This is 2009/10 happening all over again – and here’s the proof

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.

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We’re not just repeating mistakes from 2009/10 – we’re repeating mistakes from last year

Today’s Cod Almighty diary notes that this Saturday’s match squad for our trip to in-form Crawley will include precisely no one who played for us this time last year in a 5-0 defeat at Crewe.

I was at Gresy Road that day and witnessed the calamity. It was obvious that the starting XI were complete strangers – and if the weird formation Marcus Bignot imposed wasn’t confusing enough for a team that was still trying to learn each other’s names, they then had to play with Gavin Gunning.

Although it wasn’t nice to watch, I was just about willing to accept that these things happen because, you know, football is played by human beings with emotions and feelings and a whole host of issues that could affect their mental preparations to the point where it impacts negatively on their physical ability.

Remember the context – we had a (relatively) new manager who got over-excited and splurged a load of cash on new players, and then he threw them into a team that was trying to gel again after Paul Hurst found an escape route to Shrewsbury.

And we’d just lost our talisman, Omar Bogle. Is it any wonder we played badly?

The squad upheaval, combined with a change in tactics, training and culture, most definitely contributed to our downfall that day (and other days besides).

Therefore, I find it incredible that within 12 months we find ourselves in exactly the same situation. Not one survivor from a squad of SIXTEEN in that short time? Madness.

Once again, we’ve let a manager act like a child given keys to the sweet shop.

We’ve literally let Russell Slade repeat the same mistakes Bignot made – only Slade has generally signed poorer players, got the team playing uglier football and has now delivered our worst run of league results in eight years.

Slade has also begun replacing players that he signed on two-year contracts only six months ago.

John Fenty recently made it clear to a couple of fans in a car that Bignot wasn’t sacked based on results (which was a shame for our PR department because, as we all know, our PR is done on the pitch).

By drawing on all my investigative instincts I can deduce, therefore, that Bignot was sacked for what he did off the pitch – namely signing a shit load of players, just because he could.

And for being a ‘fruit loop’, whatever that means.

It’s a shame none of our esteemed directors had the foresight or balls in January 2017 to say: ‘Marcus, I know you’re excited that you have all this money to spend, but we really think 12 central midfielders is enough for a team in the fourth division. You don’t need a 13th.’

Similarly, none of our directors felt able to say: ‘Russ, I know you don’t like half the players you signed in the summer but it’s December and we’re in the top half, just a few points outside the play-offs. They’re not that bad. You don’t need to sign another entire squad on loan.’

Every accusation levelled at Bignot can be levelled at Slade, and then some. If Bignot was a fruit loop then how would you describe someone who loans players from other clubs to replace permanent members of the squad because he played them for five minutes and decided they were crap?

When Grimsby Town’s starting XI walks out onto the pitch at Crawley, we’ll be once again watching a bunch of strangers still trying to learn each other’s names while dealing with new tactics, training and culture. The football will be dull and difficult to watch. The players won’t be easily identifiable or that well known to us.

It won’t be a team of Grimsby players, but players who just happen to be playing for Grimsby.

When Russell Slade says he’s a builder not a fixer, he’s lying. The smoke emanating from his fiery pants is clouding his sight and the inhalation is clearly affecting his judgment.

We aren’t just repeating mistakes from 2009/10 when we got relegated to non-league; we’re repeating mistakes that we made only last year.

We continue to learn nothing.

 

Conversations that definitely did not happen at Grimsby Town: Part I

Russell Slade: Hi Harry. Thanks for signing this two-year contract. Welcome to Grimsby Town Football Club.

Harry Cardwell: Thanks boss, delighted to be here. Looking forward to getting some games under my b-

Slade: Sorry, Harry. Got to cut you off there. I’m trying to sign another striker to bolster our attacking options. [Answers phone] Hi, is that JJ?

JJ Hooper: Hi Russ. Yeah, just looking through my contract now. It says until 2019. You know we’re still only in 2017 yeah?

Slade: Just sign the papers, JJ. We need strikers before the start of the season.

Scott Vernon, Sam Jones and Akwasi Asante: Ahem, excuse me boss, but…

Slade: Not now, lads. Can’t you see I’m doing business? Jamille! Nice to hear from you. Boy, do we need a striker.

Jamille Matt: Yes, and I’m looking for some game time. Won’t get it at Blackpool. When can I join up with you guys?

Slade: Come over now! I’ll stick you straight into the squad. We could do with a striker. One second, Jamille-

Charles Vernam: Hi boss, apparently you want me to join on loan from Derby? That’d be awesome! I’m from the area, you see. Just a bit unsure about the competition for places as you seem to have a lot of strikers here already…

Slade: Them? Oh don’t worry about them. The thing about having loads of strikers is that you’ll never struggle for goals.

Vernam: But we’ve only scored two goals in the last seven games.

Slade: Shit! Have we? Jesus. Right, only one way to solve this. Hello Leeds? Can I speak to Mallik please.

Mallik Wilks: Hello? Who are you?

Slade: I’m the Defence Slayer, Russell Slade. We play boomball over in Grimsby. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Wanna join?

Wilks: Hmm, sounds like I could score a few there. How many other strikers have you got, Russ?

Slade: Five permanent and two loanees. But don’t let that put you off. I’ll play you. You have my word.

Wilks: Brilliant! I’ll be right over. What system do you like to pl-

Slade: Shut up, Mallik. Can’t you see I’m busy trying to sign a striker? Blimey. The youth of today. No respect. You’re on the bench. Yes, hello? Is that Simeon?

Simeon Jackson: Hi Russ, you bald headed bastard. Which club are you shafting these days?

Slade: Oi, cheeky! Grimsby. Wanna join? Got a good thing going here. You’ll get starts here, and when you turn out to be shit I’ll bench you, then drop you altogether because I can’t be arsed to coach anyone these days. It’s too hard. They don’t pay me enough.

Jackson. Hmm. Well, I’m not doing much here. Could be fun, for five minutes.

Slade: Great! Don’t get smart, though. I’m only signing you because I couldn’t get that barrel-chested bastard from Wycombe and that whale from York. Got that? Good. Right. Come in, Sam.

Sam Jones: Yes boss?

Slade: It’s just not working out for you here, is it? I mean, 12 goals in 28 appearances is just not good enough in a year when we’ve been bloody awful.

Jones: Well, it’s almost one in two. Keep me fit, play me up front every game and I’ll get you 20 goals a season.

Slade: Yes, but I’d have to make an effort. Anyway, I didn’t sign you. Who the fuck do you think you are, coming in here telling me how good you are at scoring?

Jones: But boss, you’ve barely bothered to make the effort-

Slade: Right, pack your bags. You’re off to Shrewsbury. I hear they play awful football these days and the manager is a dour Yorkshire twat.

Nigel Lowther: Hi Russell, Nigel here. Why have you signed loads of strikers and released your top scorer?

John Fenty: Let me handle this one, Russ. Yes, hello Nigel. You’re barred.

[Slade and Fenty high-five]

Matt Dean: Hi John. Hi Russ. I hear someone could be joining the coaching staff. Is this true?

Fenty: [adjusts turtle neck sweater] Well, some people should try conducting some due diligence before spreading nasty hateful rumours. Some people are so rude! How dare some local journalists investigate things and then ask questions.

Slade: You had me shitting my nylon boxers there. You lose trust, Matt. You lose trust.

Fenty (to Slade): We’re so good at running the football club, Russ.

Slade: Yes, I know. I’ve signed a load of cack, who I don’t play. And I’ll keep signing cack. And if anyone dares to be good, I’ll bench them. And if there’s anyone here with an ounce of talent that I didn’t sign, they can do one. I’ve brought boomball back, John. We’re really building something here. I think… I think I have an erection.

Fenty: Me too, Russ. Me too.

 

Our startling decline shows why we are all ultimately losers

Ah, Grimsby. No one remembers that it’s preceded with ‘Great’ any more. Russell Slade has made sure that bit’s now entirely redundant, or seen only as ironic, such is the shambles he’s manufactured this season.

‘John, the bunch of players I signed in the summer have turned out to be a big steaming pile of crap. I’d turn to the ones I inherited but I’ve either sold them or pissed them off, so they don’t want to play for me any more. There’s only one way out of this. Quick – give me more cash so I can chuck more players at the situation. And, if we all cross our fingers, things might just work themselves out!’

Now, Slade may or may not have said this in a meeting with majority shareholder John Fenty over a PowerPoint presentation on the merits of getting centre backs to hoof the ball as hard and as high as they possibly can, but it sums up rather neatly the impact our manager has achieved since returning last April.

Our decline has been startling. We started off wobbly, intent on setting a new world record for the most red cards earned in consecutive matches, and when we finally worked out how to keep 11 men on the pitch, things settled down.

The football was generally shit (cue link to that bizarre analogy Ian Holloway made about his team’s performance being like taking an unattractive woman back to the house for a coffee and some fondling) but we won enough points to take us close to the play-offs at the start of December, and the league position of 12th at least made up for the desperate lack of entertainment on the pitch.

Since then, though, we’ve been truly awful.

Not only have we drawn three and lost six of our last nine league games, we’ve only managed to score three goals in that time.

Watching the Mariners this season has been like watching paint dry – that old adage. It wouldn’t be so bad if the colour of paint was at least interesting, but it’s not. It’s some kind of indiscernible shade of shit, but watered down to almost nothing. We’re so anaemic going forward we look like we might collectively faint at any moment.

This weekend’s defeat to Luton – our fourth consecutive home defeat – is a case in point. Yes, the Hatters are top of the league – no shame in losing to the leaders – but when you consider they played nearly a whole hour of the match with 10 men, and that their goalkeeper could’ve gone up to Wonderland and spent the second half playing on the 2p machines, such was the amount of work he was made to do, you begin to realise the true level of our ineptitude.

These games happen, I hear you say – and yes, you’re right. They do. But not whole seasons.

It remains one of life’s great miracles how we’ve actually managed to accumulate 35 points this season. We’re haemorrhaging wages every week on players Slade signed but daren’t use because, frankly, they’re bloody awful. And despite sound bites to the press – who he’s constantly pissed off with because they have the temerity to ask him why we’ve been so shit – he’s still talking about trimming the squad down. Yet all he’s done is build an embarrassingly humongous squad littered with half-arsed journeymen that wouldn’t give a toss if we finished in the bottom two.

The ‘gel’ excuse boat sailed ages ago. It’s no longer acceptable to say that we go ‘back to basics’. Those things were for August and possibly September.

I didn’t go to the match today, and maybe that precludes me from having a fair say on how we’ve been playing these days. But the simple fact is this: my fridge and freezer both benefited from a ruddy good clean today as a direct result of Town being so shit. And while I’m delighted that two domestic chores have finally been dealt with after months of procrastination, it pisses me off immensely that this is the situation I find myself in.

Of course I’d rather be at Blundell Park instead of melting the ice that slowly enveloped some chips and a bag of peas, but such is the boredom Slade has brought, it’s made me realise that I’d rather watch slow-melting ice drip into trays.

We’re playing the kind of football that got us relegated to non-league in 2009/10 – and that’s exactly where we’ll end up if we continue to plod along as we are.

Lessons have not been learnt. Getting relegated out of the Football League was bad enough, but to be relegated a second time by repeating the same mistakes that took us into the wilderness for six years would be utterly unforgivable.

The fans can see it happening. They can see it a mile off, and that’s what’s most painful. There won’t be fans of another football club nine points clear of relegation feeling as nervous as us right now.

But what truly worries us is that John Fenty can’t see it. He can’t see how he’s destroying this club. The only thing worse is the idea that he can see it, and he chooses not to do anything about it.

You have to ask yourself what sort of club lets its most successful manager in 20 years just walk to Shrewsbury. You have to ask yourself what sort of club releases its 37-goal striker in the summer after winning your first promotion in 18 years.

Fenty is incapable of recognising when something is worth fighting for. If Paul Hurst was asking for a 50% pay rise, you’d give him it. If he was asking for a bloody strength and conditioning coach, you’d give him it. If Padraig Amond wanted a two-year deal, you’d give him it.

But no.

Let’s deny Hurst the financial support he worked hard to earn. Let’s hand Amond to Hartlepool on a plate.

Let’s bring back a deeply unpopular manager with no promotions in his entire managerial career. Let’s bring back the awful style of football he was known for. Let’s vote for the Checkatrade nonsense when none of the fans wanted it.

Let’s fall out with the local media. Let’s piss off our tremendously hard-working SLO. Let’s give our unsuccessful manager more money to buy more average players in the transfer window despite his terrible recruitment in the summer.

John Fenty falls out with winners because winners start dominating. They want more control. He can’t handle them. Instead he’s attracted to losers. He is literally a loser. And because he’s the main man; the majority shareholder, it means we’re all ultimately losers.

A couple of wins will change nothing. That’s why we’ll continue to be losers until the day Fenty goes.

Pound for pound, and class for class, the worst Grimsby team I have seen since I was born

If wallpaper could speak it’d say ‘Hi, my name is Grimsby Town’.

We are in one hell of a rut.

At the start of December we were outside the League 2 play-offs on goal difference only, and today, seven games on, we’re sat 17th, having picked up just two points from a possible 21 while playing some of the most gut-grindingly boring, hoof-and-hope, chew-on-cotton-wool-and-scratch-your-nails-down-a-blackboard type of football seen at Blundell Park since… well, since manager Russell Slade was last here.

No one wanted Russell Slade back, except for one man. A man who thinks he knows best; a man who thinks throwing money at something will solve everything; a man who has overseen our most consistent, under-performing, lowest ebb-reaching spell in the club’s entire history.

Slade is a deeply unloved manager and so it was always going to be an uphill task for him to win over the fans when Fenty believed he should return to Cleethorpes last April.

‘Thanks for your efforts, Marcus, but you’ve fucked the squad up, unsettled our longest-serving players and none of us can really see what you’re trying to do tactically,’ Fenty might have said.

Scarily, he could easily say that to Slade today.

He then went on to not say: ‘We know you had a long-term plan, Marcus, but fuck that – I’ve heard my mate is available. I don’t care if you’ve just led us to victory at Blackpool.’

So Slade was swooped in. He’s had nine months at the helm now, and in that time he’s managed to turn us into a worse side than the one he inherited.

Firstly, by releasing some of our most loyal and creative players and buying very average replacements (and I’m putting that politely) and, secondly, by getting us to play some truly appalling football.

The football has been so terrible that I publicly declared on Twitter last weekend that I wasn’t going to pay to watch us again this season unless something changes.

Since May 2016 we’ve gone from a club that had won promotion back to the Football League with a young, up-and-coming manager and real momentum – backed by the kind of amazing support that can raise £110,000, just because it could – to this unrecognisable squad of complete misfits.

We’ve won nine league games this season and the general consensus among the fans is that only a couple of them have been enjoyable – our opening day win at Chesterfield, and a Tuesday night game at home to Swindon.

We might not be in the relegation zone but if you judged us solely on creativity, goal threat, entertainment and value for money then we’re well adrift at the bottom of the league.

And when Slade is on speaking terms with the local radio, he’s telling them after our most recent defeat that we need to go ‘back to basics’.

He’s been here for nine months, for Christ’s sake, and has signed no fewer than 15 players:

Jake Kean, Ben Killip, Nathan Clarke, Paul Dixon, Reece Hall-Johnson, Karleigh Osborne, Mitch Rose, Siriki Dembele, Diallang Jaiyesimi, Sam Kelly, Martyn Woolford, Harry Cardwell, JJ Hooper, Jamille Matt and Charles Vernam have all entered the building and, broadly speaking, done nothing.

He also offered new contracts to youth players Jack Keeble, Tom Sawyer, Harry Clifton and Max Wright who have (on account of never being picked) also done nothing,

This is without doubt Russell Slade’s squad. He built it, he got it to the verge of the play-offs, and so if he’s now suggesting that it isn’t good enough and needs to buy reinforcements after just sending our most gifted midfielder back to part-time football and benching our top scorer after ruining his confidence then, if I were the majority shareholder, I’d tell him to swivel.

We are at a crossroads here and you can bet your mortgage that we’ll choose the wrong direction.

We could stop giving Slade money and ask him, politely, to pull himself together and be a fucking manager.

Or, we could continue giving Slade money to buy more players, use more money to pay off the players he no longer wants – even if he signed them – and piss more money up the wall to increase those benign loans.

The reason Fenty has put so much of his own personal fortune into the club is to cover for the colossal amount of mistakes he and the board have made over the last 17 years.

We, the fans, didn’t make those decisions. We didn’t put us in financial hardship.

What put us there is a succession of poor managerial appointments, a succession of war chests for them to waste on poor signings, and absolutely no sign of a long term plan or philosophy that would help us achieve financial stability and self-sufficiency.

Backing Russell Slade with more finances, which the club publicly declared in a press release (I thought they did all their PR on the pitch?), will ultimately create more debt. Later this year Fenty will once again have to put his hand into his pocket and dig deep to keep the club afloat.

This vicious circle needs to be broken. Only the sale of Omar Bogle saved us from going further into Fenty’s debt last year, so unless we can keep on discovering his like, we’ll simply continue to be run by an individual who needs to accept that he’ll never get his benign loans back and should instead work on finding someone else who can plug the holes in this rapidly sinking ship.

 

Gutless. Match report: Grimsby 0-1 Carlisle

The only thing worse than Grimsby Town’s current predicament is that supermarkets are already playing Christmas songs. That’s not on.

Forget today’s 1-0 defeat to Carlisle at Blundell Park. It’s been a shambolic week off the field as Honest John did that thing that all self-respecting professionals do when times get tough and splurged a big steaming pile of childish passive-aggressive bullshit on a messageboard forum because some fans dared to make the outlandish claim that his time in charge of our football club has been anything less than rosy.

Of course, nothing is as rosy as those heavily-tinted specs Fenty’s wearing these days. You know the ones – they make you look at Paul Hurst and think, ‘Wow, he’s a bit dour and Yorkshire and all that. I don’t care if he runs the club sensibly and has a long-term vision for the club that requires a few adjustments here and there – he never invited me to his wedding. What do you mean he didn’t know me when he got married?’

They’re also the specs that make you look at Russell Slade and not see a massive bald-headed football dinosaur looking straight back at you.

Russ shuffled his pack today but it made no difference – we still can’t score. At several points it seemed Carlisle let us walk right through them but Scott Vernon is having such a crisis of confidence right now that he’s not even sure he exists. Funnily enough it’s a crisis of confidence that has trundled on since the day he signed his two-year deal with us.

I refuse to boo any player that represents the Mariners but I won’t dress this up on here. He may as well have not played today, such was his contribution to the match.

We’re so bad right now that we’ve started dragging the talented Siriki Dembele down to our level.

On first half chances alone, Town deserved to be in front. On general play, 0-0 was a fair scoreline. We worked their keeper a bit, but we didn’t take what chances fell our way. Then, with 20 minutes to go, the only player in the division older than our back line headed home a simple cross and from then on we went to pieces.

Rumours that Slade has put in a call to see if he can sign Clint Hill are unsubstantiated, but that shouldn’t stop Fenty from publishing an overly-aggressive and badly-worded press statement on the Grimsby Town website to refute the rumour, and then blame Radio Humberside’s Matt Dean for it.

I won’t bother going into any details about the match because there really isn’t any point. We lost at home to a run-of-the-mill mid-table side without scoring. What else do you really need to know?

We look entirely pedestrian. We can’t expect to win games if we can’t score, but what troubles me more is the lack of fight and passion. However, those concerns pale into insignificance against the backdrop of John Fenty – the non-chairman of our proud football club who uses pseudonyms rather than his real name to patrol social media and challenge fans who don’t agree with him.

No one is perfect, but his pure pig-headedness and refusal to look facts in the face is startling. Rather than own up to just some of the many horrible decisions he’s made, he’d prefer to challenge fans to ’10 rounds’.

He gift-wrapped the best manager this club’s had in the last 20 years and delivered him to Shrewsbury. He didn’t come out in support of the fans who were unfairly treated at Stevenage. He voted for the Checkatrade Trophy format that none of us wanted. He employs staff who accuse our fans of being bullies. He allegedly told some of them to fuck off at Accrington. He won’t tell us how long Slade’s contract is for.

And, despite all this – and more (believe me, there’s so much more) – he really does believe he’s open and honest.

John Fenty claiming he’s open and honest is like Shane MacGowan claiming he’s always enoyed a full set of pearly white teeth.

I’m not a fan of Russell Slade, but I don’t think sacking him will do any good because the man responsible for finding his replacement is the most untrustworthy thing at this football club. His track record in managerial appointments is abysmal.

Grimsby Town have gone from having a young, up-and-coming manager at the helm, who signed up-and-coming players who wanted to prove they had a career in the Football League, to having an older manager who signs older players who have nothing to prove to anyone. They’ve enjoyed a Football League career and they’re ready to bow out with a nice, juicy contract from the suckers at Blundell Park. What do they care if we fall back into the abyss? Their futures aren’t on the line.

If today’s defeat to Carlisle showed anything, it’s that we’re repeating the same mistakes that got us into non-league in the first place. The squad that got us promoted into League 2 just 18 months ago would wipe the floor with this lot.

For the good of the club, John Fenty, you have to step aside and let someone else steer the ship. You are all at sea.

It’s Groundhog Day

When the majority shareholder of your beloved football club chooses the cringeworthy username ‘getyourfactsright’ to sporadically spurt messages out on an independent forum (that, yes, is often teaming with cyniscim, flaky facts and unsubstantiated rumours) then you know all is not well in the Grimsby Town boardroom.

Rumours only exist when all of the facts are not there to work with. The topic that Mr Fenty chose to clarify on the Fishy Forum on this occasion was around the transfer of a number of shares that happened many years ago.

Ok, it’s a free country. If he wants to start a debate, or add fuel to an existing one, on an independent message board, then that’s his choice.

Personally speaking, I find it embarrassing.

There are fans who appreciate his honesty, and the effort he makes to reach out to us on the Fishy. After all, he doesn’t have to do it.

Well, yes he does. Because he makes such cock-ups of the original situations that he feels the need to clean up his mess, often years later.

You see, we need to ‘get our facts right’ because we got them wrong. And why did we get them wrong? Well, because he didn’t give us all the facts in the first place.

A little honesty up front goes a long, long way.

The departure of Paul Hurst rankles with me massively. Without any clarification from Fenty, we’re simply left to wonder why the man who sounded so committed to our future after our victory at Wembley then left for Shrewsbury just a few months later.

I’m not entirely sure why Marcus Bignot was sacked, either. The reasons I’ve heard are woolly to say the least. And if it was to do with signing all those midfielders, and it creating discontent within the squad, who sanctioned those signings?

I don’t think I heard the honest truth about the way Russell Slade was approached and appointed, either – particularly around what happened when.

Yesterday I tweeted this:

When all seemed lost in April 2010 (and it was, at half time at Accrington, when we were 2-0 down and staring into the abyss) we somehow rallied and recovered to win 3-2, and keep our slender hopes of survival alive.

We all know how that story ended, but the point is this – as bad as we were (and we were pretty bad) I was willing to fork out a fair few quid every week and travel wherever I needed to give my football club the backing it needed to have a chance of staying in the Football League.

After spending six years in the National League, travelling to all sorts of places I’d never been before, and giving Hurst my absolute backing (no matter how much abuse it brought me on the Fishy) I thought the reward would be more than this.

Three managers in one season. Reviving WD40’s company by relentlessly greasing the hinges on Blundell Park’s revolving door as players come and go.

The sale of Bogle. The departure of Disley. The criminal release of Pearson.

The squad is full of unfamiliar players. We’ve abandoned everything we did right in non-league – signing young, up-and-coming players, backing an up-and-coming manager who is now more than proving his worth in the league above.

Where we once showed patience with Hurst, we showed none to Bignot.

The football is dull. The discipline is questionable. The recruitment looks untidy and worryingly bang average. I’m not sure what we have within our squad that gives me any excitement for the future – apart from the likes of Jamey Osborne and Sam Jones, who were both recruited by Bignot.

Harry Clifton will continue to be ignored. Max Wright will probably be at Boston by the end of the season.

I didn’t go to Newport yesterday. Why would I? All those miles to travel, all that money it would’ve cost me. And for what?

Huge respect for the fans that went. They deserved far more than what they got. Plenty will continue to spend their money and stand by the team, even when it’s playing dull football going nowhere fast.

Fenty is a fan of the club. He’s a successful businessman. But that’s about as far as it goes. Just when I thought we’d learned lessons from being in non-league, we return to find that we’ve actually learnt none.

If we continue to make the same mistakes, and be led by the same person who’ll continue to make those mistakes then, well, you know as well as I do where that’ll see us end up.

And I don’t want to go there again.

For the first time in my life I feel like I don’t want to go to another Grimsby match all season. We’ve been worse, but it’s not just about the quality of football.

It’s about waking up every Saturday morning and it feeling like Groundhog Day.