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Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
More Fans Please!
By: Dan Humphrey
THERE WERE, give or take a few, 5000 of us at Highbury, and 6000 at Anfield. Grimsby fans watching OUR team against Bergkamp, Hamann, and others who have never played at Blundell Park, and probably never will...
These occasions were unique in our recent history. Before this season, the Marinersâ€™ last game against a Champions League entrant was erm... Do trips to Anfield or Elland Road in 1997-98 count?
Why do these away-days matter so much? Because Grimsby Town FC are the most unfashionable club in Division One. Probably.
...In terms of status, Grimsby Town are certainly in the bottom five...
Perhaps Rotherham are less fashionable than the Mariners. Like us, they have no money, players who are anonymous to the general public, or even to most Division One clubs, a lack of intriguing foreign imports. But in terms of status, Grimsby Town are certainly in the bottom five in this division.
...No-one knows who we are and we donâ€™t care...
This profile of ours, a sort of â€˜no-one knows who we are and we donâ€™t careâ€™, does not help us. Do we unite like the old Crazy Gang at Wimbledon in the â€˜90s?
Do opposing teams dread a trip to Blundell Park, both respecting and fearing us? Will Menno Willems captain Holland at Euro 2004? No, what happens is, teams come to Blundell Park and laugh at the facilities, chuckle at the lack of fans, and happily, apart from the freezing conditions, take points off us.
...We have the worst league ground that I have been to...
We have the worst league ground that I have been to. Strictly speaking, I have been to worse grounds, but they have been demolished. Replaced by modern stadia. Most teams used the Taylor Report as an excuse to drag their homes into the 21st century.
Listing all the clubs that have either moved grounds or significantly improved their existing one would take ages. Grimsby have managed the remarkable feat of slashing the capacity of Blundell Park and removing most of the atmosphere at the same time.
How lucky are we that the Cup games were not at home? The embarrassing allocation to the visitors, the mad rush by home fans over a similar number of tickets that we got at Anfield. Imagine any home Cup tie against a Northern side on a cup run, with a large away following (I am thinking Newcastle or Leeds). A team could come to Town hoping to win the Cup... We would be outnumbered by the opposition. The TV cameras could show us up ..
Maybe then the club would realise that we have the WORST ground in the top 2 divisions.
Whatever next? Will Town forget to book coaches to away games? Will they forget to unlock Blundell Park for a league game? Will they start the season without any fully-fit centre backs? Oh, hang on, the last one came true too..
Regardless of what has happened this season off the pitch, the fans seem to get most concerned, and understandably so, by the Marinersâ€™ failures on the pitch.
Whereas Lennie Lawrence gets stick for playing Danny Butterfield and Willems (among others), we should put his achievements in perspective. He has bought in Willems, Phil Jevons, Stu Campbell, Michael Boulding and Alan Neilson for about Â£600,000. He has brought in a crop of youngsters for nothing. Before we write him off, letâ€™s see how they all do in the next 12 months.
Lawrence has tried to bring in David Beharall and Marlon Broomes. He may have wasted too much money on Zhang Enhua last season, but it was a genuine attempt to keep Town in Division One and to raise our profile. If only our marketing department was not so slow to catch on.
However, the main factor in the current slump in Townâ€™s fortunes has to be Blundell Park. We are told by the people who run the club that we need an average attendance in the region of 7000 to break-even. Surely the aim should be to fill the ground every week, so that the Mariners at least break even, and even, heaven forbid, try to pay off our debts. Admittedly, this is easier said than done. However, this football club could at least give some tickets away to attract new fans. I repeat, GIVE TICKETS AWAY!!
At least this would encourage people to attend. Instead, we are told that special offers would anger those who pay full price for those tickets. Well, no offence to everyone that falls into that category, but WHO CARES?!!?
If we can raise attendances, in an attempt to increase future support, surely this is worth a try? What do we have to lose? Use an organised scheme, such as free tickets to schools, park and ride facilities, or tickets for free for anyone who collects vouchers in the local paper, or whatever anyone else wants to come up with. The existing fans should not be viewed as an obstacle. (NB: I am told the club gave away 100 tickets for the Wolves game to schoolkids. Not very generous or ambitious is it? How about giving away a minimum of 500 for each home game?)
At the end of last season, Lawrence said the support from the fans was a major factor in keeping the team in the Division. It gave us a better atmosphere, and gave the players extra confidence. Notably, he has not been full of praise for the fans this season, and with recent attendance figures, that is not really very surprising.
How can Town go about improving attendances. Answers on the Message Board or submit an article.
This site is by the fans, for the fans, and we will consider articles on any subject relating to the Mariners whether it be related to current news, a nostalgic look back in the past, a story about a player, a game or games in the past, something about Blundell Park or football in general. Click here to submit your article!
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