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Lawrence Criticises Team Commitment

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 01/10/2001

"ALL I can do is bring in unproven young players from bigger clubs and hope for the best. All the players I have brought in have made a contribution, but there isn't a big enough contribution from some of the players who have been here for a long time."

In that statement Lennie Lawrence perhaps unwittingly gave a clue as to his future intentions and may have revealed his true feelings about the players after the disappointing defeat on Saturday to Bradford City.

One does not have to read between the lines, to see that Lennie, despite his public outpourings is not altogether happy with all the players claiming a first team spot. Certainly after the Bradford game he was scathingly critical of Michael Jeffrey and blamed himself for taking Rowan off and bringing Jeffrey on his place.

In two separate interviews with the Grimsby Telegraph, Lawrence was critical of a number of issues. One being what he described as the "Grimsby Mentality," and a lack of commitment by some of the long serving players.

"All the players I have brought in have made a contribution, but there isn't a big enough contribution from some of the players who have been here for a long time." Said Lawrence

Accusing the team of being content with a good performance, he said: "the complacency was spreading like a 'cancer'. Our 'oh well we've made a game of it, that will do for us' Grimsby mentality is what I am trying to destroy. It is like a cancer.

"We are scoring goals and their spirit is good, but their concentration levels are hopeless. You can say there are some young players, but I have worked with some outstanding young players. It is the mentality.

"I am trying to beat the 'oh we're Grimsby, we're just trying to stay up' mentality - the 'it doesn't matter if we lose 3-2 at Bradford as long as we make a good game of it blah, blah, blah' mentality. I'm wrestling with it at the moment and it is driving my absolutely stark, staring mad. I'm not losing, but I'm not winning."

"...That's why Ashley Ward is here (at Bradford) and our people will be at Grimsby for the rest of their lives..."

"If I change that the club will move forward and if I don't it won't. Are we going to dip or are we going to rally? It is about having the desire to be better than your surroundings. Grimsby on attendances should be bottom of the league. On resources and finances they should be 24th, no ifs or buts."

"We are trying to beat that, we are trying to be 12th or eighth or 10th or sixth, trying to grab the initiative, but I look around me and wonder if they really believe it, if they really want it."

"I don't know. That doesn't criticise their spirit, that is good, but this is more than that, it is a desire."

Commenting on the game and the difference between the two teams he said: "It showed why Bradford City players are here at this big club, earning the money they are earning, because they have salvaged a win having been comprehensively outplayed."

"That's why Ashley Ward is here and our people will be at Grimsby for the rest of their lives or lower down, because they have done the hard thing, but when it has come to a bit of nous and concentration, we have thrown it away."

"...Jeffrey - he offered nothing..."

Replacing Rowan with Michael Jeffrey with 15 minutes left was a mistake said Lawrence.

When Jeffrey gifted the ball to a Bradford player, which resulted in the winning goal, Lawrence publicly showed his anger and annoyance with him.

Talking about the substitutions and Michael Boulding coming on for Rowan he said: "That was a good substitution by me, but the other one was hopeless, it was a poor opportunity because he (Jeffrey) weakened it. He offered nothing and we lost a bit of momentum. That was a poor, poor substitution. I should have left Rowan on until he was on his knees."

"I wanted fresh legs, he looked tired. Jevons was right, he was tired, and Michael Boulding was lively and that was 100 per cent absolutely right. Ben (Chapman - came on for Bradley Allen) was right to try and get a 4-4-2 for the last seven or eight minutes, but the other substitution was wrong. I will never make that mistake again."

With Lennie making the comment at the AGM that Menno Willems would be the first to go but for a fee and this public outburst about Michael Jeffrey, it is perhaps now that Lennie should be considering making radical changes to the team and bringing in some of the youngsters who he reported last week as being "nearly ready for the first team"

Certainly some of the fans have been critical of both Jeffrey and Willems but some have also pointed out that they both have played some very good games this season.

One thing is sure and that is that Lennie is losing patience with some of the old hands and his veiled threat to bring in untried youngsters instead may indicate a change in strategy. If so it is not before time. The great start to the season has been marred by some silly defending and lack of concentration. If we are to hold onto the benefits that start has given us, something has to change before it is wasted.

What do you think? Should Lennie have a mini clear out?

If so who should go?

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