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Fri 31/03
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The Bell Has Tolled!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 17/05/2002

Peter Furneaux has confirmed what we already knew. That Grimsby Town, like most other clubs in the first division, are strapped for cash, which is not surprising as they have lost 55% of their income with ITV Digital falling over.

But Peter's warning to the 7 players out of contract heralds a new approach by Town and probably every other team in the Nationwide.

Players who want to stay with the club and are seeking a new deal, may well have to face up to the possibility that they will be offered less money than they get in their present contracts.

Furneaux in his statement said: "All the players are sitting on very, very good contracts and they have to realise that the money is not going to be there."

In other words, "if you want to stay at Grimsby you better lower your sights."

With so many footballers presently looking for jobs, it would seem that if players want to continue in football, they will have to adjust to the fact that the gravy train has been derailed and the priority will have to be on getting a job before all else.

With even the biggest clubs feeling the pinch and looking seriously at salary capping and smaller squads, football is turning on its head and that will take some getting used to. It could also mean that shorter-term contracts would be offered so that a player who does not fulfill his commitment can be set loose without long contracts to pay off.

It seems that common sense is once again coming back into the game but a high price has been paid for it. Some greed will persist but overall, it will be hoped that those clubs who have sailed close to the wind with the TV money and survived, will have learned the error of their ways.

The Premier League are also aware that when their TV contract runs out, it is doubtful that anyone is going to offer the same deal again but they will not be caught off guard and they too will soon start cutting costs!

One thing is for certain. The clubs are going to rely a great deal more on the loyalty of their fans and supporters in the future so customer service will also have to be a major priority.

It has already started at Blundell Park with only moderate increases in ticket prices at a time when much higher prices could be justified. A fair deal for the club and a fair deal for the fans.

We should count our lucky stars!!



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