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Director Speaks Out

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 14/07/2000

After a crushing 20-9 loss in the crucial vote which decided whether to accept the club's application to change the Local Plan, Mr Huxford said: "We are gutted. I am personally very disappointed. It's a sad, sad day for Grimsby.

Mr Huxford admitted that he never thought the club would lose out. With losses of £15,000 a week it is now unclear how the Mariners can progress, especially after already having spent £160,000 on the development stages of this project. A multi-national company had been waiting in the wings to offer seven-figure backing, but that offer will be withdrawn after last night's disaster. "It was backing which was worth many millions and their name would have been the stadium name," confirmed Mr Huxford who refused to name the company. "Grimsby Town would have been known around the world. "Everyone knows where the NEC is and everyone would have known just where Grimsby was." Despite the defeat an upbeat Mr Huxford said that the club will do the best they can to maintain their current financial and football status. "This is important because progresss is important and while I'm around we'll survive. We'll hang around. "We might go to appeal or look round for another site but nothing will be decided yet." Developer Gerald Knight told a packed Town Hall that if the proposal didn't go through then it would be impossible for the Mariners to maintain their first division status and that there would be 'an inevitable' slide towards the Nationwide Conference. And Mr Huxford added that even if the club do appeal successfully, the current retail backers, and certainly the potential multi-national sponsor, will not be around. "If we can find another stadium site at all will the backers be still around?'' he asked. "It is something we will have to look at over the next few days." Had the application gone through the Mariners new stadium would have been open by October/November next year, but now the club's future looks bleaker than ever. The news of the rebuttal came as a big shock to the man who had piloted the project through its formative stages, former Town director John Fenty. The man who runs the Five Star Fish factory across the A180 from Great Coates said: ''I can't believe it. This is a great shock and I am very saddened by the decision. I honestly thought it would go through.'' He felt that an influential factor could have been the lack of unity behind the project when the new board took over. At that time at least one board member, Fred Clyburn, who has since stood down, said he was against it.

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