The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

My force of habit. I am a Town fan. I have to confess I'm proud as hell of that fact

18 September 2018

Middle-Aged Diary has been having dark visions lately.

It is late next April, and Grimsby's relegation back out of the League is about to be confirmed. There are plenty there to see it. Attendances remain stubbornly high, but stubborn is the operative word. Only our irritability is keeping the Mariners alive and kicking. The brightest jewel inside of us glows with pleasure at our own stupidity, continuing to support a club that cannot put out a competitive team against others with half our gates. There is no abuse. Certainly no chanting. Just a low-level mumble.

March 2018 seems a very long time ago. Remember this? "Following a robust selection process, we quickly identified the need to move away from the classic 'managerial merry go round' appointment and bring in an exciting, hungry coach who wanted to stamp their mark and build a project at our Football Club going forward... We want to see more homegrown players like young Harry Clifton coming through the ranks at Blundell Park... The Board will back Michael [Jolley] to embed a philosophy that sees Grimsby Town Football Club as one of the most attractive propositions for hungry, aspiring young professionals on their way up in the game."

We were talking 'bout a revolution, but now if we open our mouths at all, it is only to snarl. You cannot hang a club philosophy on one appointment. More needed to be done. Though I am not usually a fan of club statements (especially those issued at 1:00am without a check for spelling, grammar and coherence), more needed to be communicated. Long before April 2019, Jolley had come to resemble the boy stood on the burning deck when all but he had bloody well scarpered.

Finally, the full-time whistle blows, and as we face the reality of Conference football, the energy levels rise. Some fans shout "sack the manager", some shout "sack the board". From the director's box, there's a cry of "sack the fans".

But all is not quite lost. Near the dug-out, Dave Moore stands, arms folded, pensive, before turning down the tunnel. We've done this once, we'll do it again, you guess he is thinking. And there is a parting in the chaos between competing factions, now at blows, strewn across the Blundell Park pitch. Dave Roberts is making his way across the grass. The fights pause as sack the boarders, sack the managerers and sack the fansers are greeted by Dave. Kind concern is expressed for family, friends and football club before Dave moves on and the scrapping resumes.

And here and now, back in reality, is Dave Roberts, the head of the Youth Development Association writing a newsletter for the Mariners Trust. It addresses the two obvious issues on which there has been a notable silence lately: the stadium relocation and what the trust is doing to redefine its relationship with the club following the members' survey earlier this year.

You might not agree with everything Dave writes (like everyone else, I regard myself as being on first-name terms with him), but he sets out the issues cogently and coherently. He allows you to hope that some things are being left tactfully unsaid to allow the club space to make the odd u-turn.

While the club has Daves Moore and Roberts, it has a soul and a future.