Remember, remember, the five wins of November. We played the perfect month, beating St Albans in the FA Cup and taking 12 points from a possible 12 to move up to third in the league. I won’t win any prizes for saying that it hasn’t always been like that (unless it’s the Most Obvious Thing To Say On A GTFC Blog award, in which case, yoink, thank you very much), but it does make me wonder whether I’m happier with us being in a lower division, where we win much more regularly.
Controversial, I know. That’d get ’em going on the Fishy, if I opened up a thread with that sort of comment. But it’s not the first time I’ve thought it.
It was this article in the Grimsby Telegraph that reminded me of just how appalling we’ve been. Imagine going six months without a win in the league. Well, we don’t have to imagine. We don’t even struggle to remember, since it only happened recently.
I wouldn’t have minded so much if that record-breaking barren spell occurred at a decent level. The fact that it happened in the fourth division in 2010; that my grandad, who supported the Mariners for many more decades than I, never witnessed such a shambolic period in the club’s history, just adds to the shame.
It seems all the more astonishing, to go 25 league games without a win, at a time when we’ve all become so used to winning. Such a tragic run is in direct contrast to the month we’ve just enjoyed.
Paul Hurst’s win ratio is close to 50%, which is impressive for any manager at any level. The fact that we remain in the Conference, though, is probably the thing that denies him the great manager tag. For now he remains a very good manager.
So, instead of going into this match against Shrewsbury Town on a 25-game winless streak, we go into it on a five-match winning streak, and just one defeat in our last 18.
We would’ve killed for that sort of form in 2009/10, as a League club. Of course, it’s entirely possible to go 25 games without a win at any level of football, if you’re mismanaged to the degree we were just six years ago, but it doesn’t hurt if, every now and again, you’re reminded of what we had to endure during our darkest times to appreciate the good times.
And hey, maybe in a few years’ time, when we’re back in the Football League and looking over our shoulders at relegation from League 2 again (much like York are this season) we may consider this time – the days of Hurst recruiting good players, building competitive squads, taking us on long unbeaten runs and fighting for promotion every season – as the good times.
And no, I don’t lack ambition, and I don’t want us to remain a non-league club. I’m as passionate as the next Town fan, but we all measure success differently.
Today we have a better manager, better players, a better Trust, a stronger voice in the boardroom, and a stronger connection with the fans and the local community. Today our club is a much better club than it was six years ago in every single way.
Other than the division it’s in.