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Diary - October 2006
Tuesday 31 October
Beleaguered Town manager Grahams Rodgerses at last has some good news to warm his cockles after several weeks of defensive blunders, disappearing players, suspensions, injuries, dark rumours, cod shortages, asbos, climate change, global thermonuclear war and Gary Jones. Hang flags from the telegraph poles, reader, for Isaiah Rankin could replace the banned Lump in tonight's Pot of Paint match at Mansfield, and much more besides. The mighty Ranks scored on his second debut for the Mariners, in August's curtain-raising, not to say hair-raising, 3-2 win over Boston and, despite failing to find the net since and missing eight games with a thigh thing, still tops the table of Cod Almighty man of the match awards. Crikey, what a lot of links! Today's glad tidings extend to the circumstances of Town's two remaining loanees, as Forest have said Kevin James can play tonight, and Scunthorpe were knocked out of the competition last night so will presumably not be too concerned at the prospect of Andy Butler becoming cup-tied, or even Pot of Paint-tied. Paul Bolland is back in training, furthermore, and, bringing the biggest smile of all to the Diary's face, so is Gary Cohen. The counterharmony of all these good vibrations, of course, is that Grezza has several less excuses for failure so if he was feeling stressed already, he'll feel like John Fenty in a 20mph zone now.
And unlike this dog's breakfast, the story on Town's official website that announces all of the above is a actually reasonably well-put-together piece, so maybe Gary Harkins will be player of the season yet.
Monday 30 October
Grimsby Town Football Club are not appealing against the red card shown to Gary Jones during the first half of Saturday's stirring 2-2 draw at Peterborough. Following the match, the Mariners' official website pondered whether the club would contest the dismissal issued for what looked like a two-footed stamp/lunge combo on United's Peter Gain but has now decided against going to the FA, after waiting through Sunday to see whether Cod Almighty offered to pay the appeal fee.
Grimsby Town Football Club are not appealing when 25-goals-a-season centre-forwards sit down and have a think about who they're going to play for. This is why the club hasn't had a centre-forward scoring 25 goals in a season since the late Middle Ages. After six appearances for the Mariners without troubling the net, Tony Thorpe looks unlikely to bring this sorry record to an end, but he is quite good at popping through balls between defenders and stuff like that, and with the Lumpmeister receiving an instant three-match ban for Saturday's pains the decision of whether to lengthen Thorpe's loan from Stevenage has suddenly acquired a little urgency. Accordingly, the page on the OS that tells us about the decision not to appeal Jones' card adds that GTFC are now in negotiations "about possibly extending" Thorpe's term at Blundell Park. I dunno about you, but the Diary suspects that he and Isaiah up front together could be quite a thing.
Grimsby Town Football Club are not appealing when local people consider what to devote their leisure time to. This may seem obvious given their descent of around 70 places down the league in just five years, but even when the Mariners were good the nearby populace preferred to dedicate themselves to Liverpool, Manchester United, ten-pin bowling, teenage pregnancy, taking the kids to Pizza Hut for a bowl of ice cream with Smarties in, and trudging for hours round and round Freshney Place subconsciously wishing that the world would just end, just like that, right now, and finish this misery for good. Town's chairman John Fenty has a stately pleasure dome decreed, in the belief that it will put right these manifold wrongs, and seems to be thinking aloud on the OS while he waits for something to happen:
The new Conoco stadium as it will be named, and its improved income streams will help club to compete, it is the only hope the Mariners have of reclaiming the 'Championship' status that was theirs for most of the Nineties. Should the stadium not happen Mr Fenty believes the survival of the club is in serious jeopardy.
And so on and so on, without the standard of literacy rising above Key Stage 1, and failing entirely to convince the Diary that the Fentydome will amount to anything more than football's ugliest white elephant since Barry Fry. At the same time, I cannot help but admire the chairman's tenacity. At least Kubla Khan never had to wait for planning permission from North East Lincolnshire Council.
"Sorry I'm so far behind the times," wrote mathematics undergraduate Michael Shelton on 26 October in an email to the Diary. "I'd like to tell you I've been busy but in actual fact I've spent the last two nights getting lashed and the last two days recovering. Anyway, what I wanted to say was Wednesday's Diary was excellent. Well, they're almost always excellent, but this was especially so." Thank you, but you're too kind. The Diary would be nothing without its source material, so it's Town's official website you should be grateful to, really. "And I reckon we're going to have a cup run this year," adds Mikey. "FA Cup maybe, dump out a Prem team. And Gary Harkins is going to be player of the season. Law of averages something has to be good sooner or later." I'll believe that when I see a well written piece on the OS.
Saturday 28 October
A second clean sheet of the season looks as far off as ever, but Town claim a creditable point at Peterborough - having actually led twice despite playing more than half the game with ten men. Gary Jones is the 11th, dismissed after 37 minutes for an alleged stamp on Peter Gain, but the scoring is opened by Ciaran Toner early in the second half. The inevitable Fen Butcher goal cancels out the lead, Peter Bore restores it, and Trevor Benjamin makes it two each 11 minutes from the end. Last-minute loanee Kevin James, brought in from Forest five minutes after yesterday's Diary went up, debuts in Town's midfield four. The point keeps GTFC 21st in the fourth division (or 89th in the leagues, if you really love the misery) but should go some way to restoring morale after last weekend's play-off-final-esque surrender against Notts County.
One of the worst imaginable outcomes for Town in the draw for the first round of the FA Cup, meanwhile, as Rodger's battlers will lose heavily at third division Northampton on Saturday 11 November.
Friday 27 October
Half Term Holiday Diary here. And in an effort to keep children amused in the guest Diary house this week, when the rain has been lashing down, we have, among other things, been playing some computer football games. Already, you will be pleased to hear, Luton's Michael Reddy has scored over 20 goals, Phil Barnes has been selected for the division's team of the week three times and Gary Harkins has been ruled out for three months with an ankle injury. If only reality were this good.
And so to reality. Town head off south to Peterborough tomorrow and things are looking a little better on the injury front than they were earlier in the week. The injury scare seems a little less scary. The Telegraph reports that Phil Barnes should be fit enough to play after a groin injury forced him to sit out Town's training sessions this week. Tom Newey has also recovered from his knee injury, sustained when falling over after hearing reports linking him with a move to Crewe earlier in the week. Bad news, however, is that Paul Bolland is out with an ankle injury. As one door closes, however, another one opens, and in walks Ricky Ravenhill, back from, wait for it, suspension.
The big news story of the day, though, is reported by the Mariners' official site. Peter Beagrie and Town have parted company so that the ex-Ironman can concentrate on his media work. So no more difficult choices between having to go and watch Town take part in a Pot of Paint game on a wet and cold night or sit in a nice warm studio getting paid to comment on a higher-division game. The Beagrie signing and its conditions always seemed a peculiar decision which would end unsatisfactorily and so it has proven.
Peterborough, meanwhile, have failed to sign any of the strikers that they had been linked with recently. After being rebuffed by MK Dons for Izale McLeod, who did everything but hit the space between the two posts against Spurs in midweek, the Posh have been rejected by Swansea's Leon Knight, according to the BBC. "No disrespect to League Two but I feel that I'm better than that and I'm going to leave that alone why should I go a division lower?" Knight says. Keith Alexander could though always turn to the fit-again Fen Butcher, to help with his striking options, given his star performances for the Mariners up front.
As reported in the Diary earlier this week, conflicting reports still circulate around Cleethorpes about whether Tony Thorpe has signed up for an extension to his loan period. There is perhaps a clue in the Telegraph, which quotes Graham Rodger as saying that the Stevenage striker has had "a bit of flu this week", so presumably the only thing he has been well enough to sign is his sick note. The same paper, though, reports that the Town boss refused to be drawn on whether Thorpe would stay.
Yesterday's Diary made reference to the list of keepers who have given sterling service to Town in recent seasons. Earlier this week Half Term Holiday Diary called into see one of them, Steve Croudson, who is now running a pub. Steve is an amiable host and is doing well in his new venture. Steve's face lights up when he talks about his debut against Wolves, which he describes as the best day of his life. Pulling pints is a bit easier on Steve's dodgy shoulder than stopping shots.
And so that's it. If you are going to London Road tomorrow, have a safe journey. You might like to read David Conn's article from the Guardian this week which highlights the shenanigans going on behind the scenes at Peterborough. Finally, don't forget to put your clocks back tomorrow night and be sure to make the most of that extra hour in bed.
Thursday 26 October
When Town loaned Tony Thorpe from Stevenage one month ago, the news was announced about four minutes after the publication of that day's Diary, meaning it was almost 24 hours old by the time the Diary reported it the following lunchtime. Today the boot is on the other foot, since the Diary's status as a daily news round-up published early in the afternoon means we have avoided running the erroneous story that broke last night about Thorpe extending his loan. Possibly just to take the piss out of yesterday's entirely pointless item on the Mariners' official website about Thorpe's loan expiring after this weekend's visit to Peterborough, or out of sheer crashing boredom, the BBC last night reported that that the player had signed up to stay at Blundell Park for another month, prompting several other sources to run the story as fact and Town's OS to add a line to its front page this morning to the effect that "a deal to extend Tony Thorpe's loan has not yet been completed". He'll probably end up staying anyway, but what the hell. Given the reaction of many Town fans to the signing of Peter Beagrie, the only surprise is that Tony is yet to be hounded out of Grimsby for having a surname that makes up part of the word 'Scunthorpe'.
Most mentions of the Mariners in the online media in the past 24 hours, though, have concerned not the future of Tony Thorpe, nor the present state of the squad, but the exploits of the team a year back in the past. Town's stunning win over Tottenham in the second round of last season's League Cup seems to have been occupying the thoughts of the rich north London side in the run-up to their appointment with Bastard Franchise Scum FC in the same tournament last night. "I still think about it and it's probably the biggest disappointment of all my time over here," Spurs boss Martin Jol told his club's official website before the match. Similar coverage was to be found on the PFA website, the Rivals network, Push and Run, and the Spurs section on the Vital Football network (twice), and that's without even looking properly. Do you think they were a bit upset by it? Happily for anyone at all who cares about football, Tottenham overwhelmed their opponents last night by five goals to nil. Unhappily for anyone at all who cares about football, the odds are pretty long against Town doing the same when Bastard Franchise Scum visit Blundell Park a week on Saturday.
While we're in the past, let's hold a minute's silence to remember all the goalkeepers who have devoted themselves selflessly to the Mariners' cause in recent years, sacrificing their careers so that you and I can live free and not have to eat garlic. Paul Fraser, Bradley Hughes, Ronald Ermes, Morgan Cranley, Andy Love, Shaun Allaway, Andy Quy, Steve Croudson... we salute you. Andy Pettinger... we wish you every success in your trial with third division Oldham, and note approvingly that you featured in their reserves' 6-0 win over Bolton the other night, because we thought you were pretty good actually, and it was a bit of a shame when Town didn't keep you on.
Before I leave you in the mostly capable hands of Cod Almighty's team of Friday guest diarists, there are two emails to look at today. The first is from Jane Banks, who is well on her way to a restraining order, judging by the volume of email with which she has bombarded various Cod Almighty staff during the last day or two. Her missive to the Diary concerns a daft rumour about John Fenty selling up and, like all Jane's other correspondence, is typed almost entirely in capital letters, so I'm not going to publish it. Does this look like a messageboard? That just leaves Ben Gresswell, whose email is not exactly bubbling over with the joys of life, but at least contains a majority of lower-case type. Take a deep breath, readers...
"In the age-old tradition of your typical Mariners fan, I feel like a moan today. It's probably because I'm at work and it's a bobbins (or Dobbins; substitute either for rubbish) day outside. Then again, it's probably because for the first time since, well the last time I guess, I can't see the light at the end of the increasingly big and black hole that is GTFC. Injury after injury, defeat after defeat, moan after moan. This season has it all. Add to that the dinosauresque 'tricky winger' we got from down the road who seems intent on establishing himself on the box before the pitch and we don't have much to cheer about do we? We can't really blame Rodgersesesesese's can we? He has inherited a small squad with an average (at best) ability. He doesn't have money to spend and coupled with the perma-crocks (amongst whom no doubt are some of the clubs highest earners) his options are what you could call limited. My point you may ask? I haven't got one. I'm just in a mood and fancied a rant. Boo, sort it! P.S. Could the Cod Almighty team not bring out a printed fanzine? I for one would certainly subscribe." No, we can't be arsed. And we won't hear a word against Jim Dobbin.
Wednesday 25 October
The Diary spent last night in the company of a mate who supports a Conference North club and goes to every match home and away (the train fares to home games alone cost him 30 quid a pop). The other week he was upset that he couldn't go to a cup replay because of a meeting at work, so his girlfriend bought loads of nice food and cooked him a lovely meal, but by about four in the afternoon his sense of priorities had become deranged, so he sent a work experience kid to the meeting, missed the meal and jumped on a train to the back of beyond. The result: a great black hole in his finances, a massive bollocking at work and a megalithic strop from his girlfriend. As if all that weren't bad enough, his team lost the match and got dumped out of the cup.
Were Graham Rodger to be told this tale of woe, he would probably know how the Diary's mate feels. His players are strolling off to do TV work when there's a match on and leaving one week into a loan because they're homesick for Southend. The fans have all had their attention spans crippled by playing Football Manager and wanted him hung, drawn and quartered in Freshney Place before he'd had a dozen games in charge. And as if all that weren't bad enough, his preparations for a difficult away game against a likely promotion contender have been hit by injuries to several key players including probably the only goalkeeper on the books who is properly ready to play first-team football. The Mariners' official website explains the full and horrifying extent of the crisis, with Phil Barnes and Paul Bolland rated as "big doubts" for this Saturday's trip to Peterborough and Tom Newey, Peter Beagrie and Justin Whittle also having missed training today and yesterday. Counted with Town's trio of crocked strikers, this brings to eight the number of first-team players currently out of action, and with this sort of misfortune attending his every step the hapless Rodge should not be at all surprised if he arrives at his front door this evening to find his house broken into and his entire My Little Pony collection stolen.
Elsewhere on the OS today we are told that the loan period of Town's loanee striker Tony Thorpe will come to an end after the weekend's visit to London Road. Given that Thorpe arrived at Blundell Park one month ago and signed for an initial period of one month, we could probably have worked this out for ourselves but let us persist; there may be new information to follow. "Thorpe, who joined the Mariners from Conference side Stevenage Borough, was brought in because of injuries to frontmen Luton's Michael Reddy, Gary Cohen and latterly Isaiah Rankin." Again, we knew that, but the inclusion of contextual material reiterating facts already known by the reader is a staple of news journalism. Let's carry on and see what the story is. "Thorpe has so far played 5 times for the Mariners during his four week stay at the club." Yes, well, it doesn't hurt to be reminded. Just one paragraph left, then the news must be there. "No decision has been taken on whether Thorpe's loan deal will be extended beyond Saturday." Having read this for free on the worldwide web, the Diary can only hope nobody has been charged 25p for receiving it as an official club text message.
Tuesday 24 October
Gary Jones can hold up the ball. Tony Thorpe can thread it between defenders. Both may be very good drivers and loving fathers, with a flair for the Sunday Times sudoku. But for all the qualities of this twosome, they are not blessed with a surfeit of speed, and without the injured Isaiah Rankin, Gary Cohen and Luton's Michael Reddy, Town's forward line has recently boasted all the pace of an arthritic two-toed tree sloth with a penchant for strong marijuana. Given that the loan market seems able to offer only uncoached teenagers who prefer the fish and chips in Southend, GTFC boss Grahams Rodgerses has decided the answer could lie closer to home, and may give Peter Bore another run-out up front. The whizzkid winger and leading goalscorer played as a forward as he came through Blundell Park's youth system and was restored to the role in last week's Pot of Paint match against Lincoln. The result having been something vaguely approaching encouraging, Rodge is now thinking aloud to the Grimsby Telegraph that Bore could be the one to liven up the attack on a longer-term basis. "Peter's young and enthusiastic but you can expect him to produce the goods every week on his own," the manager has apparently told the Telegraph. No pressure or anything then, Pete.
While we're looking at the Telegraph website, I do love the way Todgers Out campaigners are using the 'comment on this story' feature to unleash their streams, regardless of whether the story in question has anything to do with Town's rubbish form. Put Bore up front? Booo, Todgers out! The reserves have won three games on the trot? Booo, Todgers out! Humberside Police named as one of the worst-performing forces in England? Booo, Todgers has got no contacts... and so on. Tim Berners-Lee, the Diary salutes you.
Did we mention the Pot of Paint? Town's second-round tie at Mansfield has now been blessed with a date and a time of kick-off, as most professional football matches tend to be, and we have the Mariners' official website to thank for the glorious tidings that the game will be played in one week's time, next Tuesday, 31 October. Admission will cost ten of their Nottinghamshire pounds and the match will kick off at the outrageous and unearthly past-your-bedtime hour of 7:45, wiping out the entire next generation of young supporters at a stroke.
Oh, alright then let's do the Crewe and Tom Newey story, if we have to. The news that third division Crewe Alexandra may be interested in signing Town's wayward left-back has been stuttering along the conduits of the worldwide web for more than a week now, and the Diary just ignored it because I thought it was bollocks. But since it began in the murky backwaters of online football journalism the story has slowly spread out like an oilslick towards increasingly respectable sources, reaching the Grimsby Telegraph last weekend and yesterday contaminating the shoreline of Sky Sports. The gist seems to be that a rumour got out about the Railwaymen looking at two left-backs, Newey and Bury's Tom Kennedy, and the club's assistant manager Neil Baker is now being quoted that "we're looking at plenty, and the two names mentioned, we've looked at them." There's chuff all about it on Alexandra's official website, though, and remember that Crewe are actually quite a well-run club.
Monday 23 October
Is it just me or is everything shit when the regular Diary is on holiday? I guess we'll find out this Saturday, when if Town lose comfortably at Peterborough we'll know that everything is shit when the regular Diary isn't on holiday as well.
Anyway, here I am again to pick up the pieces as Grimsby tries to fight off a total ban on North Sea cod fishing and the Mariners lie in their sorriest state since before most of the Cod Almighty team were born. If Grahams Rodgerses faces a test of his personalities in trying to get his teams back on the right tracks in the weekses ahead, he is at least talking a good game in his interview with today's Grimsby Telegraphs. When a team plays as excellently as Town did against Walsall and Lincoln recently only to then serve up such utter shite as 4,029 paying customers received two days ago, questions are raised over the strength of their manager's character, but Rodger isn't dodging the necessity to begin with a blast of the verbals. "I thought it was a totally inadequate and spineless performance in the second half," says the boss. "If anybody in that dressing room thinks it's acceptable they are mistaken." It remains to be seen whether this no-more-Mr-Nice-Guy media technique will extend into some much-needed hairdryer treatment on the training ground and in the dressing room. Can you imagine Graham getting nasty? And there were times when it seemed Russell Slade could do nothing but rant. Surely there's a happy medium.
"Boooo, sort it out," writes John Pakey in an email to the Diary, capturing the thoughts of many at this time. "I'm in a catch-22 situation at the moment," he continues. "My dad is in full-on moan mode at the moment over the manager. He's not happy with Graham Rodger and as I say: 'Oh, should we get rid of him?' he comes back with the gripe that we'd waste cash paying him off because he's got a two-year contract. I'd like to nominate this as an inspired bit of moaning, covering all the angles. Try and make that one positive Mr Fenty!" Indeed, John's dad seems to have raised the bar for Grimbarian gripemongers everywhere. The next challenge must be for someone to work the Fentydome into a rant about Rodger. Perhaps we could track down the caller to Saturday's Football Forum who argued that Town are teetering on the brink of the Conference because the manager doesn't wear a suit during the match.
Dan Humphrey, meanwhile, has emailed to draw our attention to a BBC interview with Darren Ferguson of Wrexham, one of only four teams in the fourth division who haven't accumulated more points than Rodger's battlers (although the Welsh side has played two games fewer than Town). "This is as bad as it's been. We've lost eight of the last nine games," says Fergie. "The most disappointing this is we don't look like winning. We look like a team in absolute freefall." And how does this relate to the plight of the Mariners, Dan? "It got me thinking, how many relegation places are there? Two or three? Wrexham and Macclesfield and Boston will do..." Just Macclesfield and Wrexham would do, Dan, since there are still only the two relegation places and if the Football League suddenly starts taking its responsibilities seriously and expels Boston for fraud, Town's safety would be all but guaranteed, and we could start to relax already. What?
Lastly today, to take our mind off the woes of the Mariners, Mat Hare has emailed to take the piss out of whoever it was that wrote this column last Friday. "Day Off Diary's being ripped off," opines Mat. "A 'gravy-filled steak slice' that's either a misnomer or a complete rip-off. I'd want some meat in my steak slice, preferably beef. I certainly wouldn't want it to be full of gravy." And even if it were half full, being a Grimbarian, you'd always have to think your steak slice was half empty.
Saturday 21 October
Following their appalling non-performance in losing 2-0 at home to Notts County this afternoon, Town's players are locked in their dressing room for an hour by their manager Graham Rodger, who then leaves them to it and goes off to do something else. There is no way of telling whether the players spent this time thinking about what they'd done (or hadn't done, to put it more accurately) or just talking about the new cars they were thinking of buying or where they were going on holiday next year; but in being absent after full time Rodger is at least showing consistency, since his influence appeared pretty negligible during the match as well. Town sit 21st in the fourth division, at their lowest ebb for three and a half decades, and the morale of supporters is utterly exhausted - making the choruses of "We are Town", "Grimsby 'til I die" and "Graham Rodger's black and white army" that arose from the left of the Pontoon in the last five minutes all the more laudable and all the more remarkable.
Friday 20 October
Afternoon everybody, Day off Diary here, trudging around in his slippers and dressing gown bringing you the insight into Grimsby Town's big match against Notts County tomorrow. Imgainging this is an old school proper pastie and lets get stuck into the meat of the meal first.
The offical website has done the highly unispiring task of speaking to Andy 'dodgy shins' Parkinson ahead of the game. The former Mariner jinked his way down to Meadow Lane in the summer, and has been ever present so far. No doubt you can here all about that, how well it's all going and a load of other 'heard it all before' nonsense in an interview on Mariners World. Back to the matter of our own players it seems that the usual supects of Isaiah Rankin (thigh strain) and Peter Beagrie (back strain) will be out. Also missing is Rrrrrrrrricky Ravenhill (©Tony Butcher, 2006) after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Swindon Town, lest we say of that match the better. The official website also reports old Ciaran Toner, Danny Boshell and Sgt Whittle picked up 'slight knocks' in the tinpot paintpot win over over Lincoln City.
Good news is that Paul Bolland is back in contention after recovering from illness and he has been on to the Grimsby Evening Telewag and revealing all. It means as well that surprise, surprise, what with the Lincoln City win, Grezza Rogerssss has a bit of a football clichι number 27, selection headache.
OK, happily through the meat and potato part? Well, it's not finished yet, that lovely sweet apple ending if nearing, but first a little look at what else is happening in the fizzy pop league, the most significant news being turncoat Barry Fry. The mad man of Peterborough apparently doesn't have any cash to get new players in, sorry Keith, until now! A million quid over three years for McLoed? Where you find that Barry? Back of the sofa? Maybe positive John should shove a hand between the pillows on his three piece?
Right, now the tasty apple treat at the end of our golden glazed diary. It seems, as this diary suggests, we can't really shrug of the great debate over meat filled goodies. It rages on like the bloke with glasses behind me who thought Wayne Burnett scored in normal time in the Auto Windscreens Shield Final in 1998, before he finally discovered, about five minutes later, it had actually hit the post holding the net up.
Emails have flooded-ish in. First off Loughborough Mariner delves into the quality of your local High Street bakery. He starts: "Referring to your preamble for Tony Butcher's Hereford match report which stated 'Like a pastry product from Greggs, it wasn't fantastic, but it did the job", I tend to agree about the quality of Greggs' products, however, the sausage and bean melt is a marvelous combination." And if that was not enough to get Gillian McKeith knocking down his door for a stool sample he heads into a mad protein overload with his sausage, oh pardon. "Now what about sausages then? Whilst on my lunch hour today I popped into the local butchers and found that they did venison, black pudding and wild boar sausages (that's three separate sausages in case you're wondering). I think I shall purchase some tomorrow and let the diary know my verdict." Lougborough, don't forget the mash.
Hopefully Sibbo can put all of this to bed. He got in touch to lay down the law on the pastry debate. "I know you said it was the last word on the Pie and Pasty debate," he writes. "Somehow I think the undisputed expert should be contacted. Hey come on Diary, you know Tony Crane is awaiting your call."
ENOUGH! Let us all hope the Mariners do something of interest this weekend and our minds will turn back to the focus of football, and not what makes the better glaze, egg yolk or milk? But where would the fun be in that? Right, I'm off to make a cup of tea and contemplate a late lunch, maybe a nice gravy filled steak slice from the Bakers Oven?
Thursday 19 October
Thursday you know empty day two days after the midweek match and two days before the weekend. Nothing to say about Thursday.
TV is dreadful without Sky on a Wednesday night even with Freeview. I ended up watching Sky Sports News, as the most entertaining TV. Tony Gale and Paul Merson commentating on Chelsea, whilst Phil Thompson and Ian Rush do Liverpool. Does this show how long it is since Chelsea had some English speaking ex-players? Ho hum no exciting news here except... The reserves win again 1-0 at Lincoln. What can this mean? After five successful penalties and a team playing football on Tuesday the reserves don't wait another 34 games to win?
Onto reflecting the creativity of European club names. Shakhtar Donetsk sounds so much better than Scunthorpe United, Spartak Moscow so much more evocative than Doncaster Rovers and Girondins de Bordeaux is frankly historic compared to Milton Keynes Dons. Who invented these names? If you have Rot-Weiss Essen why didn't we have Black and Whites Grimsby? Tonight we have Wisla Krakow and AZ 67 Alkmaar in the UEFA Cup. Give me names like Go Ahead Deventer ahead of Sheffield Wednesday any day.
I work in an office with a guy called Pat Boshell, who for his sins is a Chelsea season ticket holder. Apart from his obsession about Chelsea he is also a passionate fan of the same Danny Boshell who plays for Town. So much so that I've been tasked with getting an autographed programme or even better a signed shirt. Sadly in all the games I've seen so far Danny has been no further than the bench and the aforementioned PB might even have watched the Hereford game to see his namesake play. But the report of his exploits on Tuesday begs the question does anyone know someone called Harkins? Gary Harkins rivals Channel 5 television in his unavailability. Is he a myth or a tax dodge? Why did we give him the number 4 shirt if he would have been better off wearing 34?
So speculation about who will face who on Saturday. For a start will Mike Edwards, Andy P, and Junior Mendes all return to Blundell Park? And will GR stick with the formula that worked on Tuesday? The Pontoon will want to stick with a winning formula that's for sure and football is about managing continuity. If it worked once, give it a second go.
Wednesday 18 October
Two hundred and forty eight loyal Town fans went down to Sincil Bank last night to see an interestingly re-shaped Town side see off what the pundits are already calling 'high-flying' Lincoln City. Peter Beagrie was not one of them, preferring instead to prattle on Sky as Leeds lost at home again. Neither, sadly, was your Guest Diarist, who was called to a last-minute errand of mercy that meant he missed a match he'd been looking forward to for a fortnight. Drat and double drat as my spy in the black coat whose match-reporting tradecraft is second to almost none, tells me:
"You missed Town's best performance of the season. The balance was good, with passing Danny B in the middle and haggling Heggarty a tricksy dasher on the left wing. Bore played upfront with Jones and, after a diffident first half, terrorised them in the second. Town had two knocked off the line, Raynor made a superb save from Bore and reaction parry on to the post from Boshell. Town deserved to win by at least three clear goals, Lincoln hardly troubled us, even when they brought Stallard and Forrester on. All Town's penalties were taken excellently, they never looked like missing. Toner-Newey-Thorpe-Boshell-Ravenhill. Bish-Bash-Bosh!"
Barnes saved a down-the-middle job from Forrester which meant that Town won 5-3 and will face Mansfield away in the second round played in a couple of weeks time.
Credit to Mr Rodgerses for treating this match as a worthwhile competitive fixture, whilst, at the same time, trying a couple of things out. Young Master Heggaaaarty has been knocking on the door (as they say) for a bit and the inclusion of Boshell proved beyond a shadow of a doubt (again) that his superior passing range means he must be considered to replace one of the Thompson twins. Salute passing Danny B indeed. And play him on Saturday please we want passing, pace and no-has-been Scunny players. I'm especially glad that Town managed to dim the spark of those high-heeled Lincoln boys; the opposition team contained everyone who had partaken in the Barnet thrashing at some point last night so it was hardly a weakened side.
Mr Rodgerses post match comments, misquoted on the official site I'm sure are alleged to include such gems as : "I've been given foot [sic] for thought from a few of those performances." Grezza also namechecked the lively performances by Hagggaarty, Boshell and Bore in a more central role upfront. The reason for Town's clean sheet, I hope he concludes, is the omission of the two Scunthorpe players, whom it is plain have been sent our way to undermine Town's season. Perhaps it is time for a study of the betting habits of these two gentlemen who seem so prone to giving away remarkable penalties and playing far beneath their reputations. When they bother to turn up that is. Shame on you Beagrie. See yer.
Tuesday 17 October
Hello to you all West Yorkshire Diary here, fresh from a morning of sleep and TV. Sorry, could you not cover your face while I'm talking to you? Thanks. My library debts have risen to £2.60. I suppose that's what you get when you take out eight books and never refer to them at home. It's easy to forget the existence of books and Football League trophy competitions so we're being reminded that tonight's largely-forgotten match at Lincoln City will kick off at 7.15 and won't even bother with extra time if it's a draw as the average attention span of the crowd tonight won't stretch much over 90 minutes.
Yeah, there's weird things going on with the rules! The
Football League is wagging its finger in a "don't disobey me" sort of way to ensure that each club plays at least half of their regular players in the competition. But if you're a club like Grimsby, who haven't got enough fit players to even contemplate playing the stiffs (and I'd be tempted
they're actually achieving better results than the first team based on the last two games), then you don't really have much choice.
What's the best thing you've spent a pound on? Once upon a time I bought six Solero Shots (the green type) for a quid, but the corner shop has stopped doing them now. By far and away the worst pound spent was just the other day when I purchased some limited edition Hallowe'en orange and lime cake rolls, which were rank. This emulsion mixture trophy thing is being made a family event (as apposed to league games, which normally aim to attract thugs) so I could get into the Galpharm in Huddersfield tonight for a just one
pound sterling if I wanted, because I'm a student there. Lincoln hasn't quite got the same cheap idea, although children under the age of 16 can attend for free - but only if there was a responsible adult nearby at the ticket
office who grabbed a handful with their purchase on behalf of the cider gang outside. If you've not yet purchased your ticket but want to attend the game tonight then you'll be charged an extra £2 for being slow.
I suppose what all journalistic writers of the Telewag's ilk are hoping for is a match that ends up being complete bore, in which case they can make reference to 'watching a particular brand's paint dry' in their title the next morning.
Peter Brezovan, the Swindon keeper who broke his arm in his side's worryingly easy victory over the Mariners on Saturday, has been sidelined for the rest of the season. "It was a brave save," said manager Dennis Wise. Yes although he showed greater bravery immediately afterwards when
Ricky Ravenhill entered the scene. The Notts County midfield can breathe a sigh of relief as 'Raves' picked up his fifth booking in only his seventh [eighth! EIGHTH! this OS Richard/Ricky debacle has gone too far! - Ed] game for the club and will miss the return of Andy Parkinson to Blundell Park this Saturday.
Football and shopping have never mixed just ask any couple on the last Saturday before Christmas but the Asda Family Lounge are attempting to combine the two on November 18 when the Mariners travel to Wycombe. There's a blatant and ill-placed presupposition towards the end of the second paragraph, but I'll let you find that for yourself.
Tommy Widdrington, who has been seen standing and pointing a lot at Salisbury City in recent times, has been interviewed for the vacant manager's job at Macclesfield Town. Salisbury boss Nick Holmes claims that Tommy W is 'one of those who leaves an impression wherever he goes'. So much to say, but so little time.
Right, that's me finished. I had more to say but I have a freezer that's out of control, and the growing amount of ice which has already engulfed a box of waffles on the top shelf needs to be addressed with a certain amount of
Monday 16 October
After seeing two magpies on Saturday morning your Emergency Diary fancied his luck. Two lines on the Lottery! Ten quid on Hull to win the rugby league grand final! Town will stroll to victory against Swindon! And I will inevitably coin it in on the club's Gold Bond! Yes! Luck be a lady tonight!
Come late Saturday evening and my Lotto ticket and betting slip are screwed up as a day of total disappointment comes to an end. Town popped the bitter pill of defeat, losing as they did three-nil at Swindon. Swindon boss Dennis Wise reckons his lot "controlled the game from the off and looked quite comfortable". Graham Rodgerers, in an interview with Mariners World, felt the result was not representative of the action, "a game of them taking their chances [while] we did not". Grez conceded "we didn't create too much in front of goal" while the players "looked confused at times". Excuse of the game has to be blaming the "ball-boying" for one of the goals. All of which has the gaffer's progress meter taking a downward turn: "In recent games we have taken three steps forward but this result is definitely one step backwards". Step? More like a tumble to me.
Sir Macca agrees with his boss that progress is being made by the team, and knows why the result wasn't as bad as it could have been. "A month or so ago WHEN I WASN'T IN THE TEAM we might have come here and got beat by four or five," reveals the Lord's representative on Earth before declaring "I know we have been beaten by three but I think the scoreline flatters them." No word, however, on whether Swindon defender Adrian Williams's 12 minutes in goal bettered Desmond Hamilton's famous stint.
Carl Boyeson, a man who you may remember has the distinct honour of sending off two Town players in two separate games he has officiated (Darlington in 2005, Doncaster in 2003), was due to be the fourth official at the recent Hereford game. But "following representations from Grimsby Town" about Boyeson's Hull links, the referee was allocated another game. It's time the supporters and officials of GTFC got together and rethought this ill-feeling. Any man who dismisses Tony Crane deserves the freedom of North East Lincolnshire.
And, finally, I haven't won the club's Gold Bond, yet again. Curses.
Friday 13 October
Your feckless and ever-so-slightly daft Guest Diarist doesn't hold much truck with copyright. If you've published something then others should be able to read/listen/watch and copy it. In fact I have begged the scaredy-cat lot at Cod Almighty to publish the full Town fixture list in my name and I'll go to friggin' jail if necessary. Going to jail is on my list of unfulfilled ambitions anyway, so it would be like killing two rabbits with one welly. Why should it be a crime to tell folks when their team have matches, for Christ's sake?
And now the suits who run the official sites have decided that I have to use fucking Microsoft's browser to see Mariners World (which really fucking overjoys me - Mac and Firefox-using Ed, whose work computer conforms to design industry standards). Now I have to admit that I only joined Mariners World in a slightly weird and ill-thought-through gesture of solidarity to the club when the Humberside match broadcasting row kicked off. My thought that the local public service broadcaster should spend their sports budget (provided by the good folks of Grimsby and Meggies' licence monies) on their local financially stricken teams sat well at the time. I've had second thoughts since, mind, because I fucking hate Microsoft almost as much as I hate the Government. And I'm not too keen on Humberside either. There are signs, though, that Microsoft and New Labour are fading fast. But Humberside will go on for ever. You just know it.
So having dusted off the abomination that is Internet Explorer, I watched Rodgerses' preview of the away match at Swindon tomorrow. The first third was spent basking in the sun of the last home match, with our Grezza dreaming that the Lump is about to start one of his goal sprees. Then Mr Rodgers let slip that he had been to watch Swindon at Accrington last Sunday and that he "was mindful" of some of their players. He likes being mindful of people possibly finding it easier to pronounce than Onibuje. There was also a new tic already known to us devotees as Rodgerses' eyebrow variation. He also let us lucky Mariners Worlders in to a little secret that Isiaiaih Rankin had never been a contender to feature last Sunday. It was all a trick to confuse the opposition. But not a trick to play on those Swindon lot, apparently. For he told us subscribers that Mr Rankin is still niggling with his thigh and won't play. Sir John of McDermott and Mr Croft the part-time estate agent will bounce back into contention, though, after feeling their age last Monday morning.
Carlton Palmer is an estate agent now, you know. Or rather he isn't, as his website explains. He does you for two and a half grand up front and then tries to find you a house you'd like. If anyone wants to give him a ring his mobile number is at the bottom of the page. He also does something called fractional ownership which he describes as "like time-share only better". I think the less we know about that the better, don't you gentle reader?
The Telewag has nowt of interest to report except a delightful piece by the renowned Cod Almighty stalwart, Pete Green. In fact I'm off to go and read about those purple-faced Pontoon clowns again I suggest that you do the same. See yer.
Thursday 12 October
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky The Reserves' Record Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Wednesday 11 October
It's three in the afternoon. My body still thinks it's ten at night, time to go to bed. Jet lag, the wonderful scrambler. Despite dragging myself through the day until 10pm and then hitting the pillow like a felled tree, the latest I am sleeping through the night until is four in the morning. Six hours sleep a night for the best part of the week. Is this how it felt to be Margaret Thatcher? I've just sent some letters at the post office, the lady at the counter asked if I had a credit card. The office radio has been retuned in my absence to "all the best of the 60's and 70's". Reality seems disjointed. Who am I? Where am I? What year is it?
The club's not helping. The front page of the OS has the teaser "Gary Harkins, Gary Croft, Michael Reddy and Peter Bore were at Hereford Technology School to help out with an after schools coaching session." A click on the story finds Ben Higgins has injured himself while playing for the mighty Badgers. Mighty? Oh aye, for they caned Brigg Town's arses by six goals to nil, a result met by excited snuffles in the town of Eastwood.
Today the reserves are playing Darlington's second string at home. Habit demands I make reference to the stiffs extending their winless run. But in this warped existence that hoodoo was apparently broken last week with a thumping 6-1 win, albeit in a friendly against some team representing a self-admitted cheat. The
forgettable forgotten Gary Harkins must be looking to forward to continuing that unbeaten run, and some football, after 'dental problems'. Yes. That's what it says on the Grimmo Telegraph website. It could be a typo, but the only feasible options are 'denial' or 'mental'. Hopefully he'll have rediscovered his, heh!, bite.
When people aren't discussing which of Lump's goals on Sunday was the finest, they're chattering about what an impact Tony Thorpe, on loan from top Premiership side Stevenage Borough remember, made. And when the conversation speedily moves on, the debate is "was it a penno or not?" Step forward key witness Andy Butler: "I don't have any complaints about the penalty - I think it was a foul. I have seen the replay afterwards and I didn't get near the ball so fair dos, it was the right decision." Now that's settled, here's the next GCSE PE exam question: "Paul Bolland's display has earned him a place in the Football League team of the week. Discuss."
In news outside of the North-East Lincolnshire area, the BBC site is offering a guide to a revolutionary new football formation. Time for some orientation. Anyone know where I can find my nearest DHARMA Initiative centre?
Tuesday 10 October
Hello! Better Late Than Never Diary here with a better late than never diary. It's one of them days with very little in the way of major news around; this is probably a good thing, as it's late and I don't have much time to write about it anyway.
Top story on the official site today is headed "Jonesey Looking To Roll". Bit cruel - he's not that portly. It's one of those video interview thingies which there isn't time to watch right now, so I'll make it up instead. "It was great for the team to get a win under our belts", Joneseyses probably says, "and especially nice for me to bag a couple of goals. At the end of the day, Brian, with any luck, this win will be the spur for the team to string a few wins together, blah blah, etc etc." Actually, he might not have said the 'blah blah etc etc' bits. Or any of the rest of it, frankly. But if that is what he said, I'll drink to that, just as I did on Sunday, the sole viewer of the match in a Manchester pub, having asked specially for it to be put on. "A pint of bitter, please barman." "Anything else?" "Yeah - a bag of crisps and loads of strange looks, please."
They'll all be smirking on the other sides of their faces in six or seven years' time though, once Town's youth team have turned into world-beaters. The future's bright, the future's extraordinarily bleached blond, if the picture which accompanies this brief item is anything to go by. Said picture of albino is presumably of Nathan Emson, Steve Davis or Grant Normington (who sounds like he should be a school), the three scorers in the young 'uns 3-0 victory over Donny in the Youth Alliance Cup. Hurray!
Finally, the club have asked supporters to send your "burning questions" to John Fenty for the latest question time doodah. Me, I want to know what the consequences are of burning normal coal in a smokeless zone; I imagine Pozzy John will also be getting loads of queries regarding sun cream, toast, and urinary infections. Tra!
Monday 9 October
Tony Thorpe is good. Ricky Ravenhill didn't get booked! Andy Taylor wasn't on the bench. And that was the smallest 4,147 crowd the Diary has ever seen.
We almost missed it in all the excitement of winning a match, but the arrival of Andy Butler on loan late last week freed up youthie centre-half Miles Chamberlain to return to Eastwood Town. After successful loan periods there last season, Chambers is well thought of by the Northern Premier League side and has gone back for more, teaming up with his fellow GTFC young 'un Ben Higgins, whose loan at the same club has recently been extended for another month. Both players appeared in the club's weekend game away at Woodley Sports, and presumably did OK as Eastwood emerged with a clean sheet (albeit in a goalless draw), and currently lead the NPL first division on goal difference from Nicky Law's Buxton. C'mon you Badgers!
"I think I can definitively answer this one," boasts Chris Parrott on the pie/pastie issue (or indeed the pie/pastie/pasty issue, if the Wikipedia spelling issue is to be admitted to the debate). "My ex-mother-in-law makes pasties and she also makes a thing called 'pasty pies'. All the usual good stuff that goes into a pastie but in the shape of a pie, and not the total wrap-around pastry solution beloved of tin miners. Now why would she bother saying it was a pie if a pasty was a pie anyway? Ergo a pasty is not a pie. And she ought to know: she's Cornish. Wikipedia schmikipaedia." Just off on a tangent here, but did anyone else's mum used to deep-fry little jam sandwiches in batter, or was it just the Diary's? We couldn't afford doughnuts in our house...
Friday 6 October
Hi guys! Dreadfully drunk Durham Diary dancing your way this morning with a splitting headache and a worryingly high level of alcohol still lingering in my blood. Since all my troubles are self-inflicted I shall neither press the subject nor seek your sympathy. Why is this computer monitor moving before my eyes?
What do you do when you have only two centre-backs with first team experience in your whole squad? Easy! Phone the nearest club and ask to borrow one of theirs. You don't have to be posh to loan a player. Or if you're really posh have your Butler do it. Which is a particularly long-winded way of telling you Grimsby have signed Andy Butler on a one-month loan from Scunny. I must admit I've always thought he looked a reasonably useful player, but no doubt he'll go back in 11 days because he's homesick and doesn't like the drive to Cleethorpes. Which is understandable.
Tuesday 16 May 2006. The last time a Grimsby side under Russell Slade bothered turning up for a match, the last time I went to the Walkabout in Durham during daylight hours, and the last time I watched the Mariners live on telly. And so on Sunday I'll find a nice comfy chair in a pub of my choosing and hope that it's the first time a Grimsby side under Graham Rodger turn up for a first half, the first time I ever watch Grimsby beat Hereford, and the first time all my lectures on Monday are cancelled so I can sleep all day. England on Saturday and Grimsby on Sunday, and all without having to catch a train. This could just be the perfect weekend. And if saying that isn't enough to guarantee that neither team wins, I don't know what is.
Sachets of sugar, Charlene Tilton, this Diary. Short but sweet. Have a nice weekend, guys.
Thursday 5 October
If you're looking at Grimsby Town's website and you come across a headline that reads Ranking Hope, what is your first thought? Do you suppose that the item thus headlined might concern a seeding system for a cup tournament which, it is hoped, may in some way benefit the Mariners? No, of course not: you immediately realise that the club's main channel of official communication has glaringly misspelt the name of one of its most important players. Isaiah Rankin, as he was christened, has missed Town's last three games with thigh issues but, according to the OS, may return to contention for this weekend's televisual extravaganza against Hereford. "He should be there or thereabouts on Sunday," says Graham Rodgerses, who is short of personnel up front given the return of James Lawson to Southend and the long-term injuries to Luton's Michael Reddy and Gary Coheng.
Back in the old days, before ITV Digital, when Football League clubs could still dream of competing at the top level and managers light their cigars using rolled-up 50 pound notes, it was possible to for each of them to employ at least two senior goalkeepers, the idea being that one would be able to step in should the other become unavailable for a match at short notice. These days, of course, Town have the wherewithal to keep only Phil Barnes on the books and keep their fingers crossed that if he gets injured there'll be time to bring in another keeper on loan before the next match. If there isn't, that leaves only youth team graduate Rob Murray
between the Mariners and an open-goal thrashing of Hartlepool proportions. Well, him and that lad from the north-east who they signed the other week without telling anyone. Anyway, the same page of the OS that told us about Isaiah Rankin's possible return from injury also tells us that Murray has signed a professional contract to the end of this season, having completed his scholarship to the satisfaction of the Mariners' coaching staff. If his minimalist profile on the club's official website is to be believed, Rob is a diminutive five feet and eight inches in height. Still, at a mere 18 years of age there may yet be time for him to grow a bit.
An email to the Diary from James Booth picks up our recent pastry debate with some passion, first citing Wikipedia's claim that "a pasty is a type of pie" and then addressing the spelling issue by demonstrating that a pastie is something altogether different. "Here in Toronto," continues James, "Jamaican patties are very popular (and very nice they are too). They are basically pasty format with yellow pastry and lovely spicy meat or veg filling. If you're visiting try them at the Caribbean Queen of Patties (1279 Bloor Street West). As for best footy pie: chicken balti at Walsall. Not because it's necessarily better than others but on 15 December 2001 I had just flown back to the UK only to sit in the rain watching the Mariners get stuffed 4-0. The pie and cup of tea at half time were the only good things that happened that day, so I remember it fondly." Anyone know what the pies at Hartlepool are like, then?
This is your lot for the week from your regular Diary, as tomorrow's tasty, hot and pastry-encrusted summary of GTFC news will be brought to you by our north-eastern guest correspondent Durham Diary. Before we go, though, there's one more email, taking up the issue of James Lawson's all too brief loan spell at Blundell Park. "Perhaps in Lawson's confusion over where he was," wonders Bedders, "he took a long walk off the short pier?" The Diary is tempted to check the lengths of Cleethorpes and Southend piers on Wikipedia now, but you never know who might be watching when a page about nipple covers unexpectedly pops up. Crikey! See yers next week.
Wednesday 4 October
Town have belatedly confirmed the exit of James 'Blink And You Missed Him' Lawson after just 11 days of his scheduled one-month loan and their spin on the news differs markedly from the way the story had been represented earlier by Lawson's parent club. As you might remember from yesterday's Diary, Southend manager Steve Tilson suggested to the local press that the player had been sent to Blundell Park on the understanding that he would be given some first team football, but was recalled after getting just 22 minutes of it in three games and not even receiving a place on the bench at Darlington last Friday. According to the Mariners' official website, however, Lawson's loan ended for another reason entirely. "James came up to Grimsby but couldn't settle," is the explanation from Graham Rodgerses quoted on the OS. "He said he was homesick and asked if he could go back to Southend." This smells more than a little fishy to the Diary, since the Essex seaside resort differs from Cleethorpes only in its steeper prices and slightly nastier accent. Put a blindfold on Lawson and he might never have known he was away; or at the very least, his positional sense would have been unaffected.
An exciting new link-up between GTFC and the financial services sector offers you the chance to support the club while you save your money! For every £100 you keep for a year in a Mariners Account with the Derbyshire building society, instead of blowing on two tickets to a clinically depressing play-off final defeat 12 hours' drive away there and back, the Derbyshire will give a whole English pound to the club to spend on the next 22-minute loanee from Southend. Want to know more? Then don't visit Town's official website, which not only gives a brief outline of the product's features but offers a link to "More" at the bottom of the page, taking you to a seemingly random section of the Derbyshire's website with lots of information about the company's mortgages and not the slightest mention of the Mariners Account. "See also the special conditions in the Mariners Account leaflet," adds the OS, completely failing to explain how you can get a Mariners Account leaflet so that you can see the special conditions in it.
"Why call it a pastie if it's a pie? Stilton should stick to chip butties." It does if you melt it under the grill for a minute! This is an email from Mark Dillerstone referring to a decades-old dispute between two members of the Cod Almighty team regarding the taxonomy of pastry products which I should have known much better than to allow into the Diary. "Oh, and he'll end up buying the first round because he's usually in the Rutland a good hour before Mr Butcher arrives," concludes Mark. In that hour, though, Mr Butcher is buying his programme, locating the perfect parking space and sharpening up his similes in preparation for his match report, while the rest of us are just trying not to spill the first round when that huge dog in the pub comes up and sniffs our Joey Bartons.
"The man's turning into Lennie Lawrence!" writes Philip Emberson in despair at Graham Rodgerses, but only because of the eyebrow-raising comments of Town's daydreaming head coach that "I want to be winning the European Cup in five years", rather than that he is running up colossal debts and destroying a decade of progress on the pitch at a club he is using only to resurrect his ailing career and wouldn't care less about if they went into liquidation ten minutes after he lands a better-paid job somewhere else.
Today's final word comes from Sibbo, and what a positive word it is. "Oh how good it is to hear the ressies have won at last and that Miles Chamberlain is fit and scoring. I hope he gets a chance in the first team because he's definately one of the likely lads. I've decided to go to Sunday's home fixture against mighty Hereford and hope that Graham Rodgerzzzzzzzzzz team are more lively than on my last visit, which was the Stockport game. I know we've lost a lot of ground to the top teams but there's still plenty of time to turn things round. We have to believe! Come next January and February we could get on a run while some of the teams in the top half cock it up. It's been done before, remember." That's the attitude that every Town fan needs to help the club out of this scrape the sort of support that says: we will stay with you, no matter what, however bad it gets, whatever the circumstances. "Finally, a very important question. Will the Rutland be open on Sunday afternoon?" Oooh, that's a point. I don't really fancy going to the match if it isn't.
Tuesday 3 October
He came; he played a few minutes against Stockport; he didn't look much cop. He was sidelined by the subsequent signing of Tony Thorpe. And then he went back to Southend. He is, of course, James Lawson, whose loan at Blundell Park began on 22 September and has now ended, just 11 days later, before Cod Almighty even managed to publish a profile on him. At the time of writing Town are yet to announce the news, but an item from a local newspaper in Essex confirms it. "We wanted him to get games and that wasn't happening he has come back to us now," says Southend manager Steve Tilson, all in one breath. Lawson's name is now set to go down in GTFC history alongside those of Jermaine Palmer, Chris Williams, Morten Hyldgaard, Robbie Busscher and Willie Falconer among the most pointless signings the club has ever made.
Why are you a Grimsby Town fan? Is it because they are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen? Is it because you heard a match commentary on Radio Humberside and remembered that your local team needed your support? Is it because you enjoy the steady ritual of Saturday afternoon kick-offs? Or is it just because of the club's superbly professional communications strategy and official website? If you answered yes or no to any of the above then your matchday experience is likely to be affected profoundly by the proposal to play music over the Blundell Park tannoy when the team scores a goal. One good reason that the Cod Almighty team are Grimsby Town fans is that we don't like the Premiership and the media telling us who we should support, so we're buggered if our own club is gonna tell us how we should support. When they proposed the same thing in November 2002, then, we told them to get stuffed; here's the input form should you wish to have your twopenn'orth this time round.
Two of your recent emails to the Diary concern pie, and somebody who seems to be called Clav Divs (I, Clavdivs?) is concerned for our nutritional well-being: "Actually, in response to the pastry question posed by Thursday's Diary, I feel that responsible, distinguished journalists like your good self should advocate the healthy options currently in vogue unless you want Jamie Oliver to expose you. I would recommend one of those lovely baked tates between the Pontoon and Main Stand." Are they any good, then? If there is one thing worse than being exposed by Jamie Oliver, it is being exposed to Joey Barton.
Last up today, CA's own Mark Stilton is an excited fellow. "I have just this evening received an early Xmas present," he writes. "My partner had bought it the other week, but just couldn't keep it a secret any longer. There are two reasons for this: one, the book is Pies by Angela Boggiano and contains an exciting collection of pie recipes. But the second and more important reason is that on perusing the book today my partner stumbled across an article on pies at football matches which is accompanied by photographs from Blundell Park. The author mentions a trip to BP to sample our 'famous pies'. Not sure which famous pies they are, but she seems pleased with them. Or rather, she said they helped her make it through the second half." That'll be the beef and onion, which made it on to last year's Celebrity Big Brother.
Mark continues: "Anyway, the first picture shows Tom Newey taking a throw-in with Jones and Mildenhall in the background. Perhaps Mildenhall is the prime steak, Newey the offal and Jones the pastry holding the entire defensive pie together. Or something. Anyway, what follows are more pictures mainly of people eating pies at BP. Interestingly and one for Tony Butcher, this the following page in this book entitled Pies contains a recipe for Cornish pasties. Eat my pie, Butcher!" This, readers, is a long-running Cod Almighty in-joke (and not a particularly funny one, even when you're 'in'), whereby Stilton maintains that pasties are essentially a kind of pie while Butcher insists that the two are entirely separate classes of pastry-based comestible. But perhaps the dispute can now be settled for all time by the power of the Diary. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us who is right and who is buying the first round in the Rutland on Sunday.
Monday 2 October
What? What do you mean it's not a bank holiday Monday? Oops. Sincere apologies for the late arrival of today's diary - it was due to [insert your own witty excuse here - I'm in a hurry]
This being the first Diary entry since Friday day, I must start by mentioning Town's fantastic victory up at Darlington on Friday night, the Mariners thrashing the Quakers 2-2. Eh? Well, it felt like a victory, anyway, such was the nature of the rousing comeback. Indeed, Rodger the Grodger felt that his team had done enough to deserve all three points rather than a mere 33 per cent of them.
I tell you who has won a match though. Town Reserves. No, really. No, stop blowing air through your lips and loosely flapping your hand in my direction, cos they have. Not only that, they won 6-1. Look - it says so here. And it's not even April the first. Is it? Young Chamberlain's clearly recovered from his secret injury, as he was one of the scorers; young North and young Shahin did all the right things to move up to the first team by scoring twice each; and exciting new prospect 'Tayor' scored the sixth. Although that might have been Andy Taylor, I suppose. Perhaps his mum washed his shirt on too hot a wash, and the 'L' fell off.
Finally - before it becomes Tuesday - let's have a look at how the auction is progressing to take part in the "Sponsors vs Club Staff" charity match. You may have noticed that the 14 places up for grabs (team of 11 plus three 'rolling' subs - fat people only need apply) were available last week at £200 a pop. How many bidders? Two. Both for defensive positions. And then one of them dropped out. So the auction ran its course. Today, however, it' back, with a starting price at a much more reasonable £50. So, how many bidders this time? None. Oh dear. Still, nine days left to run on the auction, and the match isn't until November 12, so I'm sure there'll be the requisite number of sponsors to make a team up by then. Makes you wonder though, if it's this hard to get people involved in a charity match, to ask fans to stump up a little cash to play on the Blundell Park pitch against ex-players and everything... shows you how bloody difficult it muct be to attract professional footballers to the club. Perhaps we should be thankful for those we've got. Tra!