dependency whatsoever upon whether teams are actually any good, one of the strangest phenomena about the fourth division is the way people keep saying Grimsby are a big club and the Mariners' new-found massiveness doesn't end with league games. The decision by those city slickers at Blundell Park to fly in a jetplane down to Saturday's FA Cup tie at Exeter has struck awe into those old-fashioned yokels down in the West Country, to such an extent that the local Express and Echo newspaper has dedicated some of a news story to the subject. What's that? The Telegr... oh. Yeah. Ahem.
All good things come to an end, then, and this is it. The end. Or not quite, for that may be it from your regular Diary for another week, but tune in again tomorrow for your regular Friday round-up from Special Guest Diary, or Miles Moss, or whoever ends up doing it. Toodles!
Wednesday 10 November
As Town's continuing lack of a centre-forward threatens to unravel all the good work Mr Russell Slade has done in putting a team together, the club is again casting the net for fresh blood, like a vampire trawlerman who mixes his metaphors. Accordingly, a striker called Wayne Dyer is one of three trialists set to feature in this afternoon's reserve game against Darlington. We know he is a striker because it says so in the Grimsby Telegraph, and so he can't be the same Wayne Dyer who turned out for Town reserves in last month's 4-2 defeat at Doncaster, is a Monserrat international, and plays for Hinckley United in the Conference North, because that one's a midfielder. Er. Don't know who the other two trialists are yet. Have I mentioned that Amadou Konte scored for Cambridge at the weekend? I have now.
So maybe it's the Wayne Dyer who has authored many inspirational books such as The Power of Intention: Tap into the Universal Energy Field and Transform Your Life, and whose many profound insights include: "Everything is in motion. Everything flows." If this is our man, then he's clearly in for a shock when he watches the Mariners try and play without Thomas Pinault in the side.
On the subject of Prof. P's absence from the starting line-up, Mr Russ may have seen the error of his ways. Speaking at last night's GTST football quiz at Blundell Park, the Town boss admitted something about having been wrong in leaving out "flair players", though the Diary's mind was by that point in the sort of condition that would make Adrian Mutu seem straighter than a Roman road, and so we cannot be entirely clear what was intended. Noddy added that Graham Hockless' loan at bottom-of-the-Conference Leigh RMI had not gone terribly well and that the gorgeous, pouting young king of the wing was now back at BP with his magnificent tail between his godlike legs. I may be paraphrasing.
Finally today, five words. Bryan Robson. West Bromwich Albion. And one more: hahahahahahahaha.
Tuesday 9 November
The Mariners' search for a target man could soon be over, with the news that the club is weighing up an approach for Everton's veteran former Scotland international 'Big' Duncan Ferguson. Unfortunately, that's the Australian A-League side Central Coast Mariners, so Grimbarians will have to content themselves with the news that Halifax Town's bid to sign 'Biggish' Darren Mansaram on a permanent basis has been laughed out of court by Mr Russell Slade. Rather than fork out to have players surgically removed from the payroll, as has usually been the case in recent seasons, GTFC are insisting upon being the ones receiving cash in the case of Dazmaz; hence the announcement that the club has waved aside "a derisory offer" from the Shaymen for the player's services. Australians can sleep soundly in their beds now that Flash is back at Blundell Park (injured: back), though the Fax are still talking of a third month's loan.
Town are not appealing, and I don't just mean no bugger will sign for them. Noddy's chums at Blundell Park have decided that, even though last Saturday's referee Nigel Miller sent off Jon Daly for raising his hands when no hands were in fact raised, protesting to the FA against the player's suspension would be a big waste of everyone's time. Reports yesterday suggested strongly that the Mariners would lodge an appeal with the governing body against the referee's obvious blunder, but chief executive Ian Fleming has announced: "The club feels it is not in its best interests to pursue our claim for wrongful dismissal on this occasion," before getting back to writing the new James Bond film. The club is now being fined a thousand English pounds in old money, nearly two days' worth of Phil Jevons' wages for making Miller have such a terrible game.
Apologies are all the rage these days. The British have done so much wrong down the years that they have to employ a special lady, Her Majesty Mrs Queen Elizabeth Two, to go around saying sorry to people all over the world for killing their ancestors so we could have an empire or something. And, never an organisation to be left behind the times, Grimsby Town Football Club have said sorry to their former manager Mr Brian Laws because some of their fans sang a song about his wife, and some people thought it was about his last wife, who is no longer with us, so they got upset. Which would be understandable. I think that's it anyway correct me if I'm wrong.
And finally today, John Fenty has got lots of money. What's that? The Pope is what denomination?
Monday 8 November
"He raised his hands," said referee Nigel Miller of Jon Daly, after sending off the on-loan Mariners striker in Saturday's predictable 2-0 defeat at Scunthorpe. "He didn't," says anyone who has watched the incident on video. Yep the ref got it right booking Stacy Coldicott for that embarrassing dive, but the ball was moving when the Iron took the free kick that precipitated their first goal, and he was suckered good and proper for the red card incident. Russell Slade is considering an urgent appeal to the FA against the decision, and given that the defeat owed far less to the appalling match official than to the continuing absence of Thomas Pinault and Town's gormless long-ball approach, the Diary is considering an urgent appeal to Russell Slade against his lamentable team selection and tactics. "It's taken 26 years for the Iron to beat the Mariners in this nail-biting derby," reports BBC Humber, which is exactly how long 90 minutes feels when you're watching route-one dross.
Darren Mansaram is nearing the end of his second month on loan at Halifax, and only a fool would let him stay there a moment longer. A fool, unfortunately, is exactly what Shaymen boss Chris Wilder takes his GTFC counterpart for, as the cheeky sod has told the Halifax Courier: "We have agreed terms with Darren." Excuse me? "But we still have to do a deal with Grimsby." Damn right you do, pal. Any appeal against Daly's red card is bound to be turned down by the FA, since we are Grimsby, and the recent fine form of Dazmaz in his spell in West Yorkshire is a resource with which the Mariners can ill afford to dispense right now.
Town's seemingly improving youth team travel to Staffordshire's former coalfields this Wednesday to face their counterparts from Hednesford Town, and Neil Woods' boys will be hoping to mine a rich seam of goalscoring anthracite without getting their heads cracked open by the police. The game is their first in this season's FA Youth Cup, and the victorious youngsters will face Bury in the tournament's second round later this month, explains the Mariners' official website breathlessly.
Jimmy Gilligan has become the second former Town player currently in temporary charge of a Football League side. After Shaun Cunnington was named caretaker manager at GTFC's next league opponents Kidderminster following the recent resignation of Jan Molby, Blundell Park's one-time record signing from Watford (I think) has been made the short-term boss of the preposterous sham of a football club that now goes under the laughable monicker of Milton Keynes Dons, after their sacking of Belle & Sebastian's lead vocalist over the weekend. One-time Mariners playing legend and unsuccessful manager Paul Groves may have hoped to follow suit at his current place of employ, York City, after the struggling Minstermen gave Chris Brass the heave-ho just now, but somebody called Busby has got the job instead, which, admittedly, is a promising name. Craig Shakespeare, meanwhile, is not believed to be on the shortlist for the vacant manager's position at West Bromwich Albion.
Friday 5 November
The Diary and Special Guest Diary are currently meeting in a Sheffield pub, meaning today Unspecial Guest Diary is going to have to forego his habitual Friday lunchtime jar or three. Truth be told, a saunter down the road wasn't on the cards anyway as I had a skinful last night and have been a bit parched today as a result. Excuse me while I fill my GTFC Wembley souvenir mug with some orange and barley water.
The Sunday before last, during a rather arduous trip down to Devon, your diary writer for today was looking out of the window of the car, locked in a trance by the passing countryside. I was trying to block out what passes for a popular radio station these days, resorting to such desperate measures as dwelling on the previous day's ghastly game at Chester and wondering why I had even bothered to make such strenuous efforts to obtain a ticket for the game against Scunthorpe. How times flies, for it comes to pass that Town are to face up to their brash, unruly neighbours tomorrow, yes, TOMORROW! The fervour for the inevitably anticlimactic match has intensified feverishly in some places, while certain elements of the Cod Almighty team have had to quell a sense of dread about being reacquainted with that roguish Mr Laws.
Our mood isn't lightened with news that Dean Gordon, Jason Crowle, Sir John McDermott, Terrell Forbes, and Michael Reddy are all looking to follow Ashley Sestwatovich's lead and skive off 90 minutes' work. Such a list of names has made the word 'emergency' flash in our Russ's head and seen him - like the mayor of Gotham - turn on the signal to illuminate the sky over Northwich to recall Young Greg from his loaning. Northwich - to remind you - have seen a remarkable and startling improvement in their form with the Town not-so-youngster-anymore in their back line. Such was the Gregory Effect at the Drillfield, Pete Green had them down for a win in his tips, until he heard this news and rubbed out his punt. Amongst all these maybes, one certainty is the presence tomorrow of Ashley Sestanovich - fresh from his inexcusable voluntary one-match rest and the ensuing ding-dong (dong probably being the most apt word given him his actions) - who has been "eager" in training. Just a second while I check the odds of Town having a player sent off tomorrow...
And there's no need to worry if you are one of the fortunate many who didn't get a ticket to the game and live in Grimsby and are therefore unable to listen to Radio Humberside: the club's official site is generously offering free audio commentary.
Talking of free, with the daunting prospect of getting up next Saturday at the same time as one would on a schoolday, so to make sure a five and a half hour drive to Exeter would see you arrive in time for kick off, the club is offering up some free seats on their plane to the south-west coast. As you and I should know by now, anything that is "free" at GTFC has the club's commercial department using an abacus to work out an equivalent cash value, in this case to the tune of two hundred and twenty-five notes. Ouch! Still, think of all those gases you'll be leaving in the atmosphere, a priceless souvenir that you'll be able to pass onto your kids. It seems the club has followed the Diary's lead and gone back to the future, reckoning you'll be there to "roar on the lads to a famous Cup victory". Didn't note the exact score and the first goal scorer while you were there, did you Dale?
If the GTFC calendar hanging on your wall is bereft of social events for next week then let the diary help you out. If you live close enough to Blundell Park (which is everyone who resides in the area covered by the DN35 postcode) and think you and a few mates could be handy at answering a few sport related questions, then lucky you. Next Tuesday the supporters trust has sorted a little quiz night at the club with some special guests appearing. Sounds super. Except it's a bit too far from Leeds for me to get to. Which is probably not why Grimsby supporter Sam Metcalf has decided to put a gig on at the Fenton in Leeds that very same night, featuring an acoustic set from Cod Almighty's very own Pete Green. Maybe next time, Sam could book a slot for Russ or Big Bad John Fenty reversing Leeds chairman Gerald Krasner's visit to Grimsby.
Which segues nicely - if anyone is interested - to the news that the contemptible talented little shit known as John Oster has gone on loan to the Less Than Super Whites. Well, they are desperate.
Time for me to sign off. If you are unlucky enough to have to spend your Friday afternoon pretending to do some work in order to appease your paymasters, then you couldn't do worse than have a look at this little site here, chocker full of snaps from footie grounds around the width and breadth of the British Isles. There's even a page dedicated to that shoddy shithole we Town fans call home. And, if we lose tomorrow, remember it could be worse. Your job title could be the distinctly American "soccer writer".
Thursday 4 November
Guy Fawkes, would that you were in Washington DC today. Anyway, Humberside Police are promising to strip-search all fans visiting Glanford Park this Saturday before slashing their tyres, handcuffing them into seats and denying them any liquid sustenance while they are whipped soundly. Or something. If you've got a fetish for that sort of thing, then, well, that's fine, but the weariness and gloom with which the Diary is anticipating Town's trip to Scunthorpe grows by the day, and I'm seriously starting to wish I hadn't bought a bloody ticket now. Ah well remembering the Mariners' appalling first-half performances in their last two games, perhaps the rozzers might be persuaded to provide blindfolds as well.
The Grimsby Telegraph manages to avoid saying Town will be looking to get their FA Cup campaign off to a flying start in reporting the news that the Mariners squad will travel to this month's first-round tie against Exeter by aeroplane. The last time the club management opted to fly to their first game of a competition, of course, it was the visit to Plymouth that began the 200304 Division Two campaign, so the precedents are less than encouraging. Get those "concentrate on the league" clichιs dusted down and ready, Russ.
"Four players missed training on Thursday? Are you from the future?" I don't know what you're on about, Mat.
Wednesday 3 November
Poor, brutal, deluded America. God help us all. Anyway, if he can put aside his amazement at not only still being manager of Scunthorpe but also at somehow being top of the fourth division, then Brian Laws will find cause for glee in today's news from Blundell Park which is that four first-team players missed training on
Thursday Tuesday with a variety of injury-related injuries. Jason Crowe and Sir John McDermott are still feeling their hamstrings, which is at least better than feeling each other's, while Michael Reddy's foot is still playing up and Dean Gordon has a swollen knee. Though it must sound good to Ronnie Bull, this roll-call of ruin is litotically described by Mr Russell Slade as "not ideal preparation" for this Saturday's visit to Glorious Glanford.
Having seen three defenders sidelined through hurtiness, then and I use the term 'defenders' loosely in some cases Noddy was probably already reaching for the 'recall Greg Young' button on his control panel, and the news that Terrell Forbes could also miss the Scunny game might make his finger twitch a bit more. The Grimsby Telegraph suggests that the former QPR man is being urged by his legal team to sit the game out in order to "keep his mind" on the rape trial he faces on 15 November, quoting Russ: "Terrell has got to prepare for his trial, but I am requesting that he play." Anybody want to buy a ticket?
With GTFC's remarkable series of online fundraising auctions having flogged off everything from a place in the playing squad to the autographed shirt of the Blundell Park Ghost, some fans have openly expressed the belief that the club is eventually bound to run out of things to sell. And with Town's latest auction offering for sale something the club had already sold in an earlier auction, it looks like they were right.
"I'm at work wasting time as usual," reads an email to the Diary from Steven Young, who sounds immediately like a Cod Almighty kinda guy. "And I've had a thought about Town's current penalty plight. Dean Gordon missed one on Saturday and joined the long list of failures for Town from the spot this season. I don't understand why they can't stick with the same taker even if they miss. Town have missed five out of six. What are the odds of one player only scoring one out of six? I think that from now on we should stick with Gordon. If Parkinson, who missed the first, had taken the rest of Town's penalties then surely just by chance his strike rate would have been higher and as a result we'd be higher up the league." It's a thought-provoking point, Steven, and perhaps a Diary reader who is good at statistics and stuff like that might like to email with some, um, statistics and stuff like that. Or perhaps Russell Slade might like to sign a player who has half a clue where the bloody goal is.
"It also seems a bit rubbish that the players don't seem to want to take them," continues Steven, in an admirable bid to avoid doing any work for the whole of this week. "They miss one before quaking in their boots about it for the rest of the season. My only consolation is that at least Town keep me entertained by managing to miss from the spot in various comedy ways. It's boring when you're watching England and some astronaut in row X is ready to catch set piece legend David Beckham's inevitable balloon shot into cyberspace ten minutes later and it's on Ebay earning the brave space traveller who caught it a nifty fifty quid. Lovely." Now if anyone from GTFC is listening, the Diary is claiming a percentage on the next auction.
Tuesday 2 November
Ashley Sestanovich has done the decent thing and said sorry for being such a pillock last Saturday. The on-loan Sheffield United forward, who refused to demean himself by sitting on the substitutes' bench for Town's game against Swansea, brings to mind that brilliant joke about the inflatable boy in admitting: "I would like to say that I am sorry for letting anyone down. I'm sorry for letting the club down, the gaffer, team-mates, myself and more importantly the fans." Which is nice, since Mr Russell Slade neglected to mention the fans in his list of deflated parties. The aforementioned gaffer draws a line under the whole unsavoury episode by adding: "That's the end of the matter now." As a Town fan I am satisfied; as the Diary, a bit disappointed, to be honest. We could have had a lot of fun if this had dragged on for a while.
Staying for the moment with that wholly unsatisfactory Swansea match, and the penalty that Town fluffed early in the second half, Michael Reddy has had stitches in his foot in the hope of making the dive that won the spot-kick look even more convincing. The Irishman who cried "Ow!" could now sit out this Saturday's epoch-defining derby clash with Scunthorpe, just to complete the effect.
If, like the Diary, your indifference to the Premiership was briefly suspended at the weekend while you mildly enjoyed seeing the tedious gaggle of cheats that calls itself Manchester United defeated by the excellently supported Portsmouth FC, then here's something to make you choke on your early afternoon cup of tea. So overwhelmed was Pompey boss Harry Redknapp after the game by the rapid recent progress of his side that he blurted: "Three years ago we were playing Grimsby or someone. No disrespect to Grimsby but now we have just beaten Manchester United. It is unreal." Yeah, and losing to "Grimsby or someone" as well. No disrespect, Harry, but you're an insignificant, sweat-stained, shallow, dog-faced retard.
Monday 1 November
"He let himself down, he's let his team-mates down, he's certainly let me down and he's let the football team down." Mr Russell Slade forgot to mention his school and his mum and dad oh, and the fans but the litany of deflation that attaches to Ashley Sestanovich's contemptible act of dummy-spitting on Saturday is a pretty extensive one. In case you missed it, Transit Stan considered himself far too good to be named as a mere substitute for Saturday's meeting with Swansea at Blundell Park and, like Elvis when the backstage rider provided only two hundred fried peanut butter sandwiches, left the building in disgust. In fairness to the player who looks about as much like Thierry Henry as Des Lynam could be mistaken for Charlotte Church Noddy's decision to omit both Sestanovich and Thomas Pinault from his starting line-up is a pretty astonishing one even by fourth division standards, but BP is not the place for Premiership-wannabe tantrums, and in the Diary's view Stan must either apologise profusely pronto or sod off back to Bramall Lane.
Town face a long and hazardous trip to Exeter in the first round of this season's FA Cup. As Lancaster Gate was hit by a power cut around Saturday teatime, and Radio Humberside's David Burns made a pitch for a job on Talksport or the Daily Mail by reeling out a barrage of "WHAT A FARCE!" mock outrage, an untelevised cup draw matched the Mariners with non-League opposition for the first time since the 1970s, er, Rhyl or Blyth or Gateshead or somebody, not sure, can't remember the website now. Anyone? That concludes the paragraph about the cup draw; matches will be played on the weekend of the thirteenth and fourteenth of November. Oh, and a light bulb blew in the Diary's front room this morning, Burnsy, so Cod Almighty should sack me, surely?
Though he is loaned to Northwich Victoria, and will continue to be for a second month, Young Greg is no further from Mr Russ's thoughts than Darren Mansaram, as the promising Town defender was denied permission to participate in the Vics' FA Cup fourth qualifying round on Saturday, just as Dazmaz was before him at Halifax, type thing. Anyone hoping to see Young Ashley Hildred fire a hat-trick for GTFC at the Millennium Stadium in May will be cursing the day they were born, however, after the slightly less promising Town defender joined Young Greg at the Drill Field at the weekend on another loan and was allowed to play as Northwich went down 2-1 to Vauxhall Motors.
A depressing look round the divisions at the weekend's goalscoring exploits, meanwhile, reveals goals for former Mariners Georges Santos, Darren Wrack, Jamie Forrester and Daryl Clare, and another hat-trick for that knobhead Jevons. Also on the mark were Adam Proudlock, Delroy Facey, Clive Platt and Clyde Wijnhard, all of whom have rejected transfers to Blundell Park in recent times, together with failed GTFC trialists Marc Bridge-Wilkinson and
Kevin Ellison. Oh, that was last Tuesday though. Still, eh. If we'd won every match we played, we'd be top of the league, you know.
"Pick that teddy up Ashley, I say pick that teddy up!" writes the ever incisive Dick of Legbourne of the weekend's shenanigans, in an email to the Diary. "A phrase often heard coming from the cobbles of Weatherfield, but now ringing out Russ' office at BP. Well for me, little butcher Ash from Coro would probably have scored more goals than big striker Ash has. One goal in 15 full games is hardly prolific is it? Clearly the lines of similarity that were drawn with Henry were based on stuff off the pitch 'cos I've seen little if not bugger all on it that even vaguely resembles a top goalscorer." Ah, but have you see Jon Daly play yet, Dick? "So Mr Sestanovich," continues our epistler, "now you have driven away from BP in your M reg Ford Mondeo, presumably back to Yorkshire, could we kindly ask that you go via Halifax and ask Mr I can score goals at any level Mansaram if he wouldn't mind popping back. Think Russ wants to see him in his office asap!" It's a good point, Dick; in fact if I needed to distract attention from a load of rubbish I'd written a few weeks ago about an unpaid tax bill winding up the club by the end of October or something, then I'd start a campaign about it.