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Diary - January 2011
Monday 31 January
Yes folks, it's your Mardy Diary here doing another live and exclusive up-to-the-minute diary. It's currently 10:18 and I can tell you're super excited already about the prospect of D'Wayne Fandango signing before the window shuts.
By the way – our email is working again, so let us know all of your transfer deadline day rumours which we will happily print here without any kind of corroborating evidence at all. Just like Sky News.
10:21 One player we're not signing is tricky Tamworth winger Alex Rodman who has decided to sign for Aldershot because he wants to play in the Football League. The ridiculously ambitious bastard. We'd have been back in the League before his eight-year contract was up, what's up with him?
10:25 This is going to turn in to a 'non-transfer deadline day' diary I think. Another player who alledgedly couldn't agree terms (according to the Non-League Paper) is Adam Cunnington (any relation?). Cunnington has currently scored a stupid amount of goals for Solihull Moors this season.
10:40 Reports are coming in that D'Wayne Fandango is mid-flight and is expected to arrive around 2.30 to sign for the Mariners.
10:48 Richard Dawson has emailed to say that Kilmarnock have released the superbly-monickered Danny Invincibile. Just the sort of central midfield blockade that Town need – if his name is anything to go by.
11:16 Radio Humberside are reporting... not a lot. Some shenanigans at Hull but it's all quiet at Blundell Park. Presumably they're getting the press room ready for the arrival of Fandango.
11:19 Tatyana has emailed in to say "Hello! You have left to me the message on http://russian-bitch.ru. I could not answer at once you, and I write now. If All of you still, everyone are interested in acquaintance to me, write to me, and I shall answer." I was just trying to find out if there were any transfer rumours, honest.
11:33 We're receiving news that Fandango's flight has been diverted due to bad weather over the Atlantic. The skillful Argentinian midfielder has just texted our source to say that he's currently at Dakar airport awaiting a connecting flight.
12:15 Nothing happening. Wait! This just in: Fandango is on his way, a bit behind schedule but he should still be here before the window shuts.
12:16 Jason Crowe has been released by Leeds. Did I ever tell you my theory on why I think Crowe was to blame for the downfall of Paul Groves? It's a tenuous theory, but one I'm happy to rigidly cling on to. Perhaps another day.
12:30 He used to play for Arsenal, you know.
12:40 What this diary needs is some proper insight. I'll just text my mates who are 'in the know' – right laugh this pair, fucking hilarious down the pub. Grayo and Keysey will deffo know what's going on.
12:44 No response from Gray. Keys response simply says: "smash it!! lolz!!" Jesus, he's a card. I'm in tears here.
12:47 Text from Gray: "alrite m8, just hangin with the beeatches, y'know. Fandango in marseille not daka, stupid argie twat. lol!!!"
12:58 Anyone else think Keys looks like an Ewok with a hyperactive pituitary gland?
13:04 Thanks for all the emails by the way. It is working, the email, isn't it? If not, try this one.
13:05 In the meantime, our friends over at impsTALK have done a great article on the magic of the FA Cup. Give it a read.
13:13 At last! An email. Al Dickens writes to say: "Does it matter who we get in when we can let players like Mike Edwards go on a free (2004 to Notts County). If you saw him perform (and Ricky Ravenhill for that matter) against Man City yesterday and think of the other numpties we've signed you just wonder if anybody at Town know what a footballer looks like." Ah Ricky Ravenhill – has always looked like the player we've been missing in midfield. Except when he played for us. Why did we let Edwards go?
13:28 And the emails are flooding in now. Relatively. Matt Pakes says: "Is anything going to happen? I mean if Grimsby just want to make headlines, they could sign me?! I'll do a Doherty and play once... In 3 years time." Sine im up wooodsesses!
Although, would you describe yourself as a 'combative midfielder' or 'yard dog' Matt? If not, we're out.
13:34 I am awash, AWASH I tells ya, with emails now. Still no juicy transfer
lies gossip though. Pat Bell has drawn my attention to the latest headline on the ever wonderful SNOS: Woods pleased with Player's character. "Just which player is he pleased with, or is he talking about the GTFC subscription web service, or a South African golfer?", asks Pat.
Matt Pakes reports back: "More of a clumsy keeper. I did get some of those KA gloves, didn't help. Dislocated my finger, again. Managed to pop it back myself that time though, so saved myself 2 hours at hospital. Result! So unless I sneak upfield for a cheeky corner or penalty, doesn't look like I'll be getting on the scoresheet any time soon". Bench warming duties, then? But could you look Steve 'The Kitten' Croudson in his eyes and tell him you were taking his place on the bench? Could you?
13:44 Update on Fandango: issues with the engine on the flight from Marseille causes an emergency landing. He's "Somewhere in France," apparently.
13:50 Pakes responds: "If it means I get to escape the lifetime of servitude in various offices around the country that currently stretches out infront of me... I'd look him dead in the eyes before every match. Oh and every training session as he's the GK coach. It might kill me to do it, but I'd step up to the plate." You're exactly the sort of self-centred, wage-hungry mercenary the club is screaming out for. Sign here...
14:00 The messageboards are a big disappointment today. I expected at least a half dozen rumours of players spotted at Millfields. Not even a sniff of a Robbie Fowler type rumour – not good enough messageboards!
14:14 Fandango unable to catch ferry at Calais due to suspect package at the terminal. Has chartered a speed boat up the east coast.
14:20 Guest Diary has his eye on the non-League transfers for us and confirms the Drury to Ipswich transfer for £150k. Not bad for Luton who signed Town target Wilmott for about £50k in expectation of losing Drury.
14:25 While we're talking non-League, these couple of stories made me chuckly, darkly: "Boss Dean Saunders says a Wrexham sale is not imminent" and "Wrexham reveal sale of football club is imminent." Ouch!
14:28 Jason Crowe joins Russell Slade's Orient – so will presumably play against Arsenal in the cup.
14:29 He used to play for Arsenal, you know.
14:35 I'm not even repeating that Twitter rumour. Come on – more effort needed. Make it at least semi believable.
Which reminds me, if you'd rather tweet than email you can direct your ridiculous rumours at our twitter feed and we'll reprint them here.
14:55 "Son of a Govan welder". Jesus wept.
15:00 That's a bit better. A messageboard mention of Peter Bore to Sheffield United. Not as believable as the Peter Bore to Chesterfield rumour from the other day, but not a bad effort anyway.
15:11 Richard Lord has emailed with a story about Mike Edwards (see emails earlier for relevance): "Back in the shit 2003/4 relegation season I interviewed Mike Edwards as part of my match day programme duty and I wrote how effective he was despite a lack of pace and height for a centre back. He overlooked my fairly generous description of him being 'cultured' and cornered me after a training session to ask why I thought he wasn't very fast. 'Because you're not,' I said (I couldn't think of any other way of saying it). Luckily he had a sense of humour despite a bloody awful season when all Town players I interviewed were permanently pissed off at one thing or another and it became a 'running' joke between us until he left for County." Bloody hell, I bet that was a fun job. Go on – who was the grumpiest?
15:15 Lincoln have decided to completely ignore Fenty's advice and sign as many players as possible before the 11pm deadline. I hear Barry Conlon's available...
15:17 Ah, that's more like it. Messageboard rumour that Bryan Hughes has signed until the end of the season and may play against Southport tomorrow. Good, good, keep them coming.
SIGNING NEWS... SIGNING NEWS... SIGNING NEWS...
15:19 Confirmation on the Hughes signing from John Thompson at the Telegraph.
15:23 Hughes signing on the OS now.
15:30 Latest on Fandango: "More engine problems. Adrift in North Sea. Down to last Kitkat."
15:57 Juicy messageboard rumour this: Cummins to Darlington. Good, I like that – on the right side of believable. Messageboards are starting to pick up a bit now, so we might get a few more rumours going.
16:00 Derek Riordan from Hibs? No, no – I'm not having that. Come on, try harder. The Cummins one was good, but that's poor.
16:21 Fandango spotted off the coast near Donna Nook. Apparently his phone battery is dead and he is communicating with the natives via semaphore flags. Said something about water... something something... seagulls... something trawler... something
16:47 And it's all gone quiet again. Even Fandango has drifted out on the tide so we can't read his flags anymore. I'm taking a break now and handing over to Guest Diary who will see you through the tea time shift. I'll be back on later to see us through to the bitter, bitter end.
17:10 What can I say? Your Guest Diarist wants to know who Hughses will partner in midfield? Will we stick with two wingers or go with three middle men? Email us and let's have your thoughts.
17:19 An update on D'wayne from our Mabelgrad correspondent: "Look D'Wayne phoned me, he is drifting off Mablegrad and was going to come ashore for a spot of cheese and a nice cup of speciality coffee. Unfortunately his visa has not come in the post like he thought it would so I've got to meet him on the edge of British waters. He's not very happy and garbled something about John Fenty telling him everything would be OK and then buggering off to sign Hughes."
17:27 Richard Lord has been back on to tell us about grumpy Town players to while away the idle hours in this long, long, bloody daft deadline day: "There were too many grumpy players to mention from 2003/4. Apart from Disco Des Hamilton (on whom more info can be found in this article on CA that I wrote a while back) there was Darren Barnard, who was just difficult more than grumpy, and Tony Crane looked like he'd rather be anywhere than at Grimsby speaking to me... but on the entertaining side, Aidan Davison was the best, followed by Macca and then (strangely enough) Alan Fettis. They revelled in telling stories (Davison's were mostly made up though, I suspect)."
17:43 I am listening endlessly, gentle reader, oh Town fans, to Radio Humberside. It is mind-numbingly awful, it really is. A man found frozen in his pants on a park bench in Poland follows some banter about how one premiershite player is not worth what is reported to be about to paid for him. No mention of our potential Argie signing adrift on the east coast – Burnsie really needs to learn to keep up with what's happening at Town.
17:46 Ooh, evilSKY reckon Sheffield United are after Rob Jones from plucky Scunny. Now, in the great pantheon of poor decisions Coun Fenty (Con) has made, the one where he refused to offer Jones the Stick a fair pay rise saying "defenders just don't get paid as much as forwards" ranks right up near the top in my book.
18:30 Burnsie in full babble with his little posse on Sportstalk now. He reckons all the evening action (if any) will be at plucky Scunny. I can't see Town buying anyone tonight but whether anyone comes in for any of our better players is always a bit of a worry. Numbers wise we can afford to offload a centre half and a midfield player. But not a striker. Please not Connell.
18:46 Ashbee this, Ashbee that, give me a bloody break.How many trees did he actually tear up at Hull? Oh, they talk about Hughes at last on SportsTalk. The question is, they say, whether he still has "the legs and the desire". from not playing at all for months it's going to be a right grind this next couple of months with two matches nearly every week. Look, as CA's Mr Butcher said recently: "We ask for a psychotic bruiser, we get a psychotic bruiser. People will complain about having a psychotic bruiser. The cycle of life continues." He might have added "we screamed for a play maker in midfield. And now we've got one we worry if he is up for it." I'm outta here now – time to make the cocoa and settle down in front of Emmerdale. Mardy Diary will be back to tuck you in and say night night. See yer.
19:33 Hello folks, Mardy Diary back to see you through the last few hours of Town making exactly zero more signings. Plus I'll post any other half-baked rumours I stumble across. Things may be a little sporadic...
19:36 Still no sign of legendary midfield playmaker D'Wayne Fandango, but there has been a sighting of him at a chip shop in Fulstow. So hold on folks, there might be an exciting signing coming soon.
20:08 Apparently it was D'Wayne's brother Hercule who was at Fulstow chip shop. Still no sign of D'Wayne.
20:14 Mighty Mariner hinting that he wants out of BP. Rumours that he's finding it difficult to motivate himself to pole-dance on the goalposts these days. Some argue he hasn't got the legs for it any more. Rochdale are showing interest, but it's doubtful they have the real ale stocks to tempt him away.
20:33 Looks like the Football Conference are warming themselves up for some disciplinary action against Wrexham. They love a bit of discipline those Conference officials. Love it.
20:34 Very disappointing performance from the messageboards today. This lack of rumour-mongering would never have happened under Newell.
20:36 This just in from an anonymous source: "I just filled my car at Toot Hill and saw a swarthy, fit-looking young man lurking about. I asked him if he was OK and he said he was looking for Hercule Fandango, his brother and agent. I had to get home for second Corrie so left him there."
20:39 Rumour that Garner may be going out on loan, but that's not restricted by the window so may not be happening for a few weeks yet.
20:44 Still waiting for something to happen? Distract yourself for a few seconds by watching this nice Bryan Hughes goal. It's from ten years ago, but, you know, class is permanent apparently.
20:53 Right, that's me done. I'm handing over to Idle Diary for the night shift. I'm sure he'll keep you abreast of the on-going Fandango saga. Goodnight.
21:30 Howdy folks! Idle Diary steering the boat down the river Styx of the transfer window. And while it looks like there may be some conclusion to the transfer of Fernando Torres from Liverpool to Chelsea, there is still no sign of any late, late player acquirements from the Mariners on any level. It's taken three peeks at the SNOS in half an hour to research that. And each time reading the erroneous "Player's" winds me up more and more. If anyone from the SNOS is reading, could you sort out that out, pretty please?
22:01 The radio's warning of gales. I hope D'Wayne isn't lost... out there... at sea...
22:22 Time for a cup of Horlick's. I've turned over from Radio Humberside for some analysis on democracy in Egypt on Radio 4. This is the stuff we all miss in our dedication to the Town cause. Real stuff. Looking down a list of moves today, Scott Kerr's move from Lincoln to York looks shrewd.
22:35 Hmmm... Deposit ten quid to get an away shirt?... Hmmmm... I'm tempted... Are there any other Conference sides making late deals? Has Neil Woods and the other GTFC staff gone to bed already?
BREAKING NEWS... BREAKING NEWS... BREAKING NEWS...
22:49 Mighty Mariner paves the way for a last gasp move declaring on Twitter "I have still got the legs for pole dancing (just) but if a club does come in with a decent ale offer..." Let's hope Chelsea officials aren't made aware of this. They could probably buy Mighty a brewery as part of any move to the capital.
22:59 Just a minute to go until the window shuts. No news of any signings for Town, but that doesn't rule out no further signings. Town aren't a media circus like those Premiership clubs. We will just have to wait until the morning. And in any case, I was hearing earlier that the loan window opens again in a week. So tune in tomorrow, and we'll see if Town have bolstered their numbers, or if we'll have to "make do". Oh, and thanks for staying with us today. N-night!
Friday 28 January
Grimsby Town's youth team will have woken up this morning totally knackered and thinking of what might have been. Hang on, they are teenagers – they will wake up sometime this afternoon. Your Guest Diarist is sad to report that despite a terrific performance the lads went 2-1 down deep into extra time last night at Newcastle and are unluckily out of the FA Youth Cup. Click that link, gentle reader, because there is a proper report on the lads for once – it sounds like it was a great game. The Newcastle site offers video highlights for paid subscribers but to dross like us, well, we get a photo montage of the match. Worth seeing for the excellent gurning alone. If their senior counterparts put the same effort in on Saturday we will win: that's definite.
Manager Woodses, interviewed for our own paying hoi-polloi only, in training yesterday, is terse. Two minutes and 36 seconds for your money. What gleans from his summation? Well, Town, as if we didn't already know, are incapable of putting two halves of decent football together. And no-one will ever know for sure if Luton's winner crossed the line. And that Eastbourne play 4-5-1, usually concede goals and (implicit) we ought to beat them if we play anywhere near our best. Bryan Hughes is still training and has an offer on his table. Unless Fenty has been a complete dickhead and left it on his own table without mentioning it to the ageing but perhaps still great midfield genius. Genius? Dynamo? Ermm, let's leave it at 'definitely used to be too good for the likes of Grimsby', eh?
Woods has got irons in his fire. But whether his fire has reached a sufficient temperature to make them red hot pokers we will have to wait and see. But it's not glowing pokers we want: it's at least one player. Preferably not another might-be-a-winger, might be anything.
The Woods interview fails to touch on the area of who is fit and who is not. Luckily the Grimsby Telegraph has remembered to ask, and reports that Peacock (last game of suspension), Ridley (stomach strain), Coulson (knee) and, of course, Ademeno are still out. Ridley and Coulson are on the way back but are not odds-on to even make it for next Tuesday's game.
So that's your lot for now. Have a great weekend folks, and for those trekking to the south coast wrap up warm and let's hope you see some goals from Town and a half-decent performance in at least one half. See yer. Oh, hang on – Rob Duffy has signed for us after all! A hold-up forward with a reputation for grumpery. Life's never straightforward with Town is it?
Thursday 27 January
Idle Diary writes: Christ. Thanks, Regular Mochachino Diary. Thanks for using all the Boyes emails yesterday! That bollocks my plan to fill the twilight Thursday slot, you rotter! All that is left is a note from David Robertson, who seems to be some sort of Boyes groupie: "I've had the delight of shopping in Boyes in Whitby, Barnard Castle, Darlington, Stockton and Billingham. Billingham is most northerly and Barnard Castle may be more westerly than Bradford – haven't got my OS grid references out to check though! Surely easier to check on t'internet!" While we were trying our best to avoid referring to the internet, such check does need to be verified. And David's bang on about Barnard Castle being the most westerly Boyes. David finishes off remarking "Chester le Street seems furthest north; must be the worst store with it being full of Mackems." The worst Boyes? Shall we stop now before we ruin the memory of this writer's youthful trips down Freemo Street with his nana?
Unfortunately, there's only three bits of Town news today. Neil Woods reiterates the club haven't made a second bid for Cambridge winger Robbie Willmott, while Mansfield's Rob Duffy is now in talks with Neath for a move to Welsh Premier League side. The big news is the youth team. Step forward young 'uns, for it is your time in the spotlight! Tonight the lads take on Newcastle Utd's juniors, the winners facing a FA Youth Cup fifth round tie against their Manchester United counterparts. To get this far is a great achievement for Robbie Stockdale's charges, so we say just go out and enjoy it. If you get through, you get through. You'll learn either way. Isn't that point of youth football?
So, apologies for the short diary today. What I would recommend is you use the time you would have spent reading a longer diary, by going to this interview with Bradford City joint chairman Mark Lawn. Read it. And then come back to us with your thoughts. Because there's a lot there worth nattering about, a lot of it resonating with this writer about lower league football in general, parallels with our club, and also what Lawn says compared to the thoughts of our club's chairman, John Fenty. So go on. Have a read and drop us a line with your thoughts, using the feedback page if you would.
And if anyone reading this in the local media, see if Fenty will commit to the same sort of open and lengthy interview – and be prepared to run it from start to finish. And if he and you won't? It's been a while but we'll try.
Wednesday 26 January
Why can't Town play like that for 90 minutes, instead of just 45 or 60? Why did the summariser on Premier Sports call for "technology" to settle disputed goals when Premier Sports' own technology couldn't settle Luton's? Why is anyone surprised that George 'Let's Build An Economy Like Ireland's' Osborne and his spiteful cuts to jobs and public services have sent the economy back into reverse? Tuesday was a day that threw up more questions than answers, but it wasn't all bad. Last night at Kenilworth Road the Mariners seemed simply to be outplayed by a better team for the first half of the game. After half time, though, Neil Woodses's players showed outstanding determination and came within inches of taking a point from statistically the toughest away venue in the Conference. Best of all, Alan Connell's delightful dipping shot which beat Mark Tyler, only to sail inches too high and bounce off the back of the goal, gave us all an excuse to use the word 'stanchion'.
Also, is it just your original/regular Diary, or has Kenny Arthur just given possibly his best two performances in a Town shirt so far?
Strapping Mansfield frontman Rob Duffy, who turned down a move to Blundell Park last week after failing to agree personal terms, looks set for a move to Neath of the Welsh Premier League. Gasp! On the face of it, this looks like the sort of development that's certain to ignite the wrath of the messageboards. But Neath have a mysterious pot of cash and have been described as "the Man City of the WPL". So before we start off with booo Fenty booo, penny pinching cheap option etc etc and so on, let's bear in mind that prolific former £1m striker Lee Trundle turned down a number of Football League clubs to join them last year for a reported £2,500 a week. On the other hand, if Neath have so much money to spend, some might pause to ask why they chose to spend some of it on signing failed GTFC forward Chris Jones.
The Diary notes that in the absence of anything more interesting to do, Team Cod Almighty member Pete Green has landed a question about GTFC into this week's edition of The Knowledge (scroll down to the bottom). The question contrasts Blundell Park's record low attendance of 1,833 in May 1969 with the 22,489 glory-hunters who showed up for the fourth division title game against Exeter three years later. "The crowd had become more than 12 times bigger in three years," points out PG. "Can any other full-time English club claim such a steep surge in support?"
Well, with any luck we'll find out in The Knowledge next week. But let's also remember 1998, when 35,000 Town fans attended the Football League Trophy victory over Bournemouth at Wembley in April. Six weeks later 25,000 went back for the promotion play-off final win over Northampton. In August of the same year fewer than 3,000 home fans watched a League Cup tie against Preston at Blundell Park. So the Mariners' fanbase has also become 12 times smaller in little more than three months.
Overnight the CA inbox has been positively throbbing. We haven't had this much email since you helped me with the Radio Times big Christmas crossword in 2004. And what's the subject that's gripped the Grimbarian nation? That's right – Boyes! Idle Diary's reference to the legendary sub-Woolworths chain of discount haberdashery and fancy goods stores has got your keyboards tapping like a News of the World reporter with the PIN for a royal's voicemail. So just how far does the Boyes empire stretch? "Far from it for me to be pedantic but I would have thought that Boyes' most easterly store is Cleethorpes high street," writes Ben Gresswell. "Unless of course they have opened in Belgium?" I wouldn't rule it out. Ben also points out Louth – as does Martin Robinson: "Can't beat Louth on a Wednesday – market day, and it's got a Boyes!"
David Robertson, Chris Ward and Richard Whitehouse, meanwhile, strive gamely to establish the northernmost and westernmost limits of Boyes' dominions. Richard Whitehouse, "a Mariner exile located in Teesside", observes that "Boyes have a significant presence up here, which last time I checked, was further north than Scarborough. Boyes have stores in Middlesbrough, Billingham and Yarm (the latter a touch surprising considering it was voted best high street in the UK by the BBC and likes to think it is a cut above the rest of the area... the list of Premiership football managers and England managers that have lived here is testament to this). Of those three Billingham is the most northern; however, I suspect that their empire may spread even further afield. Hartlepool? Sunderland?"
"There is a Boyes store in Yarm, which is just a couple of miles south of Stockton on Tees. I believe there is one in Middlesbrough," writes Chris. David, clearly a huge aficionado of the stores, adds: "I've had the delight of shopping in Boyes in Whitby, Barnard Castle, Darlington, Stockton and Billingham. Billingham is most northerly and Barnard Castle may be more westerly than Bradford – haven't got my OS grid references out to check though! Surely easier to check on t'internet! Chester le Street seems furthest north; must be the worst store with it being full of Mackems."
So there you have it, readers – and that's all from the Diary today. We may support a football team whose status in senior football has disappeared quicker than Vince Cable's credibility. But at least if we want to buy cheap light bulbs, scraps of chocolate brown woven cotton fabric, and green translucent toy guns that fire ping-pong balls, we know exactly where to look.
Tuesday 25 January
Idle Diary writes: Tonight, Town play at Luton – and it's televised, internetised, and possibly radioised by Radio Humberside. So no matter what your preferred media delivery method, there's something for everyone who can't make the game. Which will probably be most of us.
Interestingly, and something we missed while previewing the game, tonight's match is a fourth consecutive home game for the Hatters. On Saturday at Kenilworth Road it was an all-action first half, with the visitors, Gateshead, two goals up by the 16th minute, before Luton dragged themselves level before half time.
So despite their mighty home record (discussed further in our preview), there are chinks in the home side's armour.
Richard Money reckons Saturday was an off-day for his side, too many players off-colour and all that, expects a return to the "expected standards" tonight. Neil Woods isn't going to set his team up to just defend. We're worried this has all the makings of a tonking for Town. But at the same time, there's a glimmer of optimism that Town will raise their game again against one of the trailblazing teams in the Conference.
Guest Diary has watched a video interview "conducted by a big fat man on a little sofa" which backs the BBC summary up so you don't have to: "Sounds like Walker and Gleeson will be back as they trained OK, he said." For Town Peacock is suspended, while Ademeno and Coulson are still absent with knee injuries. Ridley is also out with that stomach issue. Which pretty much means that it's the same squad as on Saturday. Me? I can't wait to see Mofo in action. I'm proper, proper stoked about him. I've been mentally chanting "Mo-fo! Mo-fo! Mo-fo!" most of the morning. I don't know why. Come on, all of us together: MO-FO! MO-FO! MO-FO!
This is going to end in tears isn't it?
So that's who is and isn't playing. Two other players who won't be participating in tonight's or probably any future Town games are Mansfield striker Rob Duffy and Cambridge winger Robbie Wilmott. Duffy and Town failed to agree personal terms, while Town's valuation of Wilmott fell short of the Us' price tag. While the moves didn't come through, it gives us an idea of where Woods is looking to strengthen the team.
Talking of player acquisition, that's it, Evans. Keep up trying to buy your way out of the division.
In exciting news for the players currently contracted by Grimsby Town Football Club plc, Ron Atkinson has got an England C call-up. If Atkinson is selected to play against Belgium, it will mean a return to Kenilworth Road on Wednesday 9 February. Egale-eyed viewers will also note that Robbie Wilmott (read the above paragraph) is in the squad.
Sorry, I meant Rob, not Ron. The bloody N key is right next to the B.
Last on the open tabs in my internet browser is a mundane space filler in the GET about Lewis Gobern. Blah blah, new chance, determination, yes yes, now it's Ince, uh huh, "and there was a situation there which I can't really go into but he went to court and won his appeal". Sorry? Come again? "And there was a situation there which I can't really go into but he went to court and won his appeal." Get that? Just read that last bit again: "He went to court and won his appeal." Erm. Anyone?
So, finally, we reach the end of today's diary. And we need some help, readers. Some of the Cod Almighty team have been discussing the Boyes chain of stores, and how far it reaches. So far using our experiences of seeing Boyes stores – yes, without resorting to cheating by looking it up anywhere – we have worked out the northern (Scarborough), southern (Sleaford), eastern (Grimsby) and western (Bradford) limits of the Boyes empire. Are we wrong? Does the reach of Boyes extend even further? Let us know using the Cod Almighty feedback form (as we think our email is a bit dicky at the mo). T'ra!
Monday 24 January
Mardy Diary writes: So this week on Tell The Telegraph We've Not Been The Best Lately, But We'll Get Better Soon, Honest! is... oh, now hang on. It's no-one. Ever again. Well, probably until next season anyway. Woods – clearly a frustrated Diary reader – has pulled the plug on the whole charade and insisted his players do the talking on the pitch. Huzzah! Now, they just need to do that for the rest of football and I'll no longer have to contend with tedious 'matey' Five Live interviews with Premiership players where the questions are almost as predictable as the answers. I don't wanna hear it, shut up.
Not a bad result at the weekend, was it? I'll let Tony Butcher fill you in on the detail – but I left the ground feeling like I'd watched a good game, from both teams. Of course, Crawley absolutely hammered us in the second half and what with Arthur making those 15 point-blank saves, and the 20 goal-line clearances and those 527 penalties that Crawley didn't get along with the woodwork denying them at least 2.3 million times, we can count ourselves lucky to have not lost. Now I think about it, the draw was an embarrassing result against little, tiny, teeny-weeny, cash-strapped Crawley whose bench consisted of players made out of Weetabix and toilet roll and who set off last week to walk to Blundell Park, such is the tiny amount of cash they have. God bless ya, Evans – you're doing a good job in difficult circumstances. You might want to save a few quid by cutting back on the mascara usage though.
Of course, Crawley aren't the only team splashing the cash – we're not quite at their level of 'splash' but we're beyond our means still, so not in a great position to criticise. It is therefore heart-warming and quite chucklesome to hear rumours that we bid only £15,000 for one of Cambridge's star players. Part of me applauds this – we're at a level where £15K for a player is perfectly reasonable. The fact that teams are chucking silly money about at all levels of the game should be no indicator of actual worth (in relation to club incomes). We shouldn't be held to ransom, and we've got a hefty wage bill as it is – we certainly don't want to be taking big risks by throwing a few hundred grand around. Success has been achieved (at other clubs) without doing that. At the same time, I wonder what sort of response you get when you phone up a club like Cambridge and offer £15K. I think I'd just leave an answerphone message and see if they came back. Still – if you don't ask, you don't get, and as with buying anything with a negotiable price, it's always best to start low.
So £15K is more than reasonable until our income grows – and that will only come through success and increased gates. Oh, and a new ground with conferencing facilities built in the car park of a Morrison's superstore. This though, now seems a distant
nightmare memory and sadly Town are missing out on the current huge demand for conferences in the Grimsby area. There are barely enough venues to cope with the demand and it is believed that merely the presence of a room with a table and chairs in it is currently drawing in several hundred grand a year for the owners. Last week it was reported that John Tremworth of Carlisle Avenue ventured in to his back room for the first time in five years to find a group of local goverment employees on an away day complete with flip chart and post-it notes. John said: "I went in there and there was a big pile of cash generated from conferencing facilities that I didn't even realise I had. It does explain why I kept running out of milk and tea bags every day, even though I don't like tea. Or milk."
Still, are we missing a trick with the enabling development for a new ground? Retail is always going to be dodgy, up and down as it is mostly. But one thing people always need more of is power – and what with the country facing an impending shortage of nuclear power facilities, and Grimsby being coastal, what better plan than to have a nuclear power plant as the enabling development for a new ground? This has the additional advantage of allowing us to run the output of the cooling tower under the pitch, thus saving money on expensive undersoil heating. It'd give the place a nice glow too. Of course there's the lengthy decommissioning time once the plant is offline, which will leave the site barren and unusable for decades, making the development in keeping with its surroundings. Everyone's a winner.
Back to playing matters though, and for those desperate for the club to acquire more players and who haven't quite been satiated by the signing of Serge 'The Motherfucker' Makofo, movement is allegedly afoot. Bryan Hughes is apparently still in talks – although I think the Woods quote in the Telegraph is just recycled from last week. And rumours abound from Mansfield that lanky target man Rob Duffy is ironing out personal details with Town as we speak. Mansfield fans are already making noises about Duffy and bad attitude, but then that's just sour grapes isn't it? Like when Luton fans kept telling us that Newell was a bad egg and he'd screw the club over. Yeah, well – we showed them, didn't we? Idiots. They're idiots, these idiots.
Friday 21 January
"With the ball we know he's different class, it's whether he still has his legs." With those words to the Grimsby Telegraph Neil Woods pithily summarised the dilemma surrounding latest Town trialist Bryan Hughes. Hughes has been a classy, cultured midfielder for a lot of years. Whether his slight frame is suited to the bully-boy rough and tumble of Conference football and whether his lower limbs can perambulate quickly enough and far enough has to be a gamble. But, boy, he used to pass like a dreamboat and chip in with goals in his long spell at Birmingham. And only a contretemps with that idiot Phil Brown at Hull kept him out of their team when they were playing in the top division.
So your Guest Diarist reckons this is a big decision for Mr Woods given that Hughes has only had 57 minutes of first-team football so far this season. Half-full – he should be as fresh as a daisy! Hughes played with some other unnamed trialists in a hastily arranged friendly fixture at Sincil Bank yesterday, by the way.
Tomorrow is a big game for all sorts of reasons. A chance to justifiably bait the crooked loudmouth yob Evans. A chance for Town to prove their lucky away win at Crawley can be repeated at home, or that at least they can hold the leaders. A chance for Town to continue their excellent home run and prove to fans that the dismal away games at Wrexham and York are behind them. The least stay-away fans should do is risk a Saturday afternoon watching them and getting behind the team. The crowd the other night was pathetic and if the team had continued in the same vein as the opening 20 minutes, deserved. But Town got back in the game and deserved their victory with two good goals – the second better than good. If you are a true Town fan there is no reason to avoid the match tomorrow – even if we get hammered by the expensive, too-good-for-this-league Crawley line-up you can still take it out on their manager rather than ours, can't you?
As for team news, well, Bradley Wood played with six stitches in his ankle the other night and Peter Bore missed training afterwards with a sore toe. This may demonstrate something about pain thresholds or maybe something about attitude. But Bore seems likely to be OK to play tomorrow, unlike Coulson and Ridley who won't be fit. Peacock, of course, is suspended. Which means new signing Makofo is highly likely to feature. His pace in the third goal shown in that clip is brutal.
Steve Evans has been talking about the game: "Grimsby Town is a hard place to go and play but we go there in terrific form. Without any doubt they are one of the very big clubs in the Blue Square Bet Premier and they have a fantastic support who simply live and breath (sic) Grimsby Town. They have a squad full of quality footballers and a chairman in John Fenty who has invested huge amounts of money to ensure that is the case, so we know this will be a stern test for us. Scott Neilson took a kick late in the match on Tuesday night at Bath City and he will be subject to a late fitness test. We had a number of impressive performances in a closed door match at Rushden & Diamonds on Wednesday and that has given us a lot to think about ahead of picking our team for Saturday."
So the least we can do as fans is live up to Evans's billing – turn up tomorrow and get behind the team. Stop barracking Bore, and give the new lad more than one chance to show us what he can do. We have agonised enough over the merits or otherwise of the manager and the squad. We are where we are with who we have got, so let's make the best of it. If Evans is an Abba fan let's hope tomorrow will be his Waterloo. I can't believe I just wrote that – I'll get me coat. See yer.
Thursday 20 January
Idle Diary writes: Today, Town fans, I am so excited, and I just can't hide it. Part of the reason, I am eagerly following the New Adventures in Web Design conference through the interwebz. I know you will be doing the same too, so I don't need to tell you about how thrilling it is to be working in the world of digitalisms at this moment in time, especially if you're a talented bastard like me. Like I said: thrilling. I sense you all dreading the Cod Almighty makeover already.
But that's just about 36.3 per cent of my thrill quota today. Another 11.3 per cent is saved for a meeting tonight IN THE PUB, and 16.8 per cent is put aside for rolling home late on to my wife, kids, and the cats (who will be promptly slung out of the front door as I walk in). 3.2 per cent is for the news Civilisation is being given the HD treatment. And a large chunk of the remaining whatever per cent is based on Town news. Yes! Town news!
With Saturday comes a game, a game against Fat Twat Evans' Crawley Town. Crawley, you may remember, is where Town kicked off their Conference season, and with a 1-0 victory at that. Wasn't it great to get the new season off to a winning start? And great to win away? And by keeping a clean sheet Against a BIG SPENDING side? Managed by that cunt? Wonderful! Take that Sticky Fingered Steve!
And this weekend we go into battle against the Big Bad Bollockmonger again. While Town's season hasn't been as high-flying as some expected/demanded, Crawley have recovered and 'up there'. Probably helps when you have millions to spend rather than a "good budget at this level". But it's an appetising test for Neil Woods and his team. With Town in pretty decent form at home, you'd think we'd be in with a shout of a point at least. The bookies, they don't give Town a hope in hell. Crawley are evens to win, and a home win is something like 12/5. If I was in the area and wasn't so skint after Christmas (thank God it's pay day next week) I'd be going to the game – it's the kind of match-up seasons should revolve around, challenges, games that excite fans.
But I feel I am in the minority. It's still rubbish supporting Town it seems, we should get shot of Woods, blah blah blah blah. You're probably sick of me saying it, and I'm definitely sick of you Woods bashers. Remember this: remember Russell Slade's first season. He attracted a lot of similar shit (clueless, rubbish football, crap players, losing), but patience (from him and us) paid off with Town's most successful season for about eight years. We support a Conference team full of Conference players, trying to get promotion from the Conference. This is the Conference. Rise above being bloody Conference supporters, yeah?
While Saturday will be a hard task, it won't be helped by the number of absences for the Mariners, which are starting to add up further. Charles Ademeno's injuries show no sign of abating – to the point he needs a knee op that will keep him out for six weeks. This diarist is properly stoked though by the arrival of Serge Makofo though. While he's another former employee of the Bastard Franchise Scum, there's nothing that suggests M(ak)ofo will find Khartoum's head in his bed like Lewis Gobern. Dave Moore reckons he'll bring pace to the side, as well as athleticism, which makes him sound a bit rrrrrrrrRRRRAAAAAHHHH to me. And as a big fan of S&M, I reckon this lad will do well. And the fact he had the beating of Crawley while playing for Kettering recently shows he's no mug (although clearly doesn't guarantee a repeat performance on his Town debut). Fingers crossed, and good luck, Mofo.
To help raise that Grimsby groove flowing through me at the mo, Radio Humberside are reporting that Bryan Hughes is about to join Town until the end of the season. Bryan Hughes! And exciting as that could be, it's not confirmed, so I'll leave that baton for Guest Diary to run with tomorrow. But just to warn you, I was doing little squeals while I made a cuppa earlier, thinking about Hughes playing for Town. Could, just maybe, be the missing link? Let's see if he does sign first – his lack of match action has me wondering if he'll meet Woods' exacting fitness standards.
A peek into the postbag reveals... nothing. Not a single jot! You lot must either totally agree with us (which, given the diarists' multiple takes on affairs GTFC, is hard to believe), you're sick of sending us stuff, or the website's email is broken. We hope it's not the latter, but in the absence of any letters from any of you, check out this Apollo 11 Spacelog site. It should help pass Thursday afternoon, and bring you closer towards tomorrow's Guest Diary.
On a final note, is there any need for MPs to actually visit the Humber Bridge to evaluate the impact of its tolls on the region? Isn't that what analysis reports are for? This New Politics, eh folks...
Wednesday 19 January
So, as Lieutenant Columbo might have put it, lemme get this straight. On new year's day Town recorded their biggest league win since the late 1970s. For the next home game, a couple of weeks later, Town played to their smallest league crowd since the late 1960s. I don't know about anyone else, but as far as your original/regular Diary is concerned, no further evidence is required of the sheer towering perversity that defines the thinking of northern Lincolnshire. We love failure, we hate success. That's the Grimsby mindset; that's the Grimsby way.
And what of last night's performance? Twenty minutes in, Kettering looked likelier to rack up a cricket score than to lose their early lead. From around the half-hour mark, though, Town mostly controlled the game. Michael Cummins conspicuously stepped up to the mark and, while Kettering's counterattacking tactics meant there were chances at both ends, the Mariners' win was ultimately deserved.
But did the callers and 'texters' to Radio Humberside later acknowledge that there was anything to the match other than the first 30 minutes? No. Meh meh meh, not good enough, bleh bleh, seventh place in the league, boo hoo, let's sack the manager again and bugger up the next season and a half just so we can keep moaning. It's tempting to suppose that these people left the ground at quarter past eight. But no: they'd just made up their minds to concentrate on the smaller portion of the match which supported their hellish hypothesis, and ignore the greater portion which gave cause for optimism. That's the Grimsby mindset; that's the Grimsby way.
The murmur in the stands before kick-off last night concerned Town's new signing Serge Makofo, who arrived on a three-year deal (THREE-YEAR DEAL) yesterday – from Kettering, funnily enough. Unfortunately for GTFC, the club's normally superb new official website committed a rare blunder in describing Makofo as a "striker" when he seems to be more of a wide midfielder and forward sort of player.
Why unfortunately? Because some supporters have Googled their new player's name, discovered on Wikipedia that he's only scored two league goals, and reached straight for the comfort blanket of assuming the worst. Assuming the worst and effectively writing off a player before we've seen him play. Less jaded observers of local life than the Diary might assume lessons to have been learned from the way many fans looked in similar disdain at the record of, say, Alan Connell on his arrival last summer, only for the player to knock in 20 goals by the middle of January. But no, people will never change. That's the Grimsby mindset; that's the Grimsby way.
He sold his business Five Star Fish in 2004 for around £16.5million. He watched it get sold again in 2007 for £35million. But since then John Fenty has found himself at a loose end. Sure, there's the thrill of the fast cars; sure, there's the glamour of representing Humberston as a Conservative councillor on the unitary authority of North East Lincolnshire. And you can't beat the white knuckle ride of taking over your local football club and overseeing three relegations in seven years.
But after nearly seven years without a proper job, Fenty has at last sought to re-establish his Alarm Clock Britain credentials by helping to recreate a local building firm that bit the dust in the recession. The positivity-infused Town chairman is one of a three-strong team relaunching Topcon – a company credited (if that's the right word) by the Grimsby Telegraph with having "helped build modern Grimsby". If nothing else, the deal should give John Fenty (Top Con) a cheap option should his tattered Fentydome plans ever see the light of day again.
Thanks for reading, folks – that's just about all for today. Remember that you can keep track of Town's frantic fixture rescheduling using Cod Almighty's season index page and Google fixture calendar – and this kind of intense rearrangement of football matches is still very rare in this country so, please, don't have nightmares. Goodnight.
Tuesday 18 January
Idle Diary writes: Huey Morgan's deep laconic drawl is not the sort of voice you want to hear at lunchtime. It makes one pine for a sofa to stretch out on and have a wee power nap. Not the sort of thing you need when you are work, and no such sofa is on hand. And especially when you have a Tuesday diary to pen. So, excuse me if I drift off. It's been a long week already.
Funny, but reading messageboards last week, a laconic drawl is what I imagined most Town fans used to address last Saturday's FA Whatever tie at Chasetownwhereeverthatis. But in the light of Town being beaten by a lesser club – and hardly the first time the Mariners have succumbed to the inevitable embarrassment – the result, the match, they've suddenly meant something. Somehow. Cheap option Woodses! Fenty's puppet! Overpaid players! The players don't care. Excuse me while I yawn.
Losing to shit teams comes in this man's expectancy locker these days. We've been doing this sliding down the leagues thing for, what, ten years now. That Town currently sit ninth in the Conference is a surprise to me. That's not bad. That means Town have won and drawn some games. That means Woods is actually doing quite a decent job. But listen to Town fans and read the coverage in the local paper, and you'd think Town were bottom after a run of millions of defeats. It's such a boo-hoo-hoo to a section of the Town fans, and moreso to the Grimsby Telegraph who provoke matters. A defeat is a bitter blow to Town's promotion chances. Fuck this, man. Under Buckley we were never the greatest away, but we nailed it at home.
I will say this: I like Woods, I like the cut of his jib, and I think all this resistance from all quarters will have him out sooner or later. And then the same for the next man. And the next man. That's the deep-rooted shite that Woods spoke of.
The performance and result at Chasetownwhereeverthatis didn't bother this diarist so much, more the response from Chairman John, saddling in with another of his stock OS splatters. The man I pity the most here is Woods himself, who is clearly hurting. And to be honest, if my boss criticised me so publicly I'd tell him to stick one. Fenty, again, needs to learn some man-management skills. This is hardly motivational stuff. What does he think he is? A politician? The longer these things go on from the top, the more I think that Fenty deserved the Newell shafting. Players not giving a shit, teams not gelling – it's been happening for years, as long as Fenty has been bankrolling the club with stupider and stupider amounts of stupidity. But Newell? He gave as good vocally as Fenty has dished out to Town managers previously. Newell, that icon, that symbol of the chase-the-dream which Fenty seems to happily splash the cash at. Newell, that fallen idol.
As a fan you never know what goes on in the club. If it's as deep-rooted as Woods suggested on his arrival, it'd be interesting to see how some of those well-travelled players who have had stints at Blundell Park compare GTFC to any of their other haunts (like, say, Martin Gritton, who has just left Chesterfield).
By the way, what was the point in John Deehan's two month stint as a "head of recruitment"?
Anyhow, Town are playing tonight. Against Kettering, at Blundell Park. Team news: Ademeno is doubtful, out are Coulson (knee) and Ridley (stomach strain).
Further afield, Luton Town are going to let season ticket holders into their rearranged league match against York City for free, despite a Conference ruling saying they shouldn't. Given the original game was abandoned after 56 minutes, part of me applauds Luton for letting their fans in for free. But then you read about Luton and York having 'previous' and... it's the return of my laconic drawl...
Monday 17 January
Mardy Diary writes: Ah, the dreaded vote of confidence. It is that, isn't it? I can't completely be sure – it's a bit vague if you ask me. It could be one of Fenty's efforts at appeasing the fans, or it could be a public warning to Woods that results are needed for the next couple of games. Whatever it is, the interpretation out there by the fans and by the media is that it is a vote of confidence. Although I guess the point where Fenty suggests he's not considering sacking the manager is the point when Woods should be worried, given Fenty's track record in this matter.
But whatever your view on Woods – and the view seems pretty negative wherever I look at the moment – do we really want to get in to this cycle of changing manager yet again? I'm getting pretty bored of this approach across football – not just at Grimsby. Yes, teams change manager and then do better as a result of it, but they also change manager and do the same or worse. It's just a bit of a reactive measure more than a proactive measure and often covers up greater failings at a club. And for a club on such a spectacular downward spiral as Town to expect that this sort of collapse can somehow be turned around in months – and we still are in months here – is just impatient. The problem at the moment is that the team are inconsistent, but that isn't something that can't be corrected over a bit more time. If that consistency doesn't start to come before the end of the season, then is the time for concern. But personally, I'll wait until the end of the season before I start making a judgement about how our season has been.
Woods clearly isn't happy himself – he's practically holding back tears in the post-match interview with Tondeur. There's no question of his desire to win, or his passion for the sport. He's also made a few good signings and can spot a decent player. There's been the odd duff signing – but that's always the way and you can look at any of our managers and pick out the signings that didn't work. But something else is missing – whether that's a commanding midfielder, or a solid target man, or whether it's just a lack of motivation in the current squad, it's hard to see right now. The latter doesn't seem so much of an issue to me this season – players like Connell, Coulson and Eagle don't appear to lack motivation and desire. I also can't really point to any players in the club who I think aren't trying – there are players who are inconsistent or who aren't quite up to the challenge, but I don't see a consistent lack of effort from anyone.
Is it Woods' tactics or man management or this or that or the other? Hard to really say when we currently sit ninth in the table and have managed some good results and performances this season. Clearly we can perform, we can dominate teams and we can score goals – across the team. It's just on those days when we don't turn up that everything seems so bleak, that something seems wrong, that something is missing. But one run of results can change a season (for good or bad), one signing can make a team, a key injury can ruin the balance of your squad, one decision made rightly or wrongly can turn a season. In hindsight these actions can be picked out: when a season is over and is analysed, the key moments always stand out – the season-defining results or actions. Foresight though – that's all just guesswork. Not that some people couldn't guess correctly, or make a good, measured guess – but then the success of that guess can't really be ascertained unless we reach some sort of conclusion. Sack Woods now and no-one will know if the season would have petered out to nothing or turned around by the end. It will still be guesswork.
There's a limit of course. If we were battling against relegation in the Conference, or we'd had a couple of seasons of mid-table nothingness, then a change may be needed (if there are no real signs of improvement). Our successes since I've been watching Town (mainly Buckley, and in context, Slade) have come from a slow rebuild and some level of stability. Both Buckley and Slade had first seasons that were up and down but ended with some sort of consistency and results that suggested the next season would be better with one or two additions. Now I don't know yet if Woods will fit that category – like I said before, I want to wait until the end of the season before I make a judgement on that. As far as I'm concerned, last season was a write-off anyway – the damage was done and the team left by Newell was one of misery, unprofessionalism and disdain for the club. Woods made signings, but getting any sort of team together for a club in such disarray can't have been easy. I'll admit, though, that a manager may have been able to come in, and with a bit of luck scraped together the results that saw us safe (isn't that what Newell did in his first season?) – but this would have been papering over the cracks of failure, and the same problems would have returned over and over again.
Not that I'm suggesting that relegation was a good thing, I hope you realise. What I mean is that there was a lot wrong with the set-up of the club that needed putting right. I'm not sure that has been correctly addressed yet either – but these things take time and proper investment. It's just that when I look at successful clubs from the lower division, my eyes are drawn to Rochdale, Scunthorpe, Dagenham – clubs that achieved success through continuity and astuteness, and not just about throwing good money after bad.
So do I want change? Yes – and I want that change for us to become consistently good. At the moment though, I'm still in the 'wait and see' frame of mind. Time will tell.
Friday 14 January
Chasetown think that five hundred or so Town fans will be trekking the 130 miles down the A38 to the FA Trophy match tomorrow. Now your Guest Diarist doesn't want to put anyone off, far from it, but if that prediction proves to be true then it will be an amazingly loyal turnout. Especially given this long run of consecutive away matches which will finally culminate in a cup game against part-timers who train Tuesdays and Thursdays and who got one more point than Glapwell last season to gain promotion. And even more so when you have no idea what kind of footballing performance from Grimsby you are going to get.
Manager Woodses was really quite sullen in this weeks paid-for match preview muttering darkly about "so-called critics" and stubbornly sticking to his line about how wonderful and bright the whole squad are in training. But he did tell us that defender Steven Watt is now officially better, that he might play him on Saturday but he needs another two weeks to get match fit. Later Woods added that there was no way he was going to play a weakened team tomorrow or rest anyone but he was considering making a few changes. As for Connell and Coulson apparently they have both declared themselves both free from injury and better from the bug. Connell said his hamstring thing actually bothered him less on Tuesday than in previous recent games. To be on the safe side Connell's big thigh muscle will be scanned on Friday in company with Charles Ademeno's knee.
Town have a couple of trialists in the building. Ashley Corker played for the stiffs up at Middlesbrough in midweek. Woodses said Corker, a young ex-Middlesbrough academy left back, 'did fine' and will train with the first team next week. Vincent 'Vinny' Faherty is a young Irish striker who has been playing with Danny North. Faherty's international clearance failed to show up in time so he missed the reserve game but has 'done OK in training' and will stay next week. This YouTube interview with Mr Faherty reveals a distinct lack of relish towards high balls played up to him so if he hears Neil Woods interview on Humberside this week when he said that he was "looking for an offensive player who can secure the ball", and if he translates that to mean hold-up player then he will know what he is up against. He might be great but then again he might be Danny North with an Irish lilt. There are some other clips of Faherty on YouTube, gentle reader, scoring goals. Surprisingly there are none of him missing chances or failing to win high balls. You have been warned.
"We're going into it aware of their strengths but also of their weaknesses – and also to try to capitalise on our strengths" says veteran Chasetown manager Charlie Blakemore. After the game it would be very helpful if he made Neil Woods aware of those perceived weaknesses would it not? In this league Town have an expensive squad who are great on paper and apparently brilliant in training – but pretty crap on the pitch most of the time. With Sinclair having gone dramatically and inexplicably 'off the boil' in recent games and Cummins only able to play half-decent when Sinclair does the Town midfield is totally ineffective again. Bypassed by their own defenders and bossed by the opposition in the last two games I despair when folk mutter about Connell's form dipping. Without a quality strike partner and deprived of any service from midfield he must feel it is a hopeless cause.
And on that positive note I'll wish you a safe journey if you are going and hope that we manage to beat this mid-table Evo-Stik part time side who got dumped out of the Evo-Stik league cup by Newcastle Town on Tuesday. If we draw by the way, the replay will be on Tuesday which I suppose would save us the embarrassment of a league match. See yer.
Thursday 13 January
Bloody hell. It was hard work eating half of that pork pie, I can tell you. It was a monster. Ah, hello, and welcome, dear reader, to the Thursday diary, the weekly dead zone. How are you liking our use of fonts, by the way? Is it easy on the eye or do you have problems taking this all in?
Messy-haired youth Rob Eaglez is aiming for ten goals for the season. Goodo. Whatever. See what the future brings. I'll let the rest of you debate whether he can and how, and where, and why and all that. All the ruminations on Tuesday night were about whether he is best starting, what is his best position, would he be better coming off the bench, is he not actually 'suited' to away games, and the old issue about plain old inconsistency. Quandaries, quandaries, and things I don't waste my time thinking about any more. I leave that to Neil Woods. It's his job. I really don't care what he decides. He gets angry at the players? I, probably like the players, just shrug. Town pay very well by Conference standards, but Town only fleetingly play well by Conference standards. Consistency issues, malaise, or just a very thin squad that lacks balance and versatility? Who knows. Just sort it Woodses, eh.
Instead I waste my life reading articles about fish eating dead skin off a reporter's feet, wondering if there is any hope for (great white elephant) the Garth Lane development to actually ever get built, getting freaked out by Keith Brookes staring into the camera, and councillor Liz Redfern saying things like "It was an important meeting [at 10 Downing Street] and I wouldn't have wanted to miss it because IT WAS A CHANCE TO MEET DAVE AND ERIC, MY HEROES!" Riddle me this, fellow fans: can the Localism Bill help out the Mariners in any way? I fear a sneaky exploitation of this bill to resurrect the Fentydome. Hey ho. You dug that hole already Fenty. Did you let go of the spade?
A little further afield from Town is news that Paul Walden is leaving Louth Town at the end of the season, citing "the set-up off the field not matching what [the club] is trying to do on it". After two consecutive promotions under Walden, it'll be a loss for the club, but a reminder how much clubs even lower down the football pyramid from Town are desperate just for the numbers to make the club run. Do lower-league managers get angry with their players?
Ffffinally, North East Lincolnshire GCSE students have for the first time bettered the national average for students achieving five A*-C GCSEs (including English and maths exams). For the first time! Unbelievable it has been that long, but well done to all involved. We hope some of those grade improvements were a result of reading this website and Tony Butcher's reports – which might account for the 176.7 per cent rise in references to Pink Floyd in the region's GCSE exams.
Wednesday 12 January
In typically Town style, then, Neil Woodses's team have followed up the club's best back-to-back results in 121 years with two of their worst performances of the season. OK, so opinion is divided over the total number of shots on target the Mariners achieved during their defeats at Wrexham on Saturday and York last night. But only because we can't agree whether the number is one or zero. Now, what was I saying last Wednesday about not getting carried away with the Mansfield and Histon results? Always listen to your original/regular Diary, boys and girls. Your original/regular Diary knows best.
As for the manager's reaction, again, there is a lack of consensus. BBC Sport reports Woodses to be "angry" about his players reverting to type at Bootham Crescent. The Grimsby Telewag
goes a step further, describing the manager's "fury". The Conference's official website, meanwhile, downplays Neil's response, suggesting merely that "Woods fumes" after his team's failure to turn up last night. One thing is certain: our variously angry, furious or fuming head coach has cancelled the players' day off today and had them in for extra training. Our undercover observer at the Mariners' Cheapside training base reports that the drills in their entirety have so far entailed the players sitting around on the ground while Woods and Dave Moore slap their hands against their foreheads and say: "Guhhhhhh!"
So if this lot aren't up to it, who is? In the absence of any transfer window activity thus far, attention turns to Town's reserve team, who are in action (of a sort) this afternoon with an away game against Middlesbrough. Our superb new official website has the GTFC team, which includes Steven 'Eh?' Watt, absent for three months with a knee injury. Also lining up for the stiffs – against his own club – is a fabulously named Boro left-back, Ashley Corker, who has joined the Mariners for a trial. Speaking of superb monikers, the match takes place at the home of Billingham Synthonia – which for many years seemed to the Diary one of the more beautiful names in non-League football, alongside Great Wakering Rovers and Swindon Supermarine. Or at least it did until I found out it was a contraction of 'synthetic ammonia'.
Phil Watson has emailed the Diary in response to a news item last week. In a clear pitch at the Nobel Prize for Irony, three times relegated GTFC chairman John Fenty (Con), you may recall, was offering advice to Lincoln City on how to stay up in the Football League. "A new game for us all to enjoy in this brave new goal-spangled decade," writes Phil. "Asking advice from John Fenty on avoiding relegation is like... I'll go first: asking Gordon Brown how to win an election." Oooh, my go! Asking advice from John Fenty on avoiding relegation is like... asking Ricky Ponting how to win the Ashes! Email your entries, readers, to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the best one wins a pint in the Rutland just before the Crawley game.
All that remains for today, then, is to thank you for reading and wish you well for the rest of the week. Oh, and once you've strapped on your oxygen tank of positivity, don't forget your flippers of faith and your rose-tinted snorkel. See ya.
Tuesday 11 January
Mardy Diary writes: So Town travel to York tonight, probably without Ademeno and Coulson and possibly without Connell and Sinclair. You'll excuse me if I just go and have a little sit down and regain my composure, won't you? Although to be fair, reading between the lines of what Woods has told the Telegraph, it seems that a slightly strained Connell and a poorly backed Sinclair should make late fitness tests (at least it's not his knees, eh?). Coulson not travelling does mean a return for Rob Eagle, which is no bad thing as far as I'm concerned – he's been pretty lively this season and remains our second highest scorer.
The Telegraph reminds us that this is a return home for Woods, who was born in York and briefly played for them towards the end of his playing career. One former Yorkist who'll also be at the match will be Tom Corner – familiar terrority for the youngster as he still makes many trips back that way to see family and friends. Corner will be on the bench tonight and it'll be interesting to see how he plays against his hometown club – presumably in front of family and friends. I'm assuming Peacock isn't going to last another 90 minutes after playing the whole match at Wrexham. Is he?
Another player with some York experience, of course, is notorious straight man and all-round heterosexual Peter Bore. Bore signed on loan for York briefly in 2008 and subsequently failed to impress then manager Martin Foyle. I think Foyle made a comment along the lines of Bore being supremely talented but lacking in application – I can't find reference to it now. Tonight also marks the 100th Town start for Bore – and I'd say about 90 of those have been a frustrating experience for the rest of us. One day I'm sure he'll be consistently great – but probably for someone else.
Players who've moved in the other direction are former loanee Ashley Chambers and orange-faced sycophant Peter Till. Although, it's unusual these days to find players who haven't made an appearance at BP in the last three seasons. Chambers was alright, I thought – quite fast and did manage a couple of goals in the short time he spent on the pitch. He also played in the Burton match, which is probably why he didn't want to come back. He's scored a couple for York this season already, playing in a wide position (in place of Till), so will probably scare the shit out of Ridley if he's down that side.
All of that leaves us hoping that Wrexham was the blip and Mansfield was the norm for 2011. Town are halfway now and have amassed 35 points – a bit of simple maths for you there puts that at a season total of 70. That's not a bad points haul really – it'd just about get you into the play-offs in the fourth division – but it's not enough to be in contention in the Conference, unfortunately. Town need to win a few more in the second half of the season, but January doesn't look like the month to do that. So, if you haven't already, take a look at our pre-match factfile for York and remember: the season doesn't start 'til March.
Oh – and that James Dance rumour was rubbish. Just the chairman trying to up his value in a fire sale at Kettering as a means to extract more money from Crawley. Can't blame him for that – although I'd ask for the cash up front if I were him...
Monday 10 January
Good morning my lieges, for it is Monday and already time to start worrying about Town's next tricky away fixture. Having had an all round off-day on Saturday at Wrexham, going down by two with barely a Town attempt on target all game, the niggly bits have started hurting. Connell's hamstring is sore – it's been sore for ages but you don't bother about it when you are winning. Ademeno's knee swelled up after training on Friday. Your Guest Diarist read somewhere that it was caused by friendly fire. And half the team feel like those folk in the Lemsip adverts before they swallow the nasty, hot paracetemol-and-caffeine potion.
I don't think you are going to get a match report, so let's use the introduction to the Wrexham Leader's account of the game as a succinct and accurate substitute: "For a side who went into the game boasting a record of 13 goals in two games, Wrexham made Grimsby Town look distinctly average at best." [Example of a nasty dangling modifier there, prose style fans – sub-editing ed.]
Sadly, a Town target in this transfer window has signed for creepy Crawley. The local Crawley rag
has announced that James Dance has left Kettering to swallow the Evans shilling. The Grimsby Telegraph has re-run last week's Lincolnshire Echo article where Fenty gave un-ironic advice to Lincoln City about how to avoid relegation. But they have added the most 'subtle' of twists in saying that this is a coded message to Town fans that the club won't be signing loads of players in January. Oh, and for the sake of completeness I should add that messrs Colgan and Gobern have had their contracts cancelled following negotiations last week.
But surely the missing link on Saturday was fantastic goalscorer-at-Wrexham Glen Downey? Perhaps we need to haul him out of retirement. A quick browse shows his after-football business ventures are even more suspect than my own. See yer.
Friday 7 January
It's been snowing a lot in Wrexham but your Guest Diarist is confident that this will turn into rain and the match tomorrow will be waterlogged rather than snowblind. Seriously, no word on the Wrexham official site yet about any inspections or owt but check before you travel westwards, folks. And don't miss the return of the Cod Almighty pre-match factfile to find out about pubs, the opposition and lots of other, ermm, stuff.
Grimsby Town hardman, physiotherapist and assistant manager Dave Moore has partially attributed recent successes to regular training on the artificial pitch at Bradley. Not because of the weather as such, more because the surface apparently encourages quick, neat forward passing. The subscription-only pre-match preview shows the Town players passing enthusiastically, if not always neatly, and in a forward direction to back up this claim.
No-one is injured but, like everywhere, Moore explains (in between complicated horse-racing analogies), a couple are feeling a bit off-it with a fluey thing. Namely, Kempson and Connell. But both are likely to end up playing, I suspect.
So, we get to play another 'form' team. And, with Kidderminster being docked points for failing to hand in their accounts homework on time, a win tomorrow would push us up to the very edge of the play-offs. Fleetwood, our immediate target team to overtake, are away at Forest Green – one of those many teams capable of beating everyone or losing to anyone. But it's too early for such talk, gentle reader. Let's just hope for a solid performance from the team tomorrow and a point, or even a sneaky 1-0 win, would be bloody excellent.
The Grimsby Yoof's opponents in the FA Youth Cup will be Newcastle (away) after the young Magpies beat Dulwich 6-2 last night.
Before I congratulate on the England team's very excellent indeed Ashes win, I must make brief mention of the rather fetching outfit worn by Radio Humberside's David Burns on Look North last night. Out-of-area readers will be fascinated to learn that Burnsy teamed a rather effete but fetching pastel lavender outfit with a matching scarf casually knotted in the latest TV scarf style. Peter Levy, take note. But I digress from that knackering-but-exhilarating win at the cricket. Here's a reminder of why we weren't supposed to perform like that. See yer.
Thursday 6 January
Mardy Diary writes: I wonder what the steps taken were which ended with the Lincolnshire Echo running a story on John Fenty offering relegation avoidance advice to Lincoln City? I'm not daft enough to think that Fenty had a look at the fourth division table and then decided to give Lincoln a few pointers. He's done a few odd things here and there, but that would suggest a deterioration in mental health of worrying proportions. No, I think someone at the Lincolnshire Echo has thought: "Hang on, hang on, this is like Grimsby from the last couple of seasons, there's a pattern here."
But then what? Did they look at the wrong season and think: "Well, Grimsby managed to avoid the drop – I'll found out what did the trick for them"? Or was it more a case of what didn't work for Grimsby? I suppose tips on what not to do are still useful, even if they only cover one particular set of variables. Personally, if I were Fenty and was phoned by a newspaper asking for tips on how to avoid relegation my response might just be "no comment".
What's missing from this piece, unfortunately, is the Lincoln chairman's response to this advice – assuming that he actually reads it in the first place. Lincoln would need to sign or loan more than 15 players in January to get anywhere near the ridiculous player turnover Town had last season, which amounts to a complete change of the first team in the middle of the season.
Personally, I think we should be encouraging them to sign more players – preferably two or three who already live fairly local to Lincoln, maybe? A winger? A central midfielder? Perhaps an 'experienced' goalkeeper? They definitely need to bolster – that's my view. And as a local club keen to be in the same league as them, we should do all we can to help that become a reality.
News sure to please some but probably annoy more is the club's current 'January sale' of half-season tickets. These work out at about £13 a match and so give a saving of around three to five quid, depending on which stand you go in and when you buy your ticket. I can't be arsed to do the maths, to be honest – I'll leave that for others. I do know my early-bird Pontoon season ticket worked out at around 11-ish quid a match: although with postponements and me not able to make evening games I'm a bit down on that anyway. Not that I bought the season ticket to make a saving anyway – with missed matches and reduced tickets in previous seasons, I always knew it would more than likely work out more expensive. I'm just a bit lazy and can't be doing with phoning up for tickets and queueing and all that kind of business. And I like to see the club have a bit of money during the summer so there's cashflow to pay off the previous season's underachieving wastrels.
You know what would be nice, though? Some sort of loyalty scheme for those tragic enough among us who have continued to renew our season tickets during the 'decade of decline'. Failing that, some sort of memorial outside the ground to commemorate our loss of sanity. See ya.
Wednesday 5 January
Well, now. Your original/regular diary is quite sure that GTFC fans aren't getting carried away with our team's wild horse ride of a start to 2011. Granted, it's not every year that the the Mariners begin by scoring 13 goals in two successive games (the Grimsby Telegraph has a statty piece about it today, but the club's official programme was super-quick off the mark with a couple of Tweets right after the Histon game). But with the sickening slump the club has undergone over the past eight years, our feet are sure to stay at least as firmly on the ground as Leapy Lee Peacock's.
All of which level-headedness and leaden-footedness brings us to the transfer window. Those of a more giddy disposition might wonder why, in the wake of two such stunning results, Neil Woodses needs to strengthen his squad very much, if at all. But as we saw last week, the mild-mannered Mariners manager was about to sign O'Peterborough hold-up forward Liam Hatch, only for the player to accept less money and a shorter contract to remain with his current loan club Darlington. Scoring for fun Town may be at the moment, but there ain't a lot of effective cover and competition for places up front, and a bit of height wouldn't go amiss. To continue the theme of not getting carried away, let's bear in mind, too, that only Dean Sinclair's hamstrings currently separate GTFC from the midfield mediocrity that has blighted most of Woodses' term in charge. So some further squad building in the centre of the pitch would be useful, perhaps with a player like the limited Leary being quietly moved on elsewhere.
Much talk, meanwhile, is surrounding the position of Rob Atkinson and Straight Peter Bore. Both players' current contracts expire at the end of this season and the excellent recent form of both has apparently had the scouts flocking to BP. "I was in charge during the January window last season and we didn't get one call or enquiry for any player we had," reveals Woodses today in a compare-and-contrast statement that may well be the least surprising in the history of human communication. The Diary can't be arsed to check whether Atko and SPB will have turned 24 by May and hence free to leave on Bosmans (nor, it seems, can the Grimsby Telegraph), but even if they're not, any compensation awarded by a tribunal for Atkinson would be pretty minimal given that he's only been here ten minutes. Which is another pretty sobering thought given that he and Bore are Town's two longest-serving players.
As for Bore, let's hope we can take him at his word when he says signing his new contract at GTFC "will come in good time". The frighteningly heterosexual winger/right-back/forward told the Telegraph the other day he'd turned down a new offer because "Talk about contracts can sometimes disrupt me so I just want to concentrate fully on football. I don't believe in thinking about things outside; I just want to get my head down and concentrate." Given the extraordinary patience extended to Bore by Grimsby Town Football Club over his career so far, it'd be a pretty nasty sight to see him cut and run just as that loyalty was at last beginning to pay off. Still, it's not like Town have never had to cope without SPB before. True, his form has been excellent for most of the past year. But there were long periods previously when Town had to cope without him even when he was starting matches and standing on the pitch.
That's all for now, but if you're interested in genning up on the latest situation at Wrexham – Town's destination this Saturday, of course – then Twohundredpercent is the place, and there's a petition to try and save their ground as well. Thanks for reading and bye for now.
Tuesday 4 January
The undertow may be dragging Grimsby Town FC inexorably down the leagues, but the New Year weekend saw some defiant Town waves crash down on Mansfield and Histon. Thirteen goals, nine scorers. Yesterday saw manager Woods sensibly introduce three substitutes to rest key players. They all came on and scored. If there is a world league based on the calendar year 2011, your Guest Diarist thinks we would be top. And what goals – cute free kicks from the top drawer not the sock drawer; audacious lobs from the halfway line; outrageous back-heels; quickly taken throw-in goals... why, we even scored from a corner.
I suppose the Christmas of 1933 saw a better pair of results: we beat Manchester United 3-1 away in the old Division Two on Christmas Day, and then promptly thumped them at home on Boxing Day 7-3. So keep some perspective, folks – we beat Histon yesterday, a place nowhere near as big as Brigg. But you have to muse on why, don't you? We look fitter in the second half these days. We have a full squad available with a strong bench. We've spent hundreds of thousands more than them. Our benefactor owners must be purring for once as their bank accounts dwindle. Perhaps this isn't the day to harp on about the inequality in football but it does distort the game. And in the last ten years we've seen it from both angles.
So spare a thought for the super-friendly folk at Histon, who offered the Town fans the most friendly of welcomes, who took defeat on the chin and still smiled and who, I hope, will keep turning up to support their team.
Meanwhile we face the trip to 'form team' Wrexham on Saturday (they drew at home to Mansfield and got a point at Histon). Manager Dean Saunders is explicit in his intentions: "It should be a good game and hopefully we get a massive crowd here next week because, as we normally do, we'll be going for the throat." Oh, well, going for the throat can't be worse than what Mansfield tried to do to us, eh? See yer.
Monday 3 January
Hi folks, and welcome to your exceptionally late Mardy Diary. As I decided to go for a pub lunch instead of doing my diary duty at the last moment, I've decided to experiment with today's diary. For the first time ever, Cod Almighty will be running live match updates – so check here for all the news about five minutes after you've heard it on the radio, read it on the fishy, checked it on the BBC text commentary and Sky vidiprinter and received a text from your mate at the game. Always at the cutting edge, us...
If you want to drop us a line during the match, you can get us on that Twitter thing or drop us an email.
The teams are in and it's as you were for Town: Arthur; Wood, Kempson, Atkinson, Ridley; Bore, Cummins, Sinclair, Coulson; Connell, Ademeno. Subs: Peacock, Leary, Eagle, Hudson, Croudson
3:04 Town start lively, but a bit scrappy. No early goals today.
3:06 More Town fans in attendance than Histon fans – fairly quiet at the moment though. Town struggling to get hold of the ball.
3:07 Free-kick for Histon, Town clear under pressure.
3:10 Half chance for Ademeno after good work by Connell. Then another snatched chance from Ademeno which deflects harmlessly to the keeper.
Ref today is Michael Bull, who took charge of the Cambridge away match. Wasn't too bad on the day, but let down by rubbish assistants.
3:13 Apparently the pitch is a bit rubbish – I assume it's digging up a bit and not letting the ball run.
3:15 Histon coping well with the high balls, and Town struggling with it on the floor. Corner to Town: Coulson plays it straight to the keeper.
3:17 Town are going to have to battle for a scrappy win here – ooh, but good play from Coulson. He's started lively again, creating a few half chances.
3:18 More good play by Coulson leads to a snatched chance by Connell which he puts over.
3:19 "Under no real threat," says George. Histon to score on the break then?
3:21 Bore struggling to get in the game. Sinclair fouled – again. Him and Connell clearly seen as the biggest threat from opposing teams. Connell forces a save.
YAAAAAYYYY! Charles gets his first after the ball comes back out from Connell's shot. He mis-hits it and it goes in anyway – sign of a good striker, obviously.
3:22 Town perking up a bit now, but taking an early lead here was vital. They could do with killing the game off as soon as possible.
3:25 I think George Kerr has just countered his own argument. Nice to hear balanced commentary.
3:27 Town still creating chances, and so far the defence have coped with Histon attacks. I'm not counting chickens here though, let me make that clear.
And as I say that, Kempson and Arthur get in a bit of a pickle from nothing.
3:29 Good insight from George Kerr: apparently Connell is "a goalscorer". He's not wrong.
3:31 Connell having 'nearly' moments – always a good sign that he's warming up for a goal.
3:32 Welch having a good game in goal for Histon.
3:33 About a third of the match gone: Town 6 shots, Histon 1.
3:34 Corner for Histon, to the far post. Cleared and Town break but fail to take advantage. Ball still with Town.
3:36 Free kick to Town to the far post, Atkinson heads it back across. Oooh, Ademeno misses a good chance, just putting it over. Come on Charles – you've scored already, no pressure.
3:38 Our man on the spot Tony Butcher reports that the match is "stodgy. Ademeno miss hit. They haven't had a shot yet. We lead". About as much as we knew already then...
3:40 Good pressure from Town with Ridley playing the ball in to Connell. Cross from Bore leads to a corner.
Corner comes to nothing, straight to the keeper.
3:41 Names mentioned a lot so far: Connell, Ademeno, Coulson, Sinclair, Bore. Promising.
3:43 Town not making the best of set pieces. Ball too close to the keeper or not reaching Town players.
3:44 "I love bounce-ups," says George Kerr. Who doesn't George?
3:45 Little bit of pressure from Histon – Town not clearing their lines properly. Comfortable save for Arthur, but Town need to stay alert.
3:45 Town push forward again. Coulson smacks the ball slightly wide after good pressure from Town. A minute of injury time to play.
3:47 Some pushey-shovey by Murray and Wood just leads to a little chat with the ref. Town under pressure.
3:48 HALF TIME. A scrappy game so far, possibly due to the pitch, but it's been Town all game and they should really be at least a couple of goals up already. Just need to steady themselves in front of goal a bit.
So Town lead 1-0 with a first goal for Ademeno.
Half-time stats show Town have 11 shots to Histon's two, with 61 per cent possession. Yes, that does make me nervous.
Tony Butcher's half-time report: "1-0 Supercharles slice. Messy game, messy pitch. They had a single effort, we missed two close in. Hot chocolate with cream!" I assume that last comment refers to the Histon catering, but who knows with Tony. It's probably a reference to a 1973 Mud b-side.
4:03 Town kick off for the second half.
4:03 Early chance for Ademeno then a Kempson slip leads to a chance on the break for Histon. Corner to Histon: half-cleared and Town get the blocks in.
Town need to watch themselves early on this half.
4:05 Yellow card for Oyebanjo after a foul halfway in the Histon half. Ridley puts the free kick in but fails to reach a Town player. Town retain the ball and win a corner.
4:06 Ridley plays the corner in to Coulson who appears to be fouled in the box.
Yaaaaay! Another goal for Ademeno. See Charles, I said you could do it. Whacks the ball in to the back of the net. Now for a third...
4:08 Second goal seems to have relaxed the Town fans, who are starting to make a bit more noise after a largely silent first half.
4:09 Niggly fouls going in on Coulson. Result: Coulson booked. Referee FAIL, again.
4:12 Butcher reports that the linesman is flagging for Town but the ref is ignoring him.
4:12 Riza booked for a lunge.
4:13 Ridley continues to pass the ball to the keeper from set-pieces. Then Ademeno is booked for having the ball kicked at him by the Histon keeper. That's the second time that has happened this season, isn't it? (Not for Ademeno, but for a Town player.)
4:15 Key match update from Butcher: "Advert for undertaker called Nutters". It's gone a bit quiet again then.
4:16 Town fans pretend to be Wednesday/Wolves fans circa 1999 ("What's it like to see a crowd?").
4:18 Short spell of pressure for Histon. Very short and leads to exactly no chances.
4:20 George Kerr: "I don't see any reason why Grimsby should concede against these."
4:21 Half-chance for Town following good work from Coulson, Ademeno and Sinclair. Hudson warming up.
Connell effort cleared off the line following a corner.
4:22 Yaaay! Sinclair scores after the keeper punches away from a Ridley corner. Hudson comes on to replace Sinclair.
4:24 "Suits you Sinclair," says Tony Butcher.
4:26 Histon seem to have given up. Town starting to play with freedom. More goals in this game if Town are interested. Eagle warming up.
4:27 Corner for Town. Point blank save after Ademeno gets a touch on a Kempson flick.
4:28 Sub: Eagle replaces Coulson as Saturday. Coulson has had a great game again, but Eagle looked lively on Saturday too.
4:30 Stats so far: Town 16 shots, Histon 4.
4:31 Sub: Connell comes off (assume he's being rested, due to number of games). Peacock takes his place.
4:33 Town cruising a bit now and match has gone a bit flat. Understandable given the number of games to play this month.
4:34 Kerr on Peacock: "Is his wife a hairdresser or something?"
4:35 Half-chance for Histon after Town get a bit too casual. Game hasn't finished yet, Town...
4:36 Town's creativity seems to have disappeared since Sinclair went off.
4:38 Saying that – a break from Town sees Eagle and Ridley create an easy chance for Hudson to knock home. 4-0. Lovely stuff Town.
4:39 Seven different scorers for the last two games. Seven! Fuck me.
4:40 This is a hard-working display for Town, but they've managed plenty of chances still.
But then Town asleep and Histon pull a goal back.
4:41 Butcher says: "The moustachioed chilli is dancing! 4-1 just been sloppy." Answers on a postcard...
4:42 It's five – and from an EIGHTH different player. Peacock back-heels home. Shit the bed!
4:43 Oooh – Bore nearly makes it six, but the keeper holds his ground.
4:46 655 Town fans there today. Well worth the trip. Another corner for Town. Cummins goes close on the volley.
4:48 Four minutes of stoppage time. Go on Town!
4:50 Oh yes! Eagle scores a long-range beauty. NINE different scorers. Bloody Nora Town, keep it up!
4:52 That's it. Outstanding Town. Absolutely outstanding. On a difficult surface, they worked hard and created plenty of chances.
Butcher says: "Eagle from the halfway line!" I can't wait to see that.
Final stats: Town 22 shots, Histon 7. Seeya!