From sleepwalkers to hard workers: Jolley has performed a miracle

Well, that’s a wrap for another season. It’s just typical of Town that you spend most of your time wishing it away and then, just as we find some form and start to get interesting, it ends.

Dale Vince. More like Stale Vince. The Mariners signed off with an impressive 3-0 win at Forest Green in what could’ve been a tense affair that makes your arse crack go all clammy but what ended up being a leisurely stroll at the New Lawn.

After teasing Barnet a bit we managed to finish four places and five points ahead of the Bees, who themselves finished in fine form.

But they’d rather be in non-League than come from Grimsby, so I’m glad they got their wish. Football rarely delivers what you want, so I hope they remain in non-League for many years to come.

What Michael Jolley has achieved in his short time as Grimsby boss is nothing short of remarkable.

Remember – he’s been here for less than 10 weeks. TEN weeks.

Just over 11 weeks ago my wife and I became parents. We still don’t know what the hell we’re doing – and we only have to manage one person.

In those 10 weeks Jolley saved a failing, ailing squad of players from sleepwalking into non-League and turned them into a squad of players that looked organised, motivated and confident.

He turned them into winners. I didn’t know someone like JJ Hooper had it in him.

They won the big matches, when it mattered. And let’s not forget – there was no honeymoon period. Jolley didn’t win any of his first five games.

His second five included four wins and a draw.

It’s not just been on the pitch where he’s made a mark, though. It’s been in his assured interviews. It’s been in his community work, and his acknowledgment that the club is more than just a two-hour thing on a Saturday afternoon.

He knows that the football club belongs to the community. He knows the fans are integral to the future health of the club. He gets it. It’s just a shame those who employed him don’t.

He got the team scoring goals, keeping clean sheets, looking competitive, hungry and playing in a style that will get fans buying their season tickets for next season.

He got the fans on board. He’s got me thinking that following the Mariners might just be enjoyable once again.

To turn the situation around in the way that he has, in the timeframe he’s done it, is in direct contrast to Russell Slade’s ability to turn half decent sides into relegation fodder.

Next season could actually be fun.

 

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