In 2009/10 the Mariners set a new club record of 25 league games without a win.
The first five matches of that run came under the guidance – if you want to call it that – of Mike ‘it’s tokenism’ Newell, who was a big hit with our female fans (and local bars).
He was sacked just one day after the board issued a statement to say he wouldn’t get sacked (we do our PR on the pitch, remember) and youth boss Neil Woods (boo, cheap option, no contacts) was given the job of keeping us up.
He failed to win any of his first 20 league games in charge, and we got relegated.
Given how shit we’ve been lately, a lot of parallels have naturally been drawn between our current form under Russell ‘PowerPoint’ Slade and that infamous 2009/10 season.
We know Woods didn’t win any of those 20 matches. So far, so obvious. But did you know, for example, that we drew 14 of them? Here’s the record in full:
W 0 D 14 L 6 F 13 A 23 Pts 14
Naturally, 14 points from a possible 60 was never going to keep us up, so even though we rallied towards the end of the season, we never got out of the bottom two and we spent the next six seasons stuck in non-League.
Like any of us could forget.
But 14 points from a possible 60. Remember that.
Russell Slade is shit. He was shit at Cardiff (no one liked him), he was shit at Charlton (no one liked him, sacked after winning five of 21 games) and he was shit at Coventry (no one liked him, sacked after winning three of 16 games).
He’s now being shit at Grimsby. But how shit, I hear you ask?
Well, much has been made of our 12-game winless run, which stretches back to early December. Four points, four goals and three red cards.
That, by anyone’s standards, is shit. But, to be fair to Slade, I looked further back into our season in a sort of devil’s advocate sort of way, and it actually gets worse for him.
I looked at his last 20 games in charge, to draw fair parallels with Woods. The results?
W 3 D 6 L 11 F 10 A 27 Pts 15
Forget about winless runs. We’ve taken just 15 points from a possible 60. That points tally across the same period under Woods, remember, was 14.
We have been in relegation form not since early December but from mid-October.
Our points tally since then has been as bad as it was under Woods in 2009/10.
In fact, Slade’s lost five more games than Woods did in the same period of time.
We’ve scored three fewer goals than we did under Woods. Our goal difference is seven worse than it was under Woods.
We have been in relegation form for 20 games, not just 12.
If managers are only six games away from the sack, as Fenty reminded us in those videos where he calls Marcus Bignot a ‘fruit loop’ and Akwasi Asante a ‘fucking arsehole’, I wonder just what depths Russell Slade has to plumb in order to get booted out of Blundell Park?
He’s signed more loan players than he can legally name in a matchday squad of 16, which seems dumb.
He’s got a return of 10 goals in 20 games from an abundance of striking talent that he brought to the club (after dropping our top scorer and selling him to Shrewsbury).
And we still have an embarrassingly large squad for the level we are at.
Plus, don’t forget, this is his side, playing his way. He’s had 10 months to sign these players and coach them – luxuries that Woods never had.
I mean, I won’t go over all the calamitous stuff that’s gone on off the pitch too because that’s been covered before (Checkatrade, Matt Dean, bra-gate, SLO, Fishy outbursts, you get the picture), but rumour has it we can’t get rid of Slade because some numpty chucked a load of money at him – money that Paul Hurst was refused, if you believe what in-the-know people tell you.
We’re not winning, we’re not scoring, attendances are dwindling, fans are protesting, our away following has more than halved, we look like relegation fodder and we have a manager everyone positively hates but won’t leave because he’s not a quitter (apart from that time he quit on us just before our play-off final in 2006, narurally).
But the crux of it is this:
Russell Slade has been failing for years. He’s a football dinosaur. His tactics are dull and uninspiring. They were worked out years ago by opposing managers. He’s been worked out.
He’s not building anything because he’s never built anything in his life. He jumps ship or gets sacked – there’s no legacies at any of the clubs he’s managed.
I’m not attending Blundell Park again while Slade is in charge, and neither are hundreds more fans. This club is being driven back into non-League by people who treat others based on how rich or privileged we are, and I’m not standing for it. I’m certainly not paying to be treated that way.
Got no money? Then shut up. Don’t ask questions. Do as we say.
This is 2009/10 happening all over again, but the form we’re in now is worse. We are close to falling into the abyss once again.
This time we may not find another Paul Hurst to bring us back out.