Goodbye, farewell and best wishes

Cod Almighty | Article

by Jase Ives

7 November 2023

A week is a long time in football so the saying goes and it's certainly been the case this past week at our beloved GTFC. Jase Ives has taken the time to pen his thoughts on Paul Hurst's departure.

It'd be remiss to not say a few words on the departure of Paul Hurst. Much has been said the last few weeks, both on various social media sites and at games, both good and bad, savoury and unsavoury; it's a fact of life that people will never agree when there's mass interest in something they care for and about.

Again, as in life, all good things must come to an end. Whether you agree or disagree with the decision, or argue over his tenure and accomplishments and their merit, I feel that most supporters will acknowledge that Paul Hurst has been a decent manager for Grimsby Town. He is certainly deserving of some praise, appreciation, and gratitude for his efforts spanning two spells, lasting over eight years.

The events of the last couple of weeks left me conflicted to a degree. I felt it hadn't been working this season, the team looked devoid of confidence, were fragile, and a little 'flat'. This was compounded by injuries, question marks on form, individually and collectively, together with chopping and changing. We just couldn't buy a result so, reluctantly, I felt it was perhaps time to go. Partly for the aforementioned reasons, but mostly because I didn't want to witness Hurst open to abuse. The murmuring had started weeks back and once it starts it rarely stops.

Anyway, that day at Doncaster came and with it another loss in a pretty dour game. On the final whistle the abuse came. It was not nice to witness but as much as I disagree I'm also understanding of emotions, release valves, etc, and caring. Everyone shows it in different ways, though I'll never get my head around hurling abuse at someone.

It's been said the players' reaction at full time suggested something might happen. Hurst showed his class by fronting up to the abusers and applauding the fans with most, in all fairness, reciprocating and acknowledging their feelings for a man who only wanted the best for the club.

Driving back and the news hit. Paul had been relieved of his duties and although not entirely unexpected it left me feeling flat. A sad empty feeling, and a little emotional, together with empathy, and disappointment. As much as I felt it was a decision that was going to come, the overriding feeling was of sadness for the man himself. A man who always carried himself well, worked hard, looked after his players, and had their backs. I'm not naive; managers come, managers go, they're two-a-penny in the football world but it would've been very difficult to not have sympathy and empathy.

Nine days or so passed and we've seen a statement from Paul, expressing his thanks to all, his best wishes to the club and staff, and wanting to see them progress. Absolute class and a little reminder that we've been fortunate to have him at the helm in difficult times. From non-league days, lasting five years or so under he who shall not be named (a massive achievement in my opinion), to lockdown and no fans allowed to attend games. I genuinely think he was the right fit for the club at that time and am thankful he got to be a main part of some success in the amazing theatre of those play-off games, promotion, and an FA Cup run to be remembered for years.

He'll be remembered fondly by me. I was fortunate to have had a couple of conversations during his recent spell and found him to be engaging, friendly, honest, loyal, and driven. So, Paul, thank you for all your efforts at Grimsby Town. I sincerely hope you know they were and are appreciated. Hopefully you can return in some capacity in the future and receive the respect and appreciation you've earned as a massive part of Grimsby Town's history. Wish you well wherever you go but look forward to that reunion one day.

Paul Hurst's Black and White Army!

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