Well, that’s that, then. Grimsby Town are non-league. Again.
There’s a lot to process after last night’s 3-2 defeat at Exeter, which made the Greatest of Great Escapes mathematically impossible.
There was the manner of defeat to deal with — and then there was the manner of Radio Humberside’s coverage, which had to conduct emotionally-charged (and even tearful) interviews over a phone because they refused to send a reporter to the game.
But possibly the most galling thing about last night is this:
The team that got relegated at Exeter is not the team that deserved to get relegated.
Sadly, many of those who are responsible, including former ‘manager’ and professional prat Ian Holloway, are no longer at the club.
Obviously there’s one key player who remains. But hopefully not for long.
Of course, there can be no arguments that we deserve to go down. It’s been a lousy season. A truly horrible, forgettable one.
In terms of points-per-game, there may be little to separate Hurst from Holloway — but that is to overlook the work he has done to build a team that has restored some pride in what has been a largely hopeless campaign.
He is not immune from criticism and has, for sure, made a few mistakes along the way. But that’s gonna happen when you’re forced to basically re-build a squad, mid-season.
“Player A, meet Player B. Now play like you’ve always played together. And hurry up, we haven’t got much time. Players C, D and E, I hope you were listening.”
The likes of Giles Coke and Lenell John-Lewis have brought a committed and workmanlike attitude that was so desperately missing.
Elliott Hewitt and Harry Clifton found another gear. Rollin Menayese and Jay Matete have been excellent loans.
No more darts tournaments. No more misshapen balls. No more weird post-match comments about mud being on the mud.
The temptation is to think of today as a low point. But the low point was months ago.
We’re already on the up. Okay, we’ve got to drop down to a shambolic league whose governance has been seriously called into question first, but hey — you can’t make an omelette without breaking the morale of the fans, as they say.
But the takeover edges closer. We know who our manager will be next season. We know we’ll get a hard-working team of pros.
We’ll be allowed to actually go to games.
No one wants relegation. But if it’s a consequence of the detox we’ve so desperately needed to rid ourselves of an addiction forced upon us by a power-rich tyrant, then so be it.