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Diary - April 2005
Friday 29 April
Hey up, good morning, and welcome back to the strange world inhabited by your old friend Guest Diary. A world where the likely return of Tony Crane, the complete absence of local dentistry services and the gynaecological mysteries of the posterior position have all recently preoccupied the man labelled a cross between Richard Brautigan and a minor Thomas Hardy character. So, once more unto the breach, gentle reader, as I prepare for imminent grandfatherhood by idly speculating how the strange suburb that Iyseden Christie sounds like came to be anally mauled by a football boot.
Is it worth drawing to your attention that the black and white striped gingerbread boys of Grantham Town won the Lincolnshire Shield, defeating the unholy trinity that is Gainsborough? The Grantham Journal reports that 265 souls turned out to watch an incident-packed game which featured sendings-off, floodlight failure and predictable post-match acrimony to rival the recent goings on in Beckindale shop.
But what of Town, you ask. Will the boys of summer get a run-out? Will it be possible to fit Tony Crane, who possibly weighs his age, in the bus? Will Heggarty and Parky maraude the wings whilst Gritton and North forage the rich Kidderminster forward pasture? Will Jason Crowe sneak into his favourite right-back slot as McDermott fails to resuscitate his leg? Thankfully the Telegraph has just published most of the answers in a piece headlined Crane on blocks to face Harriers. The subtlety of which completely escapes me.
Any road, it sounds like Crane is playing, and so is Gritton. But Stacy probably won't start, although he'd like to, as he hails from just down the road; so he tells the Telegraph. Ramsden, Forbes and Jones will mop up Tony's cock-ups at the back. And the young lad Heggarty "may make an appearance at some point". My player of the year, Glen Downey, is likely to occupy a key position on the bench. If you are interested in Kidderminster then read Cod Almighty's exhaustive preview penned by Simon Wilson, who, it seems, will not be going owing to it being a totally pointless game or summat.
Look, friends, it's actually too nice a day to be writing this, and too nice a day for you to be reading it. I suggest that we meet in the pub garden in about ten minutes. Mine's a pint of XXXB. Enjoy the game tomorrow, if you don't make it. See yer.
Thursday 28 April
Tony Crane, Tony Crane, Tony Tony Crane, he's got a big derriere but we don't care, Tony Tony Crane. And nor does Rabid Russell Slade, for the experimental-minded GTFC boss is set to give the strapping centre-half, now fully recovered from long-term injury, his first start of the season this weekend, reckons the Mariners' official website. "He is looking fitter and that's good for us," says Russ controversially. There remain contributors to the Grimsby Telegraph letters page and Radio Humberside phone-in, of course, who won't be happy until big Tony is installed up front as the Mariners' new 50-goals-in-ten-seasons Livingstonian target man, so the manager can expect no let-up in the stream of ridiculous purple-faced invective that cascades upon him even if Town beat Kidderminster by twenty-three goals to nil.
You can say what you like about Sheffield Wednesday – and most people do, ha ha, ha ha – but the inhabitants of that great big ground at Hillsborough are no slouches when it comes to announcing their schedule of pre-season friendlies. And because you are reading these words on a website whose primary concern is not Sheffield Wednesday but Grimsby Town, and it's a pretty good website too, so you're probably reasonably intelligent, you've most likely figured by this point that one of the Owls' summertime run-outs will also involve Russell Slade's underachieving army in some way. Well done, you! The slumbering behemoths of South Yorkshire visit Blundell Park on Monday 18 July, kicking off at half past seven – or, for those of you watching in black and white, half past seven. Give yourself a prize.
Warning: this paragraph may involve use of the tedious stock phrases "hit back at claims" and "heavy-handed policing". It's about the Humberside constabulary's approach to last Saturday's (yawn) big Lincolnshire derby, which if several visiting supporters are to be believed involved the unwarranted use of CS spray and batons, crushing people against walls, police horses breaking people's toes and, worst of all, not being allowed to leave that awful pub on the seafront that used to be the Submarine. Many Scunny fans have voiced severe criticism of rozzer tactics but Superintendent Stuart Donald of Humberside Police has retorted: "Perhaps it is those who ruined the day for others who should be asked the question 'why?'." Supt Donald is clearly not a man who has ever been for a drink in the Bucket & Spade.
Speaking of local pubs for local people, the Diary is cheered to receive an email that mentions both an excellent Lincolnshire brewery and the Cod Almighty team's preferred pre-match hang-out. Unfortunately, Dave the Engineer is asking: "Does the Rutland Arms sell Batemans?", to which the gently wistful answer is: "Ah, if only it did, Dave – if only it did."
Dr Phil Watson, meanwhile, has emailed on the subject of yesterday's Diary; to be precise, questioning the veracity of the title of the George Harrison album All Things Must Pass. "A midfield consisting of Fleming and Coldicott would seem to be a counterexample," contends Phil cruelly, adding almost as cruelly: "The entire Lincoln team would be another. Wasn't 'All Things Must HOOOOF' a Ringo Starr solo album?"
Wednesday 27 April
Either the pressure is getting to Positive John or the BBC Humber web monkeys are moonlighting for Town's official site again. That's the Diary's first thought, at any rate, upon reading a question and answer thing on the OS in which the Mariners chairman looks back on the first day of the season and recalls: "We got off to start to good start Darlington 23 shots on goal". Other areas covered by the Q&A session include the crucial issue of which player PJ would most like to see brought to Blundell Park ("Wayne Rooney on a 15 season free loan!") and next season's transfer budget - specifically, whether there is one and if so how big. Disappointingly but understandably, the fast-moving GTFC supremo is reluctant to give details on the latter, explaining twice that "this information may get in to the wrong hands". Indeed, the consequences are unthinkable should the news of Town's £600 per week wage cap reach the higher echelons of Al-Qaida.
When he wasn't being a leading film producer there was nothing George Harrison enjoyed more than releasing albums with mystical quasi-religious titles like All Things Must Pass and Please Give Me That Spliff Back Again So That I Can See God. I might have made that second one up, but pass is what all things must certainly do, and if you don't believe me or George then just look at the playing squad of Grimsby Town Football Club. Two men who graced it in recent years, Paul Groves and Kevin Donovan, have recently been playing for York City instead, as their powers have passed too far for the exacting standards of the Football League; and now they pass again, as the struggling Minstermen have informed the world that their services will not be required next season. All of which would affect the Diary deeply were I not already engaged in some highly spiritual, end-of-season transcendental exercises in not giving the left testicle of a white-cheeked gibbon about absolutely anything.
At about half past three yesterday afternoon there appeared on Town's official website an item about Southampton striker Brett Ormerod returning to St Mary's after a spell on loan at Wigan, with absolutely no relevance to the Mariners whatsoever. "Hullo," thought the Diary, "there's a grand opportunity for some mirth-making tomorrow!" It's gone now though, the OS people or the Premium TV people presumably having realised their error and removed it. What a pity that nobody does the same when the Grimsby Telegraph accidentally runs those stories about Chelsea and Aston Villa.
Tuesday 26 April
Early yesterday he was as anonymous as his detractors say his performances on the pitch tend to be, but the identity of the second Town player to have been offered a new contract this week has now been revealed. And what do you know, it's Jason Crowe. After receiving the fastest ever sending-off for a substitute during his time with Arsenal, Crowe joined the Mariners two seasons ago from Portsmouth following an impressive display in a pre-season friendly against Middlesbrough. Paul Groves had just signed Marcel Cas on a two-year contract without realising Crowe would shortly become available, and spent the next few months trying to get rid of him. There were trialists called Ouzo Osei and David Savage. Jonathan Aitken, recently released from prison, told Peter Sissons that "some people who have been fair-weather friends, no doubt at those Krug and shepherd's pie parties, will steal away into the night". Crowe is still thinking about it. He used to play for Arsenal, you know.
Should he swallow his pride and stay at BP, Jase the Ace will be following the suit played by Simon Ramsden, who, as we saw yesterday, has just committed his future to the Mariners – well, the next 12 months of his future, at any rate. The ball-playing centre-half (that's centre-half, Russ) has since given an interview to the Grimsby Telegraph which differs not at all from every other interview given by Town players to the Grimsby Telegraph for the past 18 months in that the player's chief point is "oooh, we've not been doing very well, have we, oooh, I know, we'll start playing better, that'll do the trick, yes, playing better, we'll start right away". To his credit, Simes adds: "Those of us who are signed up are positive about next season," which is sure to please John Fenty.
Today's Diary award for stating the too-obvious-to-be-worth-stating goes to Sporting Life, which begins a piece about last weekend's Town match with the words: "Scunthorpe boss Brian Laws believes the goalless draw with Lincolnshire rivals Grimsby could have helped his side's push for promotion." In the important sense that Scunthorpe took one point from the game, whereas they would have taken none had they lost, one cannot help but feel Brian is right about this if little else.
Shepherd's pie parties? It's no bloody wonder he got sent to prison.
Monday 25 April
With goals scored in only one of the last five games, and no wins in the last eight, Mr Russell Slade is slowly discovering – just as supporters of his club did a year ago – that the old "they're playing for new contracts" thing works about as well as a roman candle in the deep end of Scafferbaffs. This being the case, the Town manager has decided to start giving new contracts to members of his squad who aren't actually playing: namely Simon Ramsden, who has become the first of Sort It's acquisitions to extend his stay in North East Lincolnshire by signing a new deal with the awesomely faith-inspiring and motivating length of, um, one year. Another player has been formally offered new terms and is considering whether to sign, adds the bit on the official website that tells you all about it; well, all about it except the minor issue of who he is.
"Town are currently looking at Dutch defender Sven Baas. He plays at Volendam and is Menno Willems' best mate." This is the content of a text message sent by the club ten minutes ago to Andy 'Tips Results' Holt, who subscribes to the OFFICIAL SMS SERVICE, and then emailed to the Diary. Actually, it said "WIllem's", but I thought I'd better change that bit. And that's all I can tell you at this point in time. I expect it'll be on the official website very shortly – hell, it might be already by now – and we might find out whether "looking at" means Baas is going to come over and not play for the reserves or the BP backroom staff have just found a sexy picture of him on the internet. We still want to know what happened to Gambian defender Hassan Nyang, though, don't we?
And finally today, the least surprising story of the season is that no GTFC players have been selected in the PFA team of the year for the fourth division. No, not even Jason Crowe.
Friday 22 April
There are three teams in the English leagues with swear words in their titles: Scunthorpe, Arsenal and fucking Man United. While the latter two have rolled over and died this year to make way for a fourth name on the Premier League trophy, the former arrive at Blundell Park tomorrow sitting pretty in the fourth division's third and final automatic promotion spot.
Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea (in a minute or two) make three, so who are the fourth team engraved on the aforementioned Premiership trophy...? Blackburn Rovers, of course, whose captain Andy Todd has been cleared of violent conduct by the FA. Todd, the former Town loanee-goal-machine-centre-back, clattered into Robin van Persie elbow first in the FA Cup semi-final last Saturday, but
claimed Arsenal's two-goal hero "ran into my shoulder". This is reminiscent of the time Durham Diary's annoying sister fell onto the end of my finger eyeball first, so I can sympathise with him somewhat.
How times change! 13 April 2002 and the Mariners (complete with Todd), were beating claret and blue-clad Burnley (complete with Gazza) to ensure survival in the top division of the Football League. 23 April 2005 and the Mariners play claret and blue-clad Scunthorpe in the bottom division of the Football League with nothing to play for but pride. Still, no point living in the past, as they say. But not as they say to anyone at the OS, apparently, which is running a highly selective piece on the history of Grimsby/Scunthorpe matches. Of the eight times the two teams have played one another in April, Scunthorpe have won only once, which was in that well-known low year for
English football, 1966.
In team news for the game, the OS reckons Terrell Forbes is feeling better after his yucky virus thingy but the Grimsby Telegraph doesn't. Martin Gritton's back is back, so to speak. Stacy Coldicott looks unlikely to play after not training all week, leaving a midfield vacancy for either Sockless Hockless or The Frenchman, which a quick search on Google reveals was the title of a film from 1961 (not Sockless Hockless).
The Grimsby Telegraph is running a story about the Sortster wanting to end Town's season of derby woe, although I can't remember us playing Derby once. Sorry. One player who is partly responsible for this woe is Simon Yeo, who scored three of his twenty-three so far this season in the Lincoln/Grimsby
match at Blundell Park. Yeo, reports the BBC, is stalling on his contract talks with Lincoln in case a bigger club comes in with an offer for him. I don't really suppose we count as a bigger club than Lincoln any more, but I thought I'd put it in anyway.
That's it for today. My feet are cold and I really fancy having a nice hot bath. If you're going to the game tomorrow I hope the weather's nice and you have a good time. If you aren't planning on going I hope you have a pleasant day doing whatever you are doing. Now where's that Radox…
Thursday 21 April
Blows can be hurricanes. Blows can be punches. Blows can also be viruses, and the latest blow to the Mariners' frankly pitiful hopes of taking anything at all from this Saturday's derby fixture against Scunthorpe is just such an infection, contracted by key defender Terrell Forbes. This is the grave news borne by today's Grimsby Telegraph, which adds that the about-to-do-one centre-half is missing training as we speak. Oooh, Tony Crane: this could be your perfect moment.
Town's official website is putting it down to the experience of the home team, but the two late goals that saw off the club's reserves at Lincoln yesterday afternoon came from little Impy youth products. True, it was ancient striker Martin Carruthers who gave the cathedral types a 25th-minute lead from the penalty spot, but after Joe Lightowler's equaliser (what odds a late call-up to the first team this season?) the decisive strikes for the hosts came from two 19-year-olds: Oliver Ryan and Grimsby-born Chris Gordon. A quick look back at the OS tells us that Town reserves' league programme will come to an end... oh. Last Monday.
If you obstinately refuse to believe that anything good can happen in the present and insist on deluding yourself by constructing in your mind a false idealised picture of the past in which there were no bicycle accidents, everyone left their doors unlocked, and Grimsby Town were really good, then you can either vote Conservative in next month's general election or shell out twenty notes for a new DVD of the Mariners' two visits to Wembley in the 1997–98 season. The Diary advises the latter.
And finally today: whatever happened to Gambian defender Hassan Nyang?
Wednesday 20 April
His Holiness Pope Macca XXVII has been told by Cardinal Rabid Russ that his divine defensive skills will be required again at Blundell Park next season, though it is unclear whether the blessing of player-coach status will be extended. Town's 98-year-old right-back is, like most of his playing colleagues, out of contract in about five minutes' time and has been doing the coachy thing as well for a lot of this season, but an interview His Holiness has graciously bestowed upon Radio Humberside reveals that the Mariners' perennially overstretched budget may not allow for the luxury of a player-coach. "Russell Slade, the manager, has told me he wants me here next season," explains God's representative of full-backs on Earth, helpfully clarifying the role of his immediate supervisor. "But it's down to the board and finances if they can accommodate me as a player-coach or just as a player." Can't you just coach for love, John?
Joe Lightowler was a big disappointment in Football Manager 2005 and the Diary ended up flogging him to Cheltenham for a pint of John Smith's and a bag of chilli nuts. Back in the world outside my CPU, though, the lad remains Town's great hope for salvation and future world peace, and hey man groovy, he's shaken off whatever injury shackles were holding him down since the Age of Aquarius to return to the reserve side that travels to Lincoln this afternoon for what is unsurprisingly a reserve game against Lincoln. And the hopes of a generation travel with him. Uh-oh.
There was an Englishman, an Irishman, a Scotsman and a Frenchman and a manager. The Englishman and the Scotsman hurt themselves playing football, and the Frenchman and the Irishman took their places in the team. The team lost and the manager went mental at the Frenchman. Ha ha ha ha ha! Er, anyway, the Englishman and the Scotsman, or, as close friends call them, Stacy Coldicott and Martin Gritton, are still hurting and might not be able to play Scunthorpe this weekend, apparently. "Thomas Pinault also took a knock at the weekend but he did train on Tuesday morning," adds Town's official site, and with Brian Laws on the horizon and Rabid Russ telling the Grimsby Telegraph that "Thomas has taken it on the chin", the Diary can only wonder as to the source of the Frenchman's "knock".
Tuesday 19 April
Well, readers, it's time to choose the least manky banana in the fruit bowl, or in other words the best of a bad bunch. No, it's not general election day already: the polls are open on the Mariners' player of the year award for the 2004–05 season, and Town's official website is here to show you how. Organisers of the vote have clearly got something of a handle on the way Grimbarians' minds work and refused to give an option to vote for Phil Jevons again, and although the smart money will be on Graham Hockless this time, the Diary urges all right-thinking Town fans to join me in registering our discontent with a vote for the only player whose performances have been faultless all season: the one, the only... Mr Glen Downey. A vote for common sense.
Swoosh! Thunk! Isn't that Gordon Strachan's ginger head rolling across the floor? Swoosh! Thunk! And I could swear that's the bloody disembodied bonce of George Burley trundling up alongside it. Ah, but down here in the lower divisions the days of the Grimsby Reaper seem a long time gone, when failure to beat the Mariners meant a summary dismissal and public execution for the other team's manager. But just one moment, for Notts County's caretaker boss Ian Richardson has been informed by the Meadow Lane suits that his services will not be required next season after his side could only manage a 2-2 draw at home to the Mariners last weekend by virtue of the visitors' less than adequate goalkeeper! The Reaper's scythe being swung again, then, we can only hope that by the time we finally beat Boston the expectations of our country cousins will have been unreasonably inflated and that Steve Evans is still in charge.
In such dire times as these a bit of historical perspective is never a bad thing, and as Town fans wonder whether Rabid Russ could be attached to the National Grid after a match in order to power the entire Look North region from his temper, we might do well to remember another manager of the club whose emotions once got the better of him after a match. Again, another flair midfielder copped the wrong end of it, and a mention of poultry-based comestibles will surely be all that you now need to recognise that it's that nice Mr Laws we're on about. The Times has this week included the Brian/Ivano dust-up in its top 10 sporting missiles, and subscribes to the interesting alternative theory that a chicken leg, and not a chicken sandwich, was the item that caused Bri such offence.
Speaking of Scunny, which we almost were, the Grimsby Telegraph says that Town say that we could be looking at a sell-out this weekend. As in a capacity crowd, I mean, not Ben Elton.
Finally today, and let's get this over with quickly because I'm hungry now, a word from Dave Otter of Grimsby Town Supporters Trust, who has emailed in to clarify the unholy mess made by the Diary yesterday in attempting to explain the trust's money-raising phone deal hook-up wheeze arrangement. "Thanks for the free plug in Monday's Diary!" That's all right, Dave; any time. See, everyone – I'm not all bad. "I would just like to point out that, even though you may have paid 60-odd quid to sign up with BT, that would make no difference if you signed up to the scheme. Your rental would continue to be paid to BT, the only difference is that you call charges would be paid to the Phone Co-op. As you say, 6 per cent of your call charge would be paid to the Trust, more importantly, your bills would be significantly cheaper." Ah, yeah… but I went with Telewest in the end. Still, it's a cracking set-up, and if just one Diary reader signs up as a result of reading this then I will sleep soundly in my bed for the whole close season.
Right. Lunch. See you tomorrow.
Monday 18 April
After two years of Town players telling the Grimsby Telegraph every Friday that they're disappointed with the last result, they know they can do better, and they'll try really hard next time, the club occupies 17th spot in the fourth division. In a dramatic bid to break this cycle of underachievement, though, GTFC have now taken the radical new step of getting a player to tell the Grimsby Telegraph on a Monday that that they're disappointed with the last result, they know they can do better, and they'll try really hard next time. So it is that gigantic central defender Rob Jones has stepped forward to explain that: "We are all in this game to win – you don't play games just to take part." Whatever.
So just as your regular Diary eases his cute little tush back into the hotseat, the flow of news from Blundell Park has once again subsided, leaving only the furious but distant murmur of Rabid Russ locked in urgent talks with his anger management counsellor. The rest of us, meanwhile, are left to speculate as to why it is that the manager has not felt compelled to lambast the inadequate contributions of his goalkeeper by referring to him only as "the Welshman", or spoken of his struggling left-back only as "the Englishman". One earnestly hopes that Sort It's distrust of creative players is not compounded by a Buckleyesque twist of xenophobia.
Once this Saturday is over, it can't get any worse. Just remember that.
British Telecommunications plc recently wanted 60-odd quid off the Diary to set up a phone line in my house, so I won't be able to sign up to a whizzy new scheme initiated by Grimsby Town Supporters Trust to raise ring-fenced cash for the Tax Thing. Which is a shame, because it is more ingenious than a shed full of Mastermind contestants. Basically, right, you sign up for this phone package, and 6 per cent of your bill goes to bail GTFC out of the mess caused by Dudley Ramsden and Bryan Huxford. Well, out of the cash part of it, anyway; I don't suppose there's any way we can travel back in time to 2000 and un-sack Alan Buckley. It only works if you've got a BT line, though, I think. The phone money raising thing, not time travel. I'm going to end this paragraph now.
Here's a question for you, then, readers. Which 29-year-old Englishman played for Manchester United, Manchester City, Grimsby Town and Sheffield during his professional career in England? Well, you're thinking, it can't be Terry Cooke; he never played for Sheffield. What if I tell you that his new team "waived midfielder Martin Morales Friday and added midfielder Terry Cooke to the team's senior roster"? That's right – the evanescent winger has gone to that America, where the Houston Chronicle has failed only to include Nottingham Hotspurts in his list of former clubs. Goalstrike!
Another player who has been repeatedly waived from the roster lately is, of course, Ashley 'Outta Here' Sestanovich, and it is on the subject of the transitory one's recent release from Chester City that Mark Wilson has felt moved to email the Diary. "What an irony that the Diary quotes Ashley Sestanovich as saying 'I have got a career and a job'," writes Mark, "when Sky Sports News told me the exact opposite this morning. Is he the first ever player to be released by three clubs in one season?" Well, I think he's still got some way to go before he catches up with Mickael Antoine-Curier, but the point needed making nonetheless. Have you anything further to add, Mark? "Twat." Thought so.
Saturday 16 April
Seven or eight games without a win, but no danger of relegation... you'd think there would never be less cause to knock out a quick Saturday night Diary, wouldn't you? You'd be reckoning without another incredible post-match eppy chucked by Mr Russell Slade, though. Oh boy. A hastily transcribed outburst sees the Mariners boss go crazy-ape-bonkers at second-half substitute Thomas Pinault after his side relinquished a two-goal lead at Notts County in this afternoon's second half. "The Frenchman was an absolute disgrace," steamed Russ, while Graham Rodger tried to stop him biting his tongue. "People like that make me sick." No chance of any creative midfield at Blundell Park next season, then, one assumes - just a manager losing it quicker than Mat Hare in Las Vegas after three bottles of sambuca. GTFC, you'll be the death of me.
Friday 15 April
Unless you have the good fortune to be appointed the new Pope, it isn't every day you get someone famous at your house for dinner. Durham Diary was therefore very excited to learn that famous impersonator Steve Meek and his wife
will be coming for lunch tomorrow. Unfortunately, I'm likely to miss the encounter as I will be doing my utmost to make Grimsby Town lose. No, I haven't signed on a cheeky one for Notts County; I've given up on football for this season and will be embracing the new cricket season from tomorrow.
"SESTANTHEMANOVICH", proclaimed the shirt of the spotty kid who sat behind Durham Diary at the abandoned Rochdale game on New Year's Day. "Not so," retort Grimsby Town, Sheffield United and now Chester City who have all terminated contracts with Ashley this season, the latter yesterday for "non-football related serious Misdemeanours". None of the OS, or Chester's OS, BBC Grimsby, BBC Chester, the Grimsby Telegraph, or in fact anyone except www.chester-city.co.uk are running
the story so it must be true, and Durham Diary heard it in the pub yesterday anyway.
One thing the OS is running is an intriguingly boring interview with Mike Edwards. The former Hull man who looked really rather useful but a bit slow in the Mariners' defence last season is currently playing for tomorrow's opponents Notts County - or not playing, as it turns out, Edwards having missed most of the season with cruciate knee ligament hurty things. "It's touch and go if I'll get another game in this season," reckons Mike. "It might just be a case of
getting it right for pre-season." Yeah, we know that feeling. Perhaps the most interesting line of the article reads: "Mike's prediction for Saturday: 2-0 to County." There again, perhaps not.
In team news for the match, Town could welcome back Michael Reddy. Town have failed to score in the three games Reddy's missed with a different knee problem to Edwards', but equally they've failed to score in plenty of games he has played in, so don't read too much into it. Graham 'I'm not a puppet, I'm a real boy' Hockless may miss the game after banging his ankle in the Rushden 'game'. Tony Crane scored against Scunny in the reserves, and Ronnie
Bull is fit again, but Slade looks likely to stick with the same back line that played against Wycombe, reckons the Grimsby Telegraph. Bull and Crane have played their last for Town and won't be here next season, reckons everyone else.
And the Grimsby Telegraph website has just started running the Sestanovich story.
Enough is enough, as they say. If you're going to Nottingham tomorrow have a nice day. Maybe you could even stop over and watch Nottinghamshire versus Middlesex at Trent Bridge on Sunday. It would be most pleasant to watch some competitive sport for a change.
Thursday 14 April
Is it me or is it cold?
The unofficial GTFC Speed Challenge declared a winner yesterday as the Mariners' least favourite boyracer, Ashley Sestanovich, finally turned up in court.
"I didn't really think I was actually going that fast but, if there is evidence to show I was, that's fair enough," reasons Stan. Sadly he wasn't going that fast though, falling just short of Team Fenty's 93 miles per hour clocked up earlier this season. However, like his previous paymaster ("The imposition to myself and my family will be extremely impractical," you might remember Condorman John Fenty saying), Stan was at pains to explain what an inconvenience the law can be. "I can't afford to keep coming so far. I have got a career and a job. It's hindering that by trying to get days off." And if ever you wanted yet more proof that your less-than-average footballers are just kids in a man's body (or in Stan's case, a giant's body), there you have it.
An interesting aside, Stan also reckons that he's still under contract at Sheffield United until the end of the season. Where that fits into the supposed (deep breath) cancelling of his contract by Sheffield United so Town weren't bound to pay his wages for the rest of the season-long loan, therefore meaning he could move onto Chester, is anybody's guess. Ah well. At least all this has put an ace Boyracer medley on my mental jukebox - "I Am Looking For Somewhere Else", followed by "You've Squandered Yr Talents".
Another Boyracer tune springs to mind - namely "They're Making Money Off Of You" - with the news that anyone planning to buy tickets for next year's World Cup without using an Official-World-Cup-2006-sponsor-Mastercard will have to pay a surcharge. The Football Supporters Federation has been approached by consumer group Which? to gauge fans opinions on this. Bit of a no brainer, but vote at the
anyway. Some people just don't have common sense and need empirical evidence, usually displayed in an Excel spreadsheet and presented on in PowerPoint.
When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favourite things, and then I don't feel so bad. Those were words sung by Julie Andrews in The Sound Of Music. And yesterday you might remember I suggested that the new Razorlight tune isn't
something I want to remember when I'm feeling bad. "The new Razorlight song is fucking brilliant!" opines 'wycombemariner'. Well, each to their own, old bean. One man's Clive Mendonca is another man's Steve Livingstone, and all that. But 'wycombe' agrees with us a bit on this 'Radebe-gate' lark. "And, yes, if the club had announced all the stuff about Leeds fans donating cash, and arranging a friendly then they would have looked brilliant. Yet they didn't. Yet again they look stupid, when all they seem to need is someone wih a bit of common sense. And yet we leave these clowns in charge of our beloved club, it beggars belief!"
Easy, there, fella. You sound a bit worked up. Take a deep breath and then let it all out. I don't know, think of Mariah Carey or something.
Final words on this Leeds matter (hopefully not just for today, but forever) go to Dan Humphrey: "Are we now becoming a Leeds feeder club then? About five years after they have shed all their decent players! Its fascinating how Leeds fans based in Grimsby want to build links to their local club. Maybe they can sit in the Grimsby end when the two clubs meet in division 3 (old money) season after next!" Maybe, Dan, they'll sit in the Grimsby end well before then if, er, Fiduciary Fenty has he way with them at this do. And what if they attend Town games already? Who knows? Who cares? It's heartening to see fans of another club give a toss about the club local to their place of residence. And is anyone a bit bored of of it all now? Let us know.
That's it from me for today and this week, so until next time so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye. Aren't Boyracer from Leeds?
Wednesday 13 April
Hello you. Juicy guest diary news nuggets for your delectation.
The club's official site reports the sell-off of the remaining ticket stock for the Scunthorpe goes well. "Get [your] tickets as soon as possible to avoid disappointment." Does that mean Town are guaranteed to win?
Tony Crane speaks out on his fitness hell, and not accompanied with his gigantic arse in tow. That's because it's a not-so rotund rump these days. "When I came back I was carrying a bit of weight, I'd been out for six months and couldn't run." However, Tone has resorted to an unusual form of weight loss, seemingly involving a large number of Kleenex tissues and a shelf's worth of 'adult' magazines. "I had no option but to knuckle down. I've done that and I look better for it." Whether this was behind closed doors or under the close supervision of physio Dave Moore is unknown.
Further fall-out from 'Radebe-gate' continues, this time with the Leeds fans chipping in with their two-pennyworth. They're looking at donating ten per cent of the night's profit to the KTMA fund and help arrange a friendly against the mighty United of Leeds. Remains to be said: if all this had been said to start with wouldn't everyone involved have looked super-ace?
That's it. Time to kick the stereo. That new Razorlight tune is bloody grating.
Tuesday 12 April
The Diary takes a week off and all common sense goes out the window here at Cod Almighty. They've let me, Mat, do the diary. That's like letting John McCririck take over from Krishnan Guru-Murthy on the Channel 4 news.
Not a fantastic amount of news to break to you today so we'll start with news of tickets for the Scunthorpe United match. They are on sale, apparently. I assume when they say "any of the Mariners' home games" they mean this season's games but you never know. Talking of Scunny, our stiffs beat their stiffs yesterday thanks to a Tony Crane header. The regular Diary would probably make some witty comment at this stage to close this paragraph nicely. I don't do wit though.
Rumours have reached my ears, alright eyes as they were e-mailed to me, that Positive John may be on his way out of BP and off darn sarf to the land of jellied eels. The Guardian's sports supplement yesterday quoted Alan Pardew as saying "I'm all about positivity but it's very difficult at this club at times." With JF as mentor maybe Pardew will get the Hammers back to the big time. Unless it's the other way round and Pardew is putting his name forward as the man to oust Slade. Nah, Pardews sounds rubbish, he'd never get the job.
What else can I steal off the OS to make today's entry a bit longer? The date for the player of the year night has been announced. Rather unsurprisingly it will take place in McMenemy's, which no doubt means Mr Diary will not be in attendance due to dress restrictions. He has always said he would never wear a dress on a Tuesday. Told you I didn't do wit.
You'd think having a new kid on the block in the form of James Vaughan would help Everton fans get over painful memories wouldn't you? After all he set three records on Sunday (youngest Everton player beating Joe Royle by 11 days, youngest Everton goalscorer beating Rooney by 89 days and youngest Premiership goalscorer beating James Milner by 86 days). But no, those Evertonians do like a bring up the past. A plea presumably made by a member of the Grimsby Town Supporters Trust for support from the readers of an unofficial Everton site appears to have fallen on deaf ears with the Toffees preferring to dredge up the abuse they suffered back in 1984 when Paul Wilkinson put them out of the Milk Cup and to throw it back at GTST. That's hardly fair is it lads? We did the same, if not worse, to your bitterest rivals only a couple of years back only then it was Phil Jevons. At least you had a decent player score against you eh? This fantastic display of solidarity amongst football fans is continued here. Thanks guys, really appreciated. No honestly, if there is ever anything we can do for you or your club be sure to let us know won't you?
If you want to do something to help Town raise a bit of cash you can do worse than bidding on one of the numerous items the OS is auctioning off. Matt Harrold's shirt is currently going for £55, but why it is listed against Brentford I don't know. I know they own him and all but it's a Town shirt isn't it? If the shirt isn't your thing how about some boots? Not just any old boots either, Thomas Pinault's boots. They have "Pinault's name on the tab, and will be signed by the enigmatic French midfield star." Why would Zidane sign these boots? Oh, right, I see. The OS goes on to say that these boots will turn you into a proper fanny magnet and you'll be beating them off with a shitty stick if you wear them down The Pier on a Friday night. Incidentally the shitty stick is not up for auction as far as I am aware but for some bizarre reason this is. The mind truly boggles.
I can't leave you without participating in what seems to be one of the Diary's favourite pastimes; having a pop at BBC Humber sport. You see I went there in search of something else to add to today's diary but there was no real news. So I started to have a look around at their section on Town and stumbled into the history bit. "The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites" it says below a link to the OS. No, fair enough, but you are responsible for the content on your own site presumably. So please, please change the bit that claims Nicky Law is still player-manager. In fact he was never player-manager so forget that still I wrote last sentence. I'm sure no-one would object to a more recent squad phot being used either. And I'm sure Macca won't be too pleased to learn that he set the appearance record for Town some 36 years ago. And he's still playing on. Go on Macca, show that Stanley Matthews fella how it's really done. Oh yeah, and if anyone from BBC Humber is reading Rushden & Diamonds don't play in Rushden and Crystal Palace play in Selhurst so your last paragraph in the History section is also bollocks.
Thanks for reading. No idea who will be bringing you the news tomorrow so tune in and find out at around this time. Cheers.
Monday 11 April
It was only last Thursday the Diary was lamenting the lack of news concerning the latest adventures of Grimsby Town Football Club. So, it is with a delicious lashing of irony that the Diary has decided to take a week off and today your diarist in Leeds is struggling to wade through the thick and sludgy bog of Town News such has been the number of happenings and reportings over the past couple of days.
Where is one to start? Let's get reaction to Saturday's, ahem, contest out of the way first. "Dissapointment" (sic) reports the Bucks Free Press, "when the breaks were applied to [Wycombe's] play-off hopes." The only thing that could have been broken on Saturday was the peaceful slumber of the 3452 attendees. A point stubbornly ground out by Town reckons the Russmeister, although we don't know what renting has to do with it ("keeping a clean sheet at lease gives his side something to build on" to quote the OS). "I felt defensively we did very well... Not conceding a goal certainly gives us something to build on after recent results... In the last seven games we have only scored two goals - it doesn't take too many brains to work out where our problem is." Are those brains in jars or heads? And are they human or not?
Talking of brains, Rob Jones reckons he knows how to build on that clean sheet: "Before the end of the season I would like to see us score three or four goals in a game." Genius. But what is he getting at with "there is a good fan base here and a great ground to play at"? Is he easily pleased, being sarcastic, or have I missed something?
Positive John takes some time out from his "glass half full" persona to show his nasty side if an announcement on the OS is anything to go by. Explaining why he and Sladey are attending a shin-dig for Lucas Radebe, Deep Pockets explains: "Accepting the invitation was part of a reciprocal arrangement. Dave Mitchell, on behalf of the Leeds supporters, has agreed to hold a celebrity evening on behalf of the Keep the Mariners Afloat campaign." If you'd said that to start with Johnny, I'm sure all Town fans (or the ones who were really bothered by your attendance of this do) would have said "good on yer, mate" from the off. "You never know, we might be able to convert one or two?" John – if you can do that, you've done better than I have in six years of living in Leeds.
There's also yet more about the radio ban, but don't take that as the cue to snooze off. In a terse piece of prose, Furious Fenty goes for the jugular. "The club's fragile existence cannot tolerate mismanagement of facts or game towards the campaign or the football club. It may surprise some that we are fighting for the survival of your football club… We are all disappointed that the promising start to the season petered out. It doesn't alter the need for all to work together and support all aspects of the football club." Taste that man's fury!
Also Chairman John "would like to point out that it just isn't true that I said that I would not be attending the forthcoming Frank Worthington evening. I was asked by Dave Otter, last Thursday, and I said that my life is 'organised chaos' and I seem to be out every night. However, I have since checked my diary and will be attending." Excellent work, Mr F! If you can find the time in your hectic schedule to attend, then surely a few more Town fans out there can make the effort. What are you all looking at me for?
The trust - that reminds me there's a thorough update from Rachel Branson elsewhere on/in this fanzine. Maybe I should make some executive decision and decide that we'll get into the knack of putting those things up here when we receive them. And maybe I'll finally get round to writing up an interview with Dave Otter that I did, er, a few months ago. Which means it's wildly out of date. Sorry, Dave. Go on, tut disapprovingly at my slackness.
Andy Holt –hello Andy! - has spotted this beauty about scrawny non-striking non-legend Jonny Rowan. If you can't bothered clicking on the link, well, Jonny is now on loan at Gainsborough Trinity from Kettering Town. But the reasoning behind the move? JR still lives in Grimsby, and was getting lifts to Kettering with another ex-Town bright young thing, Steve Croudson. The Kitten has moved to Halifax, meaning that Jonny has had to look for a more local window in which to display his talents, presumably one reached easily by public transport from Grimmo. Andy also sent on a link to a match report on Rowan's debut for his new club.
One man who shares the chairman's positive outlook on life is Mark Wilson. "Whilst broadly agreeing with Friday Diary's lambasting of all and sundry on a number of issues I wanted to remind your good readers how life was just a year ago." Can't remember? Mark's done the handiwork for you. "A quick scan of the diary for this date last year reminded me of Nicky Law as manager, the lanky French dickhead we had up front, an away hammering at QPR (in which we were a bit unlucky) and the fact that we were just four days away from relegation - though we didn't know that at the time. 51 points in the bag, players given up because there's nothing to play for? I'll accept that if they can just give us three more points in a week's time!" What's the big deal about beating Notts County, Mark?
Further delving into the postbag reveals this nugget from John Pakey. "I'm sure your comic genius could make up something amusing about Aidan Davison and his bananas," John foolishly believes. Aidan Davison receiving a big box of bananas so he can bake the whole team banana bread? What would Jamie Oliver say? No, that’s not a joke. I haven't a clue about the nutritional value of banana bread, so what would he say? And how does this, dear readers, compare to the recipes from the players that have adorned this season's matchday programmes?
Chris Parrott meanwhile has had it with Grimsbarians attending – or not as the case might be - Blundell Park these days. "I hate stating the bleedin' obvious, but GTFC would have been a more obvious candidate for franchsing than Wimbledon. At least a move to Milton Keynes would have given more people who give a stuff a chance to go to 'home' games." What was it Positive John was saying about your football club earlier in this diary?...
Friday 8 April
Grimsby-based Leeds supporters have announced that the chairman and manager of Grimsby Town Football Club - John Fenty and Russell Slade - are to attend a "testimonial dinner dance" in aid of Lucas Radebe's testimonial fund on 22 April. The Mariners are also contributing a signed shirt and a matchball. Tickets are £20 for an adult, £10 for a child.
Holton-le-Clay-based Grimsby fan and supporters' trust chairman Dave Otter is organising an evening with Yee Ha Frank Worthington in aid of the Keep The Mariners Afloat appeal on 28 April. The Mariners aren't contributing anything in terms of shirts, matchballs or attending bigwigs. Tickets are bound to be less than 20 notes a head.
You draw your own conclusions from the above two paragraphs and feel free to put them the Diary's way. A tinge of irony: today's Diary is being written in Leeds.
Supporters who - like Cod Almighty this week - are purchasing shares in the club to help it stay afloat might be pleased/none too pleased to learn that the 'ring fencing' of those funds is, according to the club, "no longer necessary... because the situation with the debt to the Inland Revenue has now been resolved". The resolution we'd skimpily been made aware of, but not the removal of those funds' 'ring fencing'. Nice that we were publicly told. Furthermore, apparently, the 'protected fund' hasn't been set up yet and nobody who has contributed to it has had their cheques cashed yet. Er, right. Leeds Diary is struggling to summon some positivity over this lot of news.
Still, a rare beam of light: here's someone who has worked out a novel way of raising cash thanks to the Mariners. Just don't let her boyfriend know, OK?
There's a game tomorrow. It's against Wycombe. We've done a factfile. Team news? Does it matter? The players seem to have all given up. They'll be eleven bodies in black and white shirts. Expect the younger ones to run around and appear more enthusiastic than the older ones. John Fenty and Russell Slade might be at Watford watching their new favourite club. The fans sound like they've given up (well, this one does). I think I will call it a day as well.
Thursday 7 April
When it comes to Town news I'm an avid consumer;
if the news isn't there then I'll make do with rumour:
releasing Rob Jones or re-signing Matt Bloomer –
just give me some Town news to read.
Whose attitude Russell Slade is condemning,
or lucrative new terms for big Terry Fleming;
if I don't get some soon then I'll make like a lemming –
just give me some Town news to read.
A takeover bid by Ivano Bonetti,
the kiosk now offering half-time spaghetti;
its absence has made me unpleasantly sweaty –
just give me some Town news to read.
Sex scandals involving John Fenty's pet kitten,
an offer from Chelsea for Town's Martin Gritton;
I don't care if it's false or appallingly written –
just give me some Town news to read.
Make up some gossip concerning Shim Sladey;
if you want, it can feature Giovanni Carchedi,
a bucket of yoghurt and Town's cleaning lady –
just give me some Town news to read.
So Radio Humberside, cure my affliction,
or Telegraph Sport, please address my addiction;
I'll gladly make do with the flimsiest fiction –
just give me some Town news to read.
Wednesday 6 April
Tum-te-tum... la la la... ho-hum... yaaaaaaaaawn... oh, I'm sorry! Hello! And welcome to another day of absolutely knack all happening in the world of Grimsby Town Football Club. So desperate for content is the Grimsby Telegraph's sports team, in fact, that they are today reduced to running items about some Leeds fans who live in Grimsby and a survey in FourFourTwo magazine. Oh, and some speculation about Mr Russell Slade playing Andy Parkinson up front on Saturday: a thesis for which the newspaper cites no evidence and which runs contrary to the several recent utterances by the Town boss to the effect that young forwards such as Danny North and David Soames were likely to get a chance in the last few games of the season. Of course, the Telegraph could be right, but Parkinson's improved form in his natural wide midfield position surely proves that you can't put a square peg in a round hole – especially when it has great big sticky-outy ears.
Town's official website, meanwhile, seems to have taken a cue from the recent apathy of its counterparts on the pitch. A piece about a fan who won one of those auctions to spend a match day in the company of Speedin' Positive John begins: "Mr Swallow says that he really enjoyed his day with the chairman". Eh? Who? When? Give us some help here, can you? Slightly more satisfying is a brief natter with Nick Heggarty, the correct spelling of whose name I gave up trying to ascertain a long time ago. Young Nick, lest ye know not, is one of those young reserves who have been going to break into the first team any minute now for about thirteen years, and the OS gives two little snippets of a Mariners World interview with the lad, decorated with a picture that makes him look like a Scottish pop singer or Scottish television actress from the early 1980s.
Speaking of misleading photography, the Diary is finally going to mention that Grimsby kid who scored 16 goals in one match in his local league last week, because of misleading photography. I wasn't going to, just because everyone else did, and I can tend to assume the persona of a crazy, bad-ass mofo when the fancy takes me, you know. But a piece about him on the Louth Today website has made me laugh, because they've used the wrong kind of local paper photo for it. While the correct kind of local paper photo would have been the smiling, 'hooray, local person does something good!' type, the type used in fact conforms to the frowning, 'oh no, something bad happens to local person, and look, here's the thing that was involved' model, the photographer seemingly having been under the impression that somebody had smacked the kid's head in using the football in the picture and then stolen his dinner money. No? Just me, then. Sorry.
Right. Just one more paragraph, I think, and then I can go. It's an email from Dan 'Ten Kilometres' Humphrey, contextualising his 452nd position in the Lincoln 10k run: "452nd out of 2804 runners," he explains. "In Town terms that's in the play-offs. So there." Booooo Slade, boooo, we want Humphrey on, say we want Humphrey on, boooo, sort it Slades… "Talking of the Q&A thing," adds the Danster, "very few entries of yet; reader apathy? Maybe the Diary should ask readers to set the questions?" I dunno – maybe reader absence. And I've got quite enough to do already thank you very much, with all this endless rush of ground-shaking news about the Mariners to write up; but if you want my opinion, the question in that last one might have been too open-ended, and you're more likely to get a response when you set firmer parameters like with the first one and ask for five players or whatever rather than just leave it open. "Not read any Jane Austen; have read Wuthering Heights, so will Brontë do?" Indeed, sir. I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in football, be it England or Town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself.
Tuesday 5 April
The battle continues for aerial supremacy in the coverage of Town's youth set-up being sponsored by Humberside Airport. Today the Grimsby Telegraph's treatment of the story has really taken off, with a twin engine wordplay blast from the headline and first sentence elevating the local paper to a higher altitude than its competitors – and yesterday it was just taxiing along the pun-way. "It is good that they are providing sponsorship," fumes outspoken Mariners boss Mr Russell Slade.
Well, it's a slow news day, and I've got to do something to entertain myself. I've just turned the radio up really loud, because the Ramones' version of 'Baby I Love You' has just come on, but it'll be over before I reach the end of this sentence. And sure enough, it was. The greatest pleasures in life are always the briefest. That's what I keep telling Mrs Diary, anyway.
Dan Humphrey, who you may remember from such recent Cod Almighty innovations as the entertaining almost-weekly Q&A thing he's been doing on this website lately, has emailed the Diary to tell us about his weekend exploits in something called the Lincoln 10km road race and refer to himself in the third person. "When checking his results on the BBC website," writes Dan, "he noticed he was only a few minutes behind recent Town reject Giovanni Carchedi – mentioned in yesterday's Diary. Does this mean Dan is fast or Gio is slow? And why did not Tony Crane or Glen Downey run; they've got nothing else to do?" It's a good question, but judging from that "why did not", Dan must have spent most of the race with his head in a Jane Austen, as it were – which might explain why he "finished a creditable 452nd". Out of how many, Mr Humphrey? We don't want Town to be finishing a creditable 24th, now, do we?
It is a truth universally acknowledged among the Cod Almighty team that a single man in need of some useful information must be in want of Andy Holt. And, sure enough, up he pops with a public information announcement for Diary readers. "If, like the Diary, you find yourself needing to copy and paste from the OS and are prevented by that Java thingummy then find yourself prevented no more. Simply download a copy of Netscape's browser and use that. Simple." Thank you, Andy. Thank you very much. Shall we get married then, or what?
And that, I regret to have to inform you, is all for today. Lawrie McMenemy still hasn't been reinstated as manager. Town still haven't swapped stadiums with Hull. And Michael Howard is still a fucking wanker. See you tomorrow.
Monday 4 April
I am the Ghost of Grimsby Future. I went to see Grimsby Present play Mansfield on Saturday, and it was rubbish, so I went and got drunk afterwards and I can't remember anything I had to tell you. Maybe I'd better hand over to Guest Ghost – the Ghost of Grimsby Past. And so, released Town reserves Paul Fraser and Giovanni Carchedi have signed for Ossett Town, reports the Non-League Daily; I don't know who Ossett Town are, really, apart from a sort of lower down the pyramid version of York, gaily hoovering up former Mariners. They won't have much luck with Terry Cooke, though, as the Jevonesque flitter of the right wing has apparently signed for Colorado Rapids in the good ol' United States of Future World Government. Come to think of it, Town never had much luck with him either. And Michael Boulding now being comfortably settled into his loan at Cardiff, the Welsh media are taking their turn at the old "ooh, he used to play tennis, you know!" routine. He used to play tennis, you know.
So is the present really all that bad? Pretty much. In an effort to keep Town's home attendances in four figures until the end of the season Mr Russell Slade is repeating the old "they're playing for their futures" line until he's blue in the face and crimson on the top of his head, telling the Grimsby Telegraph: "When players think there is nothing to play for at this time of the year when you find yourself mid-table they are foolishly mistaken. They are playing for their contracts." As Grimsby supporters discovered last season, however, it just doesn't work like that, baby, and the Diary for one is not looking forward to seeing Mr Brian Laws turn up at BP later this month for the points he desperately needs to get Scunny's promotion campaign back on track and the Mariners hand them to him on a plate with salt, vinegar and a generous dollop of tartare sauce.
Friday 1 April
Hi guys. Durham Diary here, as billed yesterday, except with it being the Easter vacation I’m in Waltham. Even worse, I left my dictionary in my under- bed locker at uni! So, you know, if any of you have suggestions for words beginning with W that I could use in my nickname while I’m home, perhaps you could send them to email@example.com. Thanks.
Predicting today's dearth of exciting stories, your Regular Diary with fries sent Durham Diary a present yesterday in the form of a link to the BBC Forest Green Rovers page. Green, as they probably aren't called by anyone, have signed Paul Warhurst, the man who scored an own goal on debut for Town last season before progressing to look classy but well and truly past it in the rest of his games. Manager Alan Lewer claims "Paul has had injuries and I know people are sceptical about that. But he's been playing regularly with Blackpool and he's helped them with their relegation fight and he's come here to help us with ours." Like he did with ours, Alan?
Town travel tomorrow to Mansfield to play a team two points above them in the table. The OS inform us that Joe Cole wannabe Graham Hockless is a "slight doubt", although Simon Ramsden is likely to be in the squad. Bit late for all that really. Despite anyone who’s anyone knowing that Ronnie Bull has played his last game for Town, the OS insist on pretending he's injured. Those official people write he "hasn't trained this week and will sit this one out with an ankle injury" which is clearly a load of Ronnie.
A quick venture to the BBC website, and I ask you to join me, friends, in a moment's silence to commemorate the tragic passing away of two Mansfield players. "Mansfield's Colin Larkin and Gareth Jelleyman (both dead" proclaims the Beeb. But wait! Only one week too late for Easter the next line reads "leg) and Alex Neil (concussion) are back in contention". Pheew! Luke Dimech, if you're interested, should also be available after the international programme.
As the campaign to get John a gong continues to stumble along, Brian Laws has added his support, report the Grimsby Telegraph. Despite being disliked by, well, all Mariners fans, Laws deserves a minute amount of credit for admitting "I played alongside him and, for two years, I was his manager. We were both right-backs but I had to make way for him in the team."
Before Town's season fizzled out into nothingness, Durham Diary and chums had been planning an afternoon of football and beer in Mansfield tomorrow. As it is, I'll tune into the match on Radio Humberside, and I encourage you all to do exactly the same, since listeners tomorrow will not have to endure the annoying drone of George Kerr, but will be treated to the unrivalled wit of Cod Almighty’s "own" Tony Butcher. Tone is making his debut after impressing those guys in Hull. So come on, let him entertain you. And not a moustache or a trumpet in sight.
And so, having run out of relevant website to plagiarise I'll leave you to enjoy your Friday afternoons, readers. See you all at Wycombe, if you can be arsed.