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Diary - March 2009
Tuesday 31 March
The Diary stayed up late last night watching a film about Brian Keenan and John McCarthy being held hostage in Lebanon. Chained to the wall, their faces covered with hoods and blindfolds, beaten and humiliated for years before their final release, the touching kinship that developed between them was their one consolation in the depths of despair. Substitute the fans of Grimsby Town Football Club for Brian Keenan and John McCarthy, and our worst season in 130 years of history for their dusty prison cell in Beirut, and it becomes quite clear that the touching kinship that developed between them is a bit like Ryan Bennett. Our one consolation in the depths of despair has been named in the team of the week thing for the fourth division, anyway (just as his partner in central defence, Rob Atkinson, was last week), following another magnificent display at home to Aldershot last Saturday. Does anyone know what happened with that new contract he was supposed to be signing?
With no match for the Mariners this evening, all eyes are on the action elsewhere in the fourth division most specifically the action in the northern Home Counties, and that's not a phrase you hear every day. Town's partners in misery Luton and Barnet are at home to Rotherham and away at Wycombe respectively, with all that this entails for the relegation shake-up. Some eyes, meanwhile, will be on Blundell Park this afternoon, where the reserves will take on Bradford. Flaxen-maned noob Jonathan Lund will make a belated debut, says our superb new official website, and Danny Boshell will play in his latest bid to not be injured all the time. The squad of 16 listed by the SNOS includes no trialists who played for Maidenhead United reserves less than 48 hours previously.
You can say what you like about Positive Deadly John 'Fentydome' Fenty (Con), but you can't accuse him of not laying on free coaches to take season ticket holders to Town's Easter Saturday clash with Notts County at Meadow Lane. In another shrewd promotion, the suddenly-quite-PR-savvy-after-all Mariners chairman has this time acted to forestall any complaints from STHs about the hugely successful recent see-Town-for-a-fiver offers leaving them short-changed. "The free bust tickets will be given to season ticket holders on a first come basis," promises the superb new official website, offering up some golden opportunities for smutty double entendres for anyone desperate and time-rich enough to conjure them, which rules out the Diary on the latter count.
Last week, you might remember, the Diary told you about Cod Almighty's sponsorship of Tom Newey this season; ironic applause, of course, is commonplace but, ahead of the game as ever, this website has pioneered a new concept in ironic sponsorship. The deal means we get the shirt off Newey's back but what to do with it? Moritz has emailed to suggest: "Sell it for money, which will be spent on getting a photographer to take a good picture of Conlon. He looks utterly gormless on the BBC's article about the glorious victory over Gillingham. Let's not make it look like we're recruiting our players from a special school please?" Nice idea, Moritz, but it might take more than the cash raised by this particular fire sale to pretty up Barry Conlon. I mean how much would you bid for Tom Newey's shirt?
Monday 30 March
There were those who queried Mr Re-Newell's reasoning when he loaned Barry Conlon from Bradford a week and a half ago, so let's look at what Conlon has brought to the Mariners so far. There's a 'colourful' reputation. There's a seriously lived-in face. And there's the small matter of two goals in two games. The Diary, for one, felt a surge of confidence when Conlon, rather than Adam Proudlock, stepped up to the spot on Saturday; as much as I like Adam Proudlock, it was reassuring to see a potentially era-defining penalty kick with a goalkeeper and opposing fans both doing the distracty thing by waving their arms about like King$ton Communication$ FC fans entrusted not to a substitute who's only been on the pitch five minutes but to a rock-and-roll, devil-may-care, hard bastard with a nerve like a ten-ton truck. So I was much less taken aback than than Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz to see the penalty dinked straight down the middle with enough aplomb to sink a battleship; my only surprise was not to see Conlon roll up a smoke before he took it.
"Police are continuing to investigate," reports the Grimsby Telegraph, after a semi-naked man ran across the Blundell Park pitch during Town's game against Gillingham earlier this month and did more to change the balance of play in the Gills' favour than any of the visitors' midfield. With the Plod having made an arrest after the incident, however, it is unclear to the Diary how much more investigating really needs to be done, and I know newspapers have to use the words 'alleged' or 'allegedly' in connection with any offence before a guilty verdict is delivered by the courts, but with 6,400 witnesses the Grimsby Telegraph's observation that "a man allegedly streaked" is perhaps just a bit over-cautious.
"Yeah, I realised when I sent it I'd made a mistake but it's easy with these huge extended Catholic families, isn't it? Hope all's well and please say hi to your dad for me," writes Rich Mills in an email to Huge Extended Catholic Families Reunited, aka the Diary, addressing his cousin and fellow Diary reader Joe Mooney. "I know, piss off and use email or Facebook but isn't it good to see that at least two of us in the family not only follow the Town but also read CA. My faith in humanity is partially restored." No, it's absolutely fine, Rich. Really. It seems a very long time since Town cancelled CA's Alan Buckley interview because of the Diary taking the piss out of the club's superb new official website, so it's just reassuring to know that someone's still reading.
Friday 27 March
Your Guest Diarist has awaited a match like this for what seems like ages. Home to Aldershot a side marooned in mid -table obscurity with a rubbish away record. And thanks to Coun Fenty (Con) finally caving in and 'devaluing his brand' by charging a fiver for tickets, it will be in front of about seven thousand 'fans'. About four thousand of these will have foregone whatever has occupied their Saturday afternoons until mid-March to grace the ground with their presence. After scoring loads of goals in the last two home matches, both in front of biggish crowds, let's hope for a third home win on the bounce to keep the pressure on. And no negativity allowed right?
Manager Newell has told Mariners World that the buzz in the ticket office has caused a buzz around the place generally. He also explained, with some delicacy I should add, that JP Kalala's scan had revealed a complicated straining of his lower stomach muscles and that he will be out of the side for a while. Boshell, Newell said, is training and as long as there is no reaction he will be in contention. But the new Hunt is the old JP, while Kalala had seemed in his latter matches to be subsiding into the old Hunt, so the switch has occurred at an opportune time, eh? With debutant Sweeney impressing last match, the central midfield pairing for tomorrow seems obvious really.
Newell went on to make it fairly plain that the Town squad 'as is' will be the group that will see the club through to the end of the season. Having signed 13 players since he arrived, and with no fewer than 34 players pulling on a Town shirt this season, he is right to think enough is enough. I pulled a face last week when he signed Sweeney, convinced we were getting another anonymous left-footed drifter, but his assured debut was the right riposte to my feeble whinging, I'd be the first to admit. Let's just hope Preston dosn't recall Henderson, and that his back doesn't go again. The lad told the Telegraph how much he is enjoying life at Town and how much he missed the game when injured: "A year ago, last St Patrick's Day, I was in an awful state, drunk and thinking my career was finished." This year, no doubt he was drunk and hopefully thinking how much he likes playing for Grimsby. Love you too mate. See yer.
Thursday 26 March
Sighs of relief were audible from Town fans, Mike Newell and Jonathan Lund alike this morning as Wayne Henderson agreed to remain at Blundell Park for the rest of the season. Mr Re-Newell's gamble in expelling the Luton Three from the squad, of course, left his squad with only a soon-to-expire loanee in the senior goalkeeping department, but the Preston man has assuaged all fears by extending his stay with the Mariners to cover the seven games remaining before the summer break. Henderson's loan was soon to expire, I mean, not Henderson himself; specialists in cardiology have already ascertained a considerably reduced risk of GTFC custodians suffering heart failure during a match since the departure of Tom Newey. "Wayne will get the football he wants from this deal, while we can also work happily in the knowledge that he'll be available to us at short notice if he's required for senior action back at Deepdale at any point before the end of the season," explains Preston chairman Derek Shaw, making completely sure that everyone's mind is quite thoroughly at rest.
An inexperienced Town reserve team received a sound thumping from their Hartlepool counterparts yesterday afternoon, despite or because of the inclusion of a whopping four trialists. The stiffs went down by three goals to nil at Blundell Park, with goalkeeping coach Steve Croudson, bizarrely, included in the line-up again despite the arrival of Lund, together with erstwhile Bromley and Crawley Town midfielder Ryan Hall, and Jemal Baptiste, Troy Powell and Dominic Rhone of Maidenhead United. It's unclear how accurate an impression the GTFC management would have received of the trialists, though, as Baptiste, Rhone and Powell were playing for Maidenhead reserves away at St Albans City as recently as Monday night. Seems to the Diary that it might be asking a bit much of part-time players to give a good account of themselves less than 48 hours after their previous run-out, but I'm just a fan whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don't let the SNOS be misunderstood.
A heavy defeat for a strangely underperforming team whose manager is left scratching his head and asking: "I am bemused by it because in training on Tuesday the lads were up for it but it just didn't materialise on the night"? Sure sounds familiar, don't it? And Tom Newey wasn't even playing when his new side Rochdale were unexpectedly mullered by Chesterfield last night clearly supporting Mr Newell's presumed conclusion that his malign influence extends beyond the pitch.
It is on the subject of that former Town left-back that Joe Mooney has emailed the Diary, in fact, asking: "Am I mistaken or was this the season Cod Almighty sponsored Newey in order to break the curse? Citing something along the lines of 'a player so erratic that no performance could be put down to the CA curse' as the reason? You were right, of course: if his performance did alter it could only have been spotted by the most obsessive of Newey enthusiasts. Rather, he was taken out of the first team for the first time in what feels like decades and then subsequently got the sack. Does it count as breaking a jinx if the sponsored man was let go from the club? As with all things Tom Newey, depends on your perspective I suppose." In fact, the intention was to achieve football's first ever ironic sponsorship, but it's true that there seems to have been a curse on the club ever since we sponsored Des Hamilton all those years ago. We still have Hamilton's shirt somewhere, and in a bid to exorcise the hoodoo and lift Town back to the upper divisions the CA team will be performing a ceremonial burning this summer. Watch the website for a live link-up via our Ham-Inflam-Cam.
"On a side note," adds Joe, "in reply to Richard Mills' question from about half a year ago, I'm his cousin John's son, not Mike's." Oooh, it's like Who Do You Think You Are? Be sure to let the Diary know if you both turn out to be descended from Mrs Mangle or something. That's all from your regular Diary this week, then see you at the Aldershot game, and don't forget Guest Diary is back tomorrow. T'ra!
Wednesday 25 March
He might have "one of the best left foots in League Two", according to Town's superb new official website for two-year-olds just learning to talk, but Tom Newey will be using it for Rochdale and not the Mariners from now on. Nearly four years and 170 appearances after Russell 'Sort It' Slade signed him from relegated Cambridge United, Newey last week became one of the Luton Three a trio of players dramatically excommunicated from the squad for their disruptive influence as Town prepared to travel to Kenilworth Road and is about to sign on loan at Spotland until the end of the season, when his contract with Town expires. Depending on your point of view, Newey is a very able footballer who offers penetration at set pieces and a very high assist ratio or a lazy liability with no positional sense and a hopeless hoof who will stand off and let the other team cross six times a game, rejecting a loan move to Lincoln because he wasn't fit enough to do himself justice but happily continuing to underachieve for the side that pays his wages and seemingly giving two penalties to the Imps on purpose just for good measure. The Diary's point of view? Let's just say there can't have been much in the world that would have made me hanker back fondly to the days of Tony Gallimore.
The other members of the Luton Three, meanwhile, have had their contracts cancelled by mutual consent, eight days after Town's superb new official website wrongly said they'd had their contracts cancelled by mutual consent and then had to issue a hasty clarification after being publicly and embarrassingly taken to task for its inaccuracy by Mike Newell. Assuming that the SNOS has got it right this time, Phil Barnes and Gary Montgomery have now left the building, and Barnes will be drawing admiration for his ability as a 'good shot-stopper' while scampering across the six-yard box under crosses, failing to command the confidence of his defence and making snide remarks to Sky TV about his contract situation at another club when he finds one.
Newey's fellow former Town full-back Graham Taylor has said "Would I not like that" to the prospect of the Mariners being relegated from the Football League. Seemingly speaking to the Grimsby Telegraph, Taylor who is also known to some football fans for his period as manager of the England national team urges Town fans to continue the great backing they gave the side in last Saturday's victory over Gillingham. "The club needs their support and I don't care what anyone says, if Grimsby get relegated they will miss their team's name being read out at 5pm on a Saturday afternoon," says Taylor, adding: "You really miss something when it has gone, but then it is too late," possibly in another reference to Tony Gallimore.
The Diary has been pulled up on yesterday's assertion that, although coverage of Town games on Compass FM is rubbish, at least "most people can't receive the Compass signal because they live outside a 200-yard radius of the Dock Tower". An email from Simon Wilson points out that this distance is immaterial to folk who "just have to put up with paying £3.99 a month for the club's Mariners World service which carries the Compost FM commentary coverage for matches, home and away". I guess he's got a point although Simon adds: "I cancelled my subscription a few months back and went back to enduring Radio Humbs Hull and Scunny commentaries for the little snippets of John Tondeur. That is a sign of how good the man is. I feel for those that live far beyond the reach of the Radio Humbs transmitters and have no choice but to tolerate the dilly-dallying official site service (when it works)." So when GTFC are apologising to subscribers for "commentary problems" as they seem to have to do every other week does that mean people can't listen to the commentary, or that they can and it's rubbish?
Lastly today, the Grimsby Telegraph reports that Jimmy Hernon, an inside forward in Bill Shankly's famous Mariners side of the 1950s, died earlier this month at the age of 84. The Diary must admit to being unfamiliar with the name but the Telegraph provides an excellent summary of Hernon's career at Blundell Park and beyond (maybe Mr Re-Newell could try that porridge and whisky diet on Andy Taylor). Thanks for reading see you tomorrow.
Tuesday 24 March
Are we signing a player or not signing a player? In his most recent Mariners World interview, or possibly his most recent but one, Mr Michael Re-Newell said last week's triple foray into the transfer market would probably be his last this season. In some marketing copy for the club's text messaging service, however, Town's superb new official website says: "We are anticipating some activity before Thursday's deadline." It does not, however, elaborate on whether this "activity" will be the signing of Chester's two players who are any good or just Phil Barnes, Gary Montgomery and Tom Newey being given some colouring books.
Last week's very successful offer of match tickets for a fiver, which helped to generate a large and supportive crowd at Blundell Park for the first time since cavemariners landed too many pteroichthyopods down the docks and blamed their imminent extinction on the Pangaean Economic Community, is being repeated for Town's next home game this Saturday. More than 6,400 fans cheered on the Mariners to a resounding win over in-form Gillingham the club's biggest gate for a home game in the league since part-timers flocked to a game against Wycombe in October 2005 to get ticket stubs for a cup tie against Newcastle. Same as before buy the Grimsby Telegraph and cut out the voucher. The Diary is going to end this paragraph now because it barely contains any irony at all and my face is hurting from all this smiling.
Details have emerged of the Myspace Mariners' forthcoming cup final. By winning a penalty shootout against Tranmere on Saturday, Town's flourishing youth team set up a meeting with QPR to decide the Youth Alliance League Cup, and the SNOS has today let it be known that this fixture will take place at Loftus Road on Tuesday 21 April. No explanation is given as to why the London club gets home advantage, but I guess that's just what happens when London is involved, eh, small-timers?
Last up today, several of you have emailed to congratulate Radio Humberside's John Tondeur as he makes it a marvellous 25 years covering the Mariners: rather than cram them all into the Diary, we've set up a separate page for them, so go there for a read. In his email Alan Dickens also asked: "What is the insider standpoint of CA regarding the Humberside v Compass debate, argument, shenanigans or whatever it is? John's 25 years might be an opportunity for the Diary to comment on this." Not that we're insiders in any way, but it seems to me that if you pay peanuts, you get inexperienced and untrained monkeys trying to do the job of sports journalists and failing laughably, making the club look ridiculous once again. It's just a good job most people can't receive the Compass signal because they live outside a 200-yard radius of the Dock Tower.
Monday 23 March
In February 2005 GTFC overturned a half-time deficit to beat runaway divisional leaders Yeovil, and the Glovers' then manager Gary Johnson spoke at the post-match press conference of Town's palpable improvement when the home fans actually got behind their side in the second half instead of booing like children at a pantomime every time Jason Crowe lost the ball, as they had in the first. Four years down the line the Mariners are still mired in the fourth division, but after Saturday's big and supportive crowd cheered them on brilliantly to a convincing win over second-placed Gillingham, Town fans have a second chance to learn the lesson. After seeing his side turned over by ostensibly the worst team in the Football League, Gills boss Mark Stimson told reporters: "They had a fantastic crowd here today and if the manager had that support every week I'm sure they wouldn't be where they are at the moment." Never a truer word spoken, of course especially given the tremendous effect of another large and positive crowd two weeks earlier when Town beat Lincoln 5-1.
In the run-up to the Lincoln fixture, though, some Town fans had been suggesting on a web forum that the only way to motivate their team for the match would be to reprise the chant of "We're shit and we know we are" from the home defeat to Morecambe just beforehand, and a precondition for the manager to have the support every week that Stimson speaks of might be for someone to hunt these people down and ram their keyboards so far down their throats that they shit qwerty.
Get yer trousers on you're nicked! There we were last week trembling at the memory of the panic spring signing sprees of 2003 and 2004, and there was Barry Conlon on Saturday with Velcro feet and a massive dominant bonce and The Sweeney making us forget Liam Trotter and Dean Sinclair had ever existed. But much as Messrs Re-Newell and Stein have done the biz again, the long-term success of the club will depend in large part on its youth set-up being able to turn out a few more Ryan Bennetts. The signs are good right now, as the GTFC youth team have added to their impressive run of achievements in recent seasons by reaching the national final of the Youth Alliance League Cup. Today's Grimsby Telegraph reports that the Myspace Mariners/Twittering Teens/alternative Web2.0-related nickname will face QPR in the final (but doesn't add where or when) after overcoming their Tranmere counterparts on Saturday in a penalty shoot-out. Leigh Overton saved two spot-kicks and the final penalty was scored by American defender Dallas Moore. I really hope that somewhere in the USA there's a youth team that includes an English centre-half with a name like Emmerdale Cooke.
Lastly today, the Diary was interested to note on Saturday that John Tondeur has now been covering the Mariners on Radio Humberside for 25 years. Our warmest congratulations to John, whose voice has been a source of much-needed insight and empathy for two generations of Town fans who can't make it to the match. Will the club or the BBC be marking this anniversary? We don't know. Can Diary readers email their observations on the occasion? You bet your sweet bippy.
Friday 20 March
Your Guest Diarist returns after a welcome comeback by Mr Diary a man whose purported link between 'Shipbuilding' and Humberston Fitties in yesterday's Diary was the cause of much agonising in the GD household overnight, but whose Diaries in this unexpectedly turbulent week have been the source of both humour and solace, and which have also provided a necessary dose of acerbicity in response to the frankly weird workings of Grimsby Town plc.
So Chairman Fenty bragged of a blank cheque, and manager Newell has decided to renew his squad not once but twice (or is it thrice?) this season in an effort to find a winning formula and a squad who try to look bothered about losing week in week out. Given injuries that curtailed Sinclair's stay (out for the season, they say), that put JP Kalala and Boshell out of the reckoning and Bolland out for nearly ever, you would think (from that list and from the evidence provided by your own eyes if you have seen Town more than once) that getting experienced and capable players in to play in central midfield would be the priority. And before I get sarky about the Telewag article which claims he is about to sign a striker the superb new official Town website announces the names of those whom, it is hoped, will sign on loan to the end of the season this very day. So let's be brave and have a peep.
Leeds midfielder Peter Sweeney, Bradford striker Barry Conlon and inexperienced Leeds youth goalkeeper Jonty Lund (who failed a trial at Burnley, as I recall) are the targets claimed by the OS. Of course this is a source which, according to the manager the other night, you should not always believe.
Conlon got 11 goals this season before falling out with his manager and being dropped for a major disciplinary breach. Despite wild man Barry being follically challenged, Cleethorpes mothers are already locking up their daughters, I hear, and the fast food establishments and drinking houses of Meggies are already celebrating the prospect of a boost in takings this spring because of the expected Conlon fiscal stimulus. Conlon is big, slow and eats raw spinach straight from the tin by the way.
Peter Henry Sweeney is a six-foot left-footed 24-year-old Scot who has done the rounds. He played in the cup final for Millwall, which got him a £250,000 transfer to Stoke. After that his career drifted with loan spells at Yeovil and Walsall before Dennis Wise signed him for Leeds. But McAllister and now Grayson didn't bother with him so his legs are fresh, but rusty not having played this season. Before you ask, he doesn't get booked and doesn't score. Oh, and he is more of a left winger than a central midfield player our third left-wing signing this season when we already had that left-footed lad Heggggaarty.
Me? I'm confused. Why do we need another striker, and why have we ended up with three left-sided winger types and lazy-arse Bore in a fit midfield squad of about five? Hunt must be glad he's back in contention but shitting himself at the prospect of having to play alongside these.
But before all that kerfuffle (and remember, none of them is signed yet), Mr Newell had had his chat with Dale on Mariners World. In this he said he needed players "in all positions". Newell also talked about the ongoing improvement in his skipper (not just every game but every day, he eulogised). And he confirmed that Kalala needs a scan, though Boshell ought to be in contention next week but not this. He also said no-one had any idea of Bore's natural position although it might be an idea to ask... no, that's too rude for this time of the morning.
Yet again we face 'a form team' in the shape of vomiting Gillingham. It is hard to see how we can possibly win given the paucity and unsettled nature of our available squad, but get behind them we must, and let's hope for a big slice of luck. Sometime soon we will play a team who don't give a shit about winning under the auspices of a refereeing team who give us a break. Then when we still conspire to fuck it up it really will be all our own fault. Come on Town! See yer.
Thursday 19 March
Just a quick 'un today, as Little Brother Diary and his missus have rolled up to visit Baby Diary. LBD is drinking tea from the GTFC mug, while I've given his missus the Rushden & Diamonds one. Keep 'em guessing, that's what I say.
Lots of people are talking on the internet. This is not, in itself, a good thing, and its moral and philosophical value when they are talking about Town and/or Chester going into administration depends, like periscopes and wonky mirrors, on your point of view. As with everything else, nobody really knows anything apart from the fact that idiot chairman Stephen Vaughan has offloaded yon Deviants to a property developer called Gary Metcalfe, and they're going to revamp that shithole ground with shops and offices and all that shit, and best of all get this a four-tier stand. I thought I'd just dreamt the part about the original developers going into liquidation and the new plans emerging when Chester opted to save money by placing the rebuilding project in the hands of a wedding cake company, so maybe they're just building one four-tier stand and leaving the other three sides of the ground empty.
I suppose we'd better look at what Mr Re-Newell has said about Tom Newey, Phil Barnes and Gary Montgomery leaving the club. Did I say leaving the club? Sorry. I meant Tom Newey, Phil Barnes and Gary Montgomery being told they can leave the club. I never said leaving the club. The manager has at last spoken to the Grimsby Telegraph about Tuesday night's addition to the Mariners' canon of communications cock-ups, but he's being as cagey as a particularly intensive battery farm: "It is best for all parties. There wasn't a bust-up, I have formed an opinion of the players over time. I understand it is frustrating for players when they are not always in the team. But I need to know that everyone is pulling in the same direction, even when they are not in the side." Those are just a few of the lines we need to read between, and only time will tell whether Newell's spectacular gamble pays off. Which is why I didn't particularly want to talk about it today that and the fact that, with around 36 hours elapsing between the news haphazardly emerging and someone from GTFC actually telling us something about it, the club didn't particularly want to talk about it either.
"This get into Saturday's game for a fiver lark is it a coupon/voucher-based promotion in the Telegraph?" asks Si Wilson in a thinly veiled attempt to get me to do my job properly, disguised as an email to the Diary. I think so, Si, yes. See you on Saturday if you get your caravan on the Fitties booked in time.
Wednesday 18 March
Everyone's probably a bit tired and emotional and in need of some light relief, so let's begin today's Diary with a little game. Can you spot the difference between these two pictures?
If you need help, here's a clue from today's Grimsby Telegraph:
When asked if the club had severed ties with the players, Newell replied: "Have we? They were [still with the club] when I left this morning."
Half the time at Grimsby Town Football Club, there are some good people doing great things and their efforts are ruined by shambolic, embarrassingly awful, fist-in-mouth humiliatingly dogshit communications and admin which would embarrass an amateur side. The other half of the time, it's just all shit.
Sometimes the shambolic, embarrassingly awful, fist-in-mouth humiliatingly dogshit communications and admin have relatively little effect in the grand scheme of things. Take for example the occasion when club staff posted this sign at the ticket office in the run-up to a cup tie against a first division team:
It was incompetent, but it was also funny and it didn't do any harm. But sometimes the shambolic, embarrassingly awful, fist-in-mouth humiliatingly dogshit communications and admin can be more questionable. There was the 'Ladies' Day' in November 2003, when Town lost at home against Tranmere and the club's official website headlined its match report "Ladies' Day Ends Bosoms Up!" There was the attempt in July 2005 to justify the switching of home fixtures to Friday nights, when the site argued that the previous season's Friday night game against Oxford had "proved to be a winner with Mariners fans"; the attendance was 4,777 against an average for the season of 4,943. There was the friendly at Gainsborough in July 2007, when the website directed travelling Town fans to Southport. As long-term Diary readers will know very well, we could go on. And on.
And so it was last night. The Mariners are at their lowest point in their entire 130-year history and struggling to retain their status in senior English professional football. The club is running a range of promotions to maximise support for the team, following up the hundreds of free coach seats to last Saturday's game at Chester with cut-price tickets and cheap buses to home games. The Grimsby Telegraph is mucking in with an energetic campaign to rally the local community around its club before it's too late. Despite another defeat at Luton yesterday the players put in one of their better recent performances and even the fans actually supported them. And while all this is going on, of course, the serial incompetents who are responsible for the club's communications are botching the job once again: this time an announcement about the unexpected departure of players comprising two long-serving first-teamers and the squad's entire permanent goalkeeping staff with potentially critical implications for both team spirit and the image of the club in the eyes of local people, at a time when the Mariners' very existence depends on both.
At the end of it all, we're not clear as to the status of Barnes, Newey and Montgomery. But we can surmise fairly safely that, like Richard Hope and Martin Butler before them, they are being ushered out of the club because they can't do their jobs, they can't justify their wages, and they're undermining the efforts of the rest of the team to keep the club alive.
That's all fair enough. But it loudly begs the question of why Town's communications staff are still in a job.
Tuesday 17 March
What's happening tonight, then? The Diary is staying in and listening to the Town Bike album; the Mariners probably won't sign anyone on loan to fill in for Jean-Paul Kalala and Danny Boshell, but ex-future stars Straight Peter Bore and Danny North are added to the squad; some Luton Town supporters are going to say "grrrr!" to Mike Newell and wave their fists; there will be a game of football and afterwards some people will go on the internet to talk about it using clichιd insults and ineffective non-linear reasoning; and in six weeks' time one or both of Grimsby and Luton will be relegated and some of the same people will say they're not going to watch non-League football but still call themselves supporters. It's a funny old game, apparently.
If you believe the Sunday Express, Mickael Antoine-Curier could soon be the subject of a transfer bid from first division Bolton Wanderers. Then again, if you believe the Sunday Express, some of the kids who weren't killed in the Dunblane massacre, and are now teenagers, are somehow 'shaming the memory' of their dead classmates by now behaving like teenagers. If you believe the Sunday Express, in short, you really need to take a good, long look at yourself. Much like Mickael Antoine-Curier must have done after he played for six different clubs during the 200304 season, proving a disaster for the lot, his very name becoming a symbol of all the mismanagement at Grimsby Town at that time, because he eventually returned to British football and scored 21 times in 33 league starts since joining Dundee in January 2008. Considering it's a funny old game, it doesn't really make me laugh.
Monday 16 March
After Simon Heslop turned out to be unfit and rubbish, Liam Trotter finished three months and went to Scunny, Malvin Kamara covered the wrong position, Jean-Paul Kalala got injured, Stuart Elliott preferred Doncaster reserves, Dean Sinclair got injured and Adrian Forbes turned out to be a striker, Town are in the market for another loan midfielder following the injury to Danny Boshell which forced him off at Chester on Saturday, where the midfield already had a patched-up look about it as James Hunt made his first appearance for two and a half months. According to the Mariners' superb new official website, Mr Michael Re-Newell is hopeful that his squad might be boosted in time for tomorrow night's fixture. "In terms of the squad, it does leave us a bit light. We might be able to do something about that in time for the Luton game," said Newell, crossing his fingers that the Football League has forgotten about its rules for the maximum number of loans one club can make in a season.
Luton, meanwhile, probably hate Town because we gave their old manager a job and football is kind of silly like that. Granted, the situation is more than usually complicated because of Mr Re-Newell's legal action against the Hatters to claim money he is fully entitled to legally and contractually the dastardly twister! and with all this 30-point deduction gubbins, but the Diary is in little mood to add anything further to the phrase "them's the breaks". Apart from the phrase "they're probably still just sulking from when we beat them 7-1".
It might not be on a par with planting false evidence about terrorism or slandering the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy, but the notorious Sun newspaper has been up to its tricks again and this time your very own Cod Almighty is the victim. Two weeks after the CA team got GTFC included in Danny Baker's 'totalitarian league' of 20 clubs who could represent the whole of football, by virtue of the other teams' managers Town have got sacked, the football supplement in today's Sun mentions the same thing using some of the exact same wording Cod Almighty has used in our own coverage. For more on the Sun and its crimes against copyright, journalism, truth and society, the Diary recommends an hour or so reading through the superb The Sun Tabloid Lies blog, and that includes you, Mat!
Lastly today, the Diary congratulates the Internet Mariners, which, I seem to recall, is the name for Town's fans' team. Why? Nutty's email sent over the weekend explains all. "It may have been a bore draw in the afternoon but the fans' team walloped their Chester counterparts five nil in the morning." Fantastic! Sounds like Newell's hotshots could do far worse than prepare for their next game by forgetting the posh training facilities at Everton and being forced to watch the supporters show them how it's done.
Friday 13 March
In 1977 Rico released this great reggae trombone album called Man From Wareika to which your Guest Diarist is fondly attached. So why does this come to mind on a pleasant spring Friday after listening to the Town joint number two Stuart Watkiss(es) on that Mariners World? Well, the fact that my second favourite track is nattily entitled 'Ramble' may provide a clue.
No insight here into the switch to 3-5-2 and whether Town will again consider lining up with big gaps down the flanks. Just a long mumbled monologue about... about... well, how Town keep narrowly losing, I suppose would sum it up. We narrowly lose to the top teams, we lose to the form teams, we lose to those round about us and nothing should be read into the fact we beat Lincoln 5-1 last week. Nothing much either will change if we lose to Chester at their place tomorrow. Just another three points spurned lots of spurning time left, eh?
All around the local media we have pronouncements that tomorrow is the biggest, most important game... ever. Ryan Bennett has said it to the Telegraph, Coun Fenty (Con) has repeated it, Coun Dave 'wahay' Boylen (Lib Dem) is sure it is the biggest (despite playing in the 1969 season when Town really did finish second bottom of the fourth division). Chester manager Mark Wright thinks the winner tomorrow will stay up. I have a premonition about a sending off. But then I really haven't got a clue about anything any more so let's banish negativity and redirect positive energies towards JP Kalala's loins.
For JPK limped off with a groin problem the other night and will face a late fitness test at Everton's fancy training emporium.
This may take place with manager Newell in the sauna, where naked men get to talk about things that really matter whilst gently beating each other with twigs. I could tell you a story about what happened to me once in a Finnish sauna complex complete with withered old crone who was insistent on giving me a good rub down, but time is against me so I'll save it and instead tell you the interesting fact that demoted goalie Barnes has had tonsillitis recently.
So Newell has plenty of players to choose from missing only Bolland (with his "long-term thing", as Watkiss(es) put it) and the returned Sinclair a man we sent away with a dodgy hamstring only for his club to decide to operate upon his knee. The hamstring, I always thought, was that big muscle down the back of thine thigh (the one that when it cramps in the middle of the night makes for a right ruckus in our house anyway). Whether it connects to the knee I know not (and don't need to really). It sounds doubtful whether we will see him again though.
Chester, meanwhile, struggle on with their squad down to 13 senior players and despite the various claims and promises made by their scally chairman, no sign of any hard cash to alleviate matters and allow some loaners to be signed. The ever-hopeful Mark Wright, who actually claims owner Stephen Vaughan as a friend, says he has compiled a list of players and still hopes to sign some of them in time to play tomorrow. Now that is hope springing eternal.
With Town taking ten full coachloads tomorrow, the away fans will almost match the home fans given the paltry 1,200 crowds Chester attract. And surely will be the noisier set. Let's hope the team give them something to get them going. Come on, we can beat these. See yer.
Thursday 12 March
"After Lincoln we all thought we'd piss this and now we're getting dicked on!" said a Town fan standing just in front of the Diary, an hour into last night's game at Chesterfield. "No we didn't, and no we aren't," replied the Diary with absolute conviction, very quietly so that nobody could hear and smack me in the gob. It was another defeat in a very poor 12 months for the Mariners, but a close game, and unlike certain Chester other Chester relegation Chester candidates, we are not being played off the park and thrashed hopelessly. On the other hand, Mike Newell is perhaps harsher on his players than that, certainly Nick Hegggggarty's early miss was a doozie, and the Diary missed the first few minutes of the match because Chesterfield saw that 500 Town fans were heading for the ground and decided to open one turnstile. Idiots. That's what these people are. They're idiots.
Owt else? Not really. Nicky Rizzo has decided that 68 minutes as a Mariner can never be enough, but that's yer lot from me 'til Monday. Guest Diary tomorrow. Have a good one, keep on keeping on, God bless, and cheer the fuck up.
Wednesday 11 March
Town's hopes of retaining Football League status for a 100th consecutive year and a 116th season out of the past 117 were boosted significantly by last night's results in the fourth division. With Barnet slipping to a narrow defeat at Brentford and Chester taking a massive pasting at home to Rotherham, the tiny proportion of people in North East Lincolnshire who care a monkey's bollock about football should be feeling more optimistic for their club's survival today. True, Accrington recorded a second win since their routine trouncing of the Mariners at Christmas, and we've slipped back into the bottom two as a result of Bournemouth's victory over Exeter, but the Diary has spent the last two month telling anyone who'll listen that Bournemouth are irrelevant as they will clearly finish the season ahead of us and it's the rubbish sides just above us we need to be looking at. Mr Re-Newell's side now sits one point behind the Deviants with two games in hand.
For tonight's visit to Chesterfield, the Diary suspects the boss will find room for Nathan Jarman in his new formation as he seeks to replace gone-back-to-Doncaster-reserves Stuart Elliott, but Chris Llewellyn is back from suspension so you never know. Peter Till is ineligible to play under the terms of his loan from Town to the Crookeds; you'd sort of hope, that being the case, that he won't be able to score against us, but nothing would surprise me any more. See the pre-match factfile for more, er, facts, pre-match. Has anyone got the remotest clue why it's kicking off at half past seven on a Wednesday, by the way?
Dean Sinclair could shortly increase by one the number of Charlton Athletic midfielders turning out on loan for the Mariners if he returns from his injury down south later this week and signs up for the Re-Newell project for a third month. Today's Grimsby Telegraph reckons
Sinks, as his teammates quite plausibly might call him in informal contexts, could return to the club in time for this weekend's planet-straddling granite icon of a clash at Chester. Returning from his injury down south means he has a hamstring injury and he's been back in London recovering from it, by the way, not that his ailment affects a part of his anatomy that's unmentionable. I still don't know where hamstrings are.
Tuesday 10 March
Both members of Town's rapidly improving first-choice strike partnership have been recognised for their aceness against Lincoln last Saturday by being named in that fourth division team of the week thing. The gifted and highly committed Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, of course, registered his first and second goals in English football as the Mariners filled their boots against their county neighbours, while Adam Proudlock managed an excellent hat-trick despite some media crediting his second goal to Danny Boshell and some fucking numpty writing in the Grimsby Telegraph comments section the other week that Proudlock never scores goals. That's eight in 18 league starts, in case you were wondering.
A tiny reminder that, while Akpa Akpro and Proudlock may be firing on all cylinders at the moment, not everything at our football club is done quite so well as their finishing against Lincoln. Town are currently offering 'extended highlights' of last Saturday's big win as a part of a sort of free trial thing for Mariners World, the club's paid-for web subscription service. All well and good until you actually watch them. They are extended highlights, but only in as much as there were six goals and the highlights show absolutely everything twice and, hilariously, the second time is at the same speed as the first, from the same camera, with the same bit of commentary, rather than a proper action replay where the commentator talks through the footage second time with a different perspective and points out further detail. This isn't even the worst of it: the captions (which tell you when a goal is coming up, just in case you don't recognise a goal when you see one) would have been dismissed as hopelessly old-fashioned by a software house publishing Commodore 64 games in 1986. Good job they're offering it for free, is all the Diary can say.
Town's decision to lay on free coach travel to Chester this weekend is a cracking one, however, and there's every chance that the vehicles were either built or, at the very least, have been refurbished in the last 23 years. With just 30 places remaining of the 500-odd on offer, supporters have clearly responded in true Grimbarian spirit: perhaps not so much "let's get behind the football club that represents us in its hour of need" as "oooh, free stuff!"
News of Mariners past reaches the Diary today: Gary Harkins is still banging on about what a shit time he had at Grimsby for his good money, while one of the new Brighton manager's less successful signings during his term at Blundell Park has now pitched up at crisis-hit Weymouth. None of us know why Jermaine Palmer never really troubled the first team in that hazy, crazy 2005-06 season, but let's hope he can do something to lift the Terras out of the almighty pickle the directors have got the club into. Idiots. That's what they are. Idiots.
And finally, Town's youth team have drawn 1-1 with Chesterfield, reminding the Diary of my request last week for you to suggest new nicknames for the youth team now that Myspace is clearly on its way to a massive and fully deserved demise. "How about the Blue Square Twitter Juniors?" offers Ben Gresswell. Hey, I thought we were doing optimism this week! Anyway, the kids are all on Bebo now, aren't they? Twitter was last week. Or is it Facebook? Actually, let's just stick with Myspace and see if it comes back into fashion. If it's good enough for Mariners World and its 1986 graphics, it's good enough for the Diary.
Monday 9 March
Last Tuesday the Diary resolved not to draw a prognosis for the Mariners' survival or otherwise in the Football League from their home defeat by Brentford that night. Town were facing the league leaders in weather conditions that made a meaningful game of football impossible; and had the exact same match taken place in the context of a winning run, some fans might have regarded it as an unlucky blip rather than a portent of certain relegation. By the same token, the Diary as is determined as Mr Re-Newell not to conclude from Saturday's bit of fun that GTFC are suddenly much more likely to dodge the drop. Bournemouth will still finish above us and Chester are still the team to catch. By the way, Lincoln fans, if any of you are reading, please shut up with all this rot about sacking your manager because you defended badly for five minutes; and can everyone stop calling it the Blue Square and playing into the hands of corporate bastards who care nothing for football? It's the Conference. Thankyou!
Speaking of Chester, it will not have escaped the notice of diligent Grimsby supporters that their club is running free coaches to the epoch-defining clash between the two clubs at the Stadium of Deviancy this Saturday, especially since Guest Diary mentioned it here on Friday. More details are up on Town's superb new official website today, including the numbers of places available and how to get yourself one. The SNOS reports excitedly that "Ten 49-seat coaches, provided at a reduced cost by Coopers Coaches and part-funded by Town shirt sponsors Youngs, will offer 450-plus free spaces." Chester, meanwhile, have cut the price of entry to a tenner in a desperate bid to avoid the home support being outnumbered by 490 Town fans.
Stuart Elliott made a decent contribution to the Mariners' cause during his two months here on loan, especially considering the way his lack of match practice inevitably caught up with him during Town's recent spell of two games a week. I am using the past tense because the former King$ton Communications FC hero and Northern Ireland international has chosen not to stay for a third month and returned to parent club Doncaster, where he will inevitably go back to not having a chance to make any contribution at all. I am also dissenting from the miserablist notion that Elliott was somehow giving less than 100 per cent, which was expressed here and there during the second of those two months, probably by people who walk out of Blundell Park with at least 10 per cent of the match still to play.
Lastly today, but certainly not leastly, did you hear 606 with Danny Baker on your way home from the Brentford game last Tuesday? If you don't know what I'm on about, Grimsby played Brentford last Tuesday and lost by the only goal of an awful game. If you still don't know, 606 with Danny Baker is basically the only radio phone-in about football that isn't utterly shit, and indeed has often brought solace recently to members of the CA team en route back to our homes after awful defeats on miserable Tuesday nights. Today, I think, will be your last chance to download the podcast of last Tuesday's show, which you must do, because the CA team emailed Danny about the Grimsby Reaper in a bid to get the Mariners into his hypothetical 'totalitarian league' (which would represent the whole of football in the event of a dictatorship assuming control of the nation and getting rid of all but 20 clubs). It starts at 27:08 but listen to the whole thing, and then join our campaign to have Selflovejoy and Mr Spoons ejected from the airwaves forever.
Friday 6 March
"I'm not gonna vote as I have never been a G.T supporter since the days of Tony Ford leaving" was a Willows resident's encouraging contribution to the Grimsby Telegraph's GTFC support message board launched today. Yeah, right: I feel a bit the same about when Mike Lyons let Bobby Cumming go but the club is bigger than all of us for fucks sake. If you support Grimsby now is the time to shift your arse and go to as many matches as you can. You might not enjoy what you see much, but we can help Town stay in the League. Town need another thousand on the gate those noisy people who have stopped going just because Town have been a bit shit. You know who they are, gentle reader, some of them any way. Shame them in to joining you and make sure you turn up too.
Chairman the honourable Fenty (Con) has also woken up and sensibly organised a fleet of ten free coaches to take fans to the away game at Chester. The Telegraph has also published, along with that news, exhortations from Messrs McDermott and Boylen (wahey was not mentioned once) that the team benefits from noisy support.
Manager Newell, meanwhile, has only Llewellyn (suspended) and Bolland crossed off his list of players to choose from. From the way he talked to Mariners World Elliott will make a return after his little rest. By the sounds of things he just has to pick him if Elliott is to be persuaded to stay another month after his loan ends this weekend. Sinclair, on the other hand, is dead keen to stay but the next loan period will sensibly be invoked only after he has recovered from his hamstring injury. Surprisingly Newell has hinted to the Telegraph that he may change from 4-4-2 but this may of course be pre-match bluffing. Whatever he does I reckon Stockdale, as our only player with right back stamped at the top of his CV, should be picked. So that means 4-4-2 as he is not a rampaging wildebeest but a tackling, marking animal.
Mr Newell has worked out we have twelve games left, ten of which are against teams in the bottom half. He told Dale on Mariners World that in the recent games against high-flyers and form teams we had performed decently without getting reward. Dale wants to believe some of those ten games will be easier as they are against teams becalmed in mid table towards the end of the season. Well there are as many ways to drop points as to gain them so I suggest we leave that factor aside for now mate.
If there are less than 4,000 in the ground tomorrow for the home derby against Lincoln your Guest Diarist will be a bit ashamed about the state of professional football in Lincolnshire. As for how we will do I think Lincoln are not quite as good as they think we are, and we are at least ten per cent less shit than we imagine. So, given a decent atmosphere, some derby-game attitude, and a bit better weather than bloody Tuesday night we have a decent chance. Various facets of life can be likened to a game of chess you know: and we need a queen . I guess that rules Peter Bore out then. See yer.
Thursday 5 March
Back in 2003 it was Darren Barnard. In 2007 it was Danny Boshell. In between and since it's been Marcel Cas, Luton's Michael Reddy, Paul Bolland and a whole host of many other Town players seemingly chosen entirely at random. What has? The player given the humiliating job of telling the Grimsby Telegraph: "Yes, we're shit, and we know we have to get better, and we will, really, honest, no, I know we've said that before but this time we really really mean it, honest, we really care, I know it looks like we're strolling about the pitch like a bunch of two-bit no-hopers who can't wait for their contracts to end, but that's just because, um... er... TAXI!" And whose turn is it today? Who has been chosen, at the absolute lowest point in more than 130 years of the club's history, to speak desperately needed hope into the hearts of the Mariners faithful who are suffering like never before? Who sums up the never-say-die spirit Town need to avoid the deep, dark drop into non-League football? That's right. It's Tom Newey. And what stirring words does our indefatigable left-back have to reassure us that the players are giving their all that they're prepared, as Mike Newell demanded the other day, to die for the cause? "Sooner or later it has to sink in that we really are in a relegation battle." Thanks, Tom. You'd kind of hope so, yes. Sooner would be nice, please.
Straight Peter Bore once had a glittering career ahead of him, and Danny North at least a vaguely twinkly sort of one. Ryan Bennett's level-headedness and professionalism, on the other hand, should be an example to both, and his impressive ability to play well in a rubbish team has won him the fourth division's PFA fans' player of the month award for February. "A glittering career lies ahead of him," says PFA official Mick McGuire, glaring pointedly at Straight Peter Bore and Danny North.
Ah, George Kerr. What fond memories that name evokes for the Diary. Third division title, 1980, wasn't it? Mmm. Marvellous. But after a failed attempt to resume his career at Rotherham, I think it was, the last manager to have got Town promoted who wasn't Alan Buckley seemed to disappear off the face of the Earth for a couple of decades before joining Radio Humberside as a pundit. And how well suited (large scotch, please) to the role he is (and another), with his great insight and controversial views (hic!). This is precisely why, in the run-up to a crucial derby between Town and Lincoln this Saturday, the Lincolnshire Echo has sought out an opinion from the man it calls "the opinionated Scot". So with the Mariners at the absolute lowest point in more than 130 years of the club's history and the Imps pushing for a place in the promotion play-offs, what's Kerr's unique take on this weekend's match? He thinks Lincoln will win. It's not a shed, George!
Lastly today and lastly from your regular Diary this week before Guest Diary steps in for his traditional Friday slot tomorrow after a magnificent run in the the Midland(s) Floodlit Cup, Town's youth team have bowed out "at the final hurdle", reports the club's superb new official website, with a 2-0 defeat at Port Vale. I assume "the final hurdle" means the final, but the SNOS is curiously reticent on the issue. With young people reportedly moving on in droves to other social networking websites, the term 'Myspace Mariners' is rapidly becoming defunct so what should the Diary's new nickname be for Town's youth team? Email email@example.com with your fiendishly clever suggestions. Thanks for reading, be strong, and don't forget to clean behind your ears.
Wednesday 4 March
Diary readers, Grimsby Town fans. Your team is playing shit. That's pretty much a fact. But how you deal with your team playing shit this is what defines you as a fan, and as a human being. You can take the easy option: give up. Decide the battle is over. Go home, log on, run up the white flag and bleat. Or you can take the harder option: be strong. Get some dignity and get some spirit, and keep fucking supporting. Are you, after all, a supporter? Or are you one of the spineless deserters who started leaving last night with 15 minutes to go? Or one of the hollow-hearted traitors whose only contribution was to jeer at Henderson and Widdowson when the wind blew their kicks out of play and then sing "we're shit and we know we are"? You people are you happy to look in the mirror and see weakness staring back at you? Because that's all you're showing at the moment. That's what you're being. Weak supporters, and weak people. And what's needed now? Strength. Inner strength, and spirit, and soul. Have you got any of that? Go on, ask yourself have you? This is no time for the weak. Weakness will take us down. If you can't toughen up, don't fucking turn up.
One previous inhabitant of Blundell Park who knows all about bottling it is Russell Slade. Fresh after his highly intriguing departure from Yeovil (believe you me, that'll be a tale if it ever comes out), the boooooobaldteacheromglolzboooo former Mariners boss is now being linked with the vacancy at third division strugglers Brighton, who are paying with a relegation struggle for the truly ludicrous sacking last summer of Dean Wilkins. Brighton's local paper the Argus
names Sort It as a leading contender to succeed Wilkins' successor Micky Adams, who was in turn sacked last month. The Diary can't help thinking that Slade would be a decent choice to turn the Seagulls' fortunes around and then lead them to a play-off final which he then can't really be arsed to motivate his team for because he's blagged a job with another club to start a couple of weeks later.
And finally! An Icelandic trawler has landed at Grimsby for the first time in 20 years. The Sturia GK12's arrival at Grimsby tested the effectiveness of adding direct delivery to the controlled environment distribution chain, don't you know. Lumpers at the scene are understood to have rubbed their eyes in disbelief as the vessel was accompanied by a mirage of Tony Rees backheeling a ball to Steve Saunders, who then sliced it into the Alexandra Dock for a throw-in.
Tuesday 3 March
Up the bleedin' Mariners. Are you going tonight? Your returning regular Diary can think of a few things I'd sooner be doing than a 150-mile round trip on a cold winter night to watch Tom Newey take the piss out of me, but it's times like these that sort out the men of faithfulness from the boys who post shit on the Grimsby Telegraph website's comments sections. It's times like these that distinguish, if you will, the true supporter from the screaming twat. I'd sooner go to the pub. I'd sooner stop at home with Mrs Diary and Baby Diary, just so they remember who I am. But it's no good boasting how long you've been going to Blundell Park to try and make a point about why you're staying away now. Because if you turn your back on the team at a time like this then your 10, 20, or 50 years of supporting the Mariners count for nothing. Nothing. Walk away now and you might as well never have bothered supporting the club at all. And if the Diary were to dodge my responsibilities as a fan this evening, not only would I be unable to hold my head up around my fellow Cod Almighty contributors at our next
enormous weekend-long piss-up editorial conference I would also be unable to look myself in the face and call myself a true Grimsby Town supporter. Besides, I'm really gagging for a butty from Sue's chippy.
Dean Sinclair, it transpires, will be out tonight after busting his hamstring and returning to his parent club Charlton to seek "medical advise", as Town's superb new official website expertly puts it. His loan isn't over, though, so perhaps he'll be back when he gets a new hamstring; in the meantime Danny Boshell should deputise tonight and have a chance to win a new contract and prolong his professional career. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro could start after emerging in one piece from his sub appearance at Rochdale, and Newey may not be playing after all. Although there's no specific mention of Joe Widdowson's fitness in Mr Re-Newell's natter with the Grimbo Telewag today, the beleaguered Town boss says he has "pretty much a full squad to pick from with the exception of Dean [Sinclair] and Chris Llewellyn". So there you go if last week's calamity at home to Morecambe was largely down to Newey, Phil Barnes and Straight Peter Bore, then none of them are likely to start the game tonight. You've got no excuse at all!
Monday 2 March
Idle Diary writes: What is worse? The Town fans who expected a result at Rochdale and decided that their bogus expectation management reduced them to screaming out bile and spite they scream from the stands on Saturday? Or reading Ciaran Toner sum up Town's downturn since a lively January with "but sadly not"? It's a close call, but why side with the doom and gloomers and prematurely start eyeing up the challenges of the Conference? We all need more of newcomer Wayne Henderson's spirit: "I am part of this now. I am part of Grimsby Town and I am going to do everything I can to help the club get to a better position." Yes! That's it! There's thirteen games to go and only table topping Brentford standing between us and three points at home tomorrow! Come on Town, players and fans! We will only get through this together! Unite!