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The Time Has Come To Protect The Club's Future!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 02/01/2002

THE announcement by Peter Furneaux this week that the club are to start a cost cutting exercise should come as no surprise. With the club losing almost 45,000 pounds a week the board have no other option.

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They must fulfil their fiscal responsibilities by ensuring the company remains solvent. If they do nothing, there are severe penalties levied against directors who fail to ensure that the company can meet its commitments.

Peter Furneaux earlier this season made it quite clear that he would be ensuring that the club would live within its means and he has done so. It has not been an easy task. Money has had to be allocated to acquiring players in order to survive in the first division and the previous manager, Lennie Lawrence was granted a fairly large allocation of cash despite the severe financial difficulties.

In fact, it has been the director's cash that has been used to keep the club afloat this season with the TV money being used to cover last season's 2.5 million losses brought about mainly by reckless spending on players who we really couldn't afford.

So crunch time has come and looking at the statement by the chairman, players on the injured list will probably account for most of the savings. An example earlier in the season was the release of Richard Smith who had a long-term injury that the club could not sustain.

".…The club cannot afford to carry passengers!!…."

With 14,000 pounds a week being spent on players who play only a few games a season, it is a luxury that GTFC can least afford. So someone somewhere has to make the hard decisions and that will probably fall to the manager and the chairman.

Whatever decisions are made in relation to which players will be released, they will not be universally popular, but it is a necessity if the club is to survive. The club cannot afford to carry passengers and it has been clear for some time that some players would not have survived if the size of the squad had been larger.

Recently we have seen the introduction into the squad of a number of the younger players in the club and they have performed satisfactorily therefore giving the manager the opportunity to offload some of the "questionable" performers.

I will leave it to braver souls than I to venture whom they might be but the decisions should be made quickly and the players released in the hope that other clubs will take them. But GTFC cannot flinch from the task. They have to make the hard decisions in these troubled times and we, the fans, have to accept that as another hard fact of life.

It is likely also that the youth development area may also be affected. If that is the case, if any young players are released, let us hope that they are ones who have been given a fair assessment and judged not to be capable of establishing a place in a first division side.

Although the chairman has stipulated that the cuts are a short term measure to protect the long term future, we also have to be conscious of the need to grow our own players thus saving many thousands of pounds in transfer fees etc.

But above all, the priority is the survival of the club and we must accept the changes that are about to take place in order to achieve that. Good business practise dictates the need to regularly review both the structure and organisation of the company and, in that regard; the time has arrived for GTFC to undertake that activity.

It is bullet biting time at Grimsby Town Football Club.

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