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Diary - June 2011
Thursday 30 June
"I would like to wager that the offers Fenty made for both Pearson and Church will be equal to or more than what Boston will get from the tribunals they may yet prove to be fairer offers than we're currently imagining. However, I fear we'll never know what Fenty offered (unless he starts talking in a car park). I'm not trying to defend Fenty against the Diary's accusation of double standards he certainly has them but simply pointing out that the circumstances between Connell and the Boston Two are different."
That's Diary regular Richard Lord chipping in with twopenn'orth about the ongoing travails between that newly-nice Boston United and Grimsby Town. Your Guest Diarist, standing in for Mardy Diary (strike-hit) who was standing in for Part-Time Diary (holidaying somewhere hot), is already on record questioning Town's conduct in the delicate matters of pinching a club's managers just before the play-offs and then not having the good grace to accept they were under contract because "there were only a few games left". But of course you have a point Richard. The buying club representative tends to walk out of a tribunal suppressing a smirk while the selling club's teeth can usually be heard grinding.
The Boston Standard yesterday laid claim to the fact that Boston didn't sign Pearson for free as Chairman Fenty has asserted in the Telegraph.
The Standard says that Boston handed over six grand for the lad when signing him from Stamford two years ago.
And Fenty (Con) seems determined to make things worse by spilling the beans again to the local paper today and announcing that Boston have had the temerity to ask for £25,000 in compensation for Boston losing their managers at a vital point of their season. They resigned! Just coming up to the biggest managerial success they've had so far, they resigned. So naturally, as they were free agents, GTFC stepped in and offered the pair a job. This, in essence, is what our chairman is spluttering.
Now I'm not going into the ins and outs of contract law and the daft way the whole professional game operates with regards to employees' contracted status. All I am going to say is that Fenty's version that two blokes decided to resign and then, lo and behold, the next day a plum job for them came up. Well, the words 'a bit disingenuous' spring to mind.
In other news from yesterday Luton's Gary Brabin has gone on the record saying he likes Alan Connell but Luton haven't made a bid for him and it would appear that Grimsby have donated 500 free tickets to Rotherham to be used by Millers season ticket holders for the pre-season friendly at Blundell park. Conspiracy theorists can create their own causal scenario for this event. See yer.
Wednesday 29 June
"Boston fans wish [Shorty and Shouty], and Grimsby, well. Through gritted teeth, obviously. And please don't steal Spencer Weir-Daley. Please?"
These were the words of our Boston United-supporting mate and ImpsTALK editor Pete Brooksbank back in March, shortly after the Mariners nicked his club's managers. So far the latter have shown no sign of pulling Weir-Daley up the A16 after them, but all that goodwill may be evaporating quickly. It's not just the acquisition of Shaun Pearson and now, it would seem, Anthony Church, his erstwhile teammate at York Street. It's the manner of it too.
Deadly John (Topcon), of course, last week dismissed as "derisory" the testing-the-water bids Town had received for Alan Connell from Stevenage, Wimbledon and Luton. In the next breath he seems to have tabled similarly feeble offers for Pearson and Church and refused to negotiate. Naturally, the Pilgrims are hopping mad, and in many ways this will be of little concern to Town fans. But perhaps it should be. A chairman capable of such brazen double standards might be capable not only of harming our relations with other clubs but of causing great damage to our own club as well. Who knows? One day he might give his very full public backing to a team manager, only to fire him within 24 hours and then be forced to spend the next few weeks contemplating why no bugger else wants the job.
Further to Town's interest in Church, by the by, your original/regular Diary is just a little disappointed with the Grimsby Telegraph's coverage. It's not just the inclusion of the sentence "It's certainly a signing Hurst hopes will happen" although that's bad enough. It's the missed opportunity of the headline. Come on, Telewag you know better than this! If the club is interested in a player called Church, you don't mumble something about a pipeline. You say CHURCH COULD BE MARINERS' SALVATION. Must try harder. A bit like Town's midfield.
Lastly today, let's be grateful to FIFA for maintaining a sense of humour in these troubled times. Not content with denying England the chance to host a World Cup, the guardian of football has rubbed our nation's nose in it by placing Capello's battlers fourth in its latest world rankings. Isn't it good to see that irony didn't die when Steve Evans talked about morals and ethics?
Tuesday 28 June
Could he be a proper Town player, as so pertinently defined by that Miss Guest Diary on these pages last Thursday? Town fans all over the place seem to think so. Shaun Pearson has an awful lot to live up to as he gets his chance in the full-time professional game after finally signing a two-year contract yesterday for a fee to be decided by tribunal.
And someone else without a contract got a club yesterday. Mr Charles Adesola O O Ademeno passed a most thorough medical before joining the ranks of AFC Wimbledon. Your Guest Diarist's brain has been turned to mush by the whirl of thoughts this news provoked. Did we ever give the lad a proper chance, or is he just a big crybaby beneath our contempt? Come on, gentle reader, email us what you think.
The cameras were rolling at Cheapside yesterday as the Mariners Player crew interviewed the short quieter manager and then Robbie Stockdale as the youth team had their first training session of the new season. Five minutes after watching the Shorty interview I'm struggling to remember anything worthwhile being asked or answered. We've signed players who used to be quality and surely still are, and we've signed players who will have quality as soon as they train five times a week. And we've signed them in time to bond over a bit of pre-season training, is all that comes back to me.
The Stockdale interview, by way of contrast, is lively and not remotely pompous. Robbie definitely comes across as warm, enthusiastic and mindful that he has responsibility for awkward growing teenagers, some of them having just left home, most of them doing a day's work for the first time. He's settling them in: 14 so far, with more trials coming up. Six second-years and the rest newbies. Thank goodness yesterday's quite ridiculous heatwave has passed running in that weather must have been hell.
Town's senior midfield player is appealing for help to decide where to live. Decisions, decisions Scartho or Immingham? Boy, this guy needs sound advice and fast. If you want decent schools try Caistor, mate. And while we are chatting, as it were, can you take a decent corner? Because we need someone who can. When Eagle first arrived his pre-season corners were a joyful wonder to behold, but then later they were just plain awful.
John Fenty (Con) has been making the mistake of speaking in public again. The paper-thin-skinned chairman has been barely concealing his anger
that Boston counterpart David Newton has been ungracious enough to disagree with Fenty's 'derisory' (hah!) valuation of young Mr Pearson. And despite Fenty only riding rough-shod over Boston and nicking their managers, Mr Newton has had the audacity not to return his call, preferring to put things in writing in dealings between the two clubs this time.
Some people have no manners or decency, eh? No, I mean you Mr Fenty. Just stop embarrassing everyone with your bully-boy Tory antics. It's not big, it's not hard and it's definitely not clever. David Newton has saved Boston when they were almost out for the count, has acted decently at all times and is a proper gentleman with real manners. Instead of trying to 'do one over on him every five minutes', take a leaf out of his book, won't you? It is possible to be both a businessman and a gentleman, you know. And stop spouting twaddle like this: "At the moment we can't meet minds but we have left the door open." Oh God, I give up. See yer.
Monday 27 June
Mardy Diary writes: It's a player-signing extravaganza diary today as we catch up on all the transfer news that has already been reported elsewhere while we were sat out in the garden soaking up the sun.
Shaun Pearson is reportedly almost definitely going to be signing pretty damn soon, honest with the fee to be decided by tribunal. The Boston chairman felt that Town's pricing of the player was an "unacceptable offer" note the lack of the term 'derisory'. Clearly the chairman of the once-morally-bankrupt southern Lincs club has a lot to learn in the world of football transfer talk. Perhaps if the rumoured interest in Boston's "hard-working" midfielder Anthony Church is to be believed he'll get more practice. May I suggest: "Ten? Are you trying to insult me? Me, with a poor dying grandmother? Ten? He cost me twelve. You want to ruin me?"
Of course Church is rumoured to be after one of those proper jobs down in that London now that he's graduated. But why jump straight in to work, Anthony, when you can take a 'gap year' in Grimsby? It'll only last nine months anyway, with the bonus that your two-year contract will be paid up in full regardless of your length of service. It's like a pre-contract redundancy agreement.
We may also see the arrival of goalkeeper and ex-Bostonian loanee James McKeown to add to the signings of Pearson, Hearn, Spencer (see Friday's diary) and Silk. On the subject of Silk, Matt Pakes has emailed to say: "Just looked on his Wikipedia page turns out we were born in the same hospital (as theres only one left on the island). So that makes me practically a professional footballer right?!" Well, if turning up shit-faced for work makes Barry Conlon a professional footballer, then why not? Here's your two grand a week, please sign this three-year contract...
So, it's all looking rather positive so far isn't it? Isn't it? Well, being a semi-professional miserablist myself, I'm looking at that central midfield and seeing a long-term issue that still isn't resolved. Wood and Thanoj offer good cover with some potential but the issue is still there. Sure, there's time yet, as Shorty/Shouty have intimated, and while I agree with this and see no urgency around the signing of central defenders and goalkeepers, I am starting to get mild palpitations around the central midfield spot. I'd really like a midfield before pre-season gets underway this week.
However, there has been some movement in that department this weekend with the signing of an experienced ex-League midfielder on a two-year deal. It looks a promising signing with the said player having just missed out in the play-offs last season and having scored 40-odd goals in over 300 games. "I declined other clubs' approaches because I'd made my mind up after seeing the place, the training ground and meeting the manager," he started, adding: "I didn't play a lot towards the end of last season so can't wait to get going here." Well, I'm sure Micky Cummins will be just the th... oh, hang on a minute...
H'ok. Perhaps a little unfair on Craig Disley but just a little warning shot to those making outlandish predictions already. To be fair to Disley, it's a name I recognise which means he's either decent or really rubbish. I'll assume the former.
Further rumour has it that there'll be a another signing this week and Fenty has promised on Radio Humberside of "exciting signings". Hmmm. I don't think I need to say any more.
Friday 23 June
Your Guest Diarist is pleased and thrilled to announce some massive Town news. Not exclusively, you understand: I can't be arsed to grovel for inside-track rumours. But those of you who have not the budget to subscribe to Mariners Player, or perhaps not the inclination, may not know this. The training ground changing rooms have been thoroughly redecorated during the close season.
Well, perhaps that pales into insignificance, gentle reader, when you realise that the chairman has embarked on the next phase of his evil plan to sell Alan Connell by placing an advert for him on that frankly ridiculous club mouthpiece, the superb new official club website. Yes folks, Mr Diary's plea for a period of calm and rapprochement is over. We've been nice well, nicer than usual but it has to stop now.
I spoke to Mardy Diary about the offer(s) for Connell. His riposte to this piece was unexpectedly mild: "I'm getting increasingly fucked off with this use of 'derisory' when we turn down offers too. Why not just say we've had offers for Connell but they don't meet our valuation so we've turned them down? This fucking 'derisory' bollocks is just a load of fucking dick-swinging Apprentice-like rhetoric. Want to be the big man? What to come across as powerful and in control? Show us some fucking business success, then don't just fucking pretend. Ten years of failure. You aren't going to undo that by use of the word 'derisory' every ten fucking minutes. Fucking clueless clownshoe-wearing titwank."
One of the managers (the shouty one) did a paid-for-only interview piece yesterday, as you may have gathered from the news about the decorating. He says you can't have enough centre-forwards. Good job, because we have five, and counting, now. The decision to sign rusting hulk Damien Spencer to add to Connell, Hearn, Duffy, Mulready and Coulson has left a lot of fans a bit aghast. He ticks all the boxes: journeyman, injury-prone, indifferent scoring record; a player in decline who washed up last at Eastbourne and failed to seriously trouble the Town defence last season despite throwing his weight about a bit. Yes, he'll do he is a big specimen. Shouty admires big men remember what he said about Leary being "a magnificent specimen of a man"?
So here we are folks, on the cusp of pre-season training. We've signed two strikers, and a right-back to facilitate a kerr-azy experiment to convert a good right-back into an aggressive midfield dynamo. We've sold no-one but paid off Ademeno, despite saying we wouldn't do much of that sort of thing any more. And the shouty manager has hinted darkly that Makofo is about to be paid off as well. And we've signed two strikers: two, to replace Connell and to replace the bound-to-be-paid-off-now Duffy too. Our central midfield consists of a couple of kids and Bradley 'The Tiger Who Couldn't Pass' Wood. The next signing priority is a third goalkeeper. And the shouty manager has said that every request he has made of the chairman has been acceded to with alacrity. Fine and bloody dandy. Groan loudly, gentle reader; rail, wail, and beat your breast.
Do you remember that tense interview between John Fenty and David Burns? Of course you do: it was an indelible milestone moment in the ten-year Fenty tenure of doom. And remember, just before Fenty couldn't stand it any more and abruptly terminated proceedings, he made that extremely grudging admission? In response to David's standard question about failings, he admitted that it had been a big mistake to keep saying yes to requests. He has an inability to say no. Every new idea is the best one yet (this is the solution!) and, despite briefly recognising the problem, Chairman Fenty shows absolutely no signing of changing that bad habit.
He keeps on listening to ideas and then acting upon them by loaning the club more money to make them happen. The club goes deeper and deeper into his debt and there's sod all anyone can do to stop him wasting colossal amounts of money. Every bad decision loses a few more paying fans; a few more hearts broken. The other major shareholder, Parker, seems to be waiting in the wings for Fenty to run out of puff and dosh and then he'll (maybe) pick up the pieces. But to watch this happening is even more agonisingly maddening than watching those idiots dancing to Sugar's tune on The Apprentice. At least that's only a daft game on the telly.
Fenty and the two managers have hedged their bets with striker signings and signed one of each one who has shown he can succeed at a lower level but who has never played the full-time game, and one who has loads of experience of all the different ways to fail in the professional leagues. Sign two one of them might stick. Fenty should have made them bet on a single horse. Duffy came with better credentials than Spencer. Remember he scored that day at Eastbourne while Spencer just threw his weight about to no avail. Get Duffy to play to his ability that's the sign of good managing. And don't play this 'every striker has his price' shit with us. See yer.
Thursday 23 June
Miss Guest Diary writes: I had to look back into the archives to see the last time I graced these pages: it was October 2007, when Town's world was a very different place. Alan Buckley was in the middle of his third spell as manager and Town were 10th in the fourth division. Oh happy days. I cast my eyes nostalgically over the names of some of the players from that team: Bolland, North, Jones (the Lump), Whittle, Bennett.
Now, my partner and I have a theory that there are two types of footballer: those who truly represent the club they play for and those who merely play because they are paid to do so. We term them, respectively, 'Town players' and 'people who play for Town'. Sometimes it's easy to classify them: John McDermott = Town player; Ciaran Toner = played for Town. Sometimes it's not so easy: I have never been able to decide whether Clive Mendonca was a Town player or simply a very good professional footballer who liked to score goals. Incidentally, though, I would class all of the players I named from the 2007 team as real Town players.
Because I'm not from Grimsby, or even Lincolnshire, I do not have any geographical or tribal loyalty to Town. But I have found that the higher the proportion of 'Town players' in the team, the more I care about the match result. In my early supporting days, during Buckley's first spell as manager, the turnover of players was low and the proportion of 'Town players' was consequently high. When I watched a game I really cared what happened, because it felt like many of the players were old friends, their flaws and foibles as well known to me as my partner's. Now I couldn't even name most of the players on Town's books and I can bring to mind only one person who I would class as a Town player Bradley Wood. But one psycho-swallow doesn't make a summer and one Town player doesn't make a team.
For this reason, and not because Town are now non-League and the standard of football sinking towards hoofing, I have decided not to renew the season ticket I have held since 1998... unless the readers of the Cod Almighty diary can persuade me otherwise. If you can think of a good reason why I should commit myself to a further season of torture in the Pontoon, drop the diary an email.
Maybe here's someone who could become a real Town player: with five years at Mansfield and five years at Bristol Rovers under his belt, Craig Disley at least seems to have some stickability. And he used to be any good as well. He scored twice against Town the last time we played Bristol Rovers and Cod Almighty's match reporter summed him up as "their man, and when he was snuffed they didn't even puff".
If I do give up on regularly supporting Town, I'll need something to fill the gap. In the run-up to the Women's World Cup I have been reading in the newspapers how much the quality of women's football has improved in the last few years; would it be a betrayal of Town to transfer some of my allegiance to Lincoln Ladies FC? Given the lack of money and general lack of support for the women's game, I suspect that all of the women who play in that team are real 'Lincoln players'. I might just go along and see for myself.
Wednesday 22 June
I came to work today full of hope and happy, it being the longest day and all that. I popped onto the site and thought I'd catch up on the Diary, as I've been a bit busy and hadn't logged on since last Wednesday.
I started reading Thursday's Diary and got all excited as I too watched the debacle at Dagenham, but arrived on time having bagged a cheapo deal in the Barking Travelodge thingy and was fully aware of the transport delays. Sat near some Tranmere fans whose game had been called off for some wet reason.
Anyway, back to my point: the Diary proceeded to bring me back to reality. We are going to be shit for years to come and you have ruined my day. Thanks!
Friday's and Monday's efforts have pushed me further down the depressed line, so tonight's evening meal looks like being diazepam and ten pints of Batemans XXXB (again). Please try and wean me off the diazepam: being a little bit more positive in the next few diaries would help, I'm sure.
Well, Jeremy Baily, thanks for emailing. And we're sorry. Your original/regular Diary and indeed the whole Cod Almighty team have looked back over the track record of Deadly John (Topcon), looked in vain for any sign that the bungling GTFC chairman has learned from his mistakes, and looked ahead, unable to summon any optimism at all for the future of the football club we love. There are only so many times you can assume the big boss man now appreciates the monumental folly of destroying and rebuilding the management team every year. There are only so many times you can say: "Surely it can't get any worse!" Eventually you have to conclude that things can only improve going forward once the chief culprit is no longer in the building.
But who's to say we're right? Maybe this time, when Town go into the spring placed ninth in the Conference Premier table, with some encouraging results behind them but held back by a persistent weakness in perhaps two positions, Councillor Fenty won't go for the nuclear option after all. Maybe this time, at last, he'll hold his nerve. Instead of caving in to the messageboard posters who use the most exclamation marks and sending Shorty and Shouty packing, and starting the whole process off again.
Certainly, and as ever, there's nothing to suggest the Cod Almighty view is the majority view. Indeed, if we're to take at face value the annual wash of statistics about encouraging season ticket and shirt sales, then perhaps the opposite is true. And the population of Grimsby and Cleethorpes believes this is it: either that Shorty and Shouty will lead the Mariners to immediate promotion, or that Fenty will grow a pair and stand by his men if turning round this basketcase of a club should prove to take longer than five minutes.
So lap up those sales figures, Jeremy. Lap up those sales figures and the talk being talked by the managers. Gary Silk and Liam Hearn aren't here to "sit on contracts" in the way so many recently have before them. Talks are under way with Shaun Pearson and James McKeown, centre-half and goalkeeper respectively in the Boston United side that kept 14 clean sheets in 18 games at the start of last season. The club has still received no offers for Alan Connell. Lap it all up, Jeremy; lap it up, everyone, and believe. Believe like you've never believed before. And if that doesn't work, well, there's always Bateman's XXXB and diazepam. Try not to use both at once.
Tuesday 21 June
Idle Diary writes: Pre-season starts on Wednesday 29 June. How do we know? Michael Coulson sez so, along with a few other things about his take on next season and whether he'll be at Town. It's not a long interview, but it's quite perfectly formed. Just the thing to have a little read over before wandering down to the canal for a half hour read. Which is where I am off now.
Monday 20 June
Mardy Diary writes: I supposed I've asked for this. All that complaining about pointless Telegraph player interviews, and mocking of the SNOS. And so here I am on a Monday morning left with nothing to say. Guest Diary did a great piece on the signing of Liam Hearn on Friday (see below) and I'm left with nothing other than hearing via secondary means that Shouty/Shorty mentioned on Radio Humberside that Andi Thanoj (pronounced: throat-warbler-mangrove) and Charlie 'Aye' I'Anson have actually got round to signing their one-year professional contracts. Good news for them of course, and us because they look pretty decent but nothing we weren't expecting to happen anyway.
The Telegraph is reporting nothing. Well, there's some stuff on some other sports that I suppose other people may find interesting. And there are probably some stories or other on the front page about, oh I dunno, asbos and drug raids. But there's nothing on Town. I should be thankful of course, because it saves me wasting three minutes of my life reading the transcript of a brief phone interview with Steve Saunders who says it's sad that the club are now non-League. Or a report that one-time bench-warmer-cum-trialist Jason Batty has joined Barwumwucker Bay in the Australian Southern Premier League. But still it leaves me with nothing to say. Even Fenty seems to be quiet at the moment.
Still, the SNOS is trying its best: this excellent article telling me that there will be news in about two to three weeks' time will at least allow me to repeatedly smack my head against my monitor in utter despair and frustration at the futility of it all. This is what we get though, in a society that is so desperate for news that everything and anything becomes news. Even a report that there will be some news is considered news. And in the news today: news is filtering through that there may be a news report next week on forthcoming news for the following month in which expectation of more news in the following year is outlined. Watch this space.
Actually it's quiet because everyone has fucked off on holiday, haven't they? Everyone except me. You utter, utter bastards.
Friday 17 June
Well, he's no Alan Shearer, but at least he assaulted a bloke off the pitch rather than on it. Unlike the Newcastle no-mark who tried to 'do for' for our Justin Whittle. Thus mused the CA crew this morning after a spot of Googling on Town's newly signed striker Liam Hearn.
But buried in the archives of the Hucknall Dispatch your Guest Diarist has unearthed an 'exclusive interview' from 2009 where our new (pacy, energetic and scored loads of goals at one level lower) attack partner for Connell (the hitman and Hearn indeed, folks) has given his side of the story. Yes, young Hearn did go down for ABH, but the circumstances seem quite a long way from the "a fan said summat to him in a nightclub and he smacked him" story circulating round the messageboards.
I hope, gentle reader, when you read the tragic tale of the nice night out and the karaoke singing, and the defence of a less able friend, and the anger inside generated by the recent loss of another friend, and the terrible lesson learned in jail, that you imagined tearful background music piped straight from The X Factor in the background (or, if you are older that Simon Bates 'our tune' thing).
There's an interview with one of the managers and then Mr Hearn himself on the GTFC subscription channel. Digressing from our new hero-to-be for a second, I can't help but form the impression that our two managers went on holiday together. Not necessarily together: I don't want to start totally unfounded rumours. But they seem to have gone on holiday at the same time.
Now, surely one of the benefits of having two people in one position in business is that you have 'cover' in case of illness, vacation or 'walk out in a strop' and so on. Of course, Shorty shyly admitted that he'd been on the phone quite a lot (or listening in on speakerphone if they really did vacation en famille) during his time away. But then that's not a proper holiday, is it? And I wonder if Shouty berated any bemused tourists he had roped in to run the line in his impromptu beach football tournament. Sorry, I'm dreaming all this; I need to get back to the point.
Shorty, for it was he who faced the camera to the gentle background noise of a clicking sprinkler (for one nanosecond I thought this sound was a hundred cameras excitedly snapping our new star), looked tanned and sounded his usual calm self. He explained that Hearn had been a top target, possessing pace, aggression, a good work-rate and an excellent goalscoring record. Hearn has a three-year contract, there was a fee involved and Alfreton have negotiated a sell-on clause.
Later, Mr Liam shyly admitted he had a baby on the way. This will be a good test of the efficacy of Chairman Fenty's zealous new medical procedures, I suspect. Oh, he passed it? Something to look for next time, perhaps; maybe at least the central midfield player everyone is yearning for won't be pregnant.
Hearn tells a poignant tale alright (see above). He also recounted to Dale the interviewer about passing Blundell Park on the way to a match against Grimsby Borough (interesting route?) which hinted that he dreamed about playing at a big club like Grimsby who were on the telly and the radio and all sorts. He also mentioned that the managers, on the tour of the ground, had regaled him with Grimsby's plans to move to a new stadium. Whether they used the word 'soon' or not is very important, Liam try to remember, mate, just try to remember.
Shorty also sort of promised that there'd be more new signings "in the next couple of weeks or sooner". Being honest, and taking total account of the exciting promise nearly all of the signings of the past ten seasons have exhibited and the fact that 90+ per cent of them have backfired alarmingly in one way or another taking into account all of that, well, we've signed a right-back who can seemingly play right-back and we've signed an ambitious goalscoring striker who has been admired by quite a few clubs. A lad on the way up, not on the way down. It's a big test for him coming to a "massive club like Grimsby". But shush, gentle reader it's nothing to do with potential. The chairman doesn't want 'potential'. See yer.
Thursday 16 June
Your Part-Time Diary was one of those in the stands when Town lost 2-0 at Dagenham & Redbridge in our last season in the Football League. The game was, as you can well imagine, pretty grim. The ground was a bit like ours really: it just appeared out of a residential area, a bit newer though, and more 'fit for purpose', but they had fewer fans than we get now. I arrived late due to a one-and-a-half-hour replacement bus ride as the tube was cancelled. So while the two teams competed in the bottom-division pastime of 'who can kick the round thing the furthest' (none of that next year hopefully; "it's round for a reason" Rob Scott), my eyes wandered around the ground.
Adidas, Paul Smith and Bank all had hoardings on the front roofs of the stands. There was, of course, the usual array of local businesses and the obligatory annual sponsor of the league that year. I found it odd to see recognisable companies advertising at a lower-league ground other than Blundell Park, but then again Dagenham is in London.
Grimsby Town are busy advertising advertising hoardings at Blundell Park next season through the great big one-website-fits-all-clubs standardised advertising board that is the SNOS. But other than the local businesses, who have had the same slot for years and probably do it more through support for the club than for the marketing opportunities available by advertising to a few thousand pissed-off locals, who else would bother advertising at Blundell Park? There isn't going to be any of the national television coverage that the advert for adverts claims; there aren't going to be any big crowds; and from a business perspective Grimsby is just not a commercially viable place to advertise. What do you advertise in a small town with not much in it and, more importantly, not much near it? Dagenham can advertise bigger things because it is on the doorstep of a big city, but Grimsby can't.
Over the last decade and a half sponsorship in football has exploded and, as the game has become more commercial, geography has started to play a bigger role. You can see the change throughout the leagues as teams from the bigger towns and cities are rising to the top like Hull, Stoke and Cardiff and the smaller teams who used to be able to compete are dropping: see Stockport, Crewe and Grimsby. There are, of course, exceptions such as Blackpool but those exceptions are becoming rarer. The days of Swindons, Lutons and Barnsleys playing in the top league are gone. Sponsorship and television control football and Grimsby will struggle further in the marketplace the longer they stay below league level.
Geography also has an impact on the players we can attract when competing with other clubs. Cleethorpes is the last stop on the train and, while that may suit some, I believe there will be and have been more who choose a club on a similar level with proximity to a big city. The club's status as a big fish in the Conference will also dwindle with every other team relegated, and even the promise of full-time football may eventually and distressingly be a hook we're no longer able to use.
Grimsby will have to offer more to players. And with Shorty's and Shouty's assertions that they will not pay over the odds and the dawning reality that really we can't afford to pay over the odds any more what is required is a successful team on the pitch, a club good enough to counter the location, so that players will favour Grimsby over others. So it has to start with some success on the pitch, and we all know that they've not been the best at that lately. Do you think they'll get better soon? Honestly?
Wednesday 15 June
Who says there's no news? We're black, we're white, we're... looking a bit like Darlington on a bad day. I've only bought two official replica shirts in about 30 years of supporting the Mariners and one of those was the previous season's replica shirt at half price. So when someone says the new GTFC replica shirt launched yesterday is really good, and your original/regular Diary says: "Hmmm... really? Is it?", you can reply dismissively: "It's not for you."
It's a bit like when I point out that the Arctic Monkeys are just Oasis without the depth, nuance and emotional complexity. People reply dismissively: "They're not for you." And then I say, no, they're for people who vomit in city centre gutters at half past two in the morning. I wouldn't say that about the new GTFC shirt. It does seem essentially like a reversed-out version of that pinstripe Nisa number we had in 1993. But, again, there's only so far you can innovate before you end up with that salmon pink number we had in 1910.
Some news now for those who think it actually matters which players Shorty and Shouty sign before they get sacked this September. Town fans all over the internet are adamant that erstwhile Boston United captain Shaun Pearson will be a tremendous acquisition for the Mariners, despite none of us having come vaguely close to having seen even eight seconds of wobbly cameraphone footage on YouTube of the player in action. And far be it from the Diary to challenge this version of events: with a clutch of other clubs chasing his signature, and some kind of crazy-for-a-centre-half scoring record to his name (20 in 78 games or something), Pearson is clearly the main to lead GTFC's charge for promotion to the Championship next season.
So is he coming? Well, for one thing the mighty Lincolnshire Echo seems to think Pearson's much-discussed (in Lincolnshire anyway) move to Blundell Park is a done deal. For another, the player himself gave an interview to BBC Radio Humberside the other day which I could be arsed to listen to because I don't think it actually matters which players Shorty and Shouty sign before they get sacked this September.
Lastly today, speaking of Shorty and Shouty, one of them says England are rubbish. It's good stuff, actually, and we at Cod Almighty are starting to warm to Town's management duo today because we agree with every word. Especially "the ball is round for a reason". Let's hope we don't have too much cause to remind Shorty and Shouty of this when the Mariners' 2011-12 campaign is under way. Thanks for reading see you next time.
Tuesday 14 June
Scrubbers! Sorry. Had a fit of Withnail just then. It must be the blaring sun, reflecting off my laptop screen, the rays messing with my mind as well as eyes. Everywhere I look there is glare. Even off Jamie Forrester's forehead. Don't even say "he could do a job for Town."
Christ. This solar light is intolerable. So is the lack of news surrounding Town. There's not even an update from the club to tell us how much the club's season ticket sales have moved on from yesterday's ONE HUUUUUUUUUUNDRED AND EIGHT-Y! I dunno. Can't I go back to something else more happening, even if it is Nick Clegg gloating?
When are the fixtures announced?
Monday 13 June
The Grimsby management duo arrived at the club in a hail of self-generated publicity, mainly created by acting like intense, driven professionals in a part-time world that had had the spirit leeched out of it by crookedness, punishment and failure. It's like a top formula one driver unexpectedly finding himself in last place the first dozen cars he has to overtake are a relative piece of piss. Then it starts to get much harder. And from fifth to first requires the whole package. To have stayed and seen Boston promoted back into the Conference proper would have shown real class but, alas, we'll never know if the pair of them could do it.
Since they swept in to Town the managers have stomped on the training ground (too hard); they have ripped up the scouting manual (having experienced ex-professionals watch players at matches is 'antiquated', apparently); they have huffed and puffed about the need for a winning mentality (doh!). So their new challenge is similar to their last one, but with a bigger, dafter budget. And their 'refreshing', 'exciting', intense approach has bowled over the Grimsby chairman to the point where he can't wait to loan the club more money to invest in their kerr-azy ideas.
ProZone is passé; Scout 7 is where we need to be at. Forget those lower-league journeymen who audition well and clutch a well-worn footballing CV but don't stay fit enough or motivated enough to perform reliably. We need fitness, aggression, high intensity. Set the testosterone knob to eleven. Your Guest Diarist, you might have already gleaned, gentle reader, is not necessarily the biggest fan of some of these tactics. But I'm willing to admit I could be wrong. And desperately hoping that the next broken-down journeyman at the beginning of the end of his career might turn out to be the next Paul Futcher hasn't really got us anywhere good these last five years or so, has it?
And it is an ill-kept secret, it would seem, that the pair hanker after cherry-picking from the Boston squad. Why do they enthuse about the absolute necessity for a third goalkeeper at our cash-strapped club? Surely it's just not because they like young McKeown who did well for them on loan from Peterborough? I mean, OK, it's one thing to say 'Fingers' Arthur would benefit from competition. But then if you follow that logic then Chairman Fenty would benefit from some proper management competition in the boardroom. And he doesn't seem very keen to let that actually happen, does he? A third keeper, furthermore, negates all the serendipitous fortune from having the luxury of a full-time goalkeeping coach in Steve Croudson and a more than adequate reserve Conference keeper at the same time. Plus a bloke who has GTFC tattoed across every fibre of his body. Not, not like Danish bacon, you fool you know what I mean.
The other player everyone thinks is on the brink of joining Town from Boston is that Shaun Pearson. A centre-half and a bit of a goal machine. A Roy of the Rovers type who wins player of the season where'er he roams (Spalding, Stamford, Boston (twice)). Pearson is out of contract and has gracefully declined the offer of a new, improved contract from the Pilgrims. But the problem is he's under 24 so Town can't snap him up without having to talk to, and pay, Boston. And that's a bit tricky because Chairman Fenty trampled all over honest broker Boston chairman David Newton in his undignified scramble to sign fifth-choice managers, ermm, wotsit and thingy last spring. It's karma, John, karma.
I used the word 'serendipitous' earlier, not something of which I make a habit. But just before writing that tricky penultimate paragraph I checked the Diary inbox only to find a delicious slice of polemic from none other than Pete Brooksbank, Boston fan. So I can disappear now to bake some bread and fulminate in the kneading while you, gentle reader, can enjoy this tale about the publishers of the Grimsby Telegraph. See yer.
This isn't really Grimsby related, but I know you love your Superb New Websites so very dearly. Having seen that Steve McClaren has been appointed the new Forest boss today, I attempted to navigate to the Nottingham Evening Post website for some local coverage of the story and see how many Forest fans were angry that the club had failed to resurrect Brian Clough through the miracle of DNA cloning. What greeted me was Northcliffe Media's monstrosity of a redesign. I urge you to go check it out. It looks like a naff, and completely broken, generic Wordpress template installed by a brain-damaged Tellytubby hooked on ketamine. It's car crash stuff.
On the front page there are six, or maybe seven, links to the story two of which are completely duplicated placed at random points across the page alongside articles published days ago, adverts for a steakhouse, uPVC patio doors, out-of-date reader comments in 890-sized font on greengrocers pulled from unknown corners of the site and the occasional house listing. On the right there is what looks like a scrolling clickable news headline ticker. Except one of the headlines is entitled simply 'Layaways' and in fact links through to an advert. I have absolutely no idea what the hell is going on. I doubt readers of any of Northcliffe's other 'This Is' disaster zones do either.
I know local journalists get a hard time on these pages but I think this absolute catastrophe of a website underlines what a demoralising job it must be at times. With paper sales plummeting and their parent companies making such a dreadful job of embracing the internet, it's not a job I'd fancy doing, especially if, thanks to a unfathomable content management system designed by complete imbeciles, my brilliantly written investigative story about how much Forest are going to have to pay off Billy Davies appeared second to a reader's 150-word blog about how stodgy the cake was at the recent Arnold Model Boating Club.
It's truly astounding and very depressing. I can only assume that, having taken something that was already pretty ropey and somehow contrived to make it even worse, Northcliffe Media have simply followed the trailblazing exploits of John Fenty. Whatever you say about the guy, don't ever suggest he's not got influence.
Friday 10 June
Goodbye Blonde Bob, though I never knew you at all. You had the grace to hold yourself while those around you crawled. Yes, it comes as no suprise to your Mardy Diary to hear that Rob Atkinson is now actually, officially, definitely no longer in the building and has gone to join fourth division Rotherham who... oh, no hang on. Fleetwood? Oh for fuck's sake. I've been saying for years that the Conference should have at least two automatic promotion spots. At least that way we'd have been relegated a season earlier and all of this would be perhaps a little easier to take as we began to properly adjust to life as non-League football supporters.
As it stands we all think we can get out of this still, don't we? Yeah, admit it. You think, somewhere in the back of your mind, that we can actually get out of this mess, don't you? We're not like Mansfield, Cambridge and Wrexham. Those wrecks of clubs who'll never get back to the Football League. No. We're definitely different, we'll definitely be back, won't we? Won't we? Hey, I'm talking to you...
In other less interesting news (don't sigh!) Cod Almighty will be moving to a brand, shiney new server in the coming days. As such you may suffer the occasional glitch in the matrix when you attempt to visit the site. We will be keeping the site up-to-date on both old and new servers while the change takes places, but if you suffer any problems accessing the site over the next week or so then the codalmighty.net address should still bring you to this version of the site.
Have a good weekend, and don't have nightmares (of eternal life in the non-League wilderness). Seeya.
Thursday 9 June
Shorty and Shouty have been keen to stress that panic buying and rushed transfers are not the name of their game in a bid to calm those fans baying for more ink after the signing of Gary Silk this week. This, however, has not stunted season ticket sales so far: sales in the first two days are up on last year. There have been 90 sold so far compared to last season's 70 and the SNOS is seemingly bubbling with optimism about a "great start to 2011/12". Season ticket sales are becoming ever more vital to the finances of the club, what with the relegations and the piss-poor performances on the pitch strangling attendance figures, so the 90 sold so far is definitely a good start.
Is this a sign of supporter optimism being on the up? Does it show an anticipation of a successful season under new management? It is of course important to remember that last season the club was trying to sell season tickets for the first season out of the league for a century following an abysmal season, which had followed a similarly abysmal season, and a pretty shitty decade. The comparison between this summer and last, then, seems slightly unreliable given the vastly differing circumstances under which the tickets are being sold.
So what can be assumed from the ticket sales analysis? Well, it does suggest the club may have reached a plateau of inadequacy, a rock bottom, and the message seems to be that things can only get better. Your Part-Time Diary remembers players running out to that song when we were fighting relegation from the second division. Oh, the naivety.
It must be the humidity or the pollen or the lorry fumes or something because I've been daydreaming about a miraculous rise from the Conference and up through the leagues again, spearheaded by our management duo, whose brand of committed players and non-panic buying draws plaudits throughout the game and we get a new flat-pack style stadium on an industrial site somewhere and host under-21 internationals and re-sign a 38-year-old John Oster on a frivolous player-coach basis. Basically I really want us to do what Doncaster have done, because they used to be really shit like us too you know. Oh and we'd definitely have her as a mascot. What a load of prudes they are over at the Keepmoat.
I hope things are going to get better and that these two do know what they're doing we don't really know yet, but they bloody better. They can't be judged on the back end of last season and they talk a good game, but is there a bit of substance behind all the soundbites? The first signing does gives an indication of the kind of players they're after though: a team of solid, Conference-experienced players, who will run around and kick a lot, that's the masterplan. No more Bryan Hugheses and no 38-year-old John Osters with these two then.
Some sad news to end today as the Telegraph reports the death of referee and Grimsby fan Derek Bray. I can't really say anything that is not covered in the glowing tributes he has already received. It certainly seems he will be missed dearly and our thoughts are with his family.
Wednesday 8 June
They may have initially figured some way down Deadly John (Topcon)'s list of managerial targets, but since their eventual appointment we've been promised several things from Shorty and Shouty. They're "intense". They won't settle for anything less than 4.3 billion per cent commitment from the players, or something. And if neither of those attributes sees the Mariners 18 points clear at the top of the Conference Premier by the middle of August, we can at least console ourselves that they are proficient in the use of information technology.
Your original/regular Diary is reminded of the duo's computer skills today by a story in the Grimsby Telegraph. After this week's acquisition of Mansfield D/M R/C Gary Silk, Shorty and Shouty are keen to downplay expectations of a busy week or two ahead in the transfer market. "Fans are obviously anxious to see new faces at the club," one of them has told the local rag, clearly mindful of the hundreds of Town fans who in recent weeks had been taking to the internet in a blind, frenzied panic because some other clubs signed the odd player here and there before Silk's arrival at Blundell Park and there's only the entire summer to go before the new season begins.
So what else has changed? Will the new management team put an end to the culture of inflated wages attracting lazy players, which has fatally undermined the efforts of the last 49 managers to arrest the club's decline. Certainly it would seem so from Shorty and Shouty's latest announcement. "We are not in a position to just go and throw money around," says one of them. "We don't want the vultures to start circling, working out what they can get out of you as clubs and players."
Well, that sounds promising. So if we're not throwing money around, how was it that Town managed to sign Silk, a popular and contented figure at his previous club? Oh, what's that you're saying, Mansfield manager Paul Cox? "I offered Gary what I felt was a fair offer, but his representative turned it down. I'm not going to get into an auction. It's unfortunate. I understand he has been here a long time and made a lot of appearances for the club but we have a wage structure to keep to." Oh.
Besides a bigger wage packet than Mansfield were prepared to offer, another immediate salient point about Town's new right-back is a highly active Twitter account. Diary reader David Elsey has emailed, advising us: "Check out Gary Silk's Tweet this morning about him giving Rob Duffy a lift to go on his honeymoon. Bless." And there I was, opening the Diary inbox, and expecting an entirely different outcome when I saw David's email entitled "Taxi for Duffy".
Duffy remains on the books and on the transfer list, but two players who have departed (despite the chairman's insistence that he wouldn't be paying up contracts) are, of course, Charles Ademeno and Dwayne Samuels. Phil Watson has emailed the Diary to say: "Sorry to see Samuels go he looked a really good prospect when we signed him. Surely he was the sort of player (at 20) who we should have worked to make better, rather than giving up on him after just nine starts. Add him to Andy Taylor, Jammal Shahin, Greg Young, Darren Mansaram and others who deserved better." This seems a very good point to your original/regular Diary, who grew inordinately fond of Shahin in particular when he was the only Town player on the pitch during that FA Cup defeat by Bath City who appeared to give a shiny shite. Email email@example.com if you've anything to say about this or, indeed, anything else.
Tuesday 7 June
So there you are. All that patience has paid off. Town Management Duo (hereby known as TMD) have made their first signing. In comes right-back Gary Silk from Mansfield to become the latest in a long line of Garys to play their trade for the Mariners. It's clear from the interview that the TMD targeted the player, and given their reputation at Boston of having a pretty strong and tight back-line this may come as little surprise, especially with the departure of Straight Peter Bore.
Silk's been quick to roll out the fresh start hopes lines, but has a point in that three years playing in the Conference is tidy experience, and he hopes he can add to "what looks like being a good squad next season." Squad? Which squad is Silk looking at? We're not sure, so the only feasible theory is the TMD have given Silk a view of their Scout 7 wishlist. Or the lad has set his expectation management to "low".
The Grimmo Telegraph will be rubbing their hands at the puns derived from the new signing's surname. Like Silk transfer goes smoothly. Did you see what they did there? Personally, I prefer Harrison Dunk.
A quick scoot on the internet (how modern, etc) finds Silk is also on the Twitterz, which is certainly going to be, ahem, interesting given Fenty's recent remarks on how modern seems to mean "use a computer". Not sure what GTFC's staff policy is on social media usage is, but after the club's recent attempt to get content removed from Facebook I'm sure we'll find out soon enough. Using the hastag #fuckoffashcloud is totally acceptable in my books though, Gary.
So, the rebuild has started. What's next? Who is next? We'll just have to wait and see.
Monday 6 June
Mardy Diary writes: So the minimum number of players possible to pay off has already risen to two with Ademeno joining Samuels out of the door, and we're barely in to June. John Fenty continues to show all the signs of someone with a severe case of cognitive dissonance, whereas I just continue to show the signs of deep, deep, immovable despair at the ruination he continues to cause the club. Can we live without his money? Probably not now he's plunged us in to debt and left us in the wilderness of non-League football with scant chance of a return. Oh but ITV Digital blah, ITV Digital bleurgh, ITV Digital BADOOM. Easily paid off with Wembley money. Money achieved by managers long since sacked. Since then he has poured money in to the club to cover his own mistakes and to pay unsustainable wages to players of no worth (but who swarmed to our sinking ship like sharks to the Titanic). You don't have to take my word just look at the accounts for the last ten years. It's all there.
Still, at least the Telegraph continues to push journalistic boundaries in its pursuit of the truth at BP with news that Shouty/Shorty (I'll learn their names in October if they're still here) are excited that we'll be playing Lincoln next season. This is a cracking story, which lays bare the emotional drama experienced by a joint manager of a lowly football club with hardly any players as he muses over the geographical proximity of the coming season's opponents. This one'll end up in Hollywood no doubt. Hollywood Bowl.
I'm being a little unfair. It's not like they can prod the club with their sharp, pointy, journalistic stick, for fear that Chairman Fenty will have their first-born decapitated, have them deported to Mars and burn the entire Northcliffe Media stock to the ground. It's difficult for us outside of this odd little NE Lincs dictatorship to understand what life must be like there, where people can be publicly flogged for using the word 'Fenty' without a rising, almost triumphant tone of voice. It's simple for us folk west of Great Fentyshire to glibly mock those who suffer under his diktat, so perhaps we should allow them a little slack. Perhaps John Tompson could use Twitter to organise a revolt against the regime? Come on somebody do something, I'm bored already. Hmph.
I thought it was going to be a long, slow close season, but unfortunately it looks like it'll be over before we've even had chance to enjoy it. My season ticket renewal form has arrived already, and I have this strange urge to hand over money to... must resist... join us. JOIN US. Nooo! Nooooooo! You are not my father...
Friday 3 June
If you queue up bright and early at the Blundell Park ticket office on Monday morning the club will graciously and perhaps belatedly allow you to buy a season ticket. One for the Pontoon will cost you Â£266 your Guest Diarist learnt yesterday. And you can rest assured the money will be spent wisely acquiring new players to get way too over-anticipatory about. That third goalkeeper that we absolutely need so badly. Perhaps a player to replace Dwayne Samuels who was paid off yesterday. Maybe even some central midfield players: no, I've gone too far now.
Oh, so some of your cash will go to pay a player off a year early. Something Mr Fenty (TopCon) was so public about declaring he wasn't going to be doing much, if at all, of this coming season. So he's off to a flying start with that one. With no signings in sight yet, and the squad size slowly diminishing (although weirdly no-one has raced in to sign players like Duffy or Ademeno whom the club declared to be surplus to requirements, then variously announced to the press that they are crocked-for-ever, totally sub-standard or their ability does in fact exist but is deeply buried and may take some time to find) it is difficult to imagine any other than the hard-core Town loyalists in that queue.
Just absorbing the VAT increase (which, I suppose, the club owed us anyway from the time when they 'absorbed' the VAT decrease) and public spluttering about computerised scouting, and lots of intense emails from the managers, and bore hole drilling isn't really going to cut it with increasingly hard-pressed, increasingly gloomy fans. Fans who are either already resigned to non-league football for the foreseeable, or who recognise that this coming season is possibly the last chance saloon for the club in its present form.
Especially when all the Telegraph has to tell us is that Kempson's relieved to still be at Town and is doing mountain biking whilst his broken foot mends. Take a deepish breath and read about it here in new spacey technicolour.
Still you can take your mind off GTFC's woes tomorrow gentle reader by watching ITV's incredibly samey boring football coverage of the England match. Same as it ever was; same as it ever was. See yer.
Thursday 2 June
Is there an end of season any more? The last time Grimsby played was over a month ago and it's been football ever since. We've had play-offs, cup finals and now it's England matches Â does it ever end? Well, there's not a Grimsby game until 16 July so I suppose that provides some relief. Then they'll be cracking on with the friendlies, and it's a good job it's over a month away because I don't think we've got a starting eleven at the moment. Although that must be due to change with the introduction of the shiny Scout 7 digital scouting tool thing which is in no way similar to any football management simulation game.
Your Part-Time Diary has had a quick look at the
website and it does seem to boast a rather illustrious list of clientele. They seem to be very proud of their links to Chelsea and Manchester City, although these are the two English clubs I would least associate with a prudent and efficient approach to scouting out new talent. In fact their scouting policy is more akin to someone cheating on a football management simulation game and hoovering up all the most expensive players in the world. The site Â apart from including a brilliantly inadvertent guess the badge game Â does not really provide much information other than what can already be guessed about the services of Scout 7. It does just seem to be a great big database with loads of stats and injury history on footballers. It's even got some youngsters marked as 'wonderkid' just to help out less experienced managers. I wonder if there is a manager version that Fenty can sign up to and if Abramovich's Chelsea is already a subscriber to that as well. Well worth a look, John.
Grimsby Town's superb new official website has yet again come up trumps, fixing the glitch that delayed the announcement of the Sheffield FC friendly in record time, having been alerted to it only yesterday by original/regular Diary. Unfortunately the Grimsby Telegraph has yet to follow suit, but surely now it will come to their attention too, with it being a mere mouse click and Google search for Grimsby Town away. I'd expect an announcement tomorrow, unless of course any former Grimsby players happen to not sign for another club or something big like that.
Well, I'm not about to emulate the local rag and string this out any longer. In other news today FIFA is still corrupt, Blatter is still the boss of football and Grimsby still haven't sold any season tickets. Finally, a thought for the day from Sepp Natter: "All teams whose players' ages add up to an odd number should start a new league under the sea in the corridors of the White House." Thanks as always, Sepp.
Wednesday 1 June
Charged with interpreting the GTFC universe to our readers five days a week, the Diary understands how tough it can be to fill a empty news space when nothing's going on. Especially through the long void of May and June, as managers and players fly off to generic Mediterranean resorts and agents count down the weeks until contracts expire. That's why your original/regular Diary said last week on the Cod Almighty Twitter thing that we couldn't blame the Grimsby Telegraph for not having anything to report. We did add, however, that we could blame them for reporting on Ben Futcher's contract situation at Bury while they seemed to be ignoring the news that Town had sacked their entire scouting team.
One of our readers replied that the Telewag's reluctance to mention this news may have stemmed from its apparent fear of upsetting the club hierarchy. Like many football chairmen, Deadly John (Topcon) seems to see the local media not so much as journalists, more as a free PR and marketing service for his club. When they deviate from the party line, as we have seen, John becomes sometimes hysterical, sometimes bullying, sometimes litigious, always undignified, and always preposterous. But it seems to do the job. Let's not forget the Grimsby Telegraph's outright failure to ask why GTFC's sponsorship from Jarvis came to an end less than one year into a three-year deal: an abject and entirely scandalous dereliction of its journalistic duties.
Six days later the Telewag has come good. Ladies and gentlemen, we have coverage. Shorty and Shouty are to become more closely involved with the scouting system than their many recent predecessors and "the club will be working in tandem with digital company Scout 7", which would seem to imply the use of, ooooh, computers, but, it must be stressed, is not in any way whatsoever anything at all like playing Championship Manager.
So is the Riby Square Thunderer back to its hard-hitting investigative best? "It is believed that partnership will cost several thousand pounds and more than under the former system," says the paper. Believed by who? It either will or it won't, the Telegraph, and it's your job to find out instead of hiding behind passive verb constructions. And what is it that this Scout 7 system is replacing? Have all the old scouts really been sacked? Well, no. Not sacked. That would imply something bad, and we can't have that. No. "Chief scout Dave McNish and several others, including former Mariner Tony Ford," haven't been sacked Â they've been "relieved of their roles". Relieved. What a lovely relief for them. Awww.
If the Telegraph wants something else to report in another six days' time, there's the not wholly unnoteworthy relevation that Town are to play a game against the oldest football club in the world. On Monday of this week Sheffield FC announced that they'd be facing the Mariners at their Coach & Horses ground on the evening of Wednesday 30 July and nobody seems to have batted an eyelid yet. Now the Cod Almighty team may be disproportionately excited at this, some of us having gone along to watch Sheffield play their neighbours Hallam a few years back and had a fine old time of it. And, OK, some sort of glitch in Town's otherwise superb new official website seems to have prevented the news appearing there thus far. But c'mon, the Telegraph! Come on! The OLDEST CLUB IN THE WORLD!
Oh well. Thanks for reading, and if you don't already follow the Cod Almighty Twitter thing, I strongly recommend you start now. For today's last word we go to Matt Pakes, who has emailed the Diary to revisit that recent observation from Shorty and Shouty Â to intriguing effect. Cheers, Matt, and goodbye to you all for now.
"What with football not being a computer game, I guess I shouldn't take as much hope from Football Manager as I currently do.
"In my current game, I'm managing Droylsden, but this isn't the important bit. Grimsby Town are. Their first season with NW in charge, they finished 8th, sacked NW and brought in some other obscure chap (not Shorty and Shouty). The next season, after almost no important signings, they stormed to the top of the Conference by 10 points and were promoted in a blaze of glory (bus parades etc). The club was also taken over by a new chairman around January time. Now if that doesn't mean that this is the season for the real Grimsby, I don't know what is. Time to place a bet on my local generic betting website.
"Oh wait, it's not like a computer game. Bugger."