Contact the Diary
Got any GTFC news? Constructive feedback? Offers of hard cash to write something else? Email email@example.com or use our feedback form and elucidate.
Read another Diary
May | April | March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August |
July | June | May | April | March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August |
June | May | April | March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August |
May | April |
March | February | January
November | October | September |
August | July | June | May | April | March | February |
November | October | September | August | July | June | May | April |
March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August | July |
April | March | February | January
November | October | September |
July | June | May | April | March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August | July |
June | May | April |
March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August | July | June | May | April | March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August | July | June | May | April | March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August | July | June | May | April | March
Diary - May 2005
Tuesday 31 May
It's gone two of the clock, post-meridian as I type this first sentence; yes, I know the diary is usually up there already by this time, but we've just had news that Diary diary is incapable, so here I am, Last Minute Diary, to fill in. "Works well under pressure", it says on my CV. Let's put that to the test, shall we.
This time of year is usually devoid of any news concerning Grimsby Town football club: the season's over; some players' contracts still haven't gone 'BING!' and expired; and it's far too early to be sorting out their replacements, surely. But no - while on holiday last week, Mr Ceefax informed me that we've already signed Jermaine Jenas. Palmer, sorry. Jenas Palmer. That Gary Cohen bloke as well. And now it seems Mr Slade is talking to "an unnamed midfield player". Must... resist... obvious jokes about... anonymity...
So who's this mystery midfielder, then? Well, subscribe to the SMS service to find out first. Oh, sorry, wrong website. Pure speculation, but he apparently played in the old, old third division last season, Brentford have just released a few midfielders, Jamie Lawrence is one of them, and he used to play for Town. Or it could be David Beresford, ex of Tranmere. Or any of the other buggers listed here I suppose. This - like your letter to Jim'll Fix It - is only the start of it, for there are no less than a couple of middle men Russ is after. "I am hoping we can get at least one tied up in the next few days" says Russ, the kinky devil.
What is interesting is that The Sladester has said, with reference to signing new players, "There's four or five areas that I'm looking to address". Four or five? So that'll be: keeper; defence; midfield; strikers... that's four... and er, The Hole? He really is determined to start next season with at least eleven players, isn't he.
Whatever the make-up of the team next season, the odds are currently, and I quote, "an incredible 20/1" to be clutching division winners' trophy and medals this time next year. Now, 'incredible' is a word I might have used this time last year, but for me, Brian, at the end of the day, Town's position in this table seems pretty fair to me.
Right, it's now 14:50 hours - that's ten to three - and until I finish this, you can't read it, so I'd better stop. Bye!
Friday 27 May
Hullo. Bottom-of-the-Barrel Diary here, bringing you the too-hot-to-touch Town news direct from Tetney: the only place in North East Lincolnshire where people still celebrate Lammas. And what have we here? News that highly-rated playwright, sorry, playmaker Alex Russell is out of contract with the Gulls, and attracting interest from the Robins. Makes him sound like a disgusting worm. No, hang on, that's Sam Aiston. But why am I mentioning this man? Because Grimsby are showing interest, despite his stated preference for a Division One club. Which division are we in again? Two? So he won't come here will he? Remember, you entered this news cul-de-sac here first. No turning in the driveway please.
Never mind, there's still plenty of quality in the Town squad. There's Pinault... oh, no, hang on... well, there's Forbes... whoa! Somewhat predictably, the sweepery type player has gone and signed for someone higher up the league: Oldham, to be specific, leaving us lighter in the classy defender area to the tune of one. Old friends of B.O.T.B. Diary will be relieved and delighted that I'm not going to say anything about him functioning best in a five-man attack, since such a comment would not be topical, funny, or legally warranted. Suffice it to say that my heart sinks a little with each passing day, and each passing player who leaves Town. We're in the army now.
Never mind, at least we've still got a defender who slide-tackles himself in a comical manner... whoa! Ronnie Bull has left the club, according to unofficial sources. Apparently he has been released by Town and is currently trying to impress the powers that be at Wycombe in the hope of gaining a contract there. Do the slide tackle trick, Ronnie that'll win them over. Despite claims that this news is on the OS, I can't find it, despite semi-diligent searching. All I could find were loads of pictures of a bald man in a silly hat. Let's hope that Cod Almighty never stoops to that level, eh?
Right, I'm off. A good harvest is important here in Tetney, and the gods must be appeased. Will someone please fetch me a goat and a bucket? Cheers.
Thursday 26 May
Cor, Liverpool, eh? Not that the Diary wishes any kind of success on a football club that voted to set up an institution in this case the Premier League whose all-but-stated intention is to destroy smaller clubs such as Grimsby; but it just goes to show that it ain't over 'til Sam Aiston actually signs a contract. And while this time yesterday the agent of the former Shrewsbury winger was on the blower to BP doing the player's reneging for him, and we all believed Mr Russell Slade when he said Sam was off to Darlington instead, the club formerly known as Safecrackers United is now claiming, far from having completed the transfer, to have had only "a brief discussion" with the player. So either Aiston's off to Bristol Rovers after all or Russ may live to regret his spontaneous outburst of anger at a player. Still, it wouldn't be the first time.
Better news for the Mariners, unless you believe that Joe Lightowler is still registered to the club and will break through into the first team and score 39 goals next season, is that Town completed the signing of Jermaine Palmer yesterday afternoon, albeit on one of those confidence-undermining one-year contracts. Better news still for the Mariners, if Ronnie Bull's positional sense makes you yearn for the good old days of Tony 'Mr Dependable' Gallimore, is that your erstwhile wandering left-back is unlikely to be appearing in a black and white shirt next season unless Wycombe Wanderers choose this design for their away kit, as Bull is officially on trial at Adams Park.
Another former Town left-back, Darren Barnard, is the subject of a piece in the Western Mail all about how that corner he conceded for Wales against Russia "led to the score that probably shredded any hope he harboured of escaping Grimsby for better things". And the rest of it is even more badly written than that.
A quick look at today's email, then - because there isn't much of it. "Grimsby beat them, you know," writes Michael Shelton. I know! And Tony Gallimore was in the team! In case your attention span doesn't reach back to the beginning of today's Diary, Michael is on about Liverpool. Likewise, readers who encounter any Carlsberg-shirted plastics on the streets of Grimsby this evening may care to remind them gently of the events of 9 October 2001.
And with that I take my leave of you for another week in the life of Grimsby Town Football Club, but forget ye not to come back here at the same time tomorrow well, roughly the same time; it doesn't have to be 1:27pm and 14 seconds when, I am given to understand, the events of the next 24 hours will be summarized for you by an entirely new and photogenic kind of guest Diary. T'ra.
Wednesday 25 May
Real Madrid have their famous galacticos transfer policy. Tottenham are apparently trying to sign any half-decent English player under the age of 21. And the Mariners, if today's news gives a valid indication, intend to rebuild their squad with players whose names feature in hip-hop lyrics. For that news is that Town are in talks with teenage Stoke striker and, of course, subject matter of The Roots Jermaine Palmer. The player, you will probably recall, came to Blundell Park for a trial back in March and played quite well against Manchester Bay Buccaneers reserves. "He then came back towards the end of the season and he had improved again. I'm sure there is more to come from him," says a disembodied voice on Town's OS who might equally be Russell Slade, Graham Rodger, or Jermaine's mum.
More transfer news now, and 29-year-old Sam Aiston, latterly of the Mariners' fourth division counterparts Shrewsbury, is what they like to call an old-fashioned winger, usually in conjunction with epithets such as 'out-and-out' and 'touchline-hugging'; and sure enough, he's inconsistent as well, having lost his place in the Shrews' first XI last season despite coming as close as any player can to beating John McDermott when his side lined up against GTFC.
Equally sure enough, Aiston was once on the books at Sunderland, and a profile on Shrewsbury's official website adds the important information that he likes "proper guitar music", enjoyed English literature at school, and was once stuck in a lift with ten other lads in Grimsby. "He can play in a number of positions and it's a relief to have him sign with us after other clubs showed an interest," the Town boss told the Grimsby Telegraph, shortly before Aiston signed for another club.
Diary reader John Pakey, meanwhile, has been to the Colorado Rapids' website to read about Terry Cooke's immense work ethic, and the screen of his monitor seems to have cracked. "There are some horrific looking people in the professional game," writes John. "Philip Neville and his strange resemblance to Albert Steptoe, for example. However, I've never known so many in one team. Ritchie Kotschan has a massive scary chin that Greg Rusedski would be proud of. Hunter Freeman's got a set of upper front teeth that are just aching to break out and take over the world, and I do not know what is going on with Amir Lowery just freaky. No wonder football is not popular on the American soil, not with scary chaps like that in the squad. Not many pretty boy Beckhams, is there?" All in all, then, it would seem Cooke has hooked up with the ugly club. They're not managed by a bloke called Nicky Law, by any chance?
Lastly today, a moment of respect for the Diary's most persistent emailers of recent times, Messrs Sibbo and Dave the Engineer, who wore their Cod Almighty T-shirts at the FA Cup final last Saturday. Splendid work, you fellows, and so much the better if you can confirm or deny the rumours that Jason Crowe was spotted in Cardiff before the match in talks with Arsene Wenger. He used to play for Arsenal, you know.
Tuesday 24 May
Questions, questions, questions. When are two weeks the same as one? When you're promoting a football club's official text message service, that's when! While at least a couple of imminent signings for the Mariners were tantalisingly dangled before our mobile phones way back in, ooh, the first half of the month, deals to reinforce the squad are still, it would appear, not complete. The Grimsby Telegraph has taken time out from its possible 2007 move to a new £50m printing works at Elsham Wold to speak to Russell Slade, manager of its local football club, who is after two new midfielders, who may or may not sign during the next 48 hours. One, says the boss, "was in the division above last season and can play in both midfield and at the back if needed", and so may or may not be Craig Armstrong. "I can't afford to wait and then be left short in the middle of the park," adds Russ. As always, the Diary recommends a visit to the bathroom before you go out.
Is your cup half empty or half full? Since you are probably a Grimbarian, the chances are that you reckon your cup to hold barely enough liquid sustenance to moisten the tongue of a sparrow, and to be dirty, cracked and leaking fast to boot. I mean if Town's average attendance is only 1,000 less than in the club's second-flight days, that means most local people are a bunch of miserable bastards who don't know a good thing when it smacks them in the gob and scores five goals against Crystal Palace, surely? Hooray for the club's official website, though, for trying to put a positive spin on it, albeit in an item only just published despite clearly having been written just after the derby match against Scunthorpe in April. The piece also refers explicitly to the big crowd at that game (recorded as 7,941) just above a table of the average and highest gates of 200405 for each club in the fourth division, which gives Town's largest attendance as 7,091. Oh well. I'm sure nobody will notice.
If all good things come to an end, does it follow that all things that come to an end are good? Not necessarily, no. Take Lennie Lawrence's tenure as manager of Cardiff City, for instance, which came to an end yesterday. The south Wales club is reported to be £30m in debt and has climbed little more than a dozen places up the league since the silver-tongued former Town boss was appointed in 2002. At a cost of around £2m per league place gained, then, even the craziest of mad, deluded fools could scarcely present Lawrence's term in charge at Ninian Park as a good thing and sure enough, Sam Hammam speaks only of his ex-manager's "loyalty", "dignity" and "composure". Maybe LL could fill a few empty days by giving Rabid Russ a crash course in the latter.
"With Aldershot failing in the Conference play-offs, and Tim Sills scoring another 16 goals for them this year to show he's no one-season wonder, what does the Diary think about the possibility of Slade renewing his interest in him?" asks Andy Holt in what is beyond reasonable doubt an email to the Diary. "Ignore the fact that he signed a two-year deal last summer and GTFC have no cash to spend on frivolous things like transfer fees, of course." I think there's more chance of him signing Matt Harrold, Andy.
Monday 23 May
Life can often be seen as comprising simply a series of questions, and today the Diary is asking all the big ones. Why am I here? What is my place in the universe? And if Gary Cohen was so amazing at Scarborough then why did Russell Slade sell him to Gretna in the first place? But remembering, of course, that the Lord Futcher was but a humble Halifax reserve just before he graced Blundell Park with His heavenly radiance, let us put our cynicism aside and see what's happening today. Slade prepares for a busy seven days is the headline of today's lead story in the Grimsby Telegraph, which sounds promising, but amounts, sadly, to little more than Russ saying he has to sort out new contracts for the players he wants to keep and maybe think about signing some new ones as well at some point. No mention is being made anywhere at all, so far as the Diary is aware, of the two who we were led to believe six days ago were "close to agreeing deals" with Town, regardless of whether one of them was the player who did well in that trial match played, ooh, ages ago now, and who we had to sign like really quickly before he went somewhere else. Hmmm.
Terry Fleming is probably about to do one, but you read that six times over the weekend. Oh look Hull have signed a striker. Fancy that.
Another of life's big questions is, of course, "what happened to Terry Cooke?" And the internet may be 97.5 per cent complete and utter crap, but it's come up with the goods this time. OK, so strictly speaking, the Diary reported on Monday 18 April that he'd signed for Colorado Rapids, but what we hadn't seen at the time was his profile on the club's website. You may know already that the highlights of Cooke's career have included his season with the Mariners and his receiving a young player of the year award "from the hands of Sir Alex Ferguson himself", but you may not previously have been aware that "Terry's work ethic is immense". Well, you are now.
Friday 20 May
Your Guest Diarist has taken to waking up too early. Far too early. So two or three hours are spent every morning in silent rumination. One recurring topic is from where the comedy value in next season's team will be drawn. With that in mind, gentle reader, I secretly yearn for Town to sign Kevin Pressman. Williams has been too sad and the mistakes he makes just aren't funny. Give me an old roly-poly keeper in a big jumper any day. And as for Mr Slade's penchant for trying to convert big lumpy centre-halves into fast, nimble wing-backs, I can only lie back and whimper softly in to the pillow...
But there is Town news, thanks to that eagle-eyed slacker extraordinaire Pete Green, who shyly emailed me with a link to the West Cumbrian News & Star. The article excitedly reports that "Gretna striker Gary Cohen is set to join Grimsby Town on loan after returning from a hugely-successful season-long spell with Workington Reds." Before that, the 21-year-old, who was top scorer for the Reds, is reported to be going to Austria for a pre-season training camp with his Gretna teammates.
For those of you who are mildly surprised that Town are scouting west Cumbrian non-League sides, I can tell you that the link lies with Scarborough, as Gretna's reserve team coach Dean Holdsworth played under Mr Slade there. Gretna, as Sky's Jeff Stelling endlessly tells us, have a rich bloke at the helm who lends one of his flash cars to the man of the match each week. "What's that about big fishes in small puddles?" I hear you mutter. Anyway, here's a photo of the chirpy-looking young Mr Cohen. Let's hope he makes the grade.
Meanwhile Town's official site is busy trumpeting the fact that Sunderland keeper Michael Ingham has declined a move to the Mariners in favour of joining Wrexham. Ingham is on the fringes of the Northern Ireland squad and had an earlier loan spell at Wrexham, which he enjoyed, according to the Wrexham Daily Post. To pad out the page those pesky official site interweb kids also tell us that all the Town players offered contracts who still haven't signed, er, still haven't signed.
Well I, for one, will be rooting for Macclesfield against Lincoln. We don't want another of the Lincolnshire sides getting promoted do we? Ooh, and I just got forwarded a cracking story from Diary reader John Pakey. It's all about the current shenanigans in Hull to do with Adam Pearson starting up a radio station to broadcast amber propaganda. And on that wonderful rhyming note I will bid you adieu. See yer.
Thursday 19 May
Two hundred and eighty-five quid is the price being asked by Grimsby Town Football Club for a new standard season ticket: 19 pounds or 7 per cent more than for last season to watch a team without Thomas Pinault. After seeming at first to have published last year's prices again, and then taking the link down off its front page but leaving the page up, the club's official website has finally revealed the damage for 200506, and the jewellery-rattlers of the Main Stand and Upper Smiths/Stones/Findus face a similar hike, from 304 to 323 notes, while a plethora of new discounted tickets are introduced for kids of various age groups; foolishly, the club appears to have spurned the opportunity to impose a penalty charge for children with Manchester United shirts or ginger hair. All in all, in comparison with the rest of the fourth division, supporting the Mariners still seems a reasonably priced course of action, though these calculations omit to factor in the considerable cost to Town fans' psychological well-being.
Michael Shelton has rattled off a brisk email to the Diary taking issue with this assessment. "You've got to be joking," moans he of Durham. "We could watch some proper football for that much, travel expense included." These prices are for a whole season, though, Michael.
The other thing we do at this time of year, when we're not desperately keeping track of rearranged friendlies, is desperately keep track of what's happening to players who were once attached to the Town but are no longer. The other day we did Tricky Micky Boulding (now being courted by the financial wizards of Bradford); today it's the turn of the Mariners' last decent left-back Gary Croft. Once tipped to do lots of really good stuff, Crofty, well, didn't, though he will always be remembered as the first footballer to play professionally while wearing an electronic tag. The ears of foolish dreamers will prick up, anyway, at the news that the player is being released by Lennie-Lawrence's-Cardiff-City after an injury-blighted couple of years in south Wales, though if he can get through the summer breaking less than two limbs then they might give him one of those pay-as-you-play deals for next season. The reports say he's 31 now, which is obviously wrong, as Gary Croft will always be 21 to the Diary.
Another ex-Mariner in the news is Stuart Campbell in the Guardian, to be precise, as this clipping (right) demonstrates. Perhaps financial reality is finally starting to bite at Bristol Rovers; either way, invisibility is bound to be handy in this line of work.
Terry Fleming is not an ex-Mariner, though he may soon become one; regardless of his employment status, his cult hero status is secure, and the Diary is pleased to guide you to the website of The Black Zidane Appreciation Society, which picks up where Terry Fleming's Terrytorial Army left off and carries it somewhere else.
Last of all this week, before I hand over the reins of Cod Almighty's round-the-clock on-the-spot news machine to Guest Diary, an email from Andy Holt, who, ever the statistician, points out that "seven contracted players is 75 per cent more than we had at this time last year". This is true well, I assume it's true; I can't be arsed to check that he's got his sums right, and it's true in spirit and the Diary is only surprised that Town's official website hasn't made the point that a 7 per cent increase in season ticket prices is considerably smaller than a 75 per cent increase in squad size.
Wednesday 18 May
Chelsea. Thinking they're all that, with their Premiership title, England internationals and charismatic manager. Pffff. What these jumped-up johnny-come-latelies don't realise is that Grimsby Town have been there, done the tapping-up scandal thing when it was still cool, and got told off by Scarborough. For it was a whole year ago that the newly appointed Mariners boss Mr Russell Slade was reported to have approached his former charge at the Bowl of Oven Chips, midfielder Scott Kerr, to see if he fancied following him down the coast to a glorious future at Blundell Park, and was publicly lambasted by an "appalled" Seadogs chairman. This week Kerr is one of three out-of-contract Scarborough players reported to be in talks with other clubs. Perhaps somebody could just remind me what two and two make.
The midfield, Mariners fans are generally agreed, is an area of the squad that will certainly need to be strengthened now that the best footballer on the books is being let go. Another pressing concern regarding new signings is the position of goalkeeper, particularly since the number of senior glovemen under contract to the club beyond this summer currently stands at zero. Here Town's official website can help out, since it is today unequivocally stating as fact not only that shaky Welshman Anthony Williams is pondering a new contract offered him by GTFC but also that Rantin' Russ "has targeted a new keeper" who is definitely, incontrovertibly, officially... oh... I mean "believed to be" from a "Championship side". That does mean Chelsea, Sunderland, Luton or Yeovil, doesn't it?
Town's commercial department has realised the necessity to raise its game if all these fresh-blooded young men are to be offered tempting packages (missus): hence the progress from those piffling old one-shirt-at-a-time auctions that are synonymous with the club's recent double relegations to an online car boot sale of the entire team's sweat-stained battle armour. Dan Humphrey has already emailed the Diary to ask: "If you buy Forbes', do you get free gloves and tights too?" Which means the time has surely come to draw a line under these jibes at Terrell's matchday apparel, because what all you fun-pokers fail to realise is that the soon to be ex-Mariners centre-half actually suffers from a debilitating medical condition that causes him to lose body heat from exposed limbs at several times the normal rate. The world's leading experts on human physiology have termed this disorder "being a southerner".
Speaking of emails, the Diary's inbox is groaning under the weight of your pet names. Katie George ("the Heartbroken Meggies Rockchick Manhunter au revoir Thomas!") has a dog named Frank "after Francis Rossi from the Mighty Quo" and Richard Bedwell's folks have a cat called Nasser "after the then England cricket captain and not because we were thinking of sending him into space". On more of a Mariners riff, Mark Wilson has a cat called Buckley, who his gran calls "Grimsby Town the cat" as the last manager she remembers at BP is Bill Shankly. Mat 'Wycombe' Winn is moving house next month and will be calling his new jack russell puppy Mighty, after Mighty Mariner. Jerry Baily's collie Mariner sadly died young of water on the brain, but his successor Rebound is now nearly ten years old. And Dave the Engineer's first cat was, bizarrely, named after Dean Crombie. Well, I guess you'd have had a job calling him in at night if you'd gone for Mike Czuczman.
Tuesday 17 May
I don't know whether Russell Slade taught maths in his previous job, but he certainly seems to have a thing for percentages. Hence Thomas Pinault, the best passer of a football to turn out for the Mariners since the golden days of Wayne Burnett, looks set to be jettisoned after just one season at Blundell Park: the greatest possible disincentive to buy a new season ticket, less than a week before the club announces a price rise. "We saw both sides of Thomas this season good and bad," Positive John has told the Grimsby Telegraph, because there's no way you could say that about any other player in the squad, is there.
So thumbs down to Rabid Russ for taking the chocolate chips out of our cookie, further thumbs down to Town's official website for running the story in "Pinault is rumoured to be on his way out" form as if it were some kind of unofficial network site run by fans, and thumbs up to Thomas for giving occasional respite to Grimsby supporters over a season that, while better than the previous one, comprised an unacceptable proportion of mostly unwatchable long-ball football. Oh for the days when Town narrowly lost matches after playing lots of pretty passing football, rather than narrowly losing matches after twatting the ball 20 feet in the air for an hour and a half.
It looks like Jason Crowe is leaving too, but we all knew he would, didn't we.
Chairman Fenty's chumming-up session with the Telegraph has also embraced the subject of new signings, to the extent that we now know talks with two new players are quite advanced. "Fingers crossed, by the weekend, we may have some news on that front," grins John, adding: "You need a couple of new faces to freshen things up and that's what we are aiming for." The need to freshen things up is a fairly good reason for a couple of new faces, admittedly, but most supporters would tend to cite the presence of just seven contracted players as an even better one.
Michael Boulding, of course, is not a new face but an old one, so it won't be him who's freshening up the Mariners' stale-smelling football wardrobe despite the former Barnsley tennis ace being released after 15 months in South Yorkshire. The fleet-footed forward began life at Oakwell slowly but found the net again a few times in 2005 only to be sent out on a non-scoring loan at Cardiff with Lennie Lawrence the man who brought him to Grimsby and played him out of position on the left wing. The Diary much like most readers thereof, I would venture does not expect either Boulding or GTFC to express interest in a third collaboration.
Another old face, but a welcome one in these quarters, is that of Town's record-breaking, new contract-signing right-sided defensive maestro, and it is on this subject that John Pakey has emailed the Diary. "I think the only way to celebrate the great news of the world's best-ever right-back, Sir John McDermott, king of Cleethorpes, signing for Grimsby Town for another year would be to put together a T-shirt?" he writes. Strange that you should ask this, John, as I believe CA's leisurewear team have been considering precisely such a garment. The consensus, however, was that it would be best produced as a celebration of the great man's career when he stops playing, so you'll have to go bare-chested for at least another season, I'm afraid.
But this is not all from Mr Pakey on the subject. "And while that knighthood is still pending," he adds, "my family has done its best to honour the pride of the Pontoon in the best way we can, by naming the new dog after him. Macca will be brought back to the homestead next week. He's a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever. Here is something for you guys to maybe fill out some paras with. How many other fans have gone as far as naming loved ones be they four-legged, furry, scaley or human after their favourite Mariners players?" Again, John, it's funny you should say that, but the Diary would be delighted to hear from readers who have preceded you in this respect. If your cat is named after a former Town keeper, or anything remotely comparable, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday 16 May
As the days and weeks have gone by with no revelations about a new contract for the Mariners' greatest legend, the club's fans have started to worry, even as they have continued to support the campaign for him to receive an honour from the Queen for his loyal service to the club, which is perhaps unparalleled in the modern game. With the future of their hero still in the balance, and his recent form having suggested that he could still attract the interest of other sides, could Town hold on to the greatest defender ever to don the black and white stripes? Or from this summer onwards, would supporters have only their golden memories of his glittering career at Blundell Park for comfort? Well, today the waiting is over, and Grimsby supporters can breathe a huge sigh of collective relief with the glorious news that his most royal exalted excellence, the one, the only HRH Sir Glen Downey wants to stay with the club.
Oh, and some bloke called McDermott is going to sign for Town tomorrow as well.
Other football news now, and: cuh, that Malcom Glazer, eh? Cuh! I dunno, it must be terrible having a multi-squillionaire buy your club, eh? Cuh. Especially when it's not for sale. And when I say 'not for sale' I mean apart from the bit about it being publicly listed on the stock exchange and hence, er, for sale. Still, power to the fans, and Glazer is sure to be quaking in his boots when he realises what he's up against. The Independent Manchester United Supporters Association (IMUSA), for example, is in the forefront of the battle for the big heart and grassroots soul of Manchester United. IMUSA spokesman Mark Longden presciently announced in October last year that there was "no way" Glazer would persist in his efforts to take over the Reds and, flushed with the success of his prediction, urged United fans to boycott this season's FA Cup semi-final against Newcastle in protest at its being played in Cardiff, where 69,000 people could go and watch it, rather than Elland Road or Villa Park, where 40,000 people could have gone and watched it. Cuddly Malc will have noted with some interest the result of IMUSA's call to stay away from the match, which was that 69,000 people went and watched it.
Friday 13 May
Hi guys. Happy Friday the 13th to you all. Durham Diary back here due to...well due to no-one else wanting to do it I guess.
"Pearson explained that "the accepted norm" for friendlies is "the bigger club getting 50% of the gate" which raises some interesting questions about how they decide which is the bigger club." So said Regular McDiary yesterday. Not really Mr McD, you see if one club gets 50% and the other club gets the remainder, well, they get 50% as well. I should be at university doing maths really shouldn't I? Oh...
In early transfer "news", the Grimsby Telegraph are speculating that Shrewsbury midfielder Sam Aiston might be coming in this direction for next season. A swift one on Soccerbase verifies exactly what Durham Diary always supsected, namely that Aiston has made exactly 150 starts in all competitions for the Shrews, in addition to 41 substitute appearances. Interestingly Samuel has scored 7 goals in this time, meaning presumably our Russ feels the club doesn't currently have enough non-scoring midfielders on it's books. And who are we to disagree?
The OS have just reported that Rob Jones has signed a new one year deal. For Town. So he'll be around next year. I've heard a lot of people saying he's a bit rubbish, but I keep thinking back to the Rochdale away game that was abandoned on New Year's Day. He was the best player on the pitch by a mile. He headed everything away that they launched at us, and from free-kicks and corners he was awesome, hitting the bar and forcing their keeper into the best save I've seen this season outside of, well, outside of Petr Cech. So I for one am glad he's signed a new one year deal. For Town. And I'll look forward to him being useful in the air and useless on the floor next season.
"Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start..." sang that woman person in the Sound of Music. The OS seem to think this is pretty sound advice, and have started their season review with the months of August and Septmber. But with it being the OS it's all a bit glossy and not brutal enough. If you want REAL analysis of the last season you could do a lot worse than Mr. Holt's statistically delicious effort available only on this site. And you thought a plug was only used in the bath...
If you haven't heard already, Malcolm Glazer is taking over Manchester United. And the supporters aren't that happy about it, like. So those who knew the way to Manchester made the long journey from home yesterday to vent their collective spleen, burning effigies and generally doing the whole "Boo, Sort It" thing. No, I'm not arsed really either, if you let people buy shares in your club so you can get a few new players then you run the risk of people, well, buying shares in your club. But hey, there isn't that much to write about, it's football related, and I've got a train to catch soon!
With all the lower divisions done bar the shouting more commonly referred to as playoffs, Durham Diary's attention will shift to the Premiership tomorrow [That'd be Sunday - Ed], with the only thing left to be resolved being who gets to have a relegation battle next year...I mean pull off the wonderful achievement of staying in the top flight. Personally I hope West Brom become the first ever club to be bottom of the Premier League at Christmas and not be relegated, since my mate here at uni is a Baggies fan. Why? Oh, well you see his cousin used to play for them a few years ago. Who is his cousin? I'm glad you asked that, 'cause it kinda makes it all relevant. Kevin Donovan. So despite having seen The Mariners win twice at Wembley, he's a bloody WBA fan because Kev played for them earlier. Which just about sums it up really, doesn't it? There are just too many reasons for people not to support Town sometimes. Still, at least he's not a Man U fan.
Finally today, Durham Diary wishes to offer his sincere apologies for the rude word used in my last diary. Thing is, I used an asterisk to censor the word, but the man who put it onto the web for you all un-censored it. I can assert I would never haved used a swearword without his intervention. The bastard.
Thursday 12 May
"Two out of three ain't bad," sang bloated, histrionic cartoon rocker Meatloaf once upon a time. God only knows what he was going on about, but it probably wasn't the proportion of player trials at Grimsby Town Football Club that result in the award of professional contracts. In this context, you see, a much smaller ratio is considered acceptable; indeed, after Tuesday's trial match at Blundell Park Mr Russell Slade has announced that one out of 22 ain't bad either, and he sounds very excited about that one. "There's certainly one that I want to pursue," the Mariners boss told his club's official website as he brandished a large net. "Hopefully we can capture his signature before long... If we can manage to sign he [sic.] we will be delighted." The OS has, of course, so far saved the Diary a lot of frantic lunchtime googling by declining to identify the players involved in the match, but today it explains that they came "from clubs such as Cardiff, Partick Thistle, Everton, Liverpool, Bordeaux and even from the Gambia." Which is an improvement on "Gamibia", but since the onset of the post-colonial era there's been no "the" in the name. Just for future reference, they've renamed Rhodesia as well, you know.
It has emerged that Town's policy of arranging hopefully lucrative friendlies against local sides this summer recently extended to inviting Hull over the bridge for a kickabout but that the north bankers knocked GTFC back for several reasons, the most reasonable of which seems to be Tahgers chairman Adam Pearson sharing the perception that the Mariners' financial predicament is nowhere near as bad as those of, say, Wrexham or Cambridge. A piece on a Hull fan site reports that another key factor was that Positive John wouldn't give them any money for playing. I know! Shocking! But Pearson explained that "the accepted norm" for friendlies is "the bigger club getting 50% of the gate" which raises some interesting questions about how they decide which is the bigger club and said Town said no when they wanted a friendly some time, and why should they help Grimsby anyway when Fenty is "worth £40million", and he's still a bit pissed off with Town for not accepting some tuppenny-ha'penny offer they made for Phil Jevons about 30 years ago, and Russell Slade's sister once called Stuart Elliott "poo-poo face" when they were at school together, or something, probably.
Just time for a quick dip into the Diary's inbox before I bugger off and leave you in the hands of a guest diarist for Friday which is fitting, since the subject of today's email is buggering off: specifically, by players of the year. "Groves did win player of the year once," writes Al Wilkinson, contradicting the foolish assertion I made here yesterday, "then he buggered off to West Brom, starting the tradition of win player of the year then bugger off." This, in turn, invites debate over cause and effect. Perhaps Town fans tend to vote for a certain player because they know he'll be buggering off, and they want to seize their final opportunity to pay tribute to his contribution. Or and, let's face it, this is far more likely just so they can feel all hard done by and say "booo Slades, booo, sacking our player of the year, booo".
Wednesday 11 May
A fabulous A-list evening of star-studded entertainment was had at McMenemy's last night as the Mariners squad had their hair done and wore their best new glittery ballgowns to assemble (with just the one or two exceptions) for the 2005 player of the year awards. After nearly two glorious decades in showbusiness it was John McDermott who swept the board, taking the gongs for mainstream player of the year, Cod Almighty player of the year and best supporting wing-back, together with a lifetime achievement award; and he'd have won best original screenplay as well if Town were ever on the telly any more. Today was meant to be the day McDermott decided whether he would sign up to record yet another sequel in his long-running Grimsby Town series,
and although there seems to be no news as yet, the gossip columns are full of talk of "staying with the club he loves". Hull must reckon they're a bit too Hollywood these days to bother with stars of the small screen.
In other awards last night, Brat Pack multiple nominee Nick Hegarty was named young player of the year for his cameo performance at Kidderminster; Michael Reddy was named best actor for his series of outstanding dives throughout the season; and the BBC Humber website narrowly retains its crown for best mangling of English by a website that people actually get paid to write, by virtue of today's description of Macca's prize as a "converted award". Unless, of course, the trophy really did used to be a paperweight in the draughty accounts office at Five Star Fish, in which case the Diary apologises profusely.
Raging Russell Slade has "now spoken to every single player" in his squad, reports Town's official website. At first this may seem like no big deal seeing as he signed most of them himself and he's presumably spent the past nine months coaching them several times a week and then telling them his tactics for matches and everything, but what it means, when you read it in context, see, is he's spoken to them about their futures and stuff. Crafty. The boss goes on to explain that Dave 'The Spade' Soames has been invited for pre-season training without actually having been offered a new contract yet, and that Graham 'The Hair' Hockless reckons he's off to Australia. Which seems to be pretty much what young people do these days when they're feeling directionless, misunderstood and ill-treated by authority figures, but at 22 the evanescent winger might be considered a bit old for a gap year, and the Diary will worry no end about his backpack being too heavy for him.
But it's back to the player of the year awards for the inbox of today's Diary, where Michael Shelton has flung an email to remind me who won in the years before Phil Jevons reaped the protest vote at last season's award like a Lib Dem in a by-election. "Santos," explains Mr S. "Before that Coyne twice." Oh yeah. "Before that? Dunno. Groves, Pouton, McDermott, someone like that. Before that? Tees probably won it once." Does it go back that far? Actually, I bet you Groves and Macca never won it, as they're just the sort of consistent, non-flashy, English, quietly effective performers essential to the success of any team who Town fans always underappreciate. Until this year, obviously. I've never once heard a chant of "There's only one John McDermott", though. Except the one I started at my local after the Auto Windscreens Shield final in '98, but that's another story for another time.
Tuesday 10 May
When the Diary was a wee bairn I used to sit with Little Brother Diary and giggle loudly at our betamax video recordings of The Young Ones every time Adrian Edmondson said the word 'bastard'. Rather less profane, and hence considerably less amusing, was Nigel Planer's line "If I had a penny for every time I've had to answer the door, I'd have five pounds sixty-three!" But after 20 years in mental hibernation it has returned to me today, because if I had a penny for every trialist to have turned up at Blundell Park in the past two or three years, I too would be on my way to the pub and about to pay for a round with 563 new pence. Today alone, it would seem, 22 of the buggers are to take part in another specially arranged practice/try-out match. Isn't it funny how the number of trialists you take on is always exactly the number you need for a game of football? It's like all the news in the world being exactly enough to fill half an hour on ITV. Quite amazing.
Tickets are still available, admits Town's official website, for tonight's player of the year awards at McMenememenemy's, priced at a pocket-friendly two pounds. And for the first time in ages, it's not that obvious beforehand who's going to win. I mean any fool could have guessed Phil Jevons was going to benefit from last year's protest vote, and before that... er... um... well, that's the player of the year awards for you. Unforgettable.
Fashion news now, and the Mariners' new away shirt or 'change strip', as they used to be called when they were used to avoid clashing with the other team's colours rather than to take a few quid off you has been unleashed on an unsuspecting world. A natty little round-collared Italian blue number, the design is quite clearly influenced by Cod Almighty's staggeringly successful Ivano Bonetti T-shirt, but hey Town need the cash more than we do. A 10 per cent discount is available to season ticket holders on production of their empty 200405 ticket book, apparently, which causes the Diary mild regret at having chucked mine in the bin the very minute I got home from the Southend game.
Monday 9 May
Hello again! I don't know about you lot, but I'm having a lovely day today. I've just finished something big and work-related, and I've been out for a walk in the sunshine, and with the Mariners having just recorded their lowest final league position since before I was born, and there being no major international tournament in which England will flatter to deceive, it feels good to be able to forget all about football for three months. Except, that is, for the small matter of having to maintain the Diary during the close season but this shouldn't be a big deal given that much of the Town team also seemed to have forgotten all about football for large periods of the past nine months.
Before we all begin football hibernation and start filling this space with idle chatter about plastic bag photographers and Coro, though, there is the not small matter of Southend's justifiable pissed-offness following the incursion onto the grass of several dozen cloned pubescent synthetic fibre enthusiasts at the climax of Saturday's game. Town's official website has very sportingly reported the words of both Shrimpers manager Steve Tilson and chairman Ron Martin: "The fans are where they shouldn't be, they stopped the ball going out of play sometimes, and to top it off the ref has blown early as a result," said the former, while Martin has described the invasion as "disgraceful" and plans to report Town to the FA. As those responsible compare their exploits in the playground this lunchtime, let us hope that the hard-up Mariners aren't hit with a fine from the governing body although a fine might be the only way to convince the club to improve its stewarding. I wonder what's happening with the case of the incredible collapsing temporary seating as well.
Summertime is as synonymous with boring, drawn-out transfer non-stories as it is with overhyped music festivals and smelly topless Englishmen, and even the Mariners are not immune. His Eminence the Most Reverend Emperor Sir Boutros-Boutros Macca has told the Grimsby Telegraph today that he expects his future to be decided one way or t'other by Wednesday, allaying fears that the close season would see a repeat of the "he's off to Hull... now he's staying with Town... now he's off to Hull again" saga of 2003, which GTFC fans will recall rivalled even the Premiership's annual Vieira-to-Real Madrid yawnfest for raw soporific power. If you haven't been keeping up, then basically, well, Town and Macca are negotiating over a new contract. He might sign it, he might not. If he doesn't it will be a shame. Got that? Good.
As my colleague Mister Andrew Holt noted in his guest appearance here on Friday, Town have announced their programme of pre-season friendlies, and the big news is that none of them are against Halifax or Scarborough. What he didn't tell you on the lamentably weak excuse that they hadn't been announced at the time were the dates for the games against Scunthorpe, Doncaster and Lincoln. They have now. The might of promoted Scunny will present the first test for Mr Russell Slade's new improved Mariners side (now with added spine), visiting Blunder Park as some of their wittier supporters have rechristened it on Thursday 14 July; while Russ takes Lincolnshire's new underdogs to Belle Vue on Wednesday 27 July and Sincil Bank on Sunday 31 July. It's more local than a localised shower while you're reading your local paper over a pint at your local.
Lastly today but by no means leastly today, the Diary would like to draw your attention to another rather spiffy initiative from Town's supporters' trust admittedly one to which your attention has already been drawn by Rachel Branson in her latest KTMA update thingummy, but such is its profound spiffiness that I figured it deserved a supersized attention with extra attention to go. What it is, right, is a web page where you can order stuff from lots of big-name retailers at the normal price and a proportion of the cash goes to help the trust buy shares and keep the Mariners afloat, like. The phrase 'win-win situation' leaps jauntily to mind at this point, unless of course you buy the new Athlete album. Give it a go, why don't you.
Friday 6 May
Sorry for the lateness of today's diary. Technical issues, you see. Also apols for the lack of the usual high standard you're used to in Friday's guest diaries. I do numbers, you see, not words. It's a case of last resort.
But enough of that, on with the news. And to start us off let's look forward to tomorrow's end of season show-down with Southend. I can't believe those Iron fans got so riled when Grimsby's official site asked readers whether they'd like Town to roll over tomorrow to deny Scunny the title. I saw the Southend match back in November or whenever it was, and to be honest, they weren't up to much. We really could have done this division couldn't we? No-one was any good. And tomorrow I see no reason why we shouldn't end the season on a high. Despite a creditable loss being many Mariners fans' result of choice (see above) I think the Town players are more professional than that, and with the OS reporting that Russ has almost a full squad to pick from, I can see us earning a draw. Sorry, Shrimpers. Gritton and Macca are back from injury and should return while Jones has a bit of a headache and ringing in his ears so has to sit down. It should be a good turn-out either way. Supposedly Southend have sold 2,000 tickets. Should be a nice day for them too, despite the expected a.m. spitting. Oh, and the result.
With the 2004-05 season not yet over, Herr Direktor Slade is already looking forward to the new campaign. There was that private match between a load of trialists and the reserves earlier in the week and now Russ has come forward to announce that he hopes to bring in one of two new faces in the next few days. "We are hoping to sign a couple of players soon" says Russ.
And speaking of next season, look what I found on the much-maligned BBC Humber site. It seems that all is not well regarding contract negotiations, and in particular with regards Sir John of McDermott. For those of you too lazy to click on the hyperlink the report basically says Positive John made an offer, Macca turned up his nose, Mr Fenty asked why so Macca told him straight, before GTFC made a second offer. The ball is in Macca's court, it seems, and he's mulling as we speak. So this season could be Macca's last at BP after all. What a shocker.
And on that bombshell, I'll wish you a happy Friday. Enjoy the pre-season. Oh, before I go, I just reminded myself of a text I received from the club this morning. Pre-season friendlies have been announced against Sheffield Wednesday (18th July), Rotherham (22nd July), Leeds United (26th July) and also Scunny, Donny, and Linny (dates to be announced). There's nothing on the web yet though. Seeya.
Thursday 5 May
Having taken a look at a player called Jermaine and then decided not to bother, the big boss guys at GTFC have remembered the other thing you need to be taken seriously these days as a forward-thinking, going-places club, and decided to issue one of their occasional new statements about that new stadium thing. BBC Humber has recently quoted Positive John to the effect that if Town don't get their arses in gear sharpish then they will "lose the allocation", whatever the chuffing heck that means. Today, then, the club has explained that it is "hoping to obtain grant assistance towards funding a feasibility study, that would include obtaining planning permission", which still doesn't mean much to me, but if they don't get planning permission by 2007 then it's all over. Oh, and the site lacks "credabilty", as well, apparently (the plot of land at Great Coates, I mean, not www.gtfc.co.uk), which means eight out of ten people who own lots of shops, when asked whether they'd like to build another one near Town's new stadium, go "ha ha ha ha" and put the phone down.
Concussed centre-half Rob Jones is staging a festival of self-pity in an interview appearing now on the club's OS. "It is massively disappointing [to have to relax in the stand drinking tea on a sunny day escaping any blame for your team getting tonked at home by Southend]," laments the lanky defender. "I've been in and out a lot this season, but I think I've proved in the last four games what Rob Jones is all about," adds the player, supplementing his defensive arsenal of heading, marking and blocking with a world-class display of referring to himself in the third person.
So, OK, I got around to a bit of digging about Sir Brian Maw-thingy's two-penn'orth about the future structure of the FA. The governing body is being examined in something called the Burns review, which is receiving submissions from the Football League and the Premier League giving their views about how things should be done. Most of what Sir Bri has proposed on behalf of the Football League doesn't look terribly interesting, really it's all "this is how many seats should go around this desks and these are the tedious suits who should sit in them", when it ought to be "RAGE! REVOLUTION! DEATH TO CHELSEA!" but what is worthy of attention is the fact that the Premier League, in contrast to the FL, has refused to make public its submission to the Burns review. The only reason the Diary can conceive of for this is that it would reflect badly on the Premier League, because it's probably all "MORE MONEY FOR US! DEATH TO THE SMALL CLUBS!" A bit like the people who are least willing to tell you who they're voting for always being Tories.
What next? Why, it's an email from Michael Shelton, aka Durham Diary, who wishes to announce: "They do things differently up north." How so, MSakaDD? "Now that it's cricket season, Peter Moores has become director of the National Academy. Hence the Durham County Cricket Club website runs a headline about an interview with Peter Moore. Oh to be back home where people know whether names end in an S or not." Indeed it's only a week, after all, since a contributor to CA's letters page demonstrated that, although the time of Bobby Cumming may be long past, we Grimbarians still remember that his name really ended in an S. Got a punchline for us, then, Mikey? "Good luck to Slades and the squad for next season." Lovely.
That's it from your regular Diary-dude, then, for the final week of this only moderately disappointing season. Come back tomorrow, though, for a generous helping of guesty goodness, and come back again after that for, um
well, we'll blow up that bridge when we come to it. Thanks for reading.
Wednesday 4 May
"Do you think Rob Jones should be given a new contract?" the Diary asked Cod Almighty's widely renowned match reporter Tony Butcher on Saturday, early on during the Mariners' game down at Kidderminster. Yes, said Tony; do you? I, likewise, responded in the affirmative, for the Dock Tower-dwarfing centre-half has, I feel, played a considerable role in the side's recent run of proficient defending. And no sooner had we agreed on the need for Jones' term of employment by GTFC to be extended than up he popped to open Town's scoring for the day. Which was nice. What is less nice, however, is that Mr Russell Slade's final decision on the matter will be based on the games Jones has already played rather than the one he won't play against Southend this Saturday, as the concussion the player suffered at Aggborough rules him out of strenuous physical activity for a period of ten days. This is not, repeat, not a cue for the less than positive to insert a punchline about the workrate of Jason Crowe.
Not that the Diary tends to be concerned with other football clubs, and not that one-time troublers of AOL's email porn filter Scunthorpe United would tend to be among them if I did, but it's worth a moment to chuckle at how much of a twist some Iron knickers have got in about a daft webpoll thingy being run on Town's official website earlier this week. Not that I even saw it, but it was apparently some jokey thing about whether the Mariners should lose on purpose against Southend to try and help the Essex side beat Scunny to automatic promotion. Not that I'm desperate, after six games against the other Lincolnshire teams and no wins, for some kind of local laughing rights, but some of our friendly neighbours seem to be so uptight and unconfident of beating Shrewsbury at the weekend that they have taken the whole thing, well, a bit too seriously, really, and "reported" GTFC for this outrage not only to the Football League but to the Scunthorpe Telegraph! Sometimes you don't even need a punchline.
There's something today about that failed Tory politician who runs the Football League trying to get the second, third and fourth divisions (which he renamed, um, whatever it was, I can't remember now) a bit more influence over the way the game is run; but if his attempts to persuade FIFA not to extend its stupid transfer window thing to the League were anything to go by then my breath, for one, is not going to be held.
When he isn't hurling abuse at Town players there's nothing Sean Fieldsend enjoys more than reading about Gamibian trialists on the club's official website. "The page said the team of trialists would partake in a game against the reserves," writes Sean in an email to the Diary, adding: "those that haven't been released without our knowledge, that is! That seems like a fair enough idea to me. Of course Slade probably won't keep any of them, but you can't blame him for trying. I was concerned, however, that the website claims at least eight will play in the game! Surely it would give them a better chance to shine if 11 of them played. If Mr Slade needs a few more trialists to make up the numbers before discarding everyone I am available and am prepared to be rejected at the end of it." Very public-spirited of you, Sean, I'm sure, but they don't have to pay travel expenses to traffic cones, you see.
Remaining on the subject of Town's latest influx of migrant trialists (who, it seems, managed to play their practice game yesterday without Sean), Loughborough Mariner and about 981 others have observed with a nudge and a wink that one of them is called Emmanuelle. "Please can we have a nice smutty joke in the Diary," begs LM, "as I'm too lazy to think of one myself?" Sadly I must decline, Loughborough, since such a gag would rest upon the highly questionable assumption that the Mariners' official site has got the player's name right. I mean for all we know he might actually be called Deep Throat.
Tuesday 3 May
Welcome to another week with the Diary, which begins with an interesting interview with Nick Hegarty/Heggarty in the Grimsby Telegraph the other day. Speaking of his impressive debut as a second-half substitute at Kidderminster on Saturday, the flame-haired forward said: "I thought I did all right, and the things I didn't do well I will learn from
I know I have got to take my chances after seeing some of my mates getting released last week Liam Parker, Chris Hyam and Joe Lightowler."
Hang on Joe Lightowler? Released? No, I'm sorry, Nick you must have that wrong. No way. Not the Joe Lightowler who Town spent three years telling us had turned down Aston Villa and Manchester United so he could play for the Mariners. There's no way he'll have been released, is there. And I mean if he had been then the club would have announced it officially and the Telegraph would have run a whole story on it because it would have been such surprising news. There's just no way it would have sneaked out as a throwaway comment at the end of a four-line post-match interview with a fringe player, is there. I mean that's the sort of shambolic communications management that would shame a cub scout jumble sale. There's no way you'd expect it from a professional football club. No way.
Regardless (or, as George W Bush would probably say, irregardless) of who may be leaving Blundell Park, Furious Russ is wasting no time in setting up an elaborate reality TV-style trial for hundreds of new contestants sorry, players who are to play in a specially arranged practice match and then probably get voted off by supporters one by one until the last trialist left gets a one-year contract with the option of a further year. Town's official site gives a very shonky list of the lucky participants which manages to change the spelling of Volendam from last time it mentioned Sven Baas and invent a country called Gamibia. Well, it's all foreign, innit.
As ever, then, it falls to Cod Almighty to clear up other people's mess, and the Diary's specially trained team of research llamas has so far discovered that the, er, Gamibian midfielder whose name appears on the OS as "Abou Nije" is probably Abdou Rahman Njie of Gambia, who, according to the head research llama, Dennis, "has been playing in Germany for a few years", and that "Matterson from Boston Town can only really be Danny Matson a fairly prolific striker". And actually, to say the OS has invented Gamibia is to do a grave disservice to Hal Needham, director of the 1982 film Megaforce, in which the free world is defended by a ramshackle but effective pseudo-military motorcycle team of that name, led by a tough but charismatic guy with the indisputably brilliant name of Ace Hunter, since it is in the fictitious African nation of Gamibia that much of the action takes place. The 562 users who have rated the film on the Internet Movie Database award it an average of 2.7 marks out of ten. Boooo! Slades out!
That would seem to be all for another day and so, to borrow the unforgettable words of Ace Hunter in Megaforce, "I just wanted to say goodbye and remind you that the good guys always win even in the eighties."