The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

I'll take you all on!

21 February 2020

Going into this weekend’s game, the points gap between Grimsby Town and Swindon Town stands at 22 — that’s currently the same distance between Liverpool and second place Manchester City in the Premier League. No doubt the pundits will be straining every cerebral sinew to mask the lack of genuine competition at the top of our so-called elite league by praising Klopp’s unbeaten Reds, but they’ll be ignoring the fact that this has been the most boring title race since the Premier League began.

And that’s what the Premier League has created: division. There are about four divisions within the Premier League, so Liverpool travelling to Norwich last week took on the same sort of hype as Coventry travelling to Sutton did in the FA Cup in 1989.

And had someone like Todd Cantwell scored in a 1-0 win for Norwich, they'd probably be featuring him on a lunchtime football magazine programme on the BBC 31 years later to talk about his moment of glory in what pundits would describe as 'one of the greatest upsets of a generation'.

Thankfully, down in the sensibilities of the fourth division, a 22-point gap keeps you 14 places apart. We might not be in a league known for its skill and quality, but at least it’s competitive. The odds of West Ham going to Anfield on Monday night and winning are 14/1; the odds of us going to the County Ground tomorrow and collecting all three points are 15/4. That’s good value, especially as Town have only lost one of their last seven away games and ended Colchester’s 18-match unbeaten run.

For once I’m not concerned about the threats Swindon pose. We know they’re top of the division and have the league’s top scorer, so let’s just presume they’re going to score against us tomorrow. But that’s not a problem, because we’re more than a match for anyone at the minute and the players know their way to goal now (just ask Charles Vernam).

But it’s not just the goals that have changed how I feel; the manner of the performances we’ve put in have made your West Yorkshire Diary believe that we can be competitive in any match. Travelling to the league leaders doesn’t intimidate me, so I doubt it’ll intimidate our players. If anything, it’s another opportunity for them to make others sit up, take note and maybe discuss the quality of our goals.

These are the games that can put you, as a player, on the radar of other clubs. We can play with the freedom of the underdog but the confidence of a top side — which we’ve shown we can be, on our day. If the players believe that (and I’m sure Holloway is working on it) then there’s nothing left for any of us to fear.

Except a late-night press release from John Fenty.

I’d usually take a look at our head-to-head record, or research into how inept our referee will be tomorrow, but we can take all that out of the equation. My pecker is so far up that I don’t even care. I’m not even on drugs.

If you’re making the 500-mile round trip tomorrow, enjoy the match and cheer those beautiful Mariners on to another impressive victory. UTMM!