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Diary - October 2007
Wednesday 31 October
If there remains an ounce of comic or polemical potential left in Town's bid to relocate to Great Coates, it has, frankly, escaped middle aged diary, so let me just relay the news that the planning application for the new stadium will not be called in by the Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber. In a statement on the official website, John Fenty admits that a call-in might have ended the process given the costs involved in defending the application. He goes on that approval by NE Lincolnshire Council is a formality, and the biggest obstacle now is attracting some shops to make the development commercially viable. He signs off with a cheery "Its black and white. The future's bright", echoing the slogan of a well known mobile phone service and thus, subliminally, perhaps hoping to associate the statement with happier times ("What about the orange?"), after admitting that making a go of things at the club has not been easy lately.
Fenty might take encouragement from the fact that, our disappointing start to the season notwithstanding, we are still involved in three cup competitions. Looking ahead to the FA Cup first round tie, to be played (strangely enough) at 3.00 on Saturday 10 November, Carlisle manager John Ward has made clear the respect with which the name of Grimsby Town is held, suggesting it is a relief they have avoided "one of these tricky non-league clubs". "Town slash paint prices" is the headline for the exciting news that the Mariners are entering the discount DIY retail market...; or possibly that you can get in to our associate members cup game against Doncaster on 13 November without paying too much. Finally, tonight, Ryan Bennett has been given permission to turn out in the FA Youth Cup tie with Tranmere, at Blundell Park. The match kicks off at 7.00, with admission to the Main Stand £2 for adults and £1 for concessions. Well worth a couple of hours of your time.
Tuesday 30 October
Over the hills and far away diary here bringing you news of the latest goings on in North Cleethorpes.
Positive John has reacted rather belatedly to Peterborough's admission that they have made an enquiry for Tom Newey. The Chairman today makes it clear on the SNOS that the club is not interested in listening to offers for our favourite little left-back: "As far as we are concerned, it is definitely hands off". The Chairman indicates further that the club is looking to add to the squad not reduce it.
Positive John has not been so quick off the mark as his counterpart at southern club Lincoln City, Steff Wright, who was yesterday so incensed by enquiries made by Posh for midfielder Lee Frecklington, that he intends to report the London Road club to the Football League. "Diabolical," said the Imps chairman to the Lincolnshire Echo, before breaking down in tears.
Tom Newey himself insists that he has not spoken to Peterborough. Newey however concedes that he did pick up a copy of a tabloid on Sunday morning after spotting the headlines "New Look for Posh", only to find out that it was an article about Mrs Beckham getting another makeover for the forthcoming old spice tour.
As reported by the Diary last week, things have been getting exciting in the normally quiet Cumbrian town of Kendal, where the local club managed by little Lee Ashcroft, once of this parish, were looking forward to a draw against Grimsby for the first round proper of the FA Cup. This proved to be a bit forward looking for the former Mariner as his side were dumped out of t'cup by the mighty Altrincham FC. The official Altrincham FC website reports on an altercation between the two managers at the end of the game, claiming that the Alty manager, Graham Heathcote, had to be physically prevented from attacking Ashcroft. It quotes Ashcroft as saying "all I said was that he was behaving like a big-time Charlie and had been all day." Heathcote of course disputes Ashcroft's version of what he said. This will presumably come as no surprise to Lord Buckley, who had what may be described as a love-hate relationship with Ashcroft and who recently told the GET that he was surprised to see him in a management position.
Your diarist had cause to visit Hull recently and admits to be shocked and saddened by the sight of a derelict Boothferry Park just rotting away amongst the houses of Anlaby Rerd or whatever part of Hull it is classed as. That ground has seen some occasions over the years and witnessed some great individual performances such as Mike Lyons trying to play centre-forward. The council feels the same too and has now decided to take action to secure its demolition to save it from the arsonists and vandals. If, the Fentydome project ever comes to fruition, I just hope that somebody demolishes Blundell Park quickly as it would break my heart to see it in the sorry state that Boothferry Park is.
It's good to end on a positive note and hail a Town victory. A Town XI managed to beat Brigg Town 4-3 in a friendly last night suggesting that this non league business might not be all bad. Andy Taylor, Nick Hegarty, Nathan Jarman and young Joe Hutchinson found the net. Danny North, Gary Jones and Peter Bore also played, but couldn't score. Three cheers everyone!
Monday 29 October
Hi guys. Durham Diary here today, breaking with tradition from students everywhere and Cod Almighty contributors generally by being late with this Diary due to having been actually been doing some bloody work. It felt strange. Still, if anyone wants to know anything Masters level research into the geometry of minimal surfaces, just ask next time you see me at a Town match.
Saturday's frustrating 1-1 draw with Bradford was deja-vu all over again. Shaleum Logan scored his second Town goal in three games despite playing in defence, reminiscent of Andy Todd when he himself joined on loan from a Premiership club to help the Mariners out. Logan has, in fact, been the only Mariners player to score in the time since he joined the club three games ago, reminiscent of far too much of Town's recent history. Phil Barnes' injury time sending off was reminiscent of one of Tony Crane's for its stupidity and how completely avoidable it was. Justin Whittle's 93rd minute trip in the penalty box was reminiscent of Danny Butterfield's on Darren Huckerby way back in 2001. And the way those bloody Br*df*rd fans celebrated on the pitch was reminiscent of Sheffield Wednesday's amongst others.
In fact, come to think of it, let me rephrase one of those sentences: Phil Barnes' injury time sending off was reminiscent of Tony Crane for its stupidity and how completely avoidable it was. Hmm, yes. Much better.
Town's SNOS are offering bidders the opportunity to play at Blundell Park, something far too many of Grimsby's players have failed to do. If you fancy it get involved, I'm too busy feeling pissed off about Saturday to be positive about anything.
And Town have drawn Carlisle United away in the FA Cup. That's right, Carlisle United, top of the third division. Hence the very highest possible team we could have drawn at this stage of the competition. Oh it makes me SICK!
Sorry this diary has been as completely rubbish as the feeling in your stomach at 4:55 on Saturday. It's important I pull my socks up and turn it around next time I think. Until that time I'm going back to my mean curvatures and whatnot. Chin up peeps!
Friday 26 October
"I wouldn't go down the docks and tell a filleter how to fillet his fish," said a jovial but defiant Lord Buckley to Mariners World. "I don't go on the internet or look at your messageboards – maybe I should. No doubt there are people on there telling me how to manage the team, but after eleven hundred games I should know how to do that by now." But Buckley admitted to being perturbed by the lack of a single clean sheet this season, and described his team last week as lethargic, dull, one-paced and lacking in confidence. Despite the fact we haven't even changed the clocks yet, Saturday's game at home to Bradford is starting to look important. "The league give us a point before we kick off," says the manager, who, for the first time since rejoining the Mariners, looked fractionally below his confident best, "and that point is ours to give away." True, Lord Buckley, very true. In fact a truism of the highest order.
The superb new official website – which is bigger, brighter and more grammatically challenged every week – has continued to publish its concise and useful injury guide ahead of the match. Lord Buckley had already told us that Rankin was 'icing his groin' after limping off after training on Thursday. Does that mean a bag of peas down his pants? Your Guest Diarist felt (but resisted) an unconscionable urge to try this, for some reason. Hegggaarty is back with us, as is young buck Logan after a few days at his mam's pretending he had a bit of a knock, but actually enjoying a bit of home cooking and a night out with his mates. Can you blame him? But Bolland's ankle is turning in to a bit of a riddle-wrapped enigma thingy. He trained on Thursday (looking "bright", according to AB) but complained it was very sore afterwards. Not that I would have the temerity to offer advice or owt, but my inclination would be to wait and get him fully fit before pitching him back in. Buckley is going to ask him how he feels today, apparently.
Grimsby chairman 'Positive' John Fenty has also had a chat to the Mariners World camera. No-one else appeared to be around – perhaps Dale had left it set up while he nipped out for a pasty, and John thought he'd practice his ongoing rebuttals to all that is happening or not happening to GTFC these days. He is absolutely right in one respect though: Town are an improving side. As are Tottenham. A delight to watch, and you are always sure of a few goals to liven things up. Mr Fenty again implied that Town's budget for this season, irrespective of latterly reduced gates, was a quarter of a million in the red. The below-budget gates are just making that figure larger, he said. We started the season owing the taxman nearly £400,000 with a rigorous agreed repayment schedule. So why on Earth allow the budgeted costs to exceed the projected revenues by such an amount? Cut yer coat according to yer cloth, said Moses to a shepherd or summat. But to bleat about the situation when he has allowed it to happen is symptomatic of very poor financial management. We are a poor club, getting poorer and, bar a 'slice of footballing fortune' as the Revenue so elegantly puts it, there is no easy way out. The club is earning twenty shillings and spending twenty and six again. Ah, it must have been Micawber that Moses told?
Any road, if the club is so skint why have they spent £495 on a chocolate fountain? For Diary reader GTFCbridgford has been rummaging in the club's electronic dustbins for gossip, finding that the club has a less than perfect eBay feedback record, and that said fountain has recently been purchased. Our man with the enquiring mouse goes on to say: "I also noticed that we had recently purchased 40 Dairy Milk chocolate miniatures for the princely sum of £2.45. Presumably these are for the players' stockings at Christmas.' Now come on – you could have got those at Ramsdens, and we might need that family onside if things continue sliding from bad to worse financially.
The Telegraph has done a nice write up on the youth team, who sadly got knocked out of the Youth Alliance Cup by Mansfield – but only after a penalty shoot-out, and Neil Woods said his lads done good, rebounding well after the horrible drubbing against Hull last week. I waded through the navigational swamp that is the official site but when it got over my wellies and I still hadn't found any mention of this game I gave up, went home and ate three Tunnocks teacakes to console myself. If we lose tomorrow, gentle reader, you may have to do the same. Or drink a gallon of something strong. But at least there will be an atmosphere. I rang the club just now to find out how ticket sales are going but they were too busy selling tickets to tell me. Keep the faith, and go, eh? See yer.
Thursday 25 October
Today you find the Diary in the vice-like grip of a beastly late-starting hangover. Does anyone else get those? You're kind of OK at eight or nine in the morning but by 11 you want to die? I know it's my own fault for setting about a hotel room mini-bar until the small hours of last night, but a bit of sympathy wouldn't go amiss. I've no idea why the term 'vice-like' is appropriate, really, unless it's one of those vices that makes you really regret having a massive breakfast two hours ago and feel like you're on a rollercoaster when you shut your eyes.
Anyway. Shaleum Logan, Town's ace new loanee with a strange cool name, has spoken to the Grimsby Telegraph about his temporary switch to North East Lincs. "The stadium is nice and you can't get better than the pitch here," says Logan, refreshingly, shortly before the club chairman smacks him round the head with a model of the Fentydome. The pacy Man City teenager admits to having had reservations about joining a fourth division side, in the belief that it's all long-ball stuff down here, but reveals that the Mariners' style of passing football won him over. This may come as a nasty shock to those responsible for the frankly bizarre notion currently being propagated on the messageboards that Town aren't actually playing any attractive football this season. Because, yeah, that first half against Rochdale the other week was just like watching Keith Alexander's Lincoln, wasn't it. Booo Logans booo, sak ver bord etc etc and so on.
Paul Bolland had a cracking first season with the Mariners in 200whenever it was, two years ago, I'm too tired to go and check, 2005–06 I guess, but even his greatest fans would admit that he hasn't performed with the same consistency since. Bolly's second album trouble, it seems to the Diary, has been down to a couple of persistent injuries, and Town ought to get him fully fit again rather than have him play ineffectively through whatever it is that's ailing him. Does that make sense? In a Mariners World interview today the battling midfielder expresses hope that he will be fit to face his first club Bradford this Saturday, but gives little indication as to whether his injury has cleared up properly other than "I've had a good week's rest on it now and it has settled down". I guess this weekend the proof is in the pudding, as people often say when what they really mean is that the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Speaking of words and stuff like that, Pete Brooksbank has emailed the Diary about one of them. "As a Boston United fan," he writes, "you might think I would be familiar with the rather wonderful word 'vicissitude', as in 'the vicissitudinous of Boston United's recent history'. Alas, I, the uneducated, wet-lipped mouth breather that I am, am sorry to report that I have never before encountered it. Nevertheless, I am always delighted when I discover a virgin word that manages to bamboozle both the MS Office dictionary AND the MSN Encarta thesaurus thingy at once, a red squiggly underline attempting to convince you, in an oddly tragic fashion, that the word is just a grave keyboard mashing mistake. For this I shall remain forever indebted to today's Diary." Glad to have been of service, Pete. For what it's worth, the Diary uses OpenOffice.org rather than MS Office, and I still get red squiggly underlines on words like 'rollercoaster' and 'messageboard'.
I'm going away next week, so Pat Bell's email here will be my last bit of Diarying until a week on Tuesday – but needless to say, the CA team has already lined up a string of more than adequate replacements in the meantime. "Riches here," writes Pat, indicating an article on the BBC Sport website about Lee Ashcroft hoping his Kendal Town team can land a tie against the Mariners in the first round of this season's FA Cup. What riches, Pat? "A rare revival of the 'no disrespect to the likes of Grimsby' theme, and confirmation that Ashcroft and Buckley finally got over that feud in the late 90s." Why yes! The piece is well worth a read for these very reasons, but does anyone know whether Aidan Davison and Wayne Burnett are talking to each other again?
So thanks for reading, and I'll see you all in 12 days' time. Now why can I never find a packet of Alka Seltzer when I need one?
Wednesday 24 October
Little did the Diary suspect, when I posted congratulations on a Doncaster Rovers web forum in 2003 for the club's return to the Football League and overthrowing of their arsonist chairman, that Town would be playing them in the Dulux Cup four years later as massive underdogs, with Rovers having ascended to the third division and the Mariners languishing in the lower reaches of the fourth. Such, though, are the vicissitudes of football and life, and so it is that GTFC will host Donny in a northern area quarter-final, probably on 14 November. The previous meeting between the two sides was a League Cup tie later in 2003, when their current divisional status was reversed and the Yorkshire team scored three times in the last quarter of an hour as notorious Yorkshireman Carl Boyeson sent off Des Hamilton and Marcel Cas. So guess who was refereeing last night, when Doncaster set up their date with GTFC by beating Lancashire side Oldham by three goals to nil? I'll give you a clue: he comes from Yorkshire and his name rhymes with 'arl Boyeson'.
"It's fair to say that we've been playing well but we've not capitalised on that in front of goal." Yes, we've heard that once or twice already this season, but possibly not yet from John Fenty. In a new Mariners World interview Town's chairman shows himself to be as aware as the rest of us about the precise reasons why the side has fewer points on the board than we would like. The other issues upon which Positive John bares his heart are transfers ("we've now got a strike force that can solve that particular problem"; he likes the cut of Shaleum Logan's jib; and money is available for more), sticking by Alan Buckley ("if we're patient and are prepared to support Alan – and I don't just mean the board, the football club; I'm talking about the fans as well – if everybody gets behind Alan and the team in its entirety then I'm pretty certain Alan will turn things round") and money. "Of course we still have the infamous tax debt, the residue of that," says PJ. "We've broadly paid 50 percent off so we owe around another £350,000 pounds." Just to keep Town alive through the rest of this season "the football club needs a capital injection of approximately a quarter of a million pounds", and possibly more given the low gates. In summary, then: get your arse to the Bradford game this Saturday, get behind the lads, and don't fuck off with five or ten minutes still left to play. I'm paraphrasing now, and quite heavily on the last part, because that's the Diary talking rather than John Fenty. I'm sure he'd agree though.
The Diary's roving emailer Ben Gresswell has had a reaction from the club to his unhappy email about the Grimsby Town Multimedia website (yesterday's Diary). GTFC's Dale Ladson wrote very politely to Ben: "Thank you for your email. We have been collating thousands of pictures, videos and items of interest to be added to our new media website of the past few months. We now have them stored on our system. We now need our club historian, who has a good knowledge of the media, to upload them to www.gtfcmm.co.uk. The cost for running this website is minimal. The only costs to the club are for the webspace, webspace which we already have for our clubshop." All of which is fair enough, but it might have looked a bit more professional to have, y'know, just waited until the site was ready before launching it. Ben is satisfied though: "Full marks for a quick response. I will now wait with great anticipation for the thousands of pictures and videos that will soon be flooding the multimedia site (and will no doubt crash it). Let's hope that our club historian doesn't have a thing for retired referees or Gary Cohen!" Well, I didn't even know we had a club historian – though I guess this story has already blown Cod Almighty's chances of getting an interview with him.
Finally today, Dan 'Not Des Hamilton' Humphrey has been on that website where you type your name in and it tells you your 'Brazilian name'. "This link is ace; my Brazilian name is Disco!" he enthuses. "The Mariners squad for this weekend could be: Phildo, Neweta, Hito, Nildo, Wittla, Tinho, Bollosa, Dinhosa, Toneiro, Rankio, Clarkiano da Costa, Butlado, oh I quit, I'm bored now. So what's your Brazilian name!?!?" It's FilthyfuckingcheatsuckingNikedick-inho.
Tuesday 23 October
You've all been into the chemist to buy clap cream 'for a friend', right? Of course you have. So you all know who Alan Buckley is really concerned for in today's Grimsby Telegraph, where the Mariners boss can be found lamenting the lack of time given to football managers these days to get their teams sorted out. The 'friend' in this instance is John Schofield, recently sacked by struggling Lincoln despite his heroics in taking the Imps to another play-off defeat last season, and it is no surprise that Buckley also empathises with the recently dismissed Notts County manager Steve Thompson – especially with Lincoln languishing one place below Town in the fourth division league table and the Pies just one place above. He goes on to cite the success of Arsenal and Manchester United as proof that sticking with a manager is the right thing to do, but sure enough, Buckley soon comes clean about his agenda. "In 1988 we had a nightmare start up until Christmas, but the late Bill Carr and Peter Furneaux backed me to turn it around and we didn't do half bad after that," says the boss. "Again in 1997 it was the same and we improved. All managers want is a bit of time and the chance to bring stability to the club." Quite right too. Now where did I put that tube of acyclovir?
GTFC seem to be all smiles about a recent McMenemy's function starring celebrity refereeing failure Graham Poll, but Ben Gresswell won't be buying the photos. "Thank you Diary for prompting me to have a look at the Grimsby Town Multimedia website," he writes. "I can now confirm to all other Diary readers who have not yet taken a butchers that it is the biggest pile of shite I have seen since my neighbour's bull mastiff had the runs. Who in their right mind would want to pay a quid for a picture of Graham Poll? And as for the picture of Peter Bore... well, he's striking a pose like a very, very heterosexual catalogue model. Bear in mind that you are invited to 'Choose from thousands of picture (sic) spanning over 100 years of GRIMSBY TOWN'. Click on the 'past seasons' link and you are briskly take to an archive straining under the weight of two, yes TWO! pictures of Gary Cohen. I would like to ask Positive John how much this completely unnecessary website cost to build and how much is spent on the upkeep of it. I'm hoping the answer is the lower side of nothing. I'll try that link on the 'pretty shit actually' official site and let you know if I get a response." And indeed, Ben has emailed the club on precisely this subject for the forthcoming 'chairman's question time' thing; the Diary, in turn, will let you know if it comes to owt.
At least the SNOS is not alone among Grimsby-related websites in just ever so occasionally getting things wrong, as the Grimsby Telegraph site today offers the mouthwatering promise of "A free bag of chips for every reader – starts in your Telegraph tomorrow", only for the 'more information' page linked there to tell drooling readers precisely zip about the offer. Booo, sort it Lalors!
Lastly today, another Diary reader has emailed with some observations on a local media source, but Clav Divs has praise to apportion to an unlikely recipient. "Anyone lucky enough to listen to the commentary on Last Resort FM on Saturday? Apart from using a mobile phone – 'we have a few technical problems' – when the technical problem was probably knowing where to plug the charger in, I quite warmed to the commentator, who managed to capture the atmosphere of the occasion by sounding like he was watching a fishing match, passing the phone over seamlessly to his expert summariser whenever one got away 'down the channels'. Quality radio." The Diary is yet to enjoy the geographical embrace of LRFM, Clav, but I'd be interested to receive any further comments from you lot – especially as my sole experience of the station thus far was of waiting in vain for any sign of a post-match interview between slabs of crushingly dull 1980s pop-rock.
Monday 22 October
"There's no need to start panicking. We're not panicking." These are the panic-inducing words of Town midfielder James Hunt, speaking to the Grimsby Telegraph after the side's most recent dominate-the-whole-game possession-wise and-then-lose performance, away at Wycombe on Saturday. It seems barely a month ago that the Mariners were placed promisingly just four points off a play-off spot, looking for a third win in a row to set the tone for the subsequent promotion push. Oh, it was barely a month ago. I guess if things can change for the worse in so short of a space of time, they can always change quickly for the better too, no? If last season taught us one thing, it must be that. What? At least I'm trying. "We just get back on the training ground now. Like I said, we have got to stick together. We're all bitterly disappointed but we can't do anything about it until our next game so we have got to have a good go next week," said Groves after the 5-1 defeat at Vale Pa... er, I mean Hunt, after... what?
Have you heard of Grimsby Town Multimedia? The Diary discovered it a few days ago. It sounds exciting, doesn't it? A video archive of Mariners match highlights? A live webcam link, with stereo sound, between supporters' homes and the GTFC boardroom? A 3-D simulation allowing fans to experience a first-person virtual reality perspective of the Town player of your choice knocking the ball over the bar six yards from goal? No. It's a website – and, judging from the shit punctuation, an official club website – where you can order photographs. Still, it can justly claim to be the internet's number one destination for every web shopper wishing to choose between four slightly different shots of Alan Buckley shaking hands with a random man in a shirt at the player of the season awards, or if the thing your mantelpiece lacks is a 99p print of Straight Peter Bore jogging along the touchline against York City reserves.
Friday 19 October
Kneeling at Lord Buckley's feet for this week's Mariners World interview, Dale Ladson had the temerity to ask the wily veteran whether he would change the teams formation to accommodate new frontman Martin Butler. In an earlier interview with Town centre-half Nick Fenton, Dale had adopted a very different strategy. First of all he had made himself sound like a cross between Mrs Merton and Louis Theroux when coyly remarking that Mr Fenton "must have been pleased with your form so far this season". This, of course, provoked Fenners to retort that he thought he had been pretty rubbish just lately and that he and young Master Bennett had been bested by the Rochdale strikers, especially Murray. But a cute question about how Butler was settling in possibly gave the answer that Lord Buckley wouldn't give. Fenton thinks it will be Rankin and Butler up top on Saturday. Your Guest Diarist certainly wouldn't bet against it.
Buckley did confirm that Butler will start the match at Wycombe tomorrow. And that Bolland has finally succumbed under the weight of an assortment of niggles so will miss out. Hunt has got over the sore groin which caused him to come off at half time in the reserve match (a very convenient temporary malaise, the cynical among you may mutter) and that Boshell is back in the squad, bushy-tailed if not bright-eyed after taking delivery of his latest acquisition (Buckley's words not mine). Whittle was not mentioned but I am fairly sure he will be in the starting line-up for reasons that will be given in the next depressing paragraph.
We don't win at Wycombe do we? Ever. After a slightly slow start they are looking ominously good – especially at home. A strong midfield and quality strikers. But maybe they are good enough to let us play and, as Lord Buckley explained, "when we have the ball we are a great side". Of course, when we don't have the ball we are not very good at all. Buckley has been working on this facet in training all week, he told us. Now is the time for our first clean sheet of the season methinks. But for all those reasons I just expounded I wouldn't bet on it. And Wycombe need just two goals to reach the meaningless milestone of 1,000 goals in league football. Not tomorrow, thank you very much, eh?
Grimsby Town chairman 'Positive' John Fenty is taking questions, the superb new official website tells us. And later on we will get his answers. Is he a Marmite man? Does he ever get the urge nowadays to listen to a plague of lighthouse keepers? And why is he such a recalcitrant motorist when he is a successful businessman (his words) and ought to know better? These are examples of questions that your insane correspondent has resolved not to ask for fearing of making Mr Fenty show his prickly side. But one I will ask is for him to explain to us what is the budgeted break-even crowd required at the new stadium to make the club at least break even. He must know the answer to that one, surely? See yer.
Thursday 18 October
Not even four years ago Cod Almighty ran a daft spoof pretending that top pop act Atomic Kitten had agreed to perform live at Blundell Park, and the only people naive enough to believe us were the 20 or 30 credulous youngsters who emailed us pleading for more information. Today the Grimsby Telegraph is running a presumably genuine item about top pop act the Sugababes having agreed to perform live at Grimsby Auditorium, and at the time of writing only one reader has used the comments facility on the Telegraph website to cheerfully slag off the town. Who says Grimsby's going nowhere, eh?
Well, it's not like there's any football news to report; much as we would mock the tendency of Town's recent managers to organise 19-a-side kickabouts to accommodate the vast hordes of obscure trialists they ushered into Blundell Park, at least it gave the Diary something to write about. Before I hand over to Guest Diary tomorrow, the only outstanding items of any relevance to GTFC are Neil Woods' plaintive lament at the Myspace Mariners' awful recent thrashing by their counterparts from King$ton Communication$ FC, and the internet auction for Martin Butler's signed shirt moving past the psychologically significant £39.99 barrier – the price of a standard unsigned adult shirt in the club shop – at a quarter to ten last night. Right now it's only gone past it by 1p, so perhaps supporters' expectations of the new striker are not as unreasonably inflated as we might previously have feared. See you on Monday!
Wednesday 17 October
Several weeks after he was released by the Mariners, Luke Foulkes is still mysteriously plying his trade in the club's reserve team. It was on 13 September that Town announced the departure of the young right-back as Alan Buckley "decided to let the play [sic.] get fixed up elsewhere" – yet Foulkes continued to turn out for the club's second string and did so again in last night's Hi-De-Hi Cup fixture ("I was a familiar story tonight as Town Reserves were beaten 2-0 at Bradford City," claims Town's superbly egocentric new official website). It is not known whether the player exhibited a sudden upsurge in form just as he was packing up his things to leave, or has simply insisted on serving out his contract, which the Diary believes runs until next month, but regular attendees at Town's reserve fixtures are now looking forward to next Wednesday's game against Scunthorpe as a chance to check on the form of Jermaine Palmer, Glen Downey and David 'Digger' Soames.
Russell 'Sort It' Slade may not know a Frenchman from a French-speaking African but he knows a thing or two about getting job offers. With Slade's Yeovil side again challenging strongly in the third division, just three points off the top of the table, Glovers chairman John Fry has turned down an approach from Millwall for the services of the former Mariners boss – and revealed that he did likewise when Carlisle Five set off on a similar mission only last month. "He's done a fantastic job here and it's inevitable he will be in demand," said Fry, "but he's got a long-term contract here and this club is heading for the Championship." Funny how he's so sought after these days, isn't it. I know he ended up taking Town to within a hair's breadth of promotion, but it barely seems like yesterday that the Pontoon was chanting "Slade out" because the side was temporarily becalmed in the lower half of the table.
At first he was unnamed, he was petrified. But then he had Stuart Watkiss by his side. He's got all his goals to give, he's got so much life to live – even at the age of 33. He is, of course, Town's new striker Martin Butler; God only knows whether he will live up to the expectations we are unreasonably piling upon his shoulders before he's so much as kicked a ball for the Mariners, but the club is already conferring legend status on the player by auctioning off his shirt on the internet. If he can survive that he'll survive anything.
Lastly today, Loughborough Mariner has emailed to help us all a find a little perspective in these crazy days of change. "Thought you might appreciate a look at this from the Gillingham fans' site that my mate at work sent me," writes LM, adding a link to a post from the Gills blog Brian Moore's Head. "Fucking hell – where do you start?" begins the author. "At Priestfield we aren't too bad, but away it is the most unprofessional, gutless shambolic pile of shite I've ever witnessed. I've been going 29 years, I watched us home and away during the darkest days of 89–95, every game on the notorious 92–93 season and yet none of that compares with the current crop." And even those most loudly bemoaning the Mariners' current shortcomings would be hard pressed to claim that there is less cause for hope now than in the darkest days of Law, Laws and Lyons, and perhaps even Paul Groves' unfortunate tenure. "The language is much worse than Tony Butcher's eloquent missives from the terraces," agrees Loughborough, "but it does give you a bit of warm glow to appreciate that things could be much, much worse!"
Tuesday 16 October
Town's originally unnamed new striker who was named yesterday as Martin Butler before he, in fact, became Town's new striker has been named again today, as expected, as Martin Butler, and now he is Town's new striker. Oh come on – it's simple. Butler joins from last season's fourth division champions Walsall (where Alan Buckley achieved less but is admired much more), on an initial three-month loan "with a view to a permanent deal", as they say. All our eyes are on the bottom line, and over the prime years of his playing career, with Cambridge, Reading and Rotherham, Butler's goals-per-game ratio seems to have hovered somewhere around a healthy 0.3 or 0.4 before dwindling a little over the past year with the Saddlers. The word from South Yorkshire and the west midlands is that he never quite got back on track after being laid low with hepatitis A, glandular fever, a poorly knee and a contract dispute – so the question is whether 33 might be too old to make a fresh start. And since nobody really knows yet, the only thing we can be certain of right now is that Town's superb new official website will already be preparing the Butler Serves Up Winning Start headlines.
Booo Buckleys booo, syning strika wen u oready av 4 in da rservz!!!! Speaking of the reserves, the official website of Bradford informs us that Town's second XI will be taking on the Bantams' in the Hi-De-Hi League Cup tonight, and the match kicks off at 7pm at the Coral Windows Stadium. No, me neither. Anyway, as superbly as the Lump played in the Dulux Cup at Rotherham last week, he has not scored a goal yet this season, whatever the SNOS might tell you.
Monday 15 October
With Mr Normal Diary wandering this noble land like a hirsute Caine, reflections and ruminations upon the day after the day after the night before are brought to you via the psychedelic secateurs of Deviant Diary.
It's a legal fact that to donate to the Conservative party you are insane, and it's therefore illegal.
Monday morning feels so bad, ev'rybody seems to nag Buckley. At least in the lonely mini-bars of life that are nesbitboards they do. Ah, you see Monday we've still got Friday on our minds. It's a question of perspective, isn't it. Remember this time last year Beagrie, Butler, Thorpe and Ravenhill were in the team. And we're still the pride of fourth division Lincolnshire after the suppository of ancient mariners failed again, live and exclusively on Murdochvision. BFS on Murdochvision – the true axis of evil.
Alan Buckley's been wandering the football land like a unhirsute Mr Normal Diary searching for that elusive butterfly that stings like a bee. Sire, we have news: an unnamed striker named Martin Butler is speaking with the Little Buddha of Blundell Park. The unnamed Martin Butler is helpfully, and pointedly, referred to by the SNOS as someone who, unlike our less than fab four, "certainly knows where the goal is". He's 33, so this cat may not be as fast as lightning, but we could do with his expert timing. Lincoln are interested in him too, as they want to add some teenage zest to their forward line.
We can finally burn that Bridges rumour as he's retiring from professional sport to have a few beers: destination Australia with Sydney FC, not Sydney Rec. Still, it won't stop someone, somewhere moaning cos he hasn't signed for Town. "Kno ambishun Twon!"
Let's continue with pyrotechnics and burn those weekend blues by sailing away from the choppy seas of the state of Town towards an island of happy, smiling people. Bosh is a girl, for missing Friday's shindig. Oh no, Bosh had a girl, or should I say, Bosh's wife had a girl. Ah, a spurious and wayward leap of logic that allows another chance to wheel out some Norwegian Wood. You can never see Knut Anders Fostervold falling over enough, I say. Sometimes we nee do smile.
The flies are dying, it's time for some vacuum cleaning.
Friday 12 October
The fact you need to know first and foremost, gentle reader, is that your Guest Diarist hasn't the faintest ghost of an idea about the identity of the striker Lord Buckley is in the throes of signing up. And given the lack of rumours ahead of Town securing the services (on a month's loan) of young Mr Shaleum Logan from Manchester City yesterday, I suspect no-one else does either. Lord Buckley explained in his interview to Mariners World that terms had more or less been agreed with both club and striker and that, if it happened, it might happen on Monday.
The notification that Logan had signed prompted a messageboard googling burst which revealed that Town have signed another left-footed right-back who can, er, play anywhere. Your Guest Diarist stayed calm. If Sven rates him, he must be good, innit? That 'innit' crept in because, rather than reading about Mr Logan on the boring old new official website, I had a look at what he had to say about himself on Faceparty. So here is the scoop: Mr Logan is a strong heterosexual, preferring Latino women like Eva Mendes. His favourite people, though, are his mum and his nan. I can even relay a quote from the young buck: "im a lovely chap hahahahaha". Far be it from me to get the young lad in trouble, but I note that the last time he logged in to his account was eleven minutes past twelve last night. He'll be a tired bear at training this morning if he doesn't watch it, eh?
Town have stupidly arranged to play their home match against Rochdale tonight. Friday night football is so popular, apparently, that a bumper crowd is expected. Because of this, admission has been reduced to a tenner and Rochdale have laid on a second bus. The good news is that the reduced admission also allows you to bring your kids for free, even if you are an away fan. By 9:15 this morning the club was reporting that it had already sold 4,000 tickets but asked me to stress "there are still plenty left". Rochdale have much better away form than at home, and are presently level on points with Town, so a keenly contested fixture is possible, with, as a professional journo might say, the added spice of Town being on a revenge mission after the embarrassing four-nil home defeat last season.
Superstitious Town fans are exulting in the fact that Dale's prolific scorer (only against Town) Simon Ramsden is injured. The Grimsby Town team news has been handily summarised on the official site in a new personalised article called Dale team news. That should of course read "Dale's team news", but maybe I split a hair too far, eh? James Hunt is back in contention, it says, but Danny Boshell is on paternity leave. Sergeant Whittle faces one of his famous late fitness tests after missing training on Thursday.
As for formation, and whether Mr Jones will rightfully keep his place after a tremendous midweek performance alongside Taylor, there is no hint from anyone. Regular readers will know that I am a dedicated fan of the interviews from Lord Buckley on Mariners World. This week's contains swearing from the great man. But delivered with such a delightful chuckle that it makes you rewind to see if he even had actually said the 'f' word. I rather got the impression, also, that Buckley himself would not have been distracted by his wife's labour in his day, but would have called in with a bunch of flowers after the match and then gone on to wet the baby's head with his mates. But these are different times, when a man has to watch, grimace, and miss the match. We will miss Boshell alright. Enjoy the game folks, and let's we hope we cap the usual good passing performance with a win. See yer.
Thursday 11 October
Are Town really just three games from Wembley? And, perhaps more pertinently, if they get there will anyone bother going to watch? Happily for the Diary – because there's bugger all else in the way of news today – the apathy that surrounds both the Dulux Cup and Grimsby Town Football Club has not precluded some of you reader types from chipping in some emails following the Mariners' win on penalties at Rotherham on Tuesday night.
As we observed here before the match, it is a dubious enough decision to allow Nigel Miller to referee any game of football at all and one that reaches the very extremes of moral abjection when one of the teams involved is nicknamed the Millers. Sadly, the anticipated flurry of emails pointing out that the Mariners have been refereed by Andre Marriner on more than one occasion has failed to materialise. Happily, one did, and it comes from my friend and colleague Mat Hare. "I know Nigel Miller is a top-class arse but I think it's a little unfair to accuse him of bias due to his surname when Grimsby Town have..." well, you know the rest. The issue now is whether, in the light of Town's opponents tomorrow night, GTFC ought to be employing people called Dale.
"Jolly good, another Paint Trophy fixture," writes Michael Shelton, fresh from finishing his latest Famous Five book. "Didn't we discover in the aftermath of beating Tottenham a few years ago that games in this competition are actually cheaper to lose than to win due to player bonuses?" Er, did we? "If anyone was there I would be interested to know whether the players celebrated the win. I can see Buckley might play up the importance having won it once." Well, the Diary was one of a couple of hundred Town fans there, Mikey, and yes, the players seemed chuffed to bits after the pennoes. Subscribers to Mariners World can see this for themselves, as the club's subscription web service is currently offering "Extended Rotherham Highlights", though other than the Town players having a group hug at the end, and the teams running out at the start, this just seems to mean the two goals and the spot kicks, and a frustratingly narrow camera angle throughout.
And finally today, Alan Buckley has expressed frustration at the failure of his latest attempts to bring in reinforcements to his slender squad. Well, actually, he hasn't today, but he probably will again tomorrow. See ya!
Wednesday 10 October
Howdy. Mr Diary has been summoned to Birmingham, a place so grim Peter Till left there for, er, Grimsby. Anyway, Headingley Diary here for a quickie.
It took two replacements by the start of the second half, but the emergence of the Lump and Andy Taylor from the bench turned around Town's fortunes at Rotherham last night. Trailing by a goal after a limp first half performance, of which Alan Buckley couldn't "think of a good word for", the gaffer's reshuffled showed team spirit to come back and grab a neatly worked equaliser, slotted home by an unsplit boot of Peter Till. Despite further pressure, the Mariners couldn't snatch a win in normal time. But, Ciaran Toner aside, they were calm enough to beat the Millers 4-2 on penalties. Back from the brink, eh!
The draw for the next round of the Paint Pot, the northern area quarter-finals, is on Saturday. Do they still have two-legged area finals for this then?
"Hey kids" the flash on a new GTFC poster shouts, "Friday night football is back." Yes, the evil that is Friday night football returns. But put our differences behindus. Let's all club together, get behind the team and all that. Which is what the club is thinking, employing (or not if you see where this is going) a nice bit of marketing prowess to try and entice the club's supporters to do their dirty work for nowt. Print off those posters and plaster them all over! I'm running one off now to take to my local. In Headingley. And then entice one of the other locals to the game. Will that mean I'll win the free match tickets on offer?
Tuesday 9 October
A long-standing rule observed by the football authorities in England is that, to avoid allegations of bias, a referee should not be appointed to a match where one of the teams is based in his or her own home county. Counties are not fixed geographical entities, though – despite the number of times Humberside continues to be mentioned in the media as if it still existed more than a decade after its abolition – and so suspicion remains over the performances of some match officials in certain games. Town fans who were unhappy with Carl Boyeson's refereeing in their team's League Cup defeat at Doncaster in August 2003, for instance, were unlikely to be persuaded by the argument that, while the game was staged in South Yorkshire, Boyeson's home city of Hull is situated in the East Riding of Yorkshire – especially given the fact that your average Hully-Gully is unlikely to lavish kindness upon Grimsby at the best of times, let alone when the Mariners are facing another Yorkshire team. Similarly, the referee for tonight's visit to Rotherham in the Dulux Cup may call County Durham home, but it is at best tactless of the Football League to appoint an official with the same name as one of the teams – especially when it's Nigel bastard Miller.
The big issue on the Mariners' teamsheet, meanwhile, is which of the club's two former Rotherham keepers will face their old club this evening. Early player of the season contender Phil Barnes has got a dead leg and may not be fit for the game, so Gary Montgomery is psyching himself up for a Town debut. The Diary always thought the only way to get a dead leg was for a big kid at school to come up and punch it really hard, but then that's just the kind of childhood that I had, I suppose.
Monday 8 October
The Diary barely bothers to watch Premier League football on the telly any more, largely because cheating has become so normalised in the top division that it is no longer even considered noteworthy by commentators, let alone the witless goons like Alan Shearer who are paid handsomely to mumble their worthless observations back in the studio. If only the Mariners could be as securely insulated from the Murdoch Cheating and Money League as the Diary – and then perhaps their results might not be adversely affected by shit decisions from supposedly top-flight referees. We are referring, lest you be unaware, to Mike Dean, who was instrumental in Town's undeserved 2-1 defeat at Peterborough on Saturday – not least by awarding the home side's winning penalty for a foul that took place outside the penalty area. And Nick Fenton is to be believed, Dean has brazenly admitted as much. Speaking to the Grimsby Telegraph, the GTFC defender explains: "The referee even said the first contact was outside the box, but that he then went into the box. But, if the first contact is outside the box, that's where the free kick is, surely." Surely! In tomorrow's Diary: Town face takeover bid from Indonesian billionaire human rights abuser.
What's the difference between the BBC's Question Time and GTFC's Question Time? One uses a quasi-democratic audience participation-based discussion format in order to hoodwink the public into believing that dialogue and debate alone can convince those in positions of power to effect popular change in the interests of the common people, while the other... oh. Actually, the Diary is being a little unfair to the Mariners' occasional Q&A exercises – another of which is now being trailed on the club's superb new official website – because they can sometimes be genuinely informative and revealing. It's just that at the moment I'm not especially looking forward to several pages of John Fenty saying it's not actually his decision whether the manager uses a 4-5-1 formation but in time everything will come good on the pitch, except if he doesn't get to build his Fentydome in which case we're all doomed.
Hard on the heels of the recent Eighteenquidtositintheosmondgate scandal, Dave the Soon to be Ex-Engineer has emailed the Diary to tell of another cash-grasping shocker at Blundell Park. "Having been told of impending redundancy," writes Dave, "I was busy trawling the net and casually logged onto the SNOS. Book your tickets online, it said. I followed all the info and was about to save the phone call when I spied the admin charge of £1. Taking the 'p' when you are saving GTFC time and
wages by not tying up an administrative-type person, although having discovered this scam, that might be a suitable solution. Up the Mariners." Sorry to hear your bad news, sir, and I hope you find yourself back in gainful employment as soon as poss. Still, at least you don't have to pay as much as away fans at BP to sit in a much worse stand than the Frozen Beer.
Lastly today, Ben Gresswell has taken up Middle Aged Diary's invitation last week to suggest GTFC-themed paint colours in time for tomorrow night's Dulux Cup game at Rotherham. "What about Fenty Orange?" he suggests cheekily. "A really bright and positive burst of citrus. You know, along the lines of 'The future's bright, the future's Fenty'?" Fine idea, Ben – and a welcome, optimistic contrast to the area's prevalent mood of Grimbarian Grey.
Friday 5 October
As Middle Aged Diary, I have seen enough youthful ambitions and ideals tarnished (instead of writing a Middlemarch for the 21st century, I'm trying to rustle up two or three ephemeral paragraphs about a fourth division football team) to have every sympathy for the good people behind the Superb New Official Site. Whatever dreams they may have of maintaining a ground-breaking web presence must surely founder on the rock of being required to publish a Johnstone's Paint news release stating that they have developed a colour card featuring the "exact" home team colours of all 48 teams in the third and fourth divisions, to "enable fans to decorate their homes with real team pride." Now it is possible that Johnstone's have developed a paint that comes off the brush in stripes, in which case smuggling the news out on a football site seems unduly modest. Failing that, developing a black paint and a white paint does not seem terribly exciting. These thoughts and many along similar lines must have occurred to the SNOS webmaster as he or she was putting up this puff, which lends their willingness to quietly get on with the job admirable stoicism.
For that, they deserve more than black and white paint. What other colours, associated with the Mariners, could we demand that Johnstone's develop? Perhaps Buckley Red: the "exact" shade of the top of the manager's head after his defence stop play, assuming a free kick is going to be given; Humber Grey, a mix seventeen parts grey, two parts green and one part yellow for the shade of the estuary; or Gallimore Green, depicting the popular left-back's skin tone during a training session he'd forgotten all about during another kind of session the night before. Send your Grimsby-themed colour ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is not the end of the Johnstone's onslaught. For beating Huddersfield in the first round of the associate members cup, Grimsby Town have won the "highly sought-after" Ultra Team of the Round award. Now it makes sense: sacking Jose Mourinho is a first step to getting Chelsea in the third division, so they too can win the Ultra Team of the Round award. A chant is born: if you are going to London Road tomorrow, be sure to sing, loud and proud: "We've won the Ultra Team of the Round award, we've won the Ultra Team of the round award, you've not, you've not". Alan Buckley, meanwhile, heroically attempts to maintain his dignity as the press release says he was "clearly thrilled with the result" (note "result", not "award"), before attributing to him the comment "To be awarded the Ultra Team of the Round trophy is a fantastic accolade". No doubt the bit where he mumbled "it says here" was just edited out.
"Ultra", incidentally, is a new range of Johnstone's paint. In football, the word tends to be associated with hooliganism. Johnstone's are promoting the associate members cup as "family-friendly". Somehow, they have not quite thought through their marketing strategy, have they?
Thursday 4 October
This Diary is being delivered to you, gentle reader, without resort to the autocue and at no notice. Indeed, without notes of any sort and without the benefit of a private education or a stockbroker dad. It should have been Deviant Diary today, given that the real Mr Diary is devoting his entire working shift to planning the route from the station to the pub ahead of next Tuesday's paint game. The last time I checked on him he'd got as far as saying "It'll bring you out at what's, effectively, a pedestrian roundabout. Go the wrong way round it and take your second exit – goes up a slight incline." This man should host the next series of the Crystal Maze, in your Guest Diarist's opinion.
As for old Deviant Diary he spent so much time yesterday reminiscing about Town's defeat on Tuesday that he's got a backlog of very important work that simply won't wait for the likes of us. That's the beauty of me being self-employed; what it really means is being unemployed without the time-consuming hassle of having to sign on. So those of you who were in the know, and took the red pill this morning in the anticipation of mad gonzo ravings from Deviant, need to settle down with a slim Richard Brautigan volume and ride it out, man. The rest of us who took the blue pill can get ready for my next paragraph secure in the knowledge that it is unlikely to contain any acid-crazed ravings at all.
Town reserves won 3-0 at York, with goals from North, Taylor and Jarman, the superb new official site tells us. In an interesting experiment, apparently the match finished with Bore and Jarman playing at being centre-halves. Bore is reported to be browsing online at the moment, trying to find where he can buy one of those manly face masks to complete his transformation. Whether the dressing-up box was allowed out on the bus home has not been reported, but it was fizzy pop all round after another comprehensive victory which must have brought a smile to the lips of Mr Stuart Watkisses.
North's goal for the stiffs was a rejoinder, no doubt, to Lord Buckley's comments about him which are published in today's Grimsby Telegraph, where he explained that North and Jarman do not figure in his first team plans at present. Buckley, having got Jarman fit, has offered him a month's paid work so he can have a proper look at the lad which sounds fair enough to me. But Buckley has been disappointed with Danny this season and has consigned him to the care of Mr Watkiss to rediscover his, er, mojo.
I missed the game on Tuesday night due to being proper poorly. "If you are not fit enough to go to work you can't go to the match" rankles when you are as lazy as I am, frankly. I did wade through the endless Roy Wood references to get to the heart of what went on in Tony Butcher's match report though. And it seems that Town played well, creating great chances. But they failed to convert enough of them and conceded two sloppy goals. Lord Buckley took his senile-sounding interviewer to task on Mariners World after the game – tersely explaining that he was disappointed with the sloppiness but not the performance. He felt that Chester are a good team and was correct in also asserting that "Town are playing probably the best football in the division". I have always said (and I know I am probably in a daft minority) that I much prefer to see Town play well and lose than see them play rubbish football and win. That's why I am a Buckley man and hated Russell Slade. See yer.
Wednesday 3 October
This time yesterday, Last Resort Diary took a moment from enjoying his lunchtime pint to mull over a possible three points and the chance for Town to sneak into the top half of the table, if Town managed to beat Chester City. Wearing the look of a contented and confident young man, he nodded once, raised his glass to his lips, and supped in the name of potential victory. If only, readers...
"We conceded two rubbish goals," reckons Nick Fenton about last night's 2-1 defeat, with a double helping of rubbish for emphasis by declaring Chester's second goal as "another rubbish goal". Personally every goal my team concedes are rubbish. But let me hark back to my youth when, to spice up a game of headers-and-volleys, we'd only allow 'spectacular goals'. If only that rule was in place for yesterday's and every day's game, readers. If only...
Alan Buckley wasn't too happy with a few things. "We seem to take three steps forward at this club and go one back and this game was a perfect example," the boss lamented, the goals his defence conceding "very sloppy", and suggesting his team need to make like PJ Harvey and get back to basics. But no-one can disagree with his take on Danny Boshell's equaliser, "a tremendous bit of football". There were chances for Town to equalise again, Andy Taylor failing to capitalise on a one-on-one opportunity and Lump's late downward header bouncing back out off the foot of the post. If only...
Lapses aside, Town met and matched a competent looking Chester side. We're passing and moving, and just need a bit more goal-scoring grooving. Let's call last night a slight stumble. We'll look back in a couple of months and the team will have learnt from these mistakes, jostling in the top third of the table. Hopefully not lamenting 'if only...'
Tuesday 2 October
Hello, Miss Guest Diary here with you on a bright and breezy Tuesday morning pondering the complexities of time. These days I find myself increasingly remarking to people how quickly the week has flown by or how I can't believe it's nearly Christmas already.
So I was pleasantly surprised at the weekend to discover it's not just me whose life seems to be accelerating away from her, but that it's a recognised phenomenon about which there have been scientific studies. Apparently by the time you're 20, even with a life expectancy of 80, you are already halfway through your life in terms of your subjective experience of how times passes; and by the time you're 40 your life is 71 per cent over.
I don't know how the formula works so I can't tell you where I fit in on this scale, but I certainly feel I'm hurtling towards the 90s at breakneck speed. One of the explanations for the phenomena is that each new year that passes is a smaller proportion of the whole: if you're ten any previous year is ten per cent of your life, whereas at 50 it's just two per cent.
But there is hope, for experiments have found that time passes more slowly when we're experiencing new things: hence a week on holiday can seem, in retrospect, to have lasted much longer than a week in the office (though not at the same time, I hear you mutter).
Turning my thoughts to Town, I began to speculate whether the 4-5-1 formation being played by Buckley this season is not, as we all assume, due to the lack of a decent strike pairing but merely Alan's desperate attempt to slow time down by introducing something new into his, and our, lives. And could bringing Lump on in the dying minutes of recent games be just another way of stopping time, for we all know that nothing moves slower than the Lump.
I won't be there to witness whether Buckley continues this ploy at tonight's game against Chester as I will be losing another 1 per cent of my lifespan at what I expect to be a rather tedious meeting in Boston. I'll leave it to Cod Almighty's excellent factfile to give you all the news that is fit to print.
I was to be substituted myself at the game by Guest Diary but he is too poorly to attend; but obviously not too poorly to scour the GT for trivia. Let's hope that the Fentydome doesn't have one of these gadgets or we'll lose half the crowd and, these days, half the squad too.
It's macaroni cheese time now. Goodbye.
Monday 1 October
Hi guys. Durham Diary back again, in your face and refusing to leave you alone like Coldicott in his prime. But without those deep-rooted psychological problems that are inevitable when you've got a girly name.
Hands up who went to the Hereford game on Saturday? Wasn't it good? For those of you that couldn't make it I really can empathise, being one who can't get to as many Town games as I'd like to. It was a highly entertaining, competitive game. Town played really well, especially in the first half; Tom Newey was fantastic; and let's not forget it ended in a Town win! Even the referee had a good game – it was just a fantastic match to be at!
Admirers of Michael Bridges, me included, will be disappointed but not surprised to learn that he still isn't coming on loan to Town. The Grimsby Telegraph is persisting with this story that never was, giving it an October makeover with the revelation that, well, he might be going on loan; just probably not to Town. It's a story that's been rumbling on since July without any real foundation, as evidenced by the SNOS' 'Press Talk' link taking you to a page from 30 July entitled Hull say no to Bridges move. You never know, a midsummer night's dream may become a winter's tale if no other clubs take a liking to Bridges, but I suspect it's much ado about nothing. Still, all's well that ends well.
Tomorrow night Town are at home to Chester, a side who have started well and who have three wins and a draw from their four away fixtures to date. While Town are simultaneously four points from a promotion spot and four points from a relegation spot I blankly refuse to describe anyone as "high-flying", but Bobby Williamson's side are four points ahead of Town and this looks likely to be a difficult game. Early availability news is non-existent so I'll not speculate. Chester have a centre-back called Phil Bolland, so I'm off down the betting shop to put a quid on a 1-1 draw, first goalscorer P Bolland.
I'm going back to uni tomorrow so unfortunately won't be at the game, or any others 'til Christmas time. Do go if you can – after the performances and results of the last two weeks there is definite cause for optimism. Enjoy!