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Diary - August 2010
Tuesday 31 August
Mardy Diary writes: Is there really all this need for this knicker-wetting panic all over the messageboards? We won, didn't we? Let me just check. Yes. We won. It wasn't brilliant and it wasn't the worst performance we've seen at BP by a long way. We seemed comfortable to begin with both Connell and Ademeno went very close to scoring. Then we had a bit of a fluff-up in defence, they took advantage and scored. We did our usual falling apart for a bit after that and then we got a penalty which we actually managed to score. It was a 'soft' penalty according to some, but I didn't realise there were different gradings of penalties, to be honest. You hear the usual 'I've seen them given/not given' lines, but I find my hard and fast rule for telling whether it's a penalty or not has suited me fine down the years. Basically, if the referee awards a penalty, it's a penalty. If he doesn't, it's not. The logic is solid.
So we've got another injury or two to add to the list with Ademeno doing himself over after running for a lost cause (not that I blame him: the service wasn't great). Arthur may return sooner than we think although there is talk of a loan signing coming in today, along with possibly a midfielder.
Ah, that elusive midfielder. Now there's something everyone is talking about, including Neil Woods. There we have one fact that links all the support with the management we are crying out, as ever, for someone with a bit of creative touch-and-go in the middle. A Burnett to pick up the loose ball and ping it forward on the wing or through the middle, to provide something for Connell and Eagle and Gobern and everyone to feed on and get forward with. To stop the defence having to come in to the middle to distribute the ball, to stop the attack from having to drift back to get the ball, to stop the wingers from having to drift in to pick up a pass. It is probably the last piece in the jigsaw or we all hope it is, at least.
But where do you get a player like that, who isn't already an established first-teamer? Are we likely to be able to snatch a player like that from someone like Fleetwood nah: if a team like that had that sort of player, he'd have been picked up by now, surely. Do we go with the promising youngster who has spent years on the books at a Premier/first division side, but who hasn't played a first-team game? Big risk they may make it, they may not. So we look for someone who is out of favour in the League, or an older player who wants first-team games. Again, you need to be careful Sweeney, on paper, and when we had him on loan, looked that kind of player. But mentally he wasn't up to the challenge and he just ended up frustrating us. So a ball-playing, box-to-box creative midfielder who is available at the right price and wants to play in the Conference. Hmmm. I see where the difficulty lies. Woods has suggested (to Radio Humberside, I think) that 'discussions' are taking place and we may see a signing today. I hope so. But if not, we've got a month to find someone before the loan window reopens.
But let's not get all jittery and silly this early on. At the moment Town are largely inconsistent which is better than being consistently rubbish. The result against Hayes & Yeading was poor, although the second-half performance was fine except for our ability to take our chances. But then only a disallowed goal stopped Hayes & Yeading winning 2-1 away at Luton yesterday and I thought Luton were supposed to piss this league? Hmmm? The performance against Histon was shaky, but not terrible and the result was fine. But this is just inconsistency and this is the Conference. It's that sort of place. Luton are a bit up and down, Mansfield have started well but still got pasted by Fleetwood, AFC Wimbledon haven't played any of the bigger teams yet and Crawley lost to us and we're shit, apparently. I think this league is going to be a lot more up and down than people first thought. As long as we keep ourselves there or there abouts, there isn't a problem.
Consistency, if we stick with what we've got, will come. Chopping and changing does not breed consistency and unfortunately we've had to do a bit of that already with injuries and sickness. But six games ten points. That's alright isn't it? Come on Stevenage had nine points after six games last season and they finished top. Not that I'm suggesting we'll finish top, you realise. It's just a reference point for you.
Anyway, it really doesn't matter what we do as far as players and managers are concerned. A Spurs supporter and occasional Town watcher said after the match on Saturday: "It's like watching Grimsby. It doesn't matter if you change all the players and the manager, they're always the same, they always play like Town." And so it is.
Monday 30 August
Morning campers. Guest Diary here again. Mardy Diary is seeking comfort in the arms of his family before drawing a deep breath and heading off to Blundell Park to find out who is in goal for Town today. He promised to send me a mardy email to try to exorcise his horror over the series of massive defensive cock-ups that caused us to ship three quick and horrible goals on Saturday. They had come, of course, after trotting out for the second half with Woodses' harsh words a-ringing in their ears, and duly equalising with a quite lovely passing goal within a minute of the restart. But the email never arrived the trauma must be deep, gentle reader.
We know that folk are smelling blood. Why? Because Radio Humberside wants one of my good Cod Almighty buddies on air at lunchtime. I expect they want us to try to either steady the boat or rock it. We're sending our calmest man but judging from his match report he's not that calm really. He might not mention the point I'm going to make next because there's only so much you can say in two minutes or so about what was wrong with Town at Irthlingborough on Saturday. So I will broach it now. Hidden on the bench on Saturday was a young lad called Andi(y) Thanoj. Not a spelling mistake but of Albanian stock. A promising product of Town's yoof who can play in the centre of midfield. Now I think even in these tortured days of betting scandal Ladbrokes would have given about 50/1 on him being deployed. It was a reward, I expect, for looking bright in training and a recognition that the lad is 'coming on'. A merit mark from Victorian shepherd-turned-teacher Mr Woodses. But imagine for a second, fellow Town fans, if he had rewarded his yoof keeper instead?
Rob Peet is a strapping, six-two, 18-year-old apprentice professional goalkeeper. No, he might not be really ready to earn his corn in the first team but I imagine that if he's like most lads his age he thinks he is. Why on Earth, Mr Woodses, didn't you give him his moment in the sun on the bench? He just might have stopped the horrible rot that followed Arthur's pulled hamstring. At least I'm sure he can take a goal kick without playing Rushden onside. Andi Thanoj probably got some kind of trauma just watching how easily R&D engineered a way round our meek and unimaginative midfield,through our mistake-ridden, argumentative defence and past our poor sod of a crocked keeper. It might take him a season to get over that, if he ever does.
Oh, hindsight, I hear the Town management team mutter. Well, like Fabio bleeding Capello gets paid millions a year and we don't expect him to be learning on the job how to play international tournament football, we don't pay Woods and Moore to bleat about the statistics of goalkeeper injury. Colgan is injury-prone and bad-tempered. You certainly won't see him today he's got a specialist sick note for his 'tennis elbow'. Arthur, poor bloke, is injury-prone he's had a kidney haemorrhage on him at Lincoln, he's had his back pack up more than once. Goddamn it, he's even had to design and sell special goalkeeping gloves to protect those sensitive fingers! He's the Chris Kirkland type, folks. If you don't have an outfield player who really, really likes going in goal and is halfway decent at it, you must have a sub keeper. Write a hundred lines to that effect, Messrs Moore and Woods. I'm not even going to start on what aberrations afflicted Mr Watt on Saturday. Or even mention how young master Samuels looked about as ready for the first team as I do.
But all that notwithstanding, as the games fly in at an extraordinary rate the club has to assemble the squad this morning and try to put a team out who will appease a bound-to-be-restive home crowd. The home fans are nothing like as supportive as the folk who travel away. We took over 500 to that little village in the middle of nowhere on Saturday. Fair enough, a few left as soon as we were 4-1 down but bloody hell, a lot stayed to the bitter end. They are as loyal as any fans in the country. Our home fans are just fickle and as grumpy as hell. Yes, I know you have a lot to be grumpy about but channel that grumpiness in to positivity for the teams sake.
Woods has said he has a choice between the aforementioned Peet and the long-retired Mr Croudson in goal. Croudson has been thrown in at the deep end before, of course his clean sheet debut against Wolves at the age of 18 was dead impressive, if you remember. Who gets picked is anyone's guess, but there's no chance of a last-minute emergency loan Woods says it is not possible until Tuesday. The SNOS also reports that Bore and Leary remain doubtful. With Peacock probably knackered it might be time for Charles Ademeno (please don't call him Charlie) to play a full part. We have ended up with our creativity on the flanks due to our rather bland and anonymous central midfield players. The team has got to work out a way to get the ball to them. I don't think they should need the manager to tell them how. Just do it, get stuck in, compete and get it out wide lads. Team talk over. See yer.
Friday 27 August
The weekend beckons again, folks, and those basking in the lovely warm feeling of a second away win in midweek will have to face up to another afternoon of tension and fear as Town travel to face the mighty Diamonds. Speaking of which, your Guest Diarist's soul would remain restless if I neglected to mention that the frankly horrible one-hit wonder 'Pass the Dutchie' was a mangled version of the Mighty Diamonds' righteous roots song 'Pass the Koutchie'. Whatever we call it, there is little doubt that strong 'erb will be needed to calm the soul at some point in the match tomorrow. Because Town might be winning their share and have only lost once in four but they don't feel very dependable yet do they? And we have new injuries and illnesses, of which more later.
The Irthlingborough lot, augmented by a few interlopers from Rushden, beat our friends the Wombles at home on Tuesday with a young team whose average age was 22. I know this fact because one of the few benefits that the superb new official Town website seems to neglect to shout in our faces triumphantly is that if you pay to subscribe to Mariners Player you can watch (or, in the case of R&D, just listen to) other clubs' players and managers ramble on about their problems. Despite most of their strikers being injured they still have that Rene Howe on loan from Peterborough, and he scored a similar goal to beat Wimbledon to the one Town fans had to take on the chin against Hayes & Yeading. Which is called in the trade a wonder strike, I believe. A oncein-a-season job, so let's be glad he's got it out of the way before playing us. Rushden full-back Corcoran did his hamstring in the last minute as well, so he will be absent tomorrow too.
But on Monday they have the big one the derby against Kettering so this interview was filled with blather about not looking beyond Saturday, however important stuffing the local rivals might be on bank holiday Monday. The Rushden site also invites away fans to stuff their faces with steak pie and chilli before the game and it is very noticeable that the club doesn't mention a dress code. If rice scares you, gentle reader, then fear not potatoes are always available. As they are if you hold a wake at McMenemy's. It wouldn't be right to see a dead Town fan off without a few taties on the table, but chips, apparently are deemed unseemly at such an occasion so please don't embarrass yourself and others by requesting them.
As for our injuries, well, Woodses has told Mariners Player that Michael Leary is too poorly to travel, and that Colgan won't be going either due to a badly bruised ego and a severe case of stubborn streak. Coulson's injury looks like a case of a fortnight rather than a month but he won't figure here, and Atkinson is still out of the reckoning. Peter Bore is by no means certain about his ability to play due to a funny feeling 'down there' (but remains steadfast in his adherence to Leviticus 18:22 of course) but Lee Ridley, whose groin became tight on him unexpectedly on Tuesday, seems to have sought some relief somehow and stands a chance of playing. Unless you read the Telewag, in which case he is already ruled out. Which is all good news for Bradley Wood(s) eh? Charles (he likes to be called Charles, you know) Ademeno is raring to go as usual I think he turned out for R&D briefly at one point. And Lewis Gobern, who had to be carried on to the bus on Tuesday night and slept all the way home because the little soldier had worn himself out, has jogged off his stiffness and should improve for the outing.
We've had a couple of interesting letters one of which points us to some very old pathι news footage of Blundell Park which shows perhaps the worst ever professional playing surface. But having tickled your fancy I'll leave them to next week on a day when we have nowt else to talk about. Have a great weekend, and let's hope this opposition are good enough to let them beat us. See yer.
Thursday 26 August
As we all know Town have used a lot of different players over the last few seasons. It feels like barely a game passes these days without one new signing or another playing their first game in a Mariners shirt. Tuesday night's excellent victory at Darlington was no different with both Lewis Gobern and youngster Tom Corner making their full debuts. In parallel with Gobern and Corner today's reserve-team diarist is excited to be making a debut of sorts by penning a first ever diary entry.
So to the news. First up the publication of the latest Football League Agents Fees Report has prompted our glorious leaderJohn Fenty (Con) to defend the £17,775 spent by Town on agents' fees last season, the third highest in the division: "No club likes to pay agents' fees but that's the game we are in. They are a necessary evil if you want to bring good players to your club." says John. I'm sceptical, and can't help but wonder which good players Fenty is actually referring to. Indeed, a little more research shows us that 11 other clubs in the basement division last season didn't pay any agents fees at all. Every one of those clubs avoided relegation while Bournemouth and Dagenham and Redbridge were promoted. Hmmmm, hardly a shining endorsement of Fenty's approach.
Bizarrely for a relegation season I often look back at the 1996/97 season with fondness. While the results were often terrible, my first year as a season ticket holder was brightened by entertaining and skilful contributions from youthful pair Jack Lester and John Oster, both brought into the team by caretaker manager Kenny Swain. With this in mind it's nice to see that Kenny is returning to Blundell Park tomorrow where his England under-17 team will face Australia. Here's hoping that Kenny gets a good reception and the his young England team can restore a bit of lost faith in the national team.
Lastly the Telewag reports that former Town winger Nick Hegarty
is on trial with Scottish Premier League side St. Mirren. Whilst not always the most popular player with the fans your diarist always appreciated Nicks effort and spirit. Here's hoping that he does a Simon Ford and makes a successful career for himself in Scotland.
Wednesday 25 August
Get in! This morning we wake to find our beloved Mariners ninth in the Conference Premier league table. The last time Town were this high in any league table was two and a half years ago, when Alan Buckley's side strung together a tremendous run of results in early 2008 and surged to ninth place in the fourth division, giving themselves a long but achievable shot at a play-off place. Let's not mention the fact that they just gave up instead and decided to lose the last eight games of the season without breaking into a trot, shall we?
Your original Diary, while remaining convinced that Town will finish 17th this season, is delighted to note a third clean sheet in four games all three against sides fancied to challenge at the top this season. The latest of these was, of course, last night at, um, whatever Darlington's big empty ground is called this week. And Neil Woodses's men made it two straight wins against the Quakers thanks to a great header from Steven Watt early in the second half which the Darlo keeper Sam Russell "tried in vain to keep out without success", according to the tautologous phrasing of the local district regional Grimsby Telegraph newspaper media publication.
Speaking of match reports, we won't have one for the Darlo game, but there's a good one on the Fishy today, so I'd read that if I were you. And while you're about it, read this great open letter from Football365 to the arseholes on the Sun sports desk.
Town being Town, of course, every silver lining has a cloud. The Diary was
creased up in fits of mirth deeply appalled to hear during Radio Humberside's excellent coverage last night that a club director had been given the wrong destination for their post-match hotel. By another director. And instead of Darlington, your man ended up in Leeds. Now I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but I can't help thinking back two or three years to when GTFC had a pre-season friendly at Gainsborough and Town's superb new official website directed travelling Mariners to Southport. As one Irish genius once observed, to lose a set of supporters may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose a club chairman looks like carelessness.
So is it just me, or does this Conference TV deal sound like the biggest crock of shit ever? Not that the notoriously secretive suits in charge of this league will ever tell us exactly how many paperclips and pieces of string Town will earn from it. The excellent Twohundredpercent blog pointed out the other day that the Conference recently rejected a proposal from the BBC to screen a highlights package, which would surely have been great publicity for the league. From Town's point of view, though, regarding the switch of next month's Luton game to a 5:15pm kick-off, a loss of revenue from fewer away fans arriving is perhaps less of an immediate concern than the extra drinking time before the game. Isn't the kick-off time usually brought forward rather than put back when matches carry a potential for violence among idiot supporters?
Speaking of idiots, I'm sure you remember Mick Needham from Monday's diary. Today's diary ends with some emails you sent in response.
"Just back from two weeks hols and felt the first thing I must do is rush to the defence of the team no, not Town but the team behind Cod Almighty! I for one actually enjoy reading the diary and I appreciate the helpful links. The diary is key to me keeping in touch with Town affairs here in windswept north Norfolk. I like the humour, even if it is black humour at times, and the satirical slant sometimes used. You're doing a great job please don't change anything!" (David Elvidge)
"I just felt I should e mail to say a heartfelt thank you to all at Cod Almighty, just for being there really, and keeping such an invaluable site going on a daily basis. There aren't too many other clubs, particularly at Conference level, with such fantastic in-depth coverage of events at the club. I appreciate my very occasional contributions haven't always gone down too well, and I'm not trying to be an arse kisser, but I just felt irritated by Mr Needham's comments, as I'm sure most right-thinking Mariners fans were, and wished to put the record straight. Up the Mariners and keep it up CA." (Chris Beeley)
"Ignore that Mick Needham lunatic. I think you're fabulous. Having said that, I suppose now isn't the best time to admit I completely ripped off that 'Welcome to the Underworld' article I sent you a few months back from an antediluvian cave painting I discovered in the foothills of the Andes while trekking alone on my gap year, circa 1999. I never thought anyone would rumble me. Alas, Mr Needham has done just that. As I am a man of principle, I shall be returning my £18,500 advance promptly, with profuse apologies. As for the rest of the fee, I'm thoroughly ashamed to admit I spunked it up the wall on class A drugs and a couple of helicopters, both of which I mislaid, along with my mobile phone, while on a yacht-crawl in Monaco during the World Cup. Sorry about that. Keep up the good work." (Pete Brooksbank)
Thanks, all, and please allow five working days for the delivery of your cheques. It's just a shame the banks won't offer BACS facilities to organisations based in ivory towers.
Tuesday 24 August
As the old rhyme goes, Tuesday's (Agency) Diary is full of grace. Therefore, as embarrassing as the weekend's defeat to Hayes & Yeading will always be, this diarist is prepared to say: "Well, you can't win them all" and move on. This may seem obvious as Grimsby Town rarely win at all any more, but this diarist feels it should be pointed out, in Neil Woods' and his team's defence, that this team is still in the early stages of development.
Pleasingly, the players themselves seem to be champing at the bit. New striker Alan Connell, for one, cannot wait for tonight's game away to Darlington. This game is a welcome return for Town to the Northern Small Club Hubris Stadium, a reminder of what happens when people who have no business being anywhere near a football club buy football clubs.
Lee Peacock has also taken the time to acknowledge that the club's travelling support is pretty damned good. "They are always there for us and if we keep getting results we're going to get that kind of support away, and even more at home," says Lee. The results part has actually been an irrelevance in recent seasons. How many good away results have there been in the last few years? And still you follow Town around the country. A real source of pride for a club that has suffered greatly over the last decade.
Less welcome than the fighting talk and counting our blessings stories is the news that Michael Coulson will be out for at least a month. Football is a squad game for sure, but a settled side would be desirable for us at this stage. If the football is a little lacking, the organisation has to be there to grind out results.
Finally Martyn Wyburn has rang the Cod Almighty relationship advice helpline to ask Dr Temp-Diary for his expert opinion on the following problem: "As an exile I don't get to see Town very often so I was looking forward to the visit to Rushden & Diamonds, which is just up the road for me. Unfortunately my wife has just announced that her brother is coming to stay the same weekend. She has generously said I can still go to the football, but then she also said she didn't mind me buying a 30-year-old Triumph Spitfire a couple of years ago and I haven't heard the last of that!" So what should it be a trip to see Town trip up at Rushden or stay at home and opt for marital harmony? Well Martyn, in Doc Diary's expert opinion, you should definitely go to see Town at Rushden. After all, a man can get married many times but there's only one Grimsby Town.
Monday 23 August
Mardy Diary writes: Really? Already? I can honestly say that I didn't think we'd have a Tell The Telegraph We've Not Been The Best Lately But We'll Get Better Now, Honest this early in the season. But there you have it. First up this season is Charles 'Don't Call Me Charlie' Ademeno, who assures us it's a 'blip'. It's a ten-year 'blip', Charles that's the problem. Not that it's his fault one of the few players to come out of the match with any credibility. I thought, even half-fit, he looked a bit too good for us. I can see why the tax dodger was so upset at losing him. But we are where we are and Town are definitely one of the best teams in the land at puncturing supporters' optimism. They just like to help us with our expectation management. Five thousand fans against York what's wrong with you? You know this isn't going to work out, we know this isn't going to work out, we'll just roll over to the minnows of the division and get that crowd back to a comfortable 2,600. And don't forget to bring your boovuzela.
As ever it's down to the MySpacers to show the way. They continued their good start to the season with a comfortable victory over Scunthorpe youth, to add to their opening-day draw.
And so to the diary postbox, and what's this an email titled "Please publish". Well, how could I refuse such good manners. It's from Mick Needham, who says: "Can you tell me what the actual point of Codalmighty is? It used to be witty and took the piss out of the OS and the Telegraph. Now all you do is criticise them and copy the stuff from them. Do you not think that all Town fans go on the Telegraph and the OS ahead of your outdated poorly designed web-site? Why do you just do the links stuff nowadays? Where has the humour gone? Why are you constantly telling the few fans who come on CA that they shouldn't buy Mariners World? Do you not quite get it that the money earnt goes to our great club?"
Indeed, Mick what is the point? You don't need to tell me. Look at Tony Butcher's match report for a start it's just a copy and paste from the Telegraph with a couple of 'witty' and obscure Who references shoe-horned in. He's not fooling me. And don't get me started on Pat Bell and his wishy-washy "why I support Town" nonsense it's just copied word for word from Teletext. Even worse is when you get to Andy Holt's piece on the All-Whites I don't even speak New Zealandese, how am I supposed to understand that foreign? It's not even about Grimsby, and he's probably just nicked it from the Auckland Express anyway. The cheeky sod. No, you won't find me disagreeing with you there, Mick. You're bang on the money.
Mick goes on to say: "I'll stick this on the bottom to just make sure you don't publish it. You are a load of tossers, living in an ivory tower somewhere." Well, see there, Mick I must take you up on this point. Some people may think that I'm not worth the £50k a year I get paid as a part-time Cod Almighty diarist, but sitting here in my ivory tower, sipping Moλt et Chandon and wearing loafers made of gophers is hard work. I don't think some of you understand how much effort I put in to this ten minutes of diary writing. I'm worth every penny. But you don't need to worry your pretty little head about that Mick 'big school' starts soon, so you just put your energy in to getting prepared for that. It's a big step-up you know.
So on that note... ugh...
You see Michael I'm just sat here shaking my head now. Shaking my head in your general direction. I'm not tutting, no. I'm sighing. It's just so utterly tiring that all I can manage is a barely audible sigh. And I think... no, let me check. Yes, I'm right. I've phoned your mother and she's weeping. She's weeping, Michael. She's sobbing inconsolably at the sheer stupidity on so many levels of your correspondence. I think she's suicidal, Michael. I think we all are after reading that. And when I say 'we', I mean the entire human race. You see Michael, your mental deficiency is putting the existence of the entire human race at great risk.
Well, I hope you're proud of yourself.
Friday 20 August
"There are players who are not fussed if they play or not. Hopefully we've got rid of them out the club" says manager Woodses in a conversation about the desperate-to-play-football duo of Charlie and Lewis. Ademeno and Gobern Town's fourth and fifth dimension. The pair arrived back in to first team training on Thursday and proceeded to demonstrate, we are told, that they are fit and, ermm, good. Woodses lapsed in to his boyish giggle again as he described how Ademeno had banged in loads of goals in a special training session of six versus six on a tiny pitch. This was a cunning plan based on the theory that the opposition will desperately try to cramp Town's style and crowd them out. Gobern, the manager revealed, looked bright, had good feet and with an injected toe wasn't far away from at least a cameo appearance as well. The reason they had both reappeared looking fit and possibly ready Woodses explained was down to 'fitness expert' Ben Mortlock who had arranged daily double training sessions with the pair over the last six weeks. A combination of his youthful enthusiasm to get them fit (even when they could hardly walk, let alone run) and their own desperation to play football has cheered your Guest Diarist up no end.
Town will be on the telly on my birthday. Well bugger me the home match against Luton on September 4th will now kick off at quarter past five and be shown on Sky channel 433 now known as Premier Sports. The league have signed a three year deal with an interesting revenue-share. After a 'nominal' (unspecified) number of subscribers to the channel (who will pay £6.99 a month) all other subscriber revenues will be equally split between the TV company and the league. Well, actually it is slightly more complicated than that so you had better read the press release if you want to drill down properly in to the deadly fine print of the deal. If you can't be arsed then I'll tell you now that there will be 30 matches broadcast per season including all the playoff games. The rest of the time for your money you get to see: "live Gaelic Games (GAA), the Airtricity League of Ireland and the Australian Rugby League (NRL) in the UK". Premier, an Irish start-up company highly likely, one would think, to experience severe cash flow problems unless the minority sports fans it has targeted dig deep and subscribe, also holds the rights to show archived classic Gaelic football and hurling matches in the UK. Setanta still owe me bloody thirty quid having mysteriously double-debited my subscription in the last few months so taking a punt (ha!) on another Irish start-up will probably take me about three or four pints and a bottle of red before I say sod it and sign up.
If you want to watch that clever free kick Town scored at Crawley there is a rather competent fan film of it on that YouTube The superb new official site mght try to bully folks in to thinking they have exclusive bloody access to this and that but stopping stuff like this takes some doing, eh? Given a choice between the Blunderside commentator (the ever-excellent John Tondeur) and the bloke doing it on the pay-per-listen Mariner Player I'd take the free BBC iplayer feed any day. Because it is free and because it is better frankly.
"Just a reminder that season tickets can still be purchased for the forthcoming season, just print off a form here and take it to the game tomorrow and see Avril with your money." The Cod Almighty pre-match fact file exhorts you to visit the Hayes & Yeading official web site but the preceding quote from that place is just loverly. Bless 'em and credit to their fans. They might not have many but I bet they love that team don't you? And if you see them down the Grimsby Road tomorrow don't abuse them grin and shake them by the hand. By the way if you want to slack off for a bit and have a laugh go to this excellently designed site.
Diary regular Eve Barnard has been on to us this week saying: "I thought I'd let you know about a slight fashion faux pas that occurred during the York game last night. My friend and I were horrified to see that we had both decided to wear a blue and white striped jumper for the evening's entertainment. How embarrassing! Thank goodness for James Booth's link yesterday (see Wednesday diary) regarding historical town strips, which proves we were actually wearing the town colours, albeit from 1878, and not, as someone suggested, dressing like Frenchmen less the beret and garlic!" Yes Eve, I have the same dread fear every time I wear my camel 1950's coat that someone will come up and ask me to take a shilling round-robin.
Being odds-on to beat a league struggler tomorrow feels strangely worse than the prospect of going to 'high-flying' (in your dreams shitface) Crawley somehow. But let's hope it is an entertaining game with a few goals and that we get to see Lewis and Charlie even if only to wave to them as they warm up down the touchline. See yer.
Thursday 19 August
Communal Thursday Diary writes: With a record of one hard fought away win and one draw after a good home performance your Mariners and mine have made a satisfactory start to life as a non-League club. Of course this is a ridiculous description as we're in a league. Distressingly, this was all too much for one funster going by the name of 'Woods Out', who dismissed Town's first steps in this brave new world with a to-the-point summation of the first two games before demanding the sacking of his namesake. Personally your diarist didn't expect the world from Town in the early-going (or ever) and is just pleased to have begun in a fashion unknown in recent seasons.
Reserves Held By Hull City goes the headline in the super absorbent local paper. This is news as our financially overstretched north-bank neighbours sit three tiers above Town in first team football. Clearly our squad has much more depth to it than we knew as the being held part implies a degree of superiority. The SNOS is rather more restrained, clearly not wanting to dwell on this embarrassing failure to overcome the Tigers' second eleven...
So, Town's fortunes are obviously on the up seventh in the Conference, a reserve league powerhouse and second-string kings of the Humber elect and all is well with the world.
Finally, away from the nonsense of organised sports, Rob has emailed the diary to share with us this important new find: "I can't remember who the writer was, but I remember an interview on Radio 4 in which he said he got his characters' names from reading the goalie's and the first named defender's names in The Sunday Times footie reports. For example, (1) Barrington, and (2) Smythe gave him the character 'Barrington Smythe'. Trivial, I concede, but I find myself doing this every Sunday morning as I look at the teams. Try it! Anyhow, for tonight's match we had goalkeeper Arthur, and first-named defender Ridley, giving us 'Arthur Ridley'. Now, wasn't Arthur Ridley the actor who played 'Private Godfrey' in Dad's Army? I wonder how many of your readers noticed this, and of those who did, how many gave a fuck. I did, hence this e-mail." Good man, Rob. And if you haven't abandoned ship after two not-unsuccessful matches at the start of a long season, good on you too.
Wednesday 18 August
Consider that one of those first two opponents was within a game of promotion last season. Consider the amount of money splashed by the other this summer. Consider, also, that in Brodie and Tubbs they boast two of the most feared strikers in the league. And I think we'd all have settled for four points and two clean sheets from these first two games, wouldn't we? Now consider that Town are at home this Saturday to Hayes & Yeading United, who were roundly thrashed last night. And I think we'll all agree that if we don't double the five goals slammed past Hayes by part-time Eastbourne Borough, then the only available course of action is to sack Neil Woodses, imprison Dave Moores, disembowel the catering staff and close down the football club. Any less severe measure would smack of just the kind of small-town defeatism that got us into this mess in the first place.
Your original Diary has noticed a couple of interesting awards in the last few days. One was the out-of-court settlement, revealed back at the weekend, which awarded 5,000 English pounds from the pocket of John Fenty (Con) to former GTFC manager Mike Newell, who was taking legal action against the club for being sacked without the use of Queensberry Rules. Consider that he's been trying to take Luton for several million and I think we'd all have settled for that at the start of the day, wouldn't we? The second award was three awards, to be precise all in the way of national recognition for The Mariner, Town's matchday programme, which is notably less bad than those of most other clubs. Which begs the question, of course: if their programme is so good, how do GTFC manage to make their official website so spectacularly awful?
Lastly today, we've had an email from Toronto-based Mariner James Booth. "Dear Diary, Nice to see a Town win for a change," he writes, succinctly. Oh, hang on, there's another bit. "Found this while trawling the web. Seems like a good summary of Town kits over the years. Maybe it's just a front for Toffs but does not seem overly commercial so I thought I would forward it on." Interesting stuff, James thanks. Indeed, now that the campaign to bring back red socks has ended in success, 2011 will surely be the moment for the Mariners to honour their traditions and revert to that legendary shirt with the chocolate and blue quarters.
Tuesday 17 August
Idle Diary writes: "Looking at the performance of the team and individuals on Saturday, we know we need to do better. We'll always take a win but there wasn't enough quality with the ball and we have a long way to go." So states Neil Woods ahead of tonight's match against York City, the second of two stern opening tests for the Mariners. After Saturday's match, Woods revealed that the match was an eye-opener and seems prepared to accept a degree of learning and adapting to the Conference. York, in case you weren't peering a little further down the league tables last season, were beaten play-off finalists so this Blundell Park opener is likely to be a fraught affair.
The team news can be summed up as thus: Charles Ademeno, Lewis Gobern, and Rob Atkinson are out for Town, while Peter Till is likely to come in for York. But less of my bleating. The full run down is in the ever-excellent pre-match factfile.
And finally, while Peter Levy and Paul Hudson still continue to toe the just-about-civil line, here's one weather presenter who's had enough of his anchorman's shit. Stick it to the man!
Monday 16 August
Mardy Diary writes: That'll do, won't it? For now? Given that's it's 20-odd years since Town last won away on the opening day of the season, and it feels like years since we last won away. OK, the display wasn't pretty. OK, we came under the cosh against ten men for most of the game. OK, we didn't create much. However, we stopped them scoring which is something we routinely failed to do last season. And, away from home at least, the manner of the performance isn't so much of an issue both Buckley and Slade realised this (and surely there isn't a Town fan who hates Buckley and Slade, is there?). What is important away from home is not losing and, preferably, not conceding. At home things are different; at home we expect entertainment and more attacking play (most of the time) but there will be plenty of matches this season, especially away from home, where we need to work for the points. Let's just hope this is the first of many gritty away wins, and not the first of many matches we see little attacking play.
There's not a lot to report today other than what I've covered above. Woods and Peacock both admit the performance overall was poor, but the result and the defence were good. My God it's good to have a solid defence again long may it last. Too many football fans obsess about attack these days but me, give me some solid defensive displays any day. Give me Lever, Whittle, Jones... that's what I like to see. None of your allegedly 'brave' John Terry types. None of your all-out attack, forget about defence football that's for the playground. I like a defender who puts his head where others fear to tread and Watt, and especially Kempson, look like that type of defender to me.
Of course, Steve Evans isn't happy. You can listen to him here bleating on about Sainsbury's or something or other, the sweaty, tax-dodging, eyeliner-wearing crook. But everyone else seems happy. I think even Crawley fans aren't too keen on Steve 'Taxloss' Evans, and certainly the view from Conference supporters seems to be: "Ha!"
Elsewhere the youthers got off to a decent start away at York, for Robbie Stockdale's first game in charge dominating for large spells, but coming away with a 2-2 draw. Also and fair play to the club on this one a deal has been struck with Stagecoach offering free bus travel on match days for season ticket holders. I'd usually sulk a little bit about something like this, as an exiled season ticket holder, but that would just be petty. I can't find fault with a deal like that and I think it's a decent gesture by the club I don't suppose it'll work with Stagecoach Sheffield will it? Hey, I catch the bus to the train station y'know.
Finally, an honourable mention to Radio Humberside, who seem to come in for a lot of flak, which I've never quite understood. I thought their pre-match programme on Saturday was great and included lots of Town coverage interviews with staff and players, all delivered in what I thought was a very positive tone. And all free via that there internet thing marvellous. I also thought the coverage of the match was generally positive, even from Dave 'KC' Burns despite what others seem to think. Admittedly, their view on the defensive performance doesn't seem to match that of others but each to their own. However, I think I might share Southampton fans' views on Ian Branfoot...
Friday 13 August
Your Guest Diarist returns in positive mood after a long dreamless nights sleep. A happy GM bunny lamb excited before the Conference slaughter. Ready to face the rest of an August that seems to have a Town match every forty eight hours right up to the Bank holiday. Six league games in sixteen days and I think there might be a cup game as well thrown in somewhere. Yikes, when it comes back it really arrives.
And to prove how good I feel I'll waste no more time gentle reader, in complimenting the Superb New Official Site which has been more than charitable in telling readers the injury news I mentioned yesterday for free. And for those rich enough to pay there is a good ten minute interview with Mr Woodses on that Mariner Player. Our Neil is a lot more comfortable talking to camera than the likes of Lord Buckley or that idiot Newell ever were. I still can't remember all the best things he said (see Dylan-themed Postbag). So in case you are dead skint I'm going to tell you what I remember.
Woodses recounted the tale of the Board meeting after the latest, worstest relegation, where it was decided that Town was a pissed-up toff in the gutter not an urchin doomed to grow up there. This decision translated in to positive action: a bigger squad who could cope with all these mid week matches in a short Conference season: more backroom staff and the introduction of sports science to make players fitter: the renovation of the training ground and finally, the establishment of a playing squad largely untainted and unscarred by failure whom Woods thought could play his brand of football. A brave set of investments especially with a rotten hangover and an embarrassing stain on your jeans.
Having more or less completely rebuilt the squad Woodses really had no alternative than to accept that this is his team. But he does it cheerfully and unreservedly. But unlike creepy Crawley who seem to be grabbing fistfuls of cash out of a large carrier bag and hurling it at random people Town's cash has not been spent ostentatiously. The need for more players on the payroll because of the compressed season makes a lot of sense. No-one is panic stricken because of the absence of Ademeno, Gobern and Atkinson. We have cover don't we? And a lovely view from the treadmill.
Finally the manager talked about the departure of Hegggaarty. A player who has been a fixture squad player for donkey's years it feels like. Woodses said that Heggs had topped the polls on pre-season fitness and had a great attitude. He'd brought him to the club and had a great regard for the lad. But he couldn't see him figuring much this season and felt that Hegggaarty needed to be playing football. We'll miss his Hegativity alright good luck young man.
So tomorrow is Crawley away and the Cod Almighty pre-match fact file is a veritable mine(field) of information useful, useless, comic and alcoholic. An extra sub-section on cuts and we could be running the Government as well. Perhaps the manager will read it hoping we've suggested a team and a formation too.
Woodses wise words were reprised on Look North last night where the man delicately explored his relationship with that recalcitrant crookster Steve Evans in an interview with the man-in-a-hurry-to-sign-off sports reporter Simon Clark. Mr Woods, who looks more and more (and more) like a nineteenth century shepherd, chose his words carefully about the fat barrow boy: "He's a colourful character who always draws attention to himself on and off the pitch" and something about mind games not working on those who turn their mind off to them, indicated firstly his intent to avoid libel, and secondly that it is just possible that his summer-holiday read was the men who stare at goats.
Tomorrow some of the lucky ones will be staring at Town, others will be staring at ceefax (or a TV programme where middle aged washed-up men watch football matches for you and tell you the score). Just remember we are psychic footsoldiers and our mission is to get Town back in the league do your bit gentle reader and I'll do mine. See yer.
Thursday 12 August
OK, folks 48 hours until Town start their new career in that Conference. Woods has signed a whole team's worth of players and nearly a whole team's worth of players have left. He's got about 25 to choose from. And according to the Telewag he's singing a Capello (groan) and won't announce to his squad who has been picked until the last minute. We know Atkinson, Gobern and Ademeno (who is both gutted and heartbroken, the Telegraph reveals) are on the injury list. And neither we, nor the squad apparently, know a lot more.
Your Guest Diarist is experiencing mild collywobble sensations I woke up in the middle of the night and my brain was already in full flow discussing whether we have enough height and strength to deal with this bully-boy league. Has Woodses gone for too much footballing brain ahead of footballing brawn? Do we need a pig's head simmering for a few hours to produce some luscious jelly to feed our lads up? There's only one way to find out now play some games and see what happens. But don't say I didn't warn you: the opposition will be aggressive and our triangles will have to be quick and measured if we are going to be able to play round these hulks. See yer.
Wednesday 11 August
Blundell Park is ready! That's the reassuring message now emerging from, er, Blundell Park. It's good to know, isn't it, with the football season just beginning, that the place where we go and watch the football is suitable for watching the football. Your original Diary also notes that Town's crack marketing team (I said CRACK) have boosted their already sky-high credibility by giving supporters wrong information about the length of time 'discounted' season tickets would be available. Cynical observers might conclude that they knew all along that they were going to extend the 'early bird' discount right up to the start of the season, and that they're taking every man jack of us for a mug. The Diary couldn't possibly comment.
Elsewhere it's just the usual drip-feed of players reciting platitudes to the Grimsby Telegraph about what a good 'set-up' Town have, and how much 'quality' there is in the squad, in a desperate bid to assure supporters that the Mariners won't actually finish 17th. Strictly speaking, we can't actually describe it as Tell The Telegraph We've Not Been The Best Lately But We'll Get Better Now, Honest, because the vast majority of the GTFC squad are yet to kick a ball in GTFC colours. Jammal Shahin was an honourable exception last season, of course, but he's signed for Selby Town.
The Diary is by no means contractually obliged to give a hearty plug to Around The Grounds. Published this week, it's a guidebook to the 92 Football League clubs and their grounds. By definition, you might think, this would limit its interest to supporters of non-League GTFC. But it does include a nifty piece about the Mariners and why supporting rubbish teams is better than supporting good teams. It's by Cod Almighty's Pete Green, and he wrote it about a year ago, but the publishers just didn't have the heart to exclude it after Town's relegation. Have a look here for more information, should you wish.
Having exhausted today's scant smattering of GTFC news, I have just checked the Diary inbox, only to find an array of alternative Wednesday diaries emailed to us by an army of keen volunteers. Ah. I sort of think Idle Diary, in his appeal yesterday, just wanted you to say "yes, I'll write one sometime if you like" rather than actually write one straight off. But they are pretty damn good. So thanks to all of you who emailed, and sorry you've had to put up with me here today instead. We'll keep your details and get back to you!
Tuesday 10 August
Apologies for yesterday's lack of a diary and the late appearance of today's. The Cod Almighty team are short on numbers at the moment and sometimes real life unavoidably gets in the way of our plans to bring you this daily burst of Mariners-related news and views.
So today should be a batch of the fresh and the not quite so fresh. Let's start at the top of the GTFC news loaf, and it's a ginger top at that, with the news that Nick Hegggggggggggggarty has left the club. A bit of a sad day for your Idle Diarist, who always wanted to see Hegs get a good solid run in the team, but he was always one of the first to be cast to the sidelines by any number of loanees or niggglesome injuries. There's time still for Nick, being only 24, so good luck, lad, and if you're ever passing through Idle like fellow ex-Town player Paul Bolland does, cos he dad lives round the corner from here drop in for a cuppa and a hello. (Which is a bit of an open invite to anyone really. You don't have to have been a Town player to have a brew and some malted milks put your way.)
Lee Peacock has the talk and strut of being the new fans' darling going by an interview with the Grimmo Telegraph. Peacock covers injuries, wanting to finish unfinished business, and how he's still only 33. However, let's pause and have a quick giggle at the automated process employed at the Grimmo Telegraph which produced this great piece of web copy:
"I know I'm getting older but still feel
Despite his diplomatic offering of "I'll play anywhere", we all got the hint he'd rather play up front. Didn't you as well? After all, it's where we think he is best employed. What do you think? Let us know.
I've got a lot to give and a few years in my legs."
There's also an interview with Steven Watts, which basically amounts to: the fans are great, it's a tough season ahead, and there's some quality in the dressing room. What quality seems a little vague. Highland Spring water? Fenty has forked out for fine leather seats and new power showers? The complete box set of The Wire? It does need some consideration. What kind of quality can you imagine being in that changing room?
All this came after a hard-fought win at Halifax on Saturday, the last planned game for Town's pre-season before the real thing kicks off this coming weekend at Crawley (between Gatwick and Brighton, in case you were wondering). Youngster Nathan Dixon was the star, making and scoring a goal apiece, as Woods put out a mixed bag of presumed starters for the new season and fringe players. The Telegraph reckons the 'Fax's more brutal and direct approach was more of a real preparation for the season ahead than the players may have experienced so far this summer. Which is interesting to hear from the professional journos at Riby Square.
We've heard that the football, while a little tougher, is actually played more in the Conference. The Town boss thinks otherwise, that we're likely to see more Halifaxesque rough and tumble in the coming months. The fact it was an "eye opener" a week before the start of the season is a little worrying, but nonetheless, at least Woods is acclimatising the players. It's just whether the fans will be ready for this. Still, it's an exciting step into the unknown, steeped in some trepidation. Let's all go along with it, at least to start with, yeah?
And finally, if you've nothing better to do with your lunchbreak, are a confident writer (although not necessarily coherent), why not help us out and have a shot at penning a Diary? The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer a number of perks unique to this fanzine ranging from being assured of your anonymity at all times, to the prospect of getting a telephone call out of the blue from a Town manager who takes particular exception to your thoughts. Of course you're tempted! Give it a go!
Friday 6 August
Neil Woods is a man who specialises in exuding avuncular charm to young ambitious professional footballers. From his ruddy cheeks to his quiet manner, to his ability to say "no, young man", and mean it. Your Guest Diarist doesn't mean avuncular like Uncle Monty was avuncular in that cottage on the moors, or avuncular like Rob Brydon is making a career out of being. No, avuncular like the boss in the office used to be generations ago, when a performance review usually consisted of a warning not to be late, a homily about working hard (and then you might make something of yourself) and a promise to teach you how to unravel the mystery of double-entry accounting's finer points. In your lunch hour.
He might not be a man to automatically and routinely conduct a brisk but formal risk-assessment before buying an ice lolly but Woodses is quite up with the times in other areas. Especially formally measuring fitness (presumably using that Prozone off the internet). He's told the lucky few who can afford to be Town fans in the know by subscribing to Mariners Player that not only are all the players looking fit but Prozone says they are fit. Three or four levels up, he says, making it sound like a Mario game.
Unfortunately, some of the first team are too fit to play in the final friendly at Halifax tomorrow. Woodses says they have had too many games in too short a time. Or did Prozone pipe up with that one? So yet again, because of residual niggly injury things and some players' flanges overheating from too much training, no-one will get to see what the manager is planning to call his first eleven before the season starts in earnest. Rumours that these reasons offered are diversionary because Messrs Wood(s) and Moore have so many exciting players to choose from that they haven't a clue who to pick remain unfounded at the time of writing.
But Arthur Kenny has pulled his proprietary gloves back on again and is sort of training I saw him catching a ball and doing that back-to-the-ball-then whirl-round-and catch-it-when it is thrown-to-him routine that is so popular these days on the SNOS fillum. The manager says Arthur has over a week to get himself ready and that "he will be on the brink" at Crawley.
As I predicted yesterday, the signing of Dwayne Samuel(s) is not the pointless signing of yet another right-back. It is the signing of a determined, ambitious young man with drive and enthusiasm and the ability to try to be a utility player. The interview with Samuel(s) reveals that I was wrong to blame Mr Appleton for that decision to make the lad a defender yesterday someone else at WBA (whose name escapes me) was the culprit. And Woodses' rheumy blue eyes have seen him in midfield or at left-back or somewhere anyway. So he is signed on a two-year contract. The lad interviewed well, pointing out that the Baggies have been constantly see-sawing between Premier relegation and Championship promotion so there was never a time to give yoof a chance. Let's hope he stays and develops into a good player eh?
And I can't finish without a signing, can I? This is what Glenn Roeder had to say about Robert Eagle(s) when he offered him a contract at Norwich: "It's because I think he's not a bad player, because technically he's gifted, and I think with a full year's working with us and working in the gym with a specific strengthening programme although I don't think he is going to grow much taller I think we can make Robert stronger and that will help him. Left-footed footed players are quite rare and he has got a very nice left foot, quite cultured." And he takes a damn fine corner, folks trust me, we need someone who can do that. Eagle(s) is now signed and on a two-year contract.
So the playing budget is well and truly blown, and Woodses has finally realised he now has to play with what he has got. The rebuild is complete. Plenty of fit young lads who want to prove themselves. Let's hope they do and Town finish a lot higher than the seventeenth place in which that Mr Diary is absolutely fatalistically convinced they will end up. Town are at Halifax tomorrow if you fancy it and if you go, drop us a line with any sensible thoughts that occur to you. I've got a Camberwell carrot planned meself, but I'll be there in spirit. See yer.
Thursday 5 August
So here we are folks, halfway through another whirlwind week as slightly bewildered but always a bit cynical Town fans, with the club a bleeding frenzy of playing and signing activity. But unknit your brow and tarry here a moment, as your Guest Diarist, fresh in from a spot of samphire-foraging, is here to tell you about a player signed, several more potential signings and a win for Dave Moore's reserve team at Barton. Thank God for the famous and occasionally blatantly copied Cod Almighty contracted squad page, which reveals that Town's squad is already quite enormously large. In fact it would do no harm at all if Messrs Woods and Moore read it and try to keep up to date with their plethora of options.
And the squad keeps growing most lately with the totally unnecessary signing of young right-back Dwayne Samuels. Hey, Woodsy: leave those kids alone! But our becoming-beloved manager is a soft touch for an enthusiastic youngster with a bit of talent who doesn't care about money and so we now have three bright young right full-backs and, erm, Robbie Stockdale to choose from. Even more agonisingly for the Town cognoscenti, our Dwayne "used to be" a box-to-box midfielder before being shoved back on the right by the Baggies' unfortunate millionaire reserve team manager (and former Town loanee) Mr Michael Appleton. Everyone is always looking for that 20-goal striker and that box-to-boxer aren't they?
The Telewag reports that Woodses is trying to sign recent trialee and great taker of corners Robert Eagle(s) as well, saying: "We're talking to Robert and his representatives, and it's a deal we're hoping to conclude. He has done well for us and we're very keen to do it, but it has to be right for both parties we're not a million miles away." And to add to the absolute player mayhem, two more trialists are reported to be under consideration after playing in the 3-0 victory at Barton last night. George Thompson is a midfield youngster recently released by Forest and Joe Cornforth is a 19-year-old centre-back who has been at Sunderland but who recently turned out on trial for Darlington in a match against his own club.
Town did alright last night, according to the manager, and won with goals from Corner, Fuller and a deflected free kick from Rhoades. Some of you may have not seen the Scunny match highlights which are well worth watching. Passing and moving like the good 'uns of old. And missing just as many chances you'll feel right at home, gentle reader. See yer.
Wednesday 4 August
Town v Scunthorpe. A big derby match. A fiercely contested local rivalry. For which, read: a chance for two almost identical sets of people who come from almost identical dull provincial towns to try and convince themselves that they're actually really different from the other lot down the road. A chance to exercise the the frankly stupid notion that we should hate Scunthorpe because, um, er, whatever the reason is. Oooh, there are more of us. Oooh, our team used to be in a higher division. Oooh, our urban regeneration programme has proved marginally less ineffective than yours. I don't know about you but, far from feeling my pulse quicken with excitement, your original Diary is increasingly finding the whole local derby thing utterly bastard tedious beyond belief.
Oh, you want to know what happened? Well, probably not, because you've seen it in the Telewag already. For the sake of completeness, though, last night's Lincolnshire Senior Cup final ended 1-1 (with the plucky Irons edging a penalty shoot-out), but there's growing excitement among Town fans about the performance. With whisperings of quick, accurate passing and movement and great performances from the whole team except Nick Colgan, levels of cautious optimism among supporters of the Mariners are becoming dangerous. Remember last summer? Seriously, just do yourself a favour and accept that Town will finish 17th next season. And that this will happen regardless of who the manager is so no, of course Woods shouldn't be sacked when it happens. That would only mean we'd finish 17th again the season after.
So are we signing these trialists then, or what? "We'll sit down with them and we'll have a chat and we'll decide where we go with it," says a bloody enigmatic Woods in the paper. Robert Eagle seems a useful player, all testing free kicks and sweet crosses and with 'Lewis Gobern' and 'match fitness' unlikely to appear in the same sentence any time soon, Town could clearly use some more personnel out wide. The need to add ex-West Brom right-back Dwayne Samuels is clearly less pressing; we might find another position for Bradley Wood, although the Mariners aren't exactly short of centre-backs now either. And there's always the fun prospect of watching our ace new right-back Straight Peter Bore try and fail to play well higher up the pitch for the 1,309th time in his career.
What do Harrogate Town and Zambia have in common? Town fans will be cheering on both from now on. The club from the posh bit of Yorkshire recently appointed 21-year GTFC hero Sir John McDermott to the post of assistant manager, of course, and the African nation has now done likewise with five-minute GTFC hero Ivano Bonetti. Do you think we might get that £50,000 back one day?
Lastly today, Ian Jackson has emailed (five days ago, to be exact) to draw our attention to an Ebay auction in which the highest bidder won a place in Town's official team photo for the 2010-11 season. And while his fellow Mariners get all carried away on the back of a half-decent showing in a kickabout against Scunny's youth team, Ian steadfastly refuses to forget the lessons of the last few years. "Since when did the squad photo include 'a highest bidding man off the street'?" he asks. "Oh... they all are I get it."
Tuesday 3 August
Idle Diary's doppelganger writes: Idle is off sunning himself on holiday so here's a breathless paragraph or two to fill in for him. Town play Scunny tonight in that Lincs Cup but manager Woods don't care about silverware, only the fitness of his squad. Declaring that tonight's team will be a right bag of dolly mixtures with senior, trialist and yoof flavours, Woodses explained that the ones playing will mostly comprise those who look like they need matches most before the long Ventoux-climb of a season in that Conference.
In the spookiest of coincidences, the editor at CA Towers has just discovered that the bloke who took those nice pictures accompanying our Rough Guide to Fleetwood is the cousin of Kev, Dave and Andy Moore. Well if he is cousin to one of them he has to be cousin to them all, but you know what I mean. Small world and all that. See yer.
Monday 2 August
Mardy Diary writes: It's hard to find fault with Leary 2.0 he's played well pre-season and surprised a few people in the process. He looks fit, he looks keen (although v1.0 always did) and he sounds keen. He tells the Telewag today that he's raring to go and striving to put right what once went wrong, hoping each time that his next leap is the leap... home.
What Leary says does fit loosely in to the Tell The Telegraph We've Not Been The Best Lately But We'll Get Better Now mould albeit with a seasonal rather than match-by-match emphasis. What is the most interesting part of the article is his reference to "prima donnas" who could he mean? Sweeney seems a likely candidate, perhaps Conlon or even Newell himself? Although Barry Fucking Conlon is more prime donner than prima donna. What? Hey, if John Bishop can get a Saturday night slot on BBC1 with tired old jokes, there's surely hope for me yet.
Steven 'Eh?' Watt has signed a two-year deal with the club, and I'm pretty pleased about this I don't know about you. I only saw him in the Sheffield Wednesday match but he looked a tidy and calm player, a slightly shorter Rob Jones if you like. Reports from Gainsborough suggest he had another good game and while you may look at the number of central defenders at the club and think perhaps we've over-egged it, it does means we're not worrying about Atkinson's recovery. With any luck, some of these defenders can play across the defence for extra cover.
Whether Watt is one of the two remaining signings that Woods suggested he was looking for, or just an additional 'bonus' signing is yet to be seen. Trialists Eagle and Samuels (isn't that a solicitors?) are still at the club and presumably will play some part in the matches this coming week. Incidentally, Robert Eagle was ace for my King's Lynn side in Footy Manager which means... absolutely nothing.
With not long to go before the season starts, the club has still managed to squeeze in a couple more games. Firstly there's the Lincs Senior Cup Final on Tuesday and then a trip to Barton the following day. Woods is reported as saying he will take a "strong squad" to Barton, which may mean some of the youthers taking part in the Scunthorpe match. Are we taking this cup seriously? It may be the only bit of silverware we win for decades!
Oh, and Chris Jones slipped out while no-one was looking. I expect it raised a brief shrug among most Town fans. Who is left of the Newell signings? Atkinson first joined on loan before Newell, and both Hudson and Coulson were signed by Woods, I believe. So, that leaves transfer-listed duo Colgan and Forbes along with Michael Leary. And that's pretty much left me speechless. Seeya.