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Diary - July 2007
Tuesday 31 July
Greetings, brethren and Mariners of a West Yorkshirely persuasion, take heed! Not only do you have to endure being surrounded by weird inbred racists: you must also cope with last-minute changes to Town's local reserve fixtures. The stiffs' opening fixture of the season, away at Dirty Leeds on Wednesday 22 August, has been shifted not, like many a first-team outing of current times, to a Friday night for no good reason at all, but to a Tuesday; to be precise, the one immediately beforehand on 21 August. For this knowledge the Diary is grateful to Leeds' official website, where the switch was announced last week. Let us hope that the staff from Town's superb new official website who spend their days glued to Cod Almighty will be similarly grateful to the Diary for passing it on when they get round to updating their own site.
You knew that Gary Croft, the greatest defensive estate agent Town have ever had, has signed for Lincoln but did you know his fellow ex-Town waffly versatile defender Matt Bloomer had signed for Boston? Well, you do now. On the subject of the doubly relegated Lincolnshire twisters and I ain't talkin' tornadoes Pete from the brilliant Boston fan site impsTALK has sent a thoroughly enlightening email all about the Wes Parker-to-Gainsborough scandal that has shocked soccer to its core, giving us some vital contextual information that was omitted when Guest Diary looked at the deal here last Friday
but enlightenment is at the cost of brevity, which means it's a bit of a long email so we'll have a look at it tomorrow as we pick apart tonight's 0-0 draw at Grantham.
Let's get some of your other emails looked at in the meantime. Last Thursday the Diary described our current state of affairs as Town's "longest ever period of fourth division football", which has drawn a questioning raise of the eyebrows from Phil Watson. "Three consecutive seasons the longest ever?" he asks. "Never! It just feels like it." OK, joint longest ever period. The season about to begin will be the Mariners' fourth in a row stuck in the bottom division the same length of time as Town spent in the basement from 1968 to 1972, but twice as long as the club's two other dips to this depth (1977 to 1979 and 1988 to 1990). We'll call it a score draw, eh, Phil?
"Was on my way to the [KCFC] game around the back of Blundell Park," writes Matt Pakes, "when I noticed a car zooming towards my position. All 'chavved' up, beat box beating, wheels spinning, driver nodding looking 'cool'. Imagine my shock when I saw the driver's face. It was none other than Grimsby's very own Straight Peter Bore. I was very disappointed. I never knew the players had a complete disregard for speed limits. Just thought I'd let you know." Thanks, Matt... but as such senior figures as Sir John McDermott and Positive John Fenty have shown in recent times, the speed limits don't apply to holders of esteemed positions within Grimsby Town Football Club. If SPB ever gets pulled over by the police, he should at least experience no problem walking in a straight line.
"I don't mean to complain," begins a complaint from Eve Barnard, "but does Deviant Diary have to talk in riddles when he is standing in for your good self? It takes me all my dinner hour, and several readings of the same paragraph, to realise there's actually no news at all!" Our complainant cites a paragraph from yesterday's offering which ended "Now which hip swinging cat in the Grantham boardroom was a big Sammy Davis Jnr fan? They do, indeed, have a Sweet Gingerbread Man", and asks simply: "Eh????" But surely the most straightforward solution, Eve, would be to read Cod Almighty during your working afternoon rather than wasting your valuable lunch hour on us.
Speak of the devil! Our next email is from none other than Deviant Diary himself, responding to my tirade last week against the Premiership's 'solidarity payment' of £23,000 a year to fourth division clubs out of its new £2,700,000,000 TV deal. "Why so cynical, Mr Diary?" asks DD. "The philanthropic Premiership are donating to charity. The amount is not important, it's the principle. And £23,000 is a lot of money for poor people. Why, it's what Michael Ballack got paid for sitting in his jacuzzi between 10:30 and 12:45 on Sunday 1 April 2007 AND reading Die Suddeutsche Zeitung. Or perhaps he's more of a Kolner Wochenblatt sort of guy. It's difficult to tell, as well as spell. It is all about expectation management, after all." Riddles? Honestly, Eve Barnard I've no idea what you mean, I'm sure.
Monday 30 July
With Mr Normal Diary off gazing at his clouds Deviant Diary returns to spin a web of intrigue and swing a bridge of deception.
Poems, poems laddie! It could have been so beautiful: The ancient bonds are breaking leaving Hull and changing sides. Dreaming of a new day, cast aside the other way, a magic vision stirring. And now our Bridges has been burnt.
Like the lead singer of Roxy Music traversing the scurrilous waters twixt Liverpool and Birkenhead, $K$C's 23rd choice striker had the most fleeting of opportunities to skip gaily across the yawning chasm between Hessle and New Holland. We could but dream that the new boss at the Pooperscooper Stadium ain't the same as the old boss. No harm in trying.
Life goes on day after day, hearts torn in every way as Bridges won't cross the Humber. At least they were polite this time. Is it worth chatting them up again? Does nurr mean nurrr? Or was this all a cheeky bodyswerve by the oldest swinger in town as he eyes up some other gal in some other bar?
From one enigma to another. Never a man to miss a comic opportunity father Miles Moss keeps a keen eye on the SNOS© grammar school and "Buckley admits Bridges interest" has him contemplating a civil engineering course and perhaps identifying the real story. Cod Almighty's very own M&M has his own theory based upon the SNOS© wandering capitalisation policy. "Alan Buckley is very interested in bridges. He's got several books on the subject and over the years has built up quite a selection of slides and photographs. It explains his inability to leave the hallowed turflands of North East Lincolnshire as the Humber bridge is a lovely piece of engineering. It's close enough for him to pop over for a quick look on evenings and Sundays". You read it here first. And last.
As Pat Boone claims it was a beautiful Sunday. The Family Fun Day. There were families and they had fun in the sun and fed ducks and Isaiaaiaiaiah Rankin with a bun.
Let's look beyond the Wolds to the days of whines and poses. It appears that Yeovil's Anthony Tonkin prefers Forest Green to Lincoln Green. How bizarre. What's that got to do with Town? It's the old tetanus link time, for the Tonka boy replaces Kevin Nicholson, one of the 436 who played in that game against Brigg three years ago. The Impies are ageing and raging this summer.
Let's go back further to the future, for tomorrow's bundle of footballing joy an footballing fun is the penultimate pre-season warm up against Grantham, which is tomorrow, the day after today, but also the one a day before three days after yesterday. Now which hip swinging cat in the Grantham boardroom was a big Sammy Davis Jnr fan? They do, indeed, have a Sweet Gingerbread Man. Take your pick from Fireman Stacy or Diddy Dave Gilbert, both of whom took part in last Thursday's friendly defeat by Lincoln. It'll be lovely to bask in those monochrome memories of our seasons in the sun. Do pop down, but remember to turn right off Swingbridge Road.
As the monsoon season ends the answer to an ancient mystery falls, like sunshine, into your laptop. Ever wandered what happened to Graham Rodger, that old sofa we once lent to Hull when they were down and out in Beverley Bills? Old Grezzer didn't quite pull off the coup of coups, for his Ballad of Long Tan was only nominated at Australian Country Music Awards. So that's what that touchline scribbling was all about.
Finally a public wealth warning. My father once told me to be wary of laptop dancing clubs, for they are filled with loose women who loosen your wallet. Now that's the wisdom of the aged.
Friday 27 July
Flipping heck! Has it actually stopped raining, faithful reader(s)? Your Guest Diarist has been pegging out washing and examining his tomatoes already this fine morning. No, these are not euphemisms I will not tolerate sniggering. Liberal democracy may not be the irresistible force that neo-conservatives think it is, but the weather has certainly ruled the roost lately.
But one fact is certain, as Will Self's missus Deborah Orr told me this week: "One of the oddest tributes to the imaginative ingenuity of the human mind is its capacity to take the facts and manufacture from them, regardless of what they are, a narrative that corresponds with whatever our own view of the world happens to be." She was not thinking about football fans when she wrote that, but it describes us perfectly in all our self-opinionated, semi-delusional partisan glory (well, me anyway).
For example, the Grimsby Town officially designated replacement for Sir John of McDermott is as much a right-back as I am. Yes, he knows the rules of association football and that this position is meant to be occupied by someone who can tackle, cover, hold the line, defend corners and instigate attacks up the right flank. I know these things as well. He possibly also knows a few trade secrets, once alluded to by that charlatan Lennie Lawrence when he claimed that the average fan has no idea what is actually going on in a game of football. A right-back should not be tentative, diffident or indeed abject in his defending. It is rare to successfully convert players from other positions to ever become successful at full-back (except perhaps in the heat of battle as a makeshift replacement when circumstances necessitate it). Mr Clarke looks like an adequate fill-in for Messrs Boshell, Hunt and Bolland in the centre of midfield. He does not look like a replacement for our ennobled and just-retired number two, or even Mr Bloomer for that matter. That's my story and I am sticking to it, citing performances against Brigg and Hull as my evidence, backed up by my mate who saw him at Farsley and said: "He stood in the wrong place." That's tactical nous in the raw, and just how I see him.
One Boxing Day, a few years ago (no, this Diary is not researched, so look it up yourself if you are bothered) I saw Wes Parker mark Kinkladze out of the game at Derby. His second-half performance was terrier-like even standing no more than a yard away, utterly focused on his adversary, when the injured Georgian needed treatment. But despite sponsorship from those notorious talent-spotters Firth and Butcher, Wes's career thence went downhill and he ended up at Gainsborough. But despite being on the brink of signing a new contract with Trinity it would seem that everyone's least favourite non-League club Boston United have been up to their old player poaching tricks. A handwriting expert has been called for, I'm unreliably told, as new Boston manager Tommy Taylor waves about a purported application for a trial he claims Parker sent to him. I hope young Wes has kept up with the times and realises how far the Pilgrims have sunk, don't you?
It is Fun Day at Blundell Park on Sunday, the official site reminds me. A fun day is an open day with the added bonus of a clairvoyant or two, it would seem. Actually, I am not sneering: it rather sounds like a groovy way to spend a couple of hours. If my editor is the webmeister I think he is there should even be a link here to see the full list of things going on. The club have neatly categorised the acitivities one is known as Mind, Body and Spirit. It is not known whether Mr Fenty has booked a private session with Wendy Turner (spiritual medium). Matt Tees will be there with Dave Boylen and it is rumoured that Alan Buckley and Stuart Watkiss will sing a duet after the light training session on the pitch. Another category ensures that burgers and beer are available, together with a Sainsbury's stand describing the benefits of healthy eating once you've had your fill. Laudably there is no mention of either Coca-Cola or McDonalds. Rightly so, for we Grimbarians should get our unnecessary calories from beer, burgers and proper chips. Go along, folks it's too far for me to travel so I will have to make do with Heckington show, where I will inspect sheep and drink Batemans ale.
Tony Butcher, a man who wrote to me today an unsolicited email to say that his local Tesco doesn't sell calves' brains, went to watch the Town youngsters in Horncastle last night. Our lads won 5-2, principally, Mr Butcher says, because "they were younger, fitter and faster". Oh, and because Horncastle were "pretty rubbish" and "a bunch of farmers and flan-flingers". Tackles were not minced and neither were Tony's words. This is what he said about our trialist: "Nathan Jarman appeared before me. Like a waddling Lee Trundle wannabe with extra pies, he shook the earth with his haircut skunk boy. He scored, but he was extremely unimpressive. He has a fine career ahead of him driving a van and scoring goals in the Lincolnshire league." Not that Tony could ever possibly be influenced by the pattern on someone's tie, or the way he ties his bootlaces. It's simply an opinion, manufactured from the facts. See yer.
Thursday 26 July
Ever since the Mariners dropped out of the top two divisions in 2003, the club has still fancied itself a cut above most of the riff-raff down here. On the opening day of the '0304 season Town showed the rest of those ten-bob third division outfits they meant business by chartering an AEROPLANE! To FLY to their away fixture at Plymouth! OK, so a few weeks later Town were losing 8-1 at Hartlepool and averaging among the lowest home attendances in the division, ending that season with a second successive relegation, but it didn't matter. They sent a message. And once they were down in the bottom division they continued to send the same message: we're better than you and we don't belong here. How? Not by getting promoted, clearly, but by spending LOADS OF MONEY ON AGENTS. How much is loads much? In the second half of 2006 it was £21,000 more than £800 a week. But with the club now mired in its longest ever period of fourth division football, and Lord Alan Buckley back at the helm, perspective and good sense have prevailed at last, and GTFC fans can sleep easy tonight in the knowledge that in the first half of 2007 NONE of their hard-earned was frittered on the men with eight mobiles and marrow-sized cigars. Stitch that, Sam Allardyce! Or something.
And you can tell from the way the Grimsby Telegraph is reheating a story that's about four days old that there's nothing much else to tell you today. Various sources, including the club's superb new official website, are headlining stories to the effect that Positive John Fenty is fucking overjoyed at the mouldy crumbs spilt on Blundell Park from the Premiership table earlier this week, only to then quote the Mariners supremo as saying our £23,000 a year from the top flight's insane new £2.7bn TV deal is worth diddly squat. So I don't bloody know what he's saying, really do you? Is the pub open yet? Oh, there's an email from Eddie C about the thing in the Guardian the other day saying Town are the second biggest losers ever. "Why do I put myself through it?" he asks. "I even went to Torquay away! My friend says I'm a jinx, cos whenever I go to an away game we lose, so these stats just prove it's not my special jinx powers but Town's shiteness over the years since the late 1800s." A wonderful message of hope for us all there, I'm sure you'll agree. Cheers Eddie! And thanks to you all for reading; I'll see you next week.
Wednesday 25 July
The Diary hasn't bothered attending friendlies since the summer of 2003, when I got all excited about Laurens ten Heuvel's awesome contribution as Town beat Boston and became convinced that a immediate return to the second flight was in prospect after seeing Jason Crowe inspire a tremendous win over Middlesbrough. Having just watched the Mariners World camcorder highlights from Town's latest pre-season defeat, at home last night against King$ton Communication$ FC, all I can tell you, really, is that the only goal of the game came from an early corner which the Buckley backline forgot to mark up against. Despatches from those who attended suggest another semi-decent performance, though, and this time against mostly decent opposition, with Ryan Bennett and Danny Boshell earning the admiration and respect of the gathered throng but with serious questions continuing to be raised over Jamie Clarke's ability to operate as a right-back. In summary, then: sign some players, Alan. Oh, you are doing. Good-o.
Speaking of the saviour, those of you who only read the Diary and ignore the rest of this website are not only missing out on some of the best advert-free independent football writing the internet has to offer but are carrying on oblivious to Cod Almighty's wonderful new Alan Buckley's black and white army T-shirt. Oh, that's an advert. Never mind. We've got to pay the bills somehow, so get kitted out for the new season and show your support for the ways of passing and movement with one of these beauties without delay. They went on sale less than a week ago and they're still only £7.50!
So to your emails, which maketh the Diary's inbox runneth over. Ben Gresswell has been moved to observe upon the picture of Paul Wilkinson currently adorning the front page of this website by way of linkage to the latest in our greatest goals series. And what does he have to say about it? "That picture of Paul Wilkinson looks like a young Kevin Webster, as seen here (right) with the lovely Sally." Good spot, Ben. While we're on the subject, I always thought Nicky Law was a dead ringer for Fred Elliot.
Phil Watson says: "Describing Macca as Town's 'former record-breaking right-back' suggest that his record is a thing of the past, whereas in fact it is likely to stand for many years if not indefinitely. You meant to call the great one Town's record-breaking former right-back, I'm sure. And don't bother voting in the opinion poll to find Town's greatest ever player: voting closed a long time ago and it turns out it was a member of the Blue Peter production team all the time. So now you know." Mat Hare is another who has emailed on the poll: "I want to vote for my favourite Mariner of all time but according to the Tellywag: 'All fans have to do is text their choice from the 10 players listed above, along with their name and postcode, to 65100.' But I don't know where any of the players live so I can't vote. Oh well." Honestly, some people are so pedantic!
And last up today it's Steven 'I Had a Great Time on The Beach in Slovakia' Young. "Just wondered if anyone else noticed Town's mention on the Guardian website yesterday," he writes. Not yet we hadn't. What's the story? "Apparently Town are the team with the worst away record in the history of the Football League. Only Notts County have more defeats than us overall. With records like that I can't believe the first game of the season isn't going to be televised!" Warms your heart, doesn't it? See you tomorrow, losers!
Tuesday 24 July
A decade and a half after it was set up with the express purpose of taking money away from the Football League, corrupt and deeply unattractive sporting cartel the Premiership has attempted to spring-clean its conscience by offering a few quid back. England's top division is set to rake in a frankly absurd £2.7bn in media rights payments over the next three years, and who, really, is a gormless enough fuckwit to believe that we should be throwing street parties to celebrate the news that Town will receive around £23,000 a season from the top table as a result of this laughably designated "solidarity payment"? Why, Sir Brian Mawhinney, that's who the man who believes the fans want draws 'settled' by penalty shoot-outs despite polls suggesting that 90 per cent do not. Any self-respecting chairman of the Football League who is vaguely worthy of the title would clearly advise the Premiership to stick their solidarity payment up their arse sideways; but that is not, of course, a description that applies to our Bri. "We are very grateful. It was a generous gesture by the Premier League," simpered Mawhinney, pausing for breath while fellating Roman Abramovich.
Town are roughly halfway through their pre-season and Mariners World has caught up with Lord Alan Buckley to ask for his observations so far. "To pass comment on the Gainsborough game would be difficult to do without swearing," he observes, clearly not happy with every aspect of his players' preparation at this point, but for every negatively charged particle there is an equal and opposite reaction, and the Town boss stoutly talks up the quality of his side's approach play at Farsley Celtic last Saturday. Isaiah Rankin, who is searching frantically for a last chance saloon that serves low-calorie beer, earns an approving mention, and Buckley reveals that he is still keeping open the options of 4-4-2 and 4-5-1 formations as MW intercuts him with footage of various children and people in suits and mayoral bling taking part in team photographs with an incongruous soundtrack of a single electric guitar chord over a simple, up-tempo snare-led drum figure.
On the issue of formations, the Mariners look set to field a 4-4-2 system at home to King$ton Communication$ FC tonight as midfield Yorkshireman Paul Bolland will miss out with an injury sustained at Farsley. Five other players are doubtful but may or may not be OK for tonight, reports the club's official website without making any mistakes, actually. As for the season ahead, the only thing that can be said for certain about Town's formation is that any use of a 4-5-1 system is sure to be met on the messageboards with accusations of negativity, despite Buckley having pointed out some time ago that this was precisely the tactic that brought about his side's course-of-history-altering 6-0 win at Boston. Still, that was back in February, so it can't possibly mean anything.
Monday 23 July
"Town have given Macca a job at their academy!" read a text message sent to the Diary by a fellow GTFC fan yesterday, as I tried to sleep off the effects of Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Farsley Celtic. "Great news!" I replied, and put my head back on the pillow. "Hang on," added the Diary in another text message when I woke up again three hours later, "Town haven't got an academy!" So what was going on? Sir John McDermott had been granted employment as a youth football coach by the Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education, which seems to be what the college at Nuns Corner is called this week, that's what. And why the confusion? It was all down to the BBC, which had not so much got the wrong end of the stick as clutched a different stick entirely in reporting that Town's former record-breaking right-back had landed a post with the club's non-existent academy, shortly before the Queen stormed out of the room in response to questions about her failure to award Macca an MBE and the availability of her crown for use as a goalpost.
As for Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Farsley Celtic, the Diary took one look at the match report on Town's superb new official website and ran out to get trashed on cheap cider and fall unconscious under the nearest emergency services vehicle. Defeat in insignificant pre-season friendlies the Diary can cope with; defeat for an Alan Buckley side that fails to create a goal from its overwhelming share of possession is almost to be expected; but beginning to read a match report and finding three different verb tenses in the first two sentences is more than any sane human being can be expected to cope with.
So what does Lord Bucko need to do? Sign some players, possibly though the Town boss has never been one for snapping up half a dozen journeymen the moment the final whistle blows at the end of the season. That way lies madness and Gary Harkins, though the Mariners have managed to offload their misfit midfielder to Partick Thistle, where he had been training for a couple of weeks with a view to getting back to his roots. Harkins was speedily signed up by former GTFC manager Grahams Rodgerses early last summer but never quite found the pulse of the 20-odd games he subsequently featured in. The arrival of James Hunt on loan in January cast doubts over his future at Blundell Park, and when Hunt was prevented from playing against his parent club Bristol Rovers, Harkins' fate seemed sealed by an awful stand-in performance that saw him subbed off after less than half an hour with Town two goals down. Still, he tried a bit, which is more than can be said for some, and even as GTFC cancel his contract to allow his free transfer to Partick, Harkins will not leave without some goodwill, I reckon.
Guest Diary has emailed, further to his ponderings last Friday about the ten players selected by Mariners officials for the PFA vote to find Town's best player ever. "The most controversial omission is probably Clive Mendonca," he wrote at the time, and adds now: "When I wrote that on Friday I had forgotten that Super Clive won a previous poll," referring to the Football Focus 'cult heroes' thingy two or three years ago. Good point, but it could all be academic anyway. The Diary would be interested to learn how many people actually end up voting, given that the only way to do so is by text message, that users of one mobile network are excluded, that no indication is given as to the cost of voting, that the vote is already buried away deep in the Grimsby Telegraph's site, and that I can't find anything about it at all on the club's superb new official website. See you tomorrow!
Friday 20 July
Hey up maties. Your Guest Diarist has got a bloody fantastic map to show you. It will be especially useful if you plan to follow the Mariners to their pre-season friendly game at Farsley Celtic tomorrow. Cod Almighty mapmeister Si Wilson produced it, and it will be duly entered in to the map of the season tournament awards to be held at McMenemy's at the end of the season (dress code: strictly cartographic). If you are approaching this match from Southport (having been despatched there en route to Gainsborough a couple of days ago), however, it may be more beneficial to use the Grimsby Town official website to help you plan the next leg of your round-England tour.
The new all-sparkling official site has just awoken, stretched and noticed that Stevland Angus has left the party. Whither we know not, nor whether we will ever see his like again. The article also tells us that Fenton had a thigh strain and faces a fitness test today while Gary Jones has a hamstring problem and is very doubtful for tomorrows game.
Mr Diary told you a few days ago about Lord Buckley being voted best-ever Walsall player as part of a PFA centenary poll, and at the time we wondered if the letter to our club had been accidentally stored in the bills-I-can't-be-bothered-to-open pile on the hall table. Well, the Telewag has found it, apparently, and published the shortlist from which we can pick. The Telegraph, in anticipation no doubt of fans' comments about the slightly weirdly drawn-up list of names, has published a comment to its own article to the effect that it had nowt to do with the shortlisting of these choices and that the list was drawn up by the club in conjunction with the PFA.
The ten players selected are a combination of obvious choices by way of playing loads of games for Town, nice chaps but not necessarily great players, bad reputations and other assorted folk lore passed on by someone's grandad, I reckon. The most controversial omission is probably Clive Mendonca. To vote you must be able to text and have a phone not powered by Virgin mobile. Oh, and a deep and committed sense of loyal trust in the whole thing because there is no mention of what it will cost you. In the absence of any voters the top man at Ofcom will be approached to impersonate one and give a casting vote to decide who wins. And you need the patience to wait until tomorrow when the line opens. I'll leave that one with yer I think.
Would-be Town midfield maestro Mr Bolland has admitted to the Telegraph that Town were a bit crap in their last friendly. After saying they had a decent first five minutes he went on like this: "The gaffer told us that it was well short of the standards we need to be setting. We have got to improve as the games are going to get harder as the pre-season goes on. It was my first 90 minutes I have completed so, from that point of view, I am happy. It was a good workout against a decent team, but we need to improve our ball retention." So let's hope we get a better match tomorrow and don't get drowned out again today. See yer.
Thursday 19 July
If there were two things that characterised Alan Buckley's earlier spells in charge at Blundell Park, they were passing and movement. If there was just one thing, it was losing narrowly to weaker opposition after dominating entire matches and being unable to convert possession into goals. There were signs of the latter as Town lost one-nil at Gainsborough last night but should anyone be tempted to start tutting and fretting at two consecutive defeats, they are reminded firstly that it was basically the Myspace Mariners, not the first team, that lost at Winterton earlier in the week, and secondly that Town's results in summer friendlies are about as much use as the odds from the bookies in foretelling the outcome of the season ahead. Indeed, the 200506 campaign Town's only half-decent season since Buckley was sacked at the turn of the century was prefigured by only one win in six pre-season workouts, while in the summer of 2003 the side won the Copa Ibiza with victories over SD Portmany and Sant Raphael, drew 1-1 against Sunderland and beat Lincoln, Boston, Halifax, Middlesbrough and King$ton Communication$ FC, and then just six weeks later were losing 8-1 at Hartlepool en route to the perhaps most traumatic relegation Town fans have ever known. Just thought I'd mention it, like.
Readers of yesterday's Diary will recall an email from Ant Wood, who pointed out a tiny and insignificant mistake made by Town's superb new unofficial website. Fans hitting the OS to find out how to get to Gainsborough were given driving directions for Southport, Lancashire instead an easy mistake to make, I'm sure. In between checking my inbox and the Diary being published, Rob Smith emailed to warn us as well. "Just wondering whether you had noticed on the superb new official site that the directions to tonight's friendly at Gainsborough appear to direct you to Southport FC," he wrote, "and handily provide such gems as directions from the north leaving the M6. Priceless. Presumably this superb new official site is being prepared by someone on a suitably superb salary!" Who knows, Rob? Perhaps we're being unreasonable, and on the off-chance that anyone from the SNOS is reading the Diary, they might like to drop us an email and offer a word or two in their defence.
That's all from your regular Diary this week so have a nice weekend, everyone, but come back tomorrow first for Friday's Guest Diary. See yers!
Wednesday 18 July
If you're feeling gloomy on another wet summer's day, reader, grab a nice cup of tea and a sit down with Danny North. Town's promising young striker is interviewed on Mariners World today ahead of this evening's game at Gainsborough and, bless his black and white boots, the lad just can't stop smiling. Whether he's describing his two goals at Brigg last Friday night, making fun of Straight Peter Bore's yellow footwear, or hoping his partially regrown hair will stop Alan Buckley ripping the piss out of him, young Danny's broad Grimsby accent is always underpinned by an infectious bloody great grin, lifting the Diary's frame of mind from morose to positively not too bad.
If only Town's superb new official website could keep us smiling instead of driving us to despair today, quite literally. Ant Wood has emailed the Diary with regard to the directions given on the OS for supporters travelling by car to Gainsborough tonight. The directions are comprehensive and thorough, providing clear instructions on how to reach the ground from various starting points across England and concluding with a helpful word or two of advice about parking. So what's the problem, Ant? "If you follow them for tonight's game you will end up in Southport." Oh dear. That's 132 miles out if you're driving. Let's give Town's superb new official website a map to help them out.
The Diary, like most people these days, suffers from a severely shortened attention span and is thus grateful for any kind of distraction that might save me from having to concentrate on one task for more than a minute at a time. Imagine my pleasure this morning, then, when I discovered Town's superb new official website promising a new weekly email newsletter "delivered directly to your inbox every Friday afternoon". Keenly clicking through to sign up, I was presented with a form asking me to "register with the official site" or enter my username and password if I was already registered. Naturally, the Diary registered three or four years ago, when they introduced the registration scheme, so I entered my username and password but was taken back to the front page of the site. From here I obediently clicked back through to the bit about the newsletter, only to be presented with the same form asking me to "register with the official site" or enter my username and password if I was already registered. Here I wondered whether, to receive the weekly newsletter, we may all need to register again even if we had been registered before, because Town have a superb new official website, and therefore, er, um. At this point my severely shortened attention span expired and I got up to put the kettle on, lost forever to the joys of Town's new weekly email newsletter. It's like one of Aesop's fables, isn't it?
"I think you're being harsh on the OS over the Winterton report," writes Mat Hare in an email to the Diary. "The trialist who scored for the Mariners could well be called Alex. Soccerbase informs me there are three Brazilians of that name, two Spaniards, plus one each from Portugal and Japan. It could be that we have one of them on trial. Having said that, Soccerbase also contains entries for a number of players called A Trialist so it's much more likely we have taken on a guy from East Stirlingshire or Stranraer. There is quite a nice article on Stevland Angus (see the lovely link from Scottish clubs to our new defender?) on the OS though. I hadn't realised Buckley has tried to nab him before and that he played with Terrell 'TJ' Forbes." It's just a transcript of Stev's Mariners World interview from last week, Mat, but yes, it is quite nice.
Tuesday 17 July
Former Mariners full-back and estate agent Gary Croft knows all about relocation, relocation, relocation. After leaving Blundell Park in 1995 for a then record fee of £1.7m the player found it difficult to settle at Blackburn, where he started only 33 league games in more than three years, and finally moved on to Ipswich. The transfer market again treated him less kindly than the property market, though, and Crofty was restricted by injury and electronic tagging devices to just 20 league starts in nearly three seasons in Suffolk. Loan moves to Wigan and Cardiff followed, the latter becoming permanent for three years, at any rate, before he returned in 2005 to flog posh seaside flats in boomtown Cleethorpes and play some more football for Grimsby Town. This summer he was off again, checking out potential former brewery building conversions during a kickabout with Burton Albion, but could now be staying in the local market after all thanks to a trial with Town's fourth division counterparts Lincoln City. "Hopefully I won't get a rough reception from the fans because of my Grimsby connections!" Crofty tells the Grimsby Telegraph, immediately after reminding them about their play-off semi-final defeat by the Mariners in 2006.
Elsewhere the Telegraph continues to believe it can succeed where two previous petitions failed. Providing further proof that the monarchy must be abolished immediately, her very lowness Queen Elizabeth II has refused to dub former Mariners full-back Sir John McDermott a member of the British Empire, despite literally dozens of Town fans signing a couple of petitions to that effect. Desperate to restore the credibility of the British throne, the local paper's aristocratic sports desk began a third such campaign earlier this month and is promoting it again this week, boasting modestly: "The Telegraph's online petition has now topped the 350 mark." As if this paltry total were not cause enough to give the whole thing up as a bad job, some of the messages of support sent by fans seem to be anything but. "An MBE is more than he deserves," comments one unkind Mariners devotee; with supporters like that, who needs enemies?
So much for the Telegraph; what's new today on Town's superb new official website? The OS is reporting that you can get 20/1 on the Mariners to storm to the fourth division title next season! The really exciting thing is that the odds are exactly the same as they were last time Town's superb new official website reported that you can get 20/1 on the Mariners to storm to the fourth division title next season which was last Thursday. The Diary has a distinct impression that they reported the same odds at the end of May as well, when the bookies first published them, but I can't check because the news archive on Town's superb new official website is completely fucked up and throws up error messages when you select a week to view the headlines from. So yeah 20/1, apparently.
And finally, a side essentially comprising the Myspace Mariners lost 2-1 in a friendly at Winterton Rangers last night. "A trialist" was the scorer for GTFC, reports Town's superb new official website helpfully.
Monday 16 July
The build-up has begun to the 200708 season the Mariners' most keenly anticipated campaign for years, in the Diary's house at least. Buckley's battlers got their programme of pre-season friendlies off to a good start on Friday night with a 3-1 win at Brigg Town, with most of the squad getting at least half a game. While the scoresheet registered the names of Danny North (2) and Straight Peter Bore, it was Peter Till who earned perhaps the most approving mentions from Town fans at the game, and on-trial defender Stevland Angus is generally acknowledged to have looked the part. If you believe the 'latest news' index on the club's superb new official website then "Town eased to a comfortable victory at Brigg", but if you click the link and check out the OS's actual match report then you are informed immediately that "Grimsby Town began their pre-season with hard-fought 3-1 victory at Brigg Town". Officials at Blundell Park are often accused of being behind the times, but it is surely an encouraging sign that the club's own website is clearly acknowledging the multiplicity of viewpoints and existential scepticism around the concept of objective truth that characterise today's pluralistic, post-modern society.
One regular member of the team not involved at Brigg was Ciaran Toner, who was otherwise engaged with representing Northern Ireland for the first time since 2003, when he lined up against Italy and Spain while on the books at Leyton Orient. The opponents this time were non-international Everton, so it is unlikely that this friendly will have earned Toner a third official cap, but the Town midfielder is clearly in the thoughts of new NI manager Nigel Worthington and did enough to stay on the pitch for 85 minutes. The Mariners' superb new official website performed rather less well, sadly, including in its account of Toner's call-up the news that his club football is played at "Grimbsy Town". Officials at Blundell Park are often accused of being behind the times, but it is surely an encouraging sign that the club's own website is finally adopting one of the most widely used modern misspellings of the club's own name.
"Tommy who?" asks Rich Mills in an email to the Diary. Rich is responding to the news of Sir John McDermott being overlooked for the job of Boston United team manager in favour of Tommy Taylor. "Looks a bit like the bloke off Ground Force to me," he adds. My God! You're right!
Finally today, the Diary would like to hear from any readers who are able to offer advice on the potential plagiarism of editorial concepts pioneered by Cod Almighty. Thankyou!
Friday 13 July
D-day dawned wet. As hysterical American teenage girls transfer their allegiance to a frankly sad team with shrieks of "David is awesome!" and "I never bothered going to Galaxy before because they suck", your Guest Diarist was more taken with another radio item: "Boston United will announce their new manager at noon today." It is not clear to me whether Sir John of McDermott made the final six-person shortlist, but if he did then his hooks will be tentered, no doubt, as he waits for the announcement. It is difficult to know what to wish for him, isn't it?
But it is D-day for Town fans too. A chance to see the lads turn out at Brigg tonight with the added bonus of having a look at two trialists. Especially Stevland Angus, who came over really well in his Mariners World interview. The Diary mentioned the other day that he can play at centre-half or left-back, but Stuart Watkiss says he can play anywhere along the back line, and is as versatile as William Gallas without that gallic stroppiness. OK, he didn't say that last bit, but he seems like a really nice lad who is well in favour of playing in a passing team. Stevland (for I feel like I know him already) was also keen to stress that he likes to keep it simple and that there will be "no Hollywood passes" from him tonight as he bids to impress Lord Buckley and the travelling fans. I don't remember his performance for Torquay last season against us at Blundell Park, but Lord Buckley is said to have liked the cut of his jib. And in the spirit of journalistic hackery let's hope tonight he sets sail in a successful career as a Town player.
Town's deputy to the soon-to-be-recognised tribal warlord Alan Buckley also explained that everyone will get a game tonight and that the sides have already been picked. The other trialist, by the way, is young Barnsley striker Nathan Jarman, about whom, according to the mangled mess that is the official site these days, Stuart Watkiss says: "a talented player who knows where the goal is". Some Town fans will exhibit belligerent discontent when learning that Nathan is a Scunny lad and others are already moaning that "we don't need another inexperienced striker" (Paterson notwithstanding, one assumes) but let's have a look at the lad, eh? Nathan has an entry in Wikipedia which, one can deduce, was written by a rabid Worksop fan (or possibly Nathan's dad). Here is the best bit: "He marked his debut with a stunning overhead kick against Barrow and then added a 30-yard volley that crashed in off the post against Redditch." Nathan had a few games for Worksop, and also a loan spell at Bury last season marked by a debut sending-off and not much else.
Any road, gentle reader, it is quarter past twelve and no news on Macca so I'd better get some work done prior to watching tonight's game. If you are dithering, then go. It is a lovely little ground and although the football won't be great (as legs are bound to be tired at the end of a hard week), the ambience will more than make up for it. See yer.
P.S. Oh, it's Tommy Taylor. Thank God or hard luck Macca (delete as applicable).
Thursday 12 July
Grimsby Town manager and saviour of all humankind Lord Alan Buckley has made a big impression wherever his career has taken him. At Blundell Park he achieved promotion three times and lifted GTFC to a decade of overachievement despite the local population ignoring his results and muttering "urr, I'm not going until he signs a proper striker/stops the players passing the ball too much/listens to the fans/states publicly in the Grimsby Telegraph that I am brilliant and ace". At West Bromwich Albion he stabilised a club seemingly in terminal decline under Keith Burkinshaw but was publicly lambasted and finally sacked for the heinous crime of signing Paul Groves. But at least they loved him at Walsall and continue to do so, as Buckley has been voted the club's greatest player of the last 100 years. The scorer of more than 200 goals for the west midlands club in two spells from 1973 to, um, sometime in the early eighties, our Al will enter something called the PFA Centenary Hall of Fame after fans named him their most blazing Saddler in living memory. Isn't it nice to be appreciated?
Traditionalists may lament the passing of times when everyone doffed their caps to the Queen, homosexuality hadn't been invented, and you could stub out your cigarette on your baby and then turn on Top of the Pops and hear a nice tune and tell whether it was a boy or a girl singing, but they are sure to be passing round the Werther's Original in delight at the news that the Laughing Mariner will survive the sinking of his vessel. Editors of the Sports Telegraph newspaper which was recently chucked on the same scrapheap as many Northcliffe group workers as the publisher tries to cut costs and find a buyer used to try and get rid of the fictitious, funny-faced Town-supporting trawlerman from time to time, only to tell us every time that they'd changed their minds after 718,492 complaints from outraged Grimbarians lacking anything better to do. And now those soft-centred souls at Riby Square have given in again and agreed to 'transfer' the Laughing Mariner to the Grimsby Telegraph come the start of the new season. There is no word yet on rumours that the character's ability to reflect local feelings will be expanded with several more facial expressions to convey varying levels of racist disgust at Asian shopkeepers, asylum seekers, curry waiters, traveller communities and Polish electricians.
What's even cheesier than a deep pan five-cheese pizza with extra cheese, cheese-stuffed crust and a cheesy dipping sauce? GTFC's decision to give Isaiah Rankin the number 16 shirt next season so that the number 12 can be reserved for the fans that's you and me! Awww! just so that we know much the club values its support. At the end of next season the number 12 shirt will, of course, be auctioned on eBay, just so that we know how much value the club can get out of its support.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a North East Lincolnshire football club without a fortune and in need of a manager will always be linked with Glenn Cockerill and Nigel Clough. And when that sad day comes when the Mariners must replace Alan Buckley for a third and presumably final time, the inevitable and entirely groundless stories linking the Burton Albion boss with the vacancy at Blundell Park may find cause to mention Gary Croft, who is currently on trial with the Brewers. The move may surprise fans, who generally expected the 33-year-old left-back/estate agent to call it a day after being released by GTFC at the end of last season and cover Kirstie Allsopp's maternity leave on the next series of Location, Location, Location.
"Oh Diary, Diary, Diary, Diary, Diary, Diary," begins the email that will round off today's deliberations before I hand over to Guest Diary tomorrow. Oh, Mark Wilson, I never knew you cared. "You can't fill an entire paragraph of the worldwidehypernet with lamentations about the OS and its schoolboy errors and then write two paragraphs later: 'the Town boss has granted a trial to Torquay and Cambridge United defender Stevland Angus'. The laws of the Football League expressly forbid players from representing two teams at the same time. You know that, I know that and so does the other bloke who reads CA." Damn, it's contagious. See you next week!
Wednesday 11 July
"A Brand New OS Check it our and tell us what you think". Yep, Town's new-look official website began last night as it doubtless means to go on with an unending string of typos, a relentless barrage of advertising, a pile of dead-linked headlines from 2004 and, to celebrate it all in fitting style, a fantastically tacky clipart drawing of a cork popping from a green and purple bottle of electric blue champagne. Much of the site content has simply been reformatted from the deeply flawed previous versions of the OS, word for word and error for embarrassing error, with a club records page, for example, offering FA Cup results that include "Biggest defeat this century 7-1 v Sheffield Wednesday, January 4, 1997". The truly worrying aspect is that it took the Diary around a minute and a half to discover the howlers highlighted in this paragraph alone: God only knows what other glaring cock-ups would be exposed if I had even less of a life than I do now and could spend all day poking around. Click on the Customer Charter page, reader, and weep: there's a silence that truly speaks volumes.
As missed opportunities go, then, the revamped OS ranks up there with Town's decision not to sign Gary Lineker from Leicester in 1978 because the quoted fee of £30,000 was deemed far too much. But is there any news yet to put on it? The answer is yes. First up, surplus midfielder Gary Harkins, instead of reporting back for training this week, has been allowed to stay in his native Scotland and train with second-flight non-sectarian Glaswegian side Partick Thistle. "Two or three clubs made enquiries over the summer and with us having strength in midfield with James Hunt's arrival, we decided to let Gary go and train up in Scotland," Lord Alan Buckley told the official site. The Mariners' experience in signing Harkins in haste last summer and repenting at leisure thereafter not to mention other recent early summer panic buys in Isaiah Rankin and Jermaine Palmer ought to warn Town fans seeking reasons to be miserable that a quiet few weeks in the close-season transfer market are not necessarily a bad thing. That said, of course, Town fans seeking reasons to be miserable will always just invent some if they can't find any real ones.
And in any case, Buckley's erstwhile reticence in the transfer market may be letting up, as the Town boss has granted a trial to Torquay and Cambridge United defender Stevland Angus. A 26-year-old who can reportedly play both centre-half and left-back, Angus began his career as a trainee with West Ham and made 161 appearances for the Us between 2001 and 2005, with some local loan spells at Scunny and King$ton Communication$ FC chucked in. Despite or perhaps because of having spent the 200607 campaign as part of the weakest team in the league, he managed to catch the eye of the GTFC messiah: "I remember when we played at Torquay last season that he impressed at the back," says AB. Whether Buckley's initial impressions of the player will prove accurate remains to be seen, but all right-thinking GTFC fans will take comfort that the club may sign a player with one of the best names in English professional football. He was dead good in Chammy Manager an'all.
Tuesday 10 July
It's news, readers, but not as we know it. The yawning silence that has engulfed Blundell Park for two months is broken today, albeit very quietly, by a Mariners World feature on the beginning of pre-season training. The first section features commentary-free footage of our heroes pulling shapes in Weelsby Woods to the sound of glass bottles being thrown into recycling bins and Lord Alan Buckley instructing: "Just find yourselves a little bit of room and just do some more stretching, OK?" before introducing Jamie Clarke to a player called Eggy or something (presumably Nick Hegggggggarty). Just as you're drifting off, we cut to an interview giving Town's latest impressive youth team graduate Ryan Bennett a first chance to unleash the full force of his southern enunciation ("the
yoof team and the first team was mixin' togevah!"). Sounds like Bennett's feet are on the ground, anyway; let us hope Straight Peter Bore's manly size 11s can remain similarly floored next season. The feature, incidentally, is entitled The Hard World Starts Here, which should probably read The Hard Work Starts Here, unless it's some kind of half-arsed pun about the resumption of content on Mariners World; either way, it surely represents great value for 35 quid and another blazing barney with the BBC.
The Grimsby Telegraph's heroic struggle against empty space goes on with more up-to-the-minute coverage of players whose GTFC careers range from the unremarkable to the utterly forgettable. Today it's Jamie Lawrence (five appearances in 2004); tomorrow the Diary will be disappointed not to learn what Jake Sagare is up to these days or how Willie Falconer might be spending the summer. Luckily for the Diary, we have an email from Ben Gresswell, who has just watched John Cockerill's great goal on YouTube. "I have to say it is brilliant," writes Ben. "What memories it brings back. What I wouldn't give to see another Town team like that. And Dave Gilbert? Well, he was just a little gem wasn't he? Actually, all of Town's goals were good that night so I encourage you all to take a look. The picture quality is a bit rough but the goals make up for that. I'm going to check out the other clips on there now and sod work! GTFC is more important." Amen to that, comrade. See you all tomorrow.
Monday 9 July
The Diary is currently afflicted by a very particular kind of pain which derives from a combination of being both horribly busy and severely bored. I am disinclined to relay every single one of the Grimsby Telegraph's current sequence of desperately contrived stories about former Town players ("Edwards takes armband at Notts"... "Burnett backs Buckley for Town glory"... "Coyne blows nose"... "Crane's arse still big"), and so it is a good thing that Diary readers have been emailing madly to fill the void. "Have I missed something?" asks Mark Wilson, referring back to a quote from Guest Diary on this page last Wednesday. "David Cameron has committed murder and taken a gay lover? Crikey..." Well, Mark, it's all part of Dave's efforts to convince a sceptical public that The Tory Party Has Changed (No, Really, Honest). Little Billy Hague's backwards baseball cap at the Notting Hill Carnival stunt clearly didn't go far enough, and Cameron is simply demonstrating that the Conservatives are no longer in the business of using single mothers, the Germans, gay people and murderers as the scapegoats for all of society's ills. In this he could usefully be emulated by serial play-off loser Russell Slade, who was in the habit of doing likewise with Frenchmen, genuine or otherwise.
Speaking of the French, The Story of O is an erotic novel published in the 1950s by French author Anne Desclos under the pseudonym Pauline Rιage, notorious for its explicit treatment of a whole range of sado-masochistic activities. And now that the Diary's copy is getting a bit dog-eared, it's nice to have an email from O to replace it. "Glad to see the continuation of your greatest goals series," writes O. "About the Cockerill goal, you can actually see it by the wonders of the internet here from around 2:20, but still, the other goals aren't half bad either." Thanks, O we've added the link on the actual goal page as well. Anyone got any other good links for online Town video?
"At least this big GTFC/Radio Humberside kerfuffle means I no longer have to debate getting up at 2am on a Sunday morning once I'm in Christchurch to listen to Town games," writes CA statistician and general good egg Andy Holt, who will depart these shores for a new life in New Zealand later this month. Hooray for John Fenty's obstreperousness! Martyn Wyburn, meanwhile, asks: "You may have mentioned this already and I apologise if you have, but can anyone at Cod Almighty explain why the headline under the Grimsby link on the BBC website is all about Dagenham going to Stockport on the first day of the season? Have I missed something or is it just that the BBC website people are as incompetent as the GT official site people?" I think it's just that there's been absolutely no news about Town at all since the day the fixture list was published. And with that, today's Diary is over keep emailing, and be sure to come back tomorrow for more no Town news!
Friday 6 July
Your Guest Diarist woke up this morning to the sad realisation that life was going to have to proceed without the best surrealist flβneur of them all, George Melly, in it. A character whose favourite party trick was to take his clothes off, get down on all fours, and rearrange his genitalia to impersonate a man, a woman, and then a bulldog. A man who started out homosexual, enjoyed many years of bisexuality, and ended up as very camp heterosexual with a long-suffering wife and a string of mistresses. A bloody good all-rounder, then, who deserves a salute from slackers like us in these over-earnest times. So raise the next glass you fill to the bloke who overcame the suffocation of the middle classes to become the male Bessie Smith.
The Grimsby Town official website has a cracker of a story headlining today. Running to one thousand, five hundred and eighty-two words, you might think it on the long side. It is actually only half that length, owing to the whole thing being repeated by those clever editors on the OS (just in case you weren't bored witless by the piece first time round). Apparently the club has made two complaints to Ofcom about Radio Humberside, which has caused the BBC to suspend negotiation on commentary rights pending the outcome. Oh, and someone called Billo is sorry for ruffling the club's feathers without asking them first. So now you know (in forty-two words, I make it). Mr Fenty, I will not ruffle your plumage today I just can't be arsed.
Boston United season tickets have gone on sale a snip at £250. The new owner, in a long-winded and emotional press release in which he admits that the Pilgrims have become the most disliked club in the world, wants a queue all the way back to the Boston Stump. The question is, will Farmer Dan the Boston fan stump up? OK, you want Town news. I refer you to the BBC sports web page dedicated to Grimsby Town FC. This was last updated on 14 June with the gripping headline Dagenham face trip to Stockport. But the Town youth are back in training and the grown-ups will amble in, I believe on Monday. So the Diary will have news of all those season-long injury woes by Wednesday, I'm sure.
Oh, hang on the squad numbers have just been announced. Twenty grown men each with a number. Mr Clarke is nervously donning the number two while young Master Bennett gets the coveted number five. I hope he wears it successfully for many seasons to come, don't you? And in another vote for youth, Danny North gets the number nine shirt whilst Isiaiaiaih Rankin has to make do with twelve. So much for the conspiracy theorists to chew over, eh?
Have a nice weekend then folks although without Doctor Who, football or decent summer weather, it gets harder doesn't it? See yer.
Thursday 5 July
Ey up. Headingley Diary logging on for a quick skimp through the world of Town before scuttling off to play footie.
Town fans will have to wait a while longer for their own hero, with the news that Martin Paterson finally joined Scunthorpe yesterday. A statement from Stoke on the Scunny OS explains: "He explained to us he wants to play first-team football now... We believe Martin should have stayed, continued his development as a player and become a success at Stoke. As part of this, we would have continued to loan him out to get first-team football. We didn't think this was the right time for Martin to make this move, either for himself or for the club, and we hoped he would decide to stay with us after all." Whatever your thoughts on the lad's rejection of the Mariners (enough to have him branded a judas in some quarters despite his goal spurt last season), Town fans will be divided to see if he can prove himself in the second division playing for those over-achieving local rivals.
From over-achievers to under-achievers, with the local rag's late news that Juninho could form a Little and Large frontline with Dean Windass at Ull. Just try to imagine it, dear reader. A big fat beast and a short, slight slip of a man. The likeable Brazilian was impressed during a visit last weekend: "Hull is a nice place now." Carl Mimms somewhat disagrees.
And not a right lot else. One of the oodles of ex-Town players which fills column inches during the summer has become captain at his current club. And the be-in-the-team-photo auction ends this lunchtime. Is the condition of the item in question 'used' a reference to the winner of the auction or the players participating? I leave you to decide...
Wednesday 4 July
It's 4 July 2007 and I'm Deviant Diary. With fish in hand and hope in our heart let's all sing the Grimsby National Anthem. As we woke by dawn's early light, to see the grass growing at Blundell Park, a new day stretched before us. What wonders to behold, what secrets will be revealed as the minutes tick-tock away?
The interminable non-story of Stoke's fifth- or possibly sixth-choice striker not signing for Town is reaching its denouement. No, it wasn't all a dream, we are still two divisions below our little brothers from Scunny. The GET is still filling space with tales of drunkenness and cruelty, and tales of ex-Town players signing for other teams. How about Coyne coining it at Tranmere? All very well but, future Kiwi and former Cod Almighty statistician Andy Holt is confused by the recent proliferation of Thorpes in Cleethorpes and the Breaking News! (sic) that "Thorpe has signed for Brentford". "I'm getting confused now. Was this the one that signed for us but never got fit?" Listen very carefully Andy, I shall type this only once: Lee Thorpe, who played bunch of games under Groves/Rodger, has signed for Brentford. Tony Thorpe, who played a bunch of minutes under Rodger, has disappeared. Thorpe Park was under water, and is now dry. The last two are not linked, constable.
And don't forget Jeremy Thorpe who, as Guest Diarist observes from a deep compost heap in deepest Lincolnshire, was both "a wise and foolish man. The David Cameron of the Liberal party (in his day), he was prone to conspiracy to murder and having gay lovers. There was something about a dog as well, but my memory has faded." To de-fade your memory, the hitman killed the dog on Bodmin Moor, Mr GD. Ah, 70s memories, we'll be reminiscing about flexidiscs in Ready Brek next. Sacha Distel and the Ted Heath Orchestra delivered straight to your breakfast table. Life was simple, and so were we.
Dogs and politicians go together like a horse and porridge. All of which is a poor excuse to ruminate upon the rumblings of Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate whose favourite book is by L Ron Hubbard (Mormons and Scientology together at last!). You're going on holiday, what do you do with the dog? Strap him to the roof of your car and tootle off, of course. The man has initiative, he's a problem solver, he's what the world needs in these troubled times.
At last! News! A multi-million investment for the Mariners. Natch, wrong Mariners. When it stops raining you should cut your lawn, it's looking a little shaggy.
There's always tomorrow.
Tuesday 3 July
West Diary here, coming from a wet place out west. Is it still raining where you are? When will it all stop? Will Sean and Violet's private DIY experiment be successful?
Hot on the heels of yesterday's announcement of the exciting Holiday Camp League Two East programme (otherwise known as the stiffs fixtures), comes an updated schedule of pre-season friendlies. The official site reveals that there will now be games against Gainsborough Trinity on 17 July and Spalding on 6 August. The already rearranged match against Grantham Town, who are apparently known as the Gingerbreads, will now take place on Tuesday 31 July. Presumably this is to accommodate a certain Grantham Town midfielder's firefighting and scouting commitments. The Mariners' pre-season schedule now resembles a month-long tour of Lincolnshire with only a couple of cross-border raids to Yorkshire thrown in. Only a jog down the Viking Way and games against Mavis Enderby and Old Bolingbroke remain to be fixed up to ensure the lads are ready to begin the season fighting fit.
Lord Buckley has stepped in to play down rumours of Martin Paterson making a move to Cleethorpes. Buckley has told Mariners World that if Paterson leaves Stoke, he thinks that he will go to Scunthorpe and that we should not be too disappointed about that because they are a Division Two side. That makes it alright then. The Grimmo Telewag backs up Buckley's view but it is not clear whether they have some more information or just, like West Diary, got up early to catch the Buckley interview.
The Town boss also deals with another rumour circulating of late, that linking Danny North to Leeds. Buckley says that one must have originated 'down dock' and there is no truth in it at all. The gaffer also reveals that he is in contact with two or three front players and considering defensive cover, although he indicates that we should not expect much movement in the short term. Just like watching Gary Jones then. So no more rumour-mongering and get back to moving those boxes of haddock around.
Time to go. It has stopped raining and your diarist needs to get to the sandwich shop before he is left with tuna mayonnaise on white bread once again.
Monday 2 July
After a relaxed June, the Cod Almighty team has had its first pre-season training session this morning (the two that turned up that is). And hard work it was too I, Headingley Diary, can assure you. Two pints of Guinness and a veggie sausage and onion baguette made gruelling work (no, really) as we discussed the coming season and watched some Copa America action.
The only Town-related news of note we missed while taking all that in is in the Grimmo Telegraph, rehashing someone else's idea of petitioning an MBE for Sir Macca. Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, or just lazy journalism?
Come on Buckleys! Sign some players and give us some news! (and the club some pennies as they tell us all by TXT MSG.)