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Diary - Wednesday 1 February 2012

1 February 2012

What was the first thing you did when you woke up this morning? If you're superstitious like your West Yorkshire Diary's mum then you may have uttered the words 'white rabbits'. But if you're a Grimsby Town fan you probably went to double-check that Liam Hearn was still at the club - which he is. Chelsea didn't come in for him after all, the buggers. The second thing you probably did was check whether Ryan Bennett fetched a fine fee as he flew to our feathery friends at Norwich minutes before this metaphorical window slammed shut - which he did. I wonder if the window has stained glass?

And so the Mariners can begin the rest of the season with the Conference's joint top scorer still in their ranks and with the promise of some money from the sale of Captain Bennett - who, if you recall, was played in midfield in the latter days of Mike Newell's tenure. That's how great a manager he was. Somehow, unlike Shorty and Shouty, Newell never scraped a manager of the month award (although, like Liam Hearn, Luton's Michael Reddy got the player of the month thing once).

Bennett's move to Norfolk has scuppered my plans to use today's diary to talk about how we haven't got any fackin' money and yet we continue buying players. This despite Deadly John (Topcon) telling us repeatedly that we're in debt, we're not breaking even and he's not prepared to keep putting in more of his own money. We're handing out 18-month contracts like they're sweets.

Perhaps there was some room to accommodate two new players following the release of Darran Kempson and Rob Eagle (now with Alfreton and Lowestoft respectively), but players don't just agree to tear up their contracts and go for free. Having said all that, recent acquisitions Ian Miller and Louis Soares appear to be direct replacements for Neil Woodseses' summer 2010 recruits. Eagle, you may remember, didn't play too badly in his full season for Town and a goal ratio of one in four wasn't half bad for a winger. However, in a candid interview with the Grimmo Telegraph he reveals that he didn't help himself with his off-field behaviour (brought about by not being in the team, of course). Perhaps his face didn't fit after all. Maybe his various haircuts were a subtle plea for attention.

Yesterday Town played in one of those hastily arranged behind-closed-doors friendlies up the A180 against Plucky Scunny's reserves to give the stiffs some game time. In the briefest of reports, the superb new official website announced that we lost 2-1 and Serge Makofo scored the goal. It's not worth a link - but the ever reliable Telegraph managed to pad out a story from Shorty's post-match comments. I've said it before and I'll say it again: poor old Serge. There's not a lot more he can do to get back in the match day squad of 16, let alone the starting XI. He must be wondering if he'll ever be favoured on that left wing after he's seen Jamie Green, Luke McCarthy and more recently Frankie Artus chosen ahead of him. And now, with Soares joining the club, even a goal for the reserves probably won't have much of an effect on his first-team chances.

John-Paul Marna - the player suggested by some Town fans as the one we meant to buy from Kettering when we got Serge in a case of mistaken identity - is likely to start against the Mariners for his new club Tamworth next Tuesday. Marna, you may remember, was sent off for fighting with a team-mate over who should take a penalty when they lost 5-3 at home to Hayes & Yeading (a game in which new recruit Soares scored a couple of goals).

While on the subject of Tamworth, Town fan James Booth has emailed us to say he's confused about the date of the fixture against the Lambs. This was originally planned for this Saturday but was moved because of our progress in the FA Tinpot Trophy. James says that the Sunday before last the official website declared the game had been moved to Tuesday 28 February, but the official website's fixture page has it down as Tuesday 7 February - as do Tamworth's website and the newly designed BBC Sport website (which appears to have been attacked by a yellow highlighter pen). We're guessing it's next Tuesday, then - but we're not sure when that became official. Thanks for noticing and emailing in, James.

Yesterday your original/regular Diary asked GTFC what the Parents' Partnership Action Group (PPAG) was all about. Today, like magic (or an incredibly well oiled and efficient communications channel), an article entitled 'What Is The PPAG?' has appeared on the official website to explain all. Credit where credit is due - we asked a question (along with several others, it seems) and the club has answered. Bravo! It's left a lot of us at CA's ivory towers scratching our heads and wondering just what has got into the communications team at BP recently. They've suddenly got good, like the first team - wonder if there's any connection? Perhaps the first team are doing the PR work too. Ciao!