Contact the Diary
Got any GTFC news? Constructive feedback? Offers of hard cash to write something else? Email email@example.com or use our feedback form and elucidate.
Read another Diary
June | May | April | March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August |
July | June | May | April | March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August |
June | May | April | March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August |
May | April |
March | February | January
November | October | September |
August | July | June | May | April | March | February |
November | October | September | August | July | June | May | April |
March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August | July |
April | March | February | January
November | October | September |
July | June | May | April | March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August | July |
June | May | April |
March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August | July | June | May | April | March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August | July | June | May | April | March | February | January
December | November | October | September | August | July | June | May | April | March
Diary - January 2010
Friday 29 January
Town's second go at this season starts tomorrow at Aldershot. Basically twenty games to get about thirty points. With a decent squad who stay fit and unsuspended that looks quite possible to your Guest Diarist. With yet another three new signings who this time fall in to the experienced-at-a-higher-level category and a truly massive, almost all-fit squad at his disposal manager Woods must be feeling a bit more optimism than he had last Saturday night after a rather miserable defeat at Rotherham. Town fans should not expect an overnight miracle tomorrow though as Aldershot are pretty damn good at home and are bound to try to rebound from a somewhat unexpected midweek away defeat at Accrington. The renowned Cod Almighty pre-match fact file will tell you more – read it gentle reader, read it.
So now I have to remember all the incomers and try to puzzle out Woodses plan in terms of a preferred first team lineup. Lee Peacock has signed an eighteen month deal this morning, arriving from Swindon at the latter end of a half-decent career. Thirty three year old striker turned midfielder, the guy has proven goalscoring and playing ability but a nasty recent injury record. A back operation has supposedly sorted that out. Let's hope so – for him and Town. Tommy Wright has been let go by Aberdeen and has signed a contract of similar duration. An aggressive mobile striker who has run Town ragged in the past when playing for Darlington. Neil Woods has revealed the negotiations to sign him have been going on for over six weeks. Dean Sinclair has happily returned to Town for another loan period. And he's fit this time. Sinclair played through the pain for Town last season nursing his hamstring. But this eventually turned out to be a nasty knee problem requiring an operation over the summer. Sinclair says his rehabilitation has gone well and he feels great. Town finally have good looking options in central midfield. As for striker options I can't be arsed to name them all, but don't forget we already had taken on Wes Fletcher, Ashley Chambers and Paris Cowan(s)-Hall earlier in this frenetic transfer window (on loans of various lengths).
Woods has told Mariner Player that the McCrory negotiation is stalled – he likes the lad but there is an upper limit to Town's valuation. Various players are still being trialled and considered, including that bad-boy winger Ryan Smith who so impressed the hordes who attended the closed-door match with Hull and Mark Doninger another ball playing young prospect currently on a brief sabbatical at Blyth after being let go by Newcastle as the diary told you earlier this week.
As for the injury list it is mercifully brief. Forbes is 'mobile again', Stockdale's second operation 'went much better than the first and he has started light training' and Bradley Wood(s) has a groin strain. That's it. Who plays tomorrow is anyone's guess. Who plays at home the following Saturday is much more important in my opinion.
Fenty has used the Bennett and Barlow monies to give Neil Woods what he has asked for – now Woods has options all over the team except at full back. And a huge range of options up front. The fans would like a beat-his-man winger but maybe Paris, when we finally get to see him properly, will get near-death pulses beating a bit quicker. Woods has to settle on a starting eleven and a formation that will win matches and stick to it. He doesn't have much time. Let's hope that he repays the boards faith and hard cash. And restores ours – like bored Diary reader Paul Broughton says: "Coming into work every day, sitting down and having some witty e-mail fired to me regarding Grimsby's new misfortune or 'amusing' loan signing. Can't we just win?" See yer.
Thursday 28 January
The GTFC recruitment drive Thursday update: Paris Cowan Hall will remain on loan at Town until the end of the season, Dean Sinclair is being lined up for a loan return to Town, while Neil Woods has been casting his eye over ex-Newcastle Utd reserves captain Mark Doninger, currently wowing fans of Blyth Spartans. Woods also reveals that he's looking at bringing more players in, "they could be permanent, as well as loan signings." At least he's got a midfielder in to break up the monotony of all those incoming strikers, eh!
It's the words of loanee Michael Coulson that are enthusing your Idle Diarist today, showing a level of commitment to the black-and-white-striped cause that you wouldn't expect from a player we're only borrowing. He's really chuffed he's staying with Town for the remainder of the season, and has wanted to make the move permanent, although that's down to the Mariners and Barnsley. But the lad sees it as "a fresh start and the chance to play football, which is something that Grimsby are giving me. I want to help this club out and keep it in the Football League." Unfortunately the Coul guy pops any enthusiasms revealing the team "were a bit one-dimensional at Rotherham without a 'plan B'." Maybe we should watch games wearing those 3D glasses they give you when you watch Avatar.
With Thursday the traditional quiet day at Cod Almighty Towers, a quick delve into the postbag is needed to help pad out today's entry and also your reading.
First up, an email from the sensitive Jon Spurr about last week's supposed "swipe at me and the 12th Man campaign. Cheers for that, just a shame you don't check your facts!" Mr Spurr reveals there is a charity game against Lincoln on 20 February and an end of season charity football tournament lined up. "Just because things are going slowly doesn't mean they are not happening" he ends. Your diarist, while admiring the time and effort that must go into arranging these things, is still a little fuzzy on the purpose of the 12th Man campaign, who is taking part in these games, and where we would find any updates, but as Mr Spurr says, things are going slowly. Maybe things will become clearer in the future, near or otherwise.
Graham King writes from Noo Yawk! Noo Yawk! Nooooooo Yaaaaaawk! about the 'headline' for yesterday's Guest Diary ("Iraq enquiry in a sentence: they fixed the facts, tortured the texts, invented the evidence, blitzed Blix, gelded Goldsmith, framed the French, wrecked Iraq and hanged Hussein.") suggesting an improvement: "If you'd had inserted 'barred journalists' I'd have been very impressed at your Bad Seeds pun! You could have then added a number of Junk Yard and Deep in the Woods gags to leave your readership rolling in the aisles! An opportunity missed I think?" Oh yes, absolutely! And on that form of failing to fully convert a promising position expect your team of diarists to be vying for a trial at Town in the very near future. Enjoy the rest of your day!
Wednesday 27 January
How badly do Grimsby Town need young McCrory, gentle reader? The excitable talk about Grimsby offering six figure transfer fees to show how Chairman Fenty is so dedicated to his club that he will offer telephone numbers for players (whom he is secretly confident would never join the likes of Grimsby) has had an undersirable effect in the wider football world. Plymouth won't loan the young man to us any more – we have to buy his services. The Grimsby people are reporting that the two clubs are a way apart in valuation; the Plymouth Herald
reports that Argyle will 'accept a nominal transfer fee'. But for Widdowsons unexplained loss of form and confidence this wouldn't matter. Maybe we should just call their bluff and stick Hegggaarty there. However much we spotted his weaknesses when played at full back he is probably a better bet than either of these two youngsters in your Guest Diary's opinion.
Grimsby Town hosted a surprise closed-door friendly with Hull yesterday afternoon. A secret game it would seem that was watched by half the posters on the message boards who regaled their peers with contradictory reports of scorers and performances. The superb new official site later published their version of events noting that Town lost 2-1 (Boshell with 'a great strike') and that: "the Mariners included trialists Curtley Williams, who is a former Ipswich Town left back, former Crystal Palace and Millwall midfielder Ryan Smith and Tim Cathalina, a Dutch defender who has been playing for FC Emmen." Smith who could be loosely categorised I suppose within the 'wayward talent' section, has just been set free by Crystal Palace at the end of a very short term contract. Palace have bigger things to worry about at the moment. In short the boys got talent but the boys got attitude.
My dyed-in the-wool-Palace-fan postman just called in to tell me that Smith 'would be good for you if Town keep him on the straight and narrow'. The rest of his conversation was peppered with Jordan slander and rumours of the return of Noades and Coppell. Oh well at least we are dying from ineptitude rather than crookery I suppose. See yer.
Tuesday 26 January
Mardy Diary writes: The problem with this transfer window, I find, is that it doesn't really help teams lower down the leagues as it's supposed to. It doesn't really offer much at all – in a sense that it doesn't really act as much of a transfer window. Take the Bennett deal as an example – he went on loan to Peterborough while the windows was closed with an agreement to a permanent signing once the window re-opened. The loan wasn't a trial period, a try-before-buy, it was a way for the player to be 'signed' outside of the transfer window. So effectively, there is no window – so why don't we just do away with it? What actually happens in the lower leagues is that squads become bloated with loan signings here, there and everywhere. A temporary fix, a patch up, a stop-gap. We're in a constant state of flux, a constant mindset of making do for now. Was it really not working before? Were teams in the bottom divisions really struggling before they brought it in? The whole thing seems more of a mess than it was before it came in.
It also, for me as a fan, puts the whole month on hold – especially when we keep changing manager. And it must be the same for a lot of teams given that the average 'life-span' of a manager is about one season. So we wait for the end of January to see if it will bring the answer to our problems. Sometimes it does, but usually temporarily when it does. But then fans and clubs and players and everyone are clinging on, waiting to see what happens before making a decision. So we wait – wait while one club makes a decision on whether they want to keep a player or let us have him back. Wait to see if another club will release a player, because they're waiting for another club to release a player who are waiting for another club to release a player etc etc. Waiting on players who, rightly, don't want to make a decision to join a club just yet because they know things will pick up in the last few days and a better offer may come along. So we wait, and everything happens at the last minute. They may as well make the transfer window one day long – or one hour long. Get your faxes ready, the transfer minute is open... NOW! Click, click, bzzzz, fax, fax. Congratulations you've signed an experienced midfield anchor man.
And so rather than getting on with my life, I keep looking at News Now every five minutes to see if there's news of a new signing. Especially as the SNOS have done one of their 'we might sign someone, we might not' type stories – the bastards. Shove that up yer broken server ya buggers.
Oh – thanks for all your emails about statues for living/dead players, we'll run through them during the week. Here's a quick and to the point one from Diary regular Felix Oliver-Tasker to kick things off: "No Contest. Pat Glover and Matt Tees". And congrats to the Internet Mariners who "managed a creditable draw with their Rotherham counterparts on Saturday morning, coming back from two down at the break to finish two a piece", according to Craig Nuttall. "Take every positive", adds Craig. I can't even remember the last time Town came back from two goals down – and I'm not sure I even want to know. Seeya.
Monday 25 January
Idle Diary writes: "Far too easy" and "Not good enough" is Neil Woods' verdict of Saturday's performance at Rotherham.
Since the start of the 2006-07 season, of the 100 post-Slade Saturday fixtures, Town have won 38 matches, near about. 38 Mondays in just over three-and-a-half years enjoying the sweet taste of victory.
The past two seasons alone have seen 11 league victories from 31 Saturday games. One in three Monday mornings gloating. Two in three Mondays sat in the office taking grief from your colleagues.
Far too easy. Not good enough. It hasn't just been Saturday. It has been so many Saturdays before that. And that, that's just not good enough. There's nothing else to say than that.
Friday 22 January
There's a grey gloom to the West Yorkshire air which is effecting Idle Diary's mood. The white, occasionally bright snow kept my spirits high as Town extended their winless run. Today all those draws, all those games when Town have failed to score, that lack of results, it's all starting to eat away at me, like a lurking hangover.
I'm trying to spin in my head that the arrival of Ashley Chambers is a good thing, it's going to work out, there's method to all these strikers Woods keeps mixing and matching. The boss man has been watching Chambers for a while, has had him over for a look, and is timely with the departure of the Parisian for the next three weeks with glandular fever. Woods reckons Chambers'll make a difference, but then every signing has had the promise of 'adding something different'. Sheeet. Why not sign Jimmy McNulty, a man who would bring something different to, say, bad boy Barry Conlon?
Still, let's lift the mood. There's always that hilarious video on YouTube, where some witty fan has taken a clip of Downfall and replaced the subtitles with some porrly spelled sentunsis supposedly comically ribbing Town's current position. Jesus. Fucking hilarious. An unfunny joke being recycled a year after everyone else did it the first time. Ever sense that sums us up as a club? All the promise of change when Woods was appointed needs to happen this Saturday, otherwise Town will have to worry about losing more fans a lot older than young Master Wilkinson.
Still, good job that Jon Spurr got that highly prominent Twelfth Man campaign going to lift everyone, eh.
Fuck it. I'm off to the pub.
Thursday 21 January
Another day, another teenage striker joins on loan. Today's is called Ashley Chambers and he plays for Leicester. Chambers has a handful of caps for England under-17s, 18s and 19s and became the Foxes' youngest ever first-team player when he debuted in 2005 aged just 15. Earlier this season the player scored once in four games on a loan to third division Wycombe, and is expected to go straight in to the GTFC team that faces Rotherham on Saturday, lining up alongside Adam Proudlock, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, Wes Fletcher, Paris Cowan-Hall and Tam McManus as Neil Woodses throws caution to the wind after seeing his shot-shy side make it 19 games without a win against Cheltenham last weekend and resorts to a more attacking 1-3-6 formation.
Still no sign of a midfielder.
Those who sometimes look to Town's reserve side as an alternate reality offering a ready supply of willing and able players to replace the first XI are likely to be disappointed by yesterday's routine defeat for a stiffs team featuring a large contingent of players who should, in theory, be pushing to play on Saturday. A one-sided 2-0 win for Huddersfield at Blundell Park offered little to suggest that Mark Hudson, Danny North or Matt Heywood will be troubling the teamsheet at the Don Valley, but the time is surely right for Nick Hegarty and Jammal Shahin I LOVE YOU to return to first-team duty.
Shades of 2003-04, anyone?
Here's a talking point for you, then, raised by our friend Keith Collins in the Rutland Arms before the Cheltenham game. If GTFC were to erect two statues of former players, one living and one dead, who should they be? Among the living there may be many honourable names but could any have a stronger claim than Sir John of McDermott? As for those who are no longer with us, George Myerson's excellent recent historical piece for Cod Almighty seems to suggest a very good candidate in Sid Wheelhouse. What do you think, readers? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
Wednesday 20 January
It's another of those days, reader, when the news seems to consist not of things happening but of people saying stuff. And fairly predictable stuff at that. Wes Fletcher, one of Town's growing army of teenage Premier League loanees, "was happy to move and I'm looking to get more games and some first-team experience and hopefully a few goals", and let's hope he does, because he sounds keen and he's made the effort to come to a struggling team when a lot of cossetted young big-time charlies wouldn't. Boooooo Woodses booooo never win anything with kids, oh, er, except when they're good ones like Martin Paterson. Meanwhile, self-appointed voice of something or other Dave Boylen controversially thinks Neil Woodses shouldn't be sacked – until Neil Woodses actually is sacked, at which point Dave Boylen will speak out to back the chairman's decision and agree that it was time for a change.
Oh, here's something! Town's superb new official website has a teamsheet for the reserve side that will kick off at home to Huddersfield in about half an hour's time. New trialist Tam
McManus will begin up front alongside Danny 'Magnetic' North, and other first-teamers or potential first-teamers on duty from the start include Jamie Clarke, Matt Heywood, Jammal Shahin I LOVE YOU, Mark Hudson, The Jarman, and Nick Hegarty. Huddersfield are apparently going to field a player called Krystian, presumably in some sort of weird exchange visit project between northern reserve football and The X Factor.
And here's an email from Kevin Graham, who declares: "I have been reading Cod Almighty now for a few months after being pointed to it by the description 'One of the funniest sites of the t'internet.' Though I have enjoyed the match reports, post/pre-match gubbins and the Diary, I think I may need to wean myself off." Oh? Why's that, Kevin? "You see, on arriving back into the boozer from watching my club, Celtic, fail miserably to beat a team whose yearly football budget is our monthly wage bill, I uttered the immortal words: 'What was the Grimsby score?' to a bemused trusty keeper of fine ales and lagers. Can I be helped?" Our experience would suggest not, sir, as Town's current period of decline began the very minute Cod Almighty went online in 2002, and the worse the team has got over the seven and a bit years since, the less we've been able to tear ourselves away. Just give in to it, Kevin, and embrace the misery. Or at the very least ask Tony Mowbray if he's got a spare central midfielder who'll move down south for £350 a week and a crate of fish fingers.
Tuesday 19 January
There wasn't much to shout about in the 2008-09 season for Grimsby Town, but the club achieved one important thing that Chester City did not, which was to retain their status in the Football League. And if that limited aim should prove too much for the Mariners in the 2009-10 campaign, we will at least be able to boast again of an attainment that was beyond Chester: keeping Michael Coulson on loan for the whole season. Just before his arrival at Blundell Park in November, the 21-year-old frontman had spent a month with the Deviants, who were unable to retain his services for any longer than that because they were owned by a crook and didn't have any money left. After already spending two months with Town, though, Coulson has now extended his loan to the end of the season, because Town are owned by a respectable businessman and don't have any money left.
The picture is not quite so bright with Damien McCrory, sad to say. The sprightly young left-back's parent club Plymouth have declined to extend his loan and McCrory has returned to Home Park so they can have a look at how he's developed during two months in a desperate relegation scrap at the foot of the fourth division and see if he isn't too damaged by the trauma. "They may decide he can leave again and if that happens, we have been promised first refusal on Damien," explains Neil Woodses in today's Grimsby Telegraph, Damien himself presumably having either no say in the matter or already committed himself enthusiastically to the Mariners' dirty battle for survival after taking some sort of nasty bang on the head.
And lastly in today's spin of the transfer window Russian roulette revolver, or something, Town are taking a look at former Hibernian striker Tam McManus. The 28-year-old Glaswegian has experienced an interesting career which has spanned clubs as diverse as Colorado Rapids and Boston United and will line up for the Mariners' reserves at home to Huddersfield tomorrow afternoon, assuming that the club is able to secure international clearance in time, which means he won't line up for the Mariners' reserves at home to Huddersfield tomorrow afternoon. Good luck to Tam, who only has to be more effective up front this season than Barry Fucking Conlon, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, Adam Proudlock, Adrian Forbes, Chris Jones, Nathan Jarman, Danny North, Wes Fletcher, Josh Magennis, Ben Wright and Straight Peter Bore. Did I miss anyone?
And lastly in everything today, the green shoots of Town's alleged recovery continue to sprout everywhere, with a first appearance in chuffing ages for a Mariner in the Football League's fourth division team of the week thing. Well, it's two Mariners, to be numerically exact, as the shut-out against Cheltenham has earned the accolades for both Paul Linwood and Nick Colgan. Well, it's three Mariners, to be contractually exact, but Barry Fucking Conlon's star showing for new loan club Chesterfield was every bit as inevitable as his subsequent failure to give a monkey's bollock once they make it permanent and he knows his tab is picked up for an extra year. Well played!
Monday 18 January
Mardy Diary writes:When I said I'd stand in for the Diary last week I forgot Mondays are usually like this. Nothing. Nothing happening except people generally still moaning about the weekend. Nothing at all. No injury news. No exciting/unexciting new signing. No-one kicked out of the club. Nothing. Oh I suppose there's the fact that Linwood won't be banned for a game because the five yellow cards cut-off point is now the end of December, and not the end of February. So excellent timing from Mr Linwood then – unlike some of his passes on Saturday. Ahahahahaha. If you don't laugh you cry, blah blah bollocks.
Elsewhere news filters through from unofficial sources that the little fracas in the away end on Saturday was actually the result of local morons, and not some overexcitable
Gloucestershirians Gloustarians Glou... fans from Cheltenham. Apparently, the stewards and police were so engrossed by the exciting football in the first half that they failed to see that four drunken twats managed to wonder from the home end in to the away end. There was, as a result, some 'bother' as they put it in those tiresome books written by ageing, closet-dwelling fashionistas who liked to hit each other in the eighties while some of us were trying to watch the footy. It was probably them making a return on Saturday – harking back to their heyday, having it large with the Cheltenham, er, Choppers, whilst doing a runner from the ol' bill and buying some nice 'clobber' – such as a handbag or a nice pair of heels.
Anyway, I blame Town's bad form on the African Nations Cup. I'm not going to back that claim up with any kind of argument or evidence – you don't need to do that in modern football writing. Cheerio.
Friday 15 January
Ryan Bennett's sad transfer to O'Peterborough United is to be made permanent today and the fee looks like half a million quid in instalments, with an extra half a million if he plays for England (hmmm) or O'Posh make it to the Premier League (haaa!). After rebuffing the sweaty embrace of Barry Fry last summer and signing a long-term contract with the Mariners, the England under-18 international ended up moving to London Road after all on a three-month loan, immediately after the sacking of Mike Newell in October. There are essentially two interpretations of the transfer: (i) Bennett still wanted to play for Town but Town sent him packing when they realised that his transfer value would be decimated in the increasingly likely event of relegation to the Conference; and (ii) despite having played under several GTFC managers already, Bennett abruptly decided that life at Blundell Park would somehow be unbearable without Newell's guiding hand, and marched back to the chairman's office to demand an immediate transfer to a club he had more or less openly derided just weeks earlier. See if you can match these two interpretations to the two groups of people who adhere to them: (a) John Fenty (Con); (b) everyone else.
Nobody could really blame lower-league footballers for giving some consideration to how they'll earn a crust after they're too old to play – but in the deafening silence that has followed GTFC's recent offer of free players to good homes, there's something strangely inevitable about Michael Leary training to be a plumber. The former Barnet midfielder has been getting help from his trade union and told the PFA's website that after training he eats, sleeps and studies "between one and two hours a day, Monday to Friday". Insert your own joke here about Town's failure to plug their leaky backline.
The Diary doesn't normally bother mentioning awards for the best goal in a given round of a low-rent cup competition, and things like that, because they are much less about giving due recognition to superb sporting achievement than achieving 'brand exposure' for some grubby private company or other in its efforts to flog you razor blades or fizzy drinks. I will make an exception for the thing about the 50 top League Cup moments currently trailed on Town's superb new official website, because there's not a sponsor's name to be seen: remarkably, and commendably, not even that of the shit lager that currently affixes itself to the title of the tournament. So go there and vote for Phil Jevons or whatever, if you want!
What, then, of tomorrow's visit by Cheltenham? Matt Heywood and Nick Hegarty have a week of training behind them, leaving Robbie Stockdale and sulky Adrian Forbes as the only remaining absentees through injury. Cod Almighty's pre-match factfile/preview type thing brings you all the wider context, including a rueful look back at the last meeting between the sides, down at Whaddon Road on the first day of the season... ah, Barry Fucking Conlon, small boys in the park, false dawns, wasn't it? Marvellous.And if that 'Dad and Lad' offer isn't illegal then it should be. See yers!
Thursday 14 January
Normally you might think of news as things that happen, rather than things that don't happen. So trigger-happy has Deadly John Fenty (Con) become, though, that it's front page headline material these days when he doesn't sack a manager. "I can categorically state that there is nothing in Neil's contract about a limited number of matches. From the Board's point of view, there isn't a minimum number of games by which he will be measured," declares the fourth division Tory in today's Grimsby Telegraph, presumably responding to some pile of bollocks or other that he read on a messageboard. "I haven't heard those rumours," adds Councillor Fenty, who seems to know a lot about them. The chairman continues with a hymn of praise to Woodses' winless achievements so far but, while the Diary doesn't mean to sound deliberately cynical (well, not all the time), I could swear we heard some strikingly similar declarations not so long before the sackings of Graham Rodger, Alan Buckley and Mike Newell.
Incoming! While Neil Woodses understands that we rank-and-file Grimbarians do our best to convince ourselves that the worst outcome is always inevitable, so that we feel strangely consoled by an outcome that is merely very bad indeed, the Mariners' superb new official website has thrown his caution and expectation management to the wind. "You learn not to count your chickens before they hatch," says the manager of a new transfer target, further downplaying any misplaced optimism with a "hopefully" and a "there might be something happening". The SNOS, though, can't contain its excitement, headlining the story "Woods[es] Sets His Sights High" and speaking of "a high-profile player" in dialogue with the boss, echoing the spirit of Paul Groves' doomed but admirable attempt to loan Carlos Marinelli from Middlesbrough. Next thing we'll be targeting a place in the play-offs.
Today's turn at Tell The Telegraph We've Not Been The Best Lately But We'll Get Better Now, Honest falls to Peter Sweeney. The spectacular-goal-scoring midfielder displays extraordinary generosity, selflessness and dedication to the cause, though, explaining that he's so desperate for the Mariners to stay up that he wouldn't even mind Town surviving in the Football League if it meant another player ending the season with more goals than him. MBE, anyone? "I assure the fans that the results will start coming," Sweeney adds dutifully. "We've just got to keep believing. It doesn't do us justice where we are sitting in the league, because it's a good club here. Recently we've been dominating games against some of the big teams in the league. So once we get that bit of luck we'll start winning and everyone will be happy." It's that simple.
A passing glance at the Diary's inbox reveals that Richard Ellis has emailed with "a quick line to confirm that 'The Seafood Company' does exist [Diaries passim]. It is part of the Young's Seafoods group of companies." Thanks for clarifying, Richard. With Grimsby's new literalism in mind, I look forward with relish to the Rutland Arms being renamed The Pub, the Dock Tower rechristened Quite A Tall Building,and Sydney Park similarly retitled Some Grass And Trees And That.
Oh, and Danny North is available for loan.
Wednesday 13 January
And they're off! Neil Woodses is trying to clear out the dead wood – and none of it looks much deader at the beginning of 2010 than Danny Boshell, Jamie Clarke, Matt Heywood and Barry Fucking Conlon. The awesome foursome have all, according to the Grimsby Telegraph, been effectively transfer listed this month, with their names circulated to other clubs and the players told they can go for free if they find a new home. Heywood's fate appeared to be sealed by his alarming inability to move during his last appearance – Town's 4-0 hammering at Port Vale in September – while Clarke's and Boshell's inconsistency above all else appears to have made up Woodses' mind. Conlon is a player who might have been genuinely useful to the Mariners had his head been right but has looked less and less interested as Town have sunk deeper into the mire – so fair play to the manager for deciding to get shot, and good luck with that, Neil, as the interested clubs form a huge and barely manageable queue.
Like many an old-school Tory grandee before him, John Fenty (Con) has been known to exhibit insufferably sexist tendencies. Witness today's Telegraph, where the Town chairman can be found issuing yet another rallying cry to the supporters ahead of the side's could-really quite-do-with-winning clash against Cheltenham this Saturday, announcing a "Dad and Lad" special offer and railing against "lady luck". Fenty expresses a hope that fans "will be out in force on Saturday for what is one of the biggest in our history", while the Diary expresses a hope that the missing word isn't "defeats", but it's becoming steadily clearer why the Five Star Misogynist initially thought Mike Newell was such a top bloke.
Cast your minds back to last Friday, readers, when the Diary wondered aloud whether the Telewag's reference to the "Seafood Company East Lincolnshire Combination" was altogether reliable. Dave the Engineer has emailed to say: "Just a note to confirm that the East Lincs Combination does indeed exist. The sponsor's name changes from time to time (it was once the Co Jos and has also been the Kenwick Leisure League), dependent on whoever decides to put up the prize money. This is the league where myself and Sibbo played up until our mid-forties for various teams including South Thoresby, Martin Engineers and Alford Town. See where the nickname comes from! PS. They could use a pacy right winger of the Stuart Brace mould, shame my knee's gone." And Dave the Engineer's teammate Sibbo adds:
I played in the East Lincs Combination for well over thirty years but I'd no idea it had the Seafood Company tag to it.During the past ten years or so, several teams from the Grimsby area have joined. This, I'm led to believe, is because the Grimsby league itself is not as strong as it once was. I`m not a hundred per cent sure on that though. The Grimsby connection could be the reason for its sponsorship in any case. My Dad played during the 1930s, my brother from the early 1960s up to the early 80s. At some time during our playing days, we all took the field for South Thoresby and came away with many happy memories. In the majority of those years it was known as the East Lincs.
There is a connection with our beloved Grimsby Town if I haven`t been told porkies. Earlier this season Jammal Shahin played for one of the teams (not sure which) in the Da Da East Lincs before returning to Town to no doubt disappear back down the food chain. I do hope I'm wrong cos he looks fairly useful and Woodsy did recommend he be given another chance.
Thanks for sharing your experience, chaps – it's great to hear about the local leagues and the Diary is a better place for the finer detail. Of course, I wasn't doubting the existence of the league, just whether "Seafood Company" should have been replaced with the actual name of a seafood company – although with such a dearth of imagination among Grimsby capitalists that there exist local takeaways with names like Pizza Pizza, maybe Seafood Company is the name of a seafood company.
Tuesday 12 January
After Adrian Forbes' attack on Town's medical set-up yesterday, GTFC physio Dave Moore has hit back at the injured player, presumably in such a way as to avoid exacerbating the existing damage to his broken right leg. Despite Forbes' extended riff on self-pity in yesterday's Grimsby Telegraph ("Oooh, ow, me leg... I might not see out my contract, actually"), there was an odd sense of a half-arsed controversy concocted, and Moore's words in the paper today pour a healing balm over a sore that has failed to weep in any sort of convincing way at all. "You can't legislate for the x-rays not picking up the fracture – it's something that can happen and isn't uncommon," explains the sponge-bearer today, shrugging extravagantly as he hurls a heavy medicine ball towards Adrian Forbes' groin.
Robbie Stockdale, meanwhile – whose presence in the Grimsby Town first XI seems to correlate interestingly with the team being a bit less shit – is to undergo a hernia operation today, and did you realise the last time Town won in the league was the last time Stockdale played? Completing a hat-trick of injury-related Telewag tales for Tuesday, Adam Proudlock has commented on the unfortunate damage he has suffered in two separate incidents at Blundell Park this season. Reflecting philosophically on the ankle ligament injury he sustained by slipping near the dug-outs during the game against Burton, and the facial wound he received in a clash of heads while celebrating the goal against Bury with Damien McCrory, the 28-year-old Shropshire-born forward said: "Cuh, eh?"
Nicky Featherstone has, as widely anticipated, renewed his loan to GTFC for another month. After initially declining a temporary switch across the Humber, but then enjoying his time at Blundell Park so much that he can't stay away, the King$ton Communication$ FC midfielder is now expected to line up in an advert produced by GTFC as a promotional tool for persuading other half-decent young players at clubs higher up the league that their immediate future lies being loaned out to Grimsby Town.
And lastly today, a quick dip into the Diary's inbox. "Dear Sir/Madam," begins an email from Hanry Dik, "If We Bring a lot of traffic to your website from SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Internet Marketing at very low Cost. Would you be interested.........???" No, piss off.
Monday 11 January
Look gentle reader. Or rather don't bother because there's nothing here for you here today. Today is the coldest, wettest dankest day of the entire winter. Until tomorrow. The sort of peculiarly English cold that is colder than the north pole in its own way without ever even getting down to freezing point. Your Guest Diarist has had many a Scandinavian confess to him that it feels colder in England on this sort of a day than it ever does north of that arctic circle.
And as for news of Grimsby Town – forget it. Demoted bundle-of-crazy-energy Town player Adrian Forbes has sobbed his heart out to the Telegraph about how the experts missed the hairline crack in his fibula and caused his injury to last for ages. He is weeks and weeks away from playing apparently. But who to blame – Dave Moore for believing an X ray or some hospital technician for not reading it carefully? Or John Fenty for thinking the X ray was a blueprint of the FentyDome and filing it under pipedream(s)?
We've got loads of other players just as rubbish as Forbes. Although not many who are as enthusiastic and good with kids. Come back tomorrow and there may be something for you folks. See yer.
Friday 8 January
Boooo, Gordon Browns making it snow, sort it governments, etc etc and so on. The Diary never ceases to be flabbergasted at our response to weather like this: not at the way Britain supposedly "struggles to cope" but at the way people struggle to cope with Britain supposedly "struggling to cope". If you can't get to work, you can't get to work, so stop bloody moaning and make the most of it. Heavy snow is nature's way of telling you to desist from life's breathless dash of busyness and put the kettle on. And, in the Diary's case, to spend the whole day watching YouTube clips of television programmes featuring Victoria Coren. Grimsby Town fans as a whole must find another way to fill this Saturday after the postponement of the team's scheduled visit to Crewe. "Weather beats the Mariners" is the headline wryly chosen by the Grimsby Telegraph to convey this news, prompting the reader to anticipate a quote from Neil Woods to the effect that the Mariners deserved at least a point and Weather just got lucky with a speculative long-range effort in injury time.
Scroll down to the bottom of that Telegraph story a minute. Is there really a local league called the the Seafood Company East Lincolnshire Combination, or has the Telegraph forgotten to type over some placeholder text? Enquiring minds need to know. Meanwhile, the Crewe game has already been rescheduled for Tuesday 9 March, which is a less easy item from which to derive a humorous ending to a paragraph, but of ultimately greater significance, probably.
Nicky Featherstone began his term as a GTFC loanee with some reluctance but has enjoyed himself so much since he arrived that he just can't keep himself away. The King$ton Communcation$ FC midfielder has agreed to return for another month on the south bank, but as manager Woodses explains, we don't want him immediately. "Nicky will be coming back to us," confirms our Neil. "We just have to be sensible in the timing of when we do it. If we do it now, with the Crewe game off, we have a wasted week of his loan." To use an antiquated gaming analogy, it's a bit like when you used to play Pac-Man and you stopped right next to the power pill and waited until the ghosts were right near you before you ate it so you could go and duff them easier.
Anyone remember Chris Jones? The poor lad turned down a new contract with second division Swansea City to join fourth division Grimsby Town, where he'd be sure for a better chance of first-team football. But as Town season ticket holders know all too well from being falsely promised free admission to the team's pre-season friendlies last summer, a promise from GTFC is not worth the air molecules its sound waves are conducted through, and since arriving at Blundell Park Jones has seen less action than Ann Widdecombe. Accordingly, the young Welsh forward has returned to the land of his fathers for a loan to Neath FC of the Welsh Premier League for the rest of the season, presumably as a prelude to having his contract paid up next summer.
Lastly this week, Robbie Stockdale continues to be seriously knackered, with Adrian Forbes still fairly knackered, but Nick Hegarty and [drum roll] Matthew Heywood are now almost not knackered any more and should feature in Town's next reserves game in their quest for not being knackered at all. So long, and don't waste any grit.
Thursday 7 January
Paint Trophy sponsorship manager Teresa Hardwick added: "Peter's strike was one of the sweetest in the competition and was a worthy winner. Our Ultimate Finish awards have really captured the imagination. We are getting scores of votes after each round, and are delighted with the whole initiative." Your Guest Diarist cracked out laughing at the use of the phrase 'scores of votes'. It was a nice goal and made better by the fact it was on EvilSky TV but like most of Sweeney's goals sadly, it didn't affect the result. One can also assume that 'scores' in marketing speak is a number larger than twenty and considerably less than a hundred.
Fixtures news gentle reader: the Notts County away game has been re-arranged for Wednesday February 17th and the game on Saturday at Crewe is in jeopardy because of all this snow and freezing weather.
And now to the Great Grimsby Police team slice of history. Regular readers will remember that likeable young whippersnapper Richard Lord had written in asking older Diary readers to tell us whether it was really true that at one time Grimsby policemen were recruited as much or more for their footballing ability as their ability to impersonate Dixon of Dock Green. Dan Brown kindly kicked the responses off by pointing us to the obituary of Don Harnby who died last November aged 86. Don played for the Mariners from 1949-52 and then joined Grimsby Police force where he won the Police Federation Cup. My Who's Who tells me he was a decent full back who could play on either the left or the right side
Malcolm Carson also came on to fill in some more blanks: "In response to Richard Lord's question about Grimsby having a very good police team, I remember this pretty well as my dad was club doctor at the time. This was in the early fifties when Allenby Chilton was manager and we had those wonderful players, Johnny Scott, Jeff Whitefoot (both ex-Busby Babes) and Ron Rafferty amongst others. The Chief Constable of Grimsby was Charles Butler who was less interested in the achievements of these glitterati than in the peripheral cloggers who might be coming to the end of their careers. Many of them were selected, no doubt as a result of their zealous observance of the Law, to be suitable for the Force and thereby, incidentally, be able to take to the pitch to represent out town. The result was that for several years – I couldn't say how many – Grimsby Borough Police were national cup holders. I remember the cup final was held at Grimsby, perhaps more than once, as our domination of the competition was so complete. Whether the success on the pitch was matched by the success in reducing crime levels is something I am unable to comment on. I do recall that many a crime was committed on the pitch as some of the timing but none of the venom had gone out of the players' armoury. It made a normal Third Division North match seem very tame and civilised. Once Charles Butler retired, things were never the same for some strange reason.
John Kirk, after taking young Mr Lord to task and reminding him that Grimsby Borough Police stood proudly separate in those days from the rest of the Lincolnshire Constabulary, added this about the Police national cup: "I think they were one of three main protagonists and if my memory serves me (and this is unaided memory from 50 years ago!!!) the others were the Met and somewhere in the West Midlands – possibly Birmingham. Now what my trusty Saturday Telegraph Football Annual (price 1/-) for 1958/9 season tells me is that the force football team was also in the Lincolnshire League and came second to Louth United in 1957/8, when the said league was something to aspire to, and included such great teams as Ashby Institute, Grimsby Town 'A', App Frod, Lysaghts, and Lincoln Claytons ...."
Finally Richard Ellis, whose Dad served in the Grimsby Borough police force in the early fifties, did some googling on that internet and came up trumps with this smashing picture of the 1952 Grimsby Police team. The caption also comments (scroll down the photo to see it) that the team played in front of 'several thousand at Blundell park" and that the team was considered good enough to have "tackled many of the third and fourth division teams of that time". This police museum site has a great section on Grimsby Borough including lots of picture of vintage policemens helmets. Well worth a browse if you are a slacker like me. Thanks to all of you who wrote in so quickly and with such great information – a free Mike Newell T shirt is yours if you want it! See yer.
Wednesday 6 January
Hullo Guest Diary here. In a lunch time where the news is either how much snow you have or haven't got, or whether two demoted retiring-anyway Labour ex-ministers can topple that Gordon Brown, we have to turn to the Grimsby Telegraph to find anything to even provide a crumb of comfort to you news-starved Town fans.
In two articles the paper manages to say that players might arrive, that players might leave and that players may stay. Manager Woods has apparently declared that he wants to extend Featherstone's loan spell. If this is true then fans of The Jarman like me will utter a little bleating groan as the chap from over the river has hardly torn a sapling up never mind a tree since his arrival. Featherstone who initially turned down a loan to the likes of Grimsby is keen to stay and one can't imagine that he is anywhere near the Hull first team (especially now their reserves dumped themselves out of the FA Cup last weekend). But waiting on Hull's decision he is, currently.
In the other article the headline grandiosely announces that Woods will review his squad in this transfer window. Which will take longer than it should I suppose because of the sheer size of it. Back up to thirty strong after the arrival of Paris Wotsit-Hilton (whom I must admit I am keen to see a bit more of after his tiny corner-flag cameo against Bury) there is a lot of chaff pretending to be corn in there I reckon. But no hint yet of anyone making a move to take any of our squad players on loan. I worded that carefully because it is not really that easy to work out who are first team players and who are squad also-rans this season. Whom would we really miss gentle reader? – Email in and tell me who you think will get player of the season based on performances in the first half of the season.
Any way you should read the Diary tomorrow folks because a load of you have responded to that Richard Lord's question about the Grimsby police football team being a bit good long ago. To spoil the plot – they were. But beyond that I'll keep you in suspense for twenty four hours. Now mind how you go. See yer.
Tuesday 5 January
Liam Trotter has gone to Millwall on loan? Does that count as news? It does this week, because (a) today's is a Diary snatched at between the long, pointy teeth of circumstance, as Baby Diary's nursery is closed because of the snow; and (b) there isn't any news. When there isn't any news, of course, and nothing is happening, the mainstream football media fill the space by shifting the focus of the stories from 'such-and-such thing has happened' and 'someone has said something'. Accordingly, today's Grimsby Telegraph brings us the news that the Mariners' new loan star Paris Hilton has said something (Town have been a bit unlucky lately; hopefully I can score a goal) and O'Peterborough's existing loan star Ryan Bennett, similarly, has said something (Town have been a bit unlucky lately; stop slagging off my old teammates).
What a fine thing it is, then, that Richard Lord has emailed: "I was just wondering whether someone could enlighten me on a story my dad told me during the Christmas break," he just wonders. "Apparently, a few decades ago, the town of Grimsby used to have a more than handy police team. In fact, according to my dearest father (who is the son of a man who had a penchant for exaggerating things) the police force used to deploy any officer who was more than 'handy' with a ball at his feet to the Grimsby area so he could play in a top team. We were renowned for having excellent police footballers. Exact years, timescales and names escape my dad's memory, so I was wondering if anyone else knew about this, and what (if at all) the police team achieved?" Well, please email email@example.com if you can help to answer Richard's question. It all seems a far cry from the team that recently fielded Ashley Sestanovich, Jamie Lawrence and Curtis Woodhouse.
Monday 4 January
On Wednesday 1 January 2020, when you log on to read the Diary using your state-of-the-art neuro-cyberimplant device which allows you to navigate Web 8.0 just by thinking the name of the site you want to visit, and which then renders content directly to your optical nerve, 'displaying' virtual multi-multimedia before your eyes without the need for a monitor, you'll probably be wondering exactly what it is that Town need to do to avoid a 17th successive season in the fourth division and reflecting that maybe Nick Hegarty was actually not that bad after all. If you then go on to ponder the greatest GTFC players of the oneties, as the current decade will have been wittily dubbed at some point between now and then, you will not remember Ben Wright. "Will he play more than about 40 minutes before we send him back and forget he ever existed?" asked the Diary on the day Ben Wright joined the Mariners on loan from Peterborough in November 2009. Answer: yes – he played 67 minutes against Macclesfield and 18 minutes against Port Vale before we sent him back and forgot he ever existed.
But what about Paris Cowan-Hall? Recommended to his old mate Woodses by a Portsmouth coach called Paul Groves, the 19-year-old AM/F RL joined the Mariners on loan just in time to come on as a late substitute in Saturday's disappointing 1-1 draw with Bury, look quite fast and skilful, and make everyone go "ooh" a bit. Sorry about the Football Manager terminology back there: I've just been reading a convincing testimony to PCH's ability from an old school friend. Of his, not mine. As if that's not enough to convince you, Pompey signed the player (from Rushden & Diamonds) amid interest from big clubs Chelsea and Manchester United – but as exciting as all of this sounds, the Diary is still wondering what Jammal Shahin has to do to get a sniff of first-team action again. See you tomorrow.
Friday 1 January
OK, that's the worst decade in Grimsby Town's long and occasionally distinguished history over then. From a sort of high point in 2001 when Town spent a few hours perched (slightly ridiculously I have to admit) at the top of the old second division to yet another horrible home performance to leave them 91st in the league with an alarming gap to the 'safety' of 90th. But tomorrow is another Saturday and your Guest Diarist is looking forward to some football after what has seemed a very long Christmas and New Year break with hardly any of it.
Mr Casper volunteered to have Dale ask him questions yesterday on the subscription-only superb new official Town web site. The interview was curiously unrevealing with Casper anxious to avoid a single negative about anything. The players are working very hard; the players are motivated, the players are disciplined; Town can win any football match against anyone (even Rochdale). The fact that Rochdale (god bless 'em) are seen as the absolute pinnacle of whom we dream about beating made that interview perhaps revealing after all.
Well happy new year gentle reader(s) and may you, yours and Town have a better time of it. But whatever happens, remember that support is unconditional – renew that resolution will you? See yer.