The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Floodlight saving, if not painting

25 July 2017

Makeshift Diary writes: Tonight the Mariners take on Blackburn Rovers in a pre-season friendly at Blundell Park. I know pre-season friendlies aren't much to get excited about, but you'd have expected to have seen a bit more about the game on the website and social media. Nothing much, maybe just an article or two. After all, they need bums on seats tonight because those floodlights aren't cheap to run, ya know.

Oh, maybe that explains the slightly earlier than usual kick-off time (7:30). Crafty buggers.

Let's be honest, though, friendlies are a bit pants. In all my years following Town I can't remember a good one. There've been lots of goals (mainly against opposition made up of primarily self-employed builders and gym instructors) and a few memorable trialists (Abdul in 2004?). But generally, as football matches, they're not great. I suppose they're a bit like a wedding rehearsal. People have to stand in the right places and do their jobs when they're supposed to, but it's not a real event. It's a warm-up.

That said, there is something almost spiritual about friendlies. After a long break, it's nice to be able walk down Grimsby Road again, buy a programme and sit in your usual seat (or try a different stand). OK, the kit may have changed and half the team are unrecognisable for the first half an hour, but enough is the same to make you feel at home again.

Don't judge me, but I quite like looking around and see which parts of the stadium have been updated during the closed season. I mean, it's rarely anything significant: maybe a handrail has been painted or some new corner flags are making their debut. But I still like to spot them. It's usually as entertaining as the football.

While I'm taking in the surroundings tonight, you'll probably get to see some decent players on show for Blackburn. For me, it doesn't seem that long ago that they were Premier League champions, signing Gary Croft and regularly playing in Europe. Now they're getting ready for their first season in the third tier since 1980. Surely this is as low as they can go, right?

For Town, a 'trio of trialists' (lovely alliteration, there) are going to feature later. Karleigh Osborne, Jamil Roberts and Jordan Mustoe are expected to get another run-out. But whether we'll see any of them don the black and white again, who knows? I suppose that depends if Russ takes a shine to them or they appreciate the new dugouts we've got. Or the handrails. Either will do.

In other news, Sladey will be without Jamey Obsorne, Akwasi Asante, Harry Clifton and Sean McAllister tonight. Let's hope McAllister's injury isn't too serious because out of everyone he needs some minutes under his belt after spending 99.9 per cent of last season on the sidelines.

See you later?