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Diary - Tuesday 3 November 2009

3 November 2009

When Lord Alan Buckley returned to his manor for a third residence in 2006, the Diary struggled to imagine any managerial appointment that could have been more divisive among Town fans. Around Blundell Park AB was always a figure who inspired both admiration and loathing: admiration among sensible supporters for his awesome record of three promotions, which no other GTFC boss has come anywhere near emulating; and loathing among Grimsby's dyed-in-the-wool miserable bastards who hated him for being successful and depriving them of anything realistic to moan about. Today, however, as John Fenty (Con)tinues to take his time over choosing his fifth manager in five minutes, we are unexpectedly forced to consider a figure whose return would perhaps split the support more sharply still: Russell 'Sort It' Slades.

Despite being the only manager who has looked anything like capable of reversing the sickening plunge down the Football League that Town underwent earlier in the 2000s, Slade is not generally remembered with fondness by a sizeable swathe of the Mariners' support. In particular, he is believed by many to have undermined the fourth division play-off final in 2006 as he approached the game with one eye on the road to Yeovil. To his credit, of course, he took Town to the fourth division play-off final in the first place. To his discredit, perhaps, he wouldn't have needed to in the first place had he not stuffed up a bloody good shot at automatic promotion. And so on. Why are we digging up painful memories? Because Sort It has surprisingly expressed an interest in returning for another shot after his recent sacking by Brighton. "I'd certainly be willing to talk with the club," Slade told a Grimsby Telegraph reporter while hurriedly scanning his Yellow Pages for a local supplier of olive branches.

A somewhat less controversial return, but one that has moved beyond mere hypothesis into the hard world of fact, is that of Ed Eley to Mansfield. The teenage Town keeper was recently on loan at Field Mill to provide cover to first-choice custodian Alan Marriott and has gone back until the end of 2009. "I'm delighted. I had returned to Grimsby but received a phone call to come back, so I got straight on the motorway," says Eley, despite looking as puzzled as ever about the whole affair.

Eley's contract with the Mariners also expires at the end of 2009, so there is a chance that this is the last Town fans will get to see of the player. Still, things could be worse. Ooooh, butterfingers!