When the summer arrives and the football disappears for a bit, it gives way to the annual willy-waving season in which one fan claims to know more about player contract negotiations than the next, citing spurious ‘sources’ and insiders that remain conveniently vague. In the absence of any action, it at least provides some entertainment.
John-Lewis was on his way to Wigan, apparently, before signing for Newport. Nobody saw that coming. It’s a shame to see the Shop go – after all, he was our top scorer last season. We waited two and a half years for him to reach his potential, and just as he reaches it he does one to Newport.
That he’s been able to earn a two year deal in the Football League is down to Paul Hurst – and the fact that he scored 20 goals last season, obviously. But Hurst worked with him over that time, made him into a better player and stuck by him when others began to doubt his ability.
A two year deal in League 2 must be tough to turn down. Good luck to the bloke.
Shaun Pearson agreeing a new contract with the club appeared to be the deal most in doubt. I think it’s fair to say that the majority of us were expecting him to leave, but the news that he signed a new two-year deal today is possibly the biggest bonus of them all so far.
It’s not just Shaun’s ability on the pitch; it’s his attitude off it that makes him a credit to the club. He’s always involved in the community and is a great ambassador for the Mariners. It’s a great show of loyalty when there were other clubs poking their noses in and sniffing around.
Arnold, Brown, Robertson and Clay have all signed new one-year deals and join Gowling, Mackreth, Disley and Pittman who all signed earlier this week. The mainstay of the squad from last season is good to go again – almost. Hopefully it’s enough to encourage the two remaining players, Nsiala and Magnay, to sign on the dotted line.
It’s rare that the fans get so excited about ‘existing’ players re-signing for the club. Normally we’re preoccupied with the prospect ‘new’ players joining; that someone’s been spotted at Millfields, or a League 2 journeyman who used to have good games against us was spotted filling his car up at the petrol station on the A180.
There will still be some of that, of course. The Fishy will provide a location for fans to jostle for the coveted position of I-know-more-than-you. But all in good time. For once the fans recognise that the group of players who got us so close to the Football League last season are, for the first time in almost a generation, worth the entrance fee – which is why we’ve been so desperate to see them sign up for another season.
A lot of credit has to go to Hurst. There have been rumours that our players were offered more to join other clubs in the Conference (Eastleigh, Forest Green and possibly Tranmere are the only likely teams to have the clout to do that) but they’ve chosen to stay at Grimsby.
If it’s not for the continuity, the fans or the camaraderie, then it’s almost certainly for the manager.