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A Shrewd Move

By: Todd Bontoft
Date: 30/10/2000

The silence from North East Lincolnshire Council over the continuing new stadium debacle is deafening. A meeting of the council to make a decision was promised within two weeks of the consultant's presentation.

Pressure is growing from the fans, that have so far been urged to be patient by the club, to take a more active role in the democratic process of North East Lincolnshire.

By this Monday 30 October, three weeks will have already passed and still no news is forthcoming. To many it will not come as a surprise, as this council - and all political parties - seem to have scant regard for public opinion and the football club.

Unfortunately, 20 North East Lincolnshire councillors treat our football club as some kind of social pariah. But when it suits them, they will be only too pleased to be associated with professional football. And I'm not just referring to the Mayor and the hangers on heading down to Wembley and basking in the glory of the clubs achievements for their own ends. However, this does demonstrate how short the memories are of our municipal masters.

I refer to examples such as the government's initiatives to improve the literacy and numeracy levels amongst school kids. Quite rightly football is an attractive way to encourage youngsters to learn. Football players and their clubs, provide positive role models and excitement with which the vast majority of young people can relate.

It's ironic that community schemes and learning initiatives for school children such as these are usually fully supported by Grimsby Town.

Will North East Lincolnshire Council - as the local education authority - have the bare faced cheek to approach the club to ask for assistance in setting up out of school clubs, learning centres? When NELC does contact the club, I hope that they get more than a reminder of how the politicians hung the club out to dry, when it needed a little bit of a helping hand.

Society, locally and nationally, takes advantage of football clubs and quite rightly too. After all to argue successfully that the local football club is a fundamental component of any local community - which it is - requires it to play its part outside of 90 minutes of football every fortnight. There are many occasions when players and officials from Grimsby Town pay visits to schools, hospital patients and local events. The club, to its credit, generally makes itself and the players available for the benefit of activities in and around North East Lincolnshire.

The pre-season friendly against Ivano's Dundee raised money for charity and yesterday's game against WBA saw the club giving 25 pence for every free child that came with a paying adult.

All in all, the club demonstrates nothing but loyalty to the community in which it lives. Shame it's not repaid.

The article continues in Part 2.

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