The Grimsby Town FC


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Wot No Players? Part 1

By: Todd Bontoft
Date: 14/08/2000

I hate the Premiership, and do not have the slightest interest in who finishes second to Moanchester United.

No honest, my team play - at the moment at least - in Division One and the hype around the Premiership is as interesting to me as the United States Presidential Primary Elections. An awful lot of money spent, a lot of nonsense talked, and a never-ending stream of self interested, overpaid mediocrity providing the 'fayre'. In reality the vast majority of clubs' supporters are disenfranchised from the 'dream' of seeing their team realistically play in the league of 'milk and honey'. So do yourself and your club a favour, forget about it and don't watch it!

But like the US Primaries - the first stage on the long road to electing the world's most powerful person after Bill Gates - the Premiership cannot be ignored. The financial power of the Premiership league and the top clubs is such that they are inflating the costs of transfer fees and wages. Throwing the rest of football the odd crumb to keep it just alive. No small wonder Mr Buckley and Mr Cockerill struggle to bring in new players. So its Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and the rest who are stopping us strengthen the squad.

Even our own club is caught in the dog eat dog scenario, with survival imperative for this season. This largely because of the promise of further TV money and the divide now being established between Divisions One and Two. This is likely to mirror the gulf between the Premiership and Division one. Don't get me wrong I want the Mariners at least to match the halcyon days of the 1930's, but when in football's history has promotion and relegation ever been so important and hard to achieve or avoid?

Every season supporters up and down the land complain bitterly about the increasing divides within football. The richer clubs getting ever richer while the smaller clubs struggle to survive.

Every season we bemoan rising wages, ticket prices. Sure their careers are short and 50 years ago they were ruthlessly exploited but when does a player's weekly salary become obscene and when will it stop?

Every season it gets worse and yet there seems to be no-end in sight, with even bigger bucks filling the top clubs' war chests when the new TV deals kick in for the 2001/2002 season.

The armchair supporter, TV money, advertising and sponsorship now dictate the future of the 92 professional clubs and not the loyal band of supporters who brave the elements on a miserable Tuesday evening in February.

But however much the money from the new TV deal is put at the disposal of smaller first division clubs, will we find ourselves in any different position to this year? Chances are it could simply become worse year on year. Alan Buckley admits to being short of finances to strengthen the squad but modest purchases such as Lea Peacock are now beyond our means. The news of the signing of a two-year deal by trialist Michael Jeffrey is welcome and may prove inspirational but quality strikers seem beyond our means. With the manager struggling to meet players' wage demands, where do you think the new TV money will go?

But eventually something has to give doesn't it?

The article continues in Part 2.

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