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Is There A Future?

By: Nick Osborne
Date: 21/07/2002

OVER the last few weeks and months, almost all Nationwide teams have been flung into a financial crisis the likes of which have never been seen before.

Home > Features > Is There A Future?

The collapse of the ‘Digital Deal’ will inevitably have repercussions for a long time for most clubs, some of which will probably never fully recover. Sympathy for all clubs concerned will always be there, but let's be fair, each and every supporter is primarily concerned with their own club's survival, and why shouldn't they be?

With that in mind, I have been looking through some of our more recent history with the intention of trying to find either a solution, if there is one, or even looking for tell tale signs of the event happening in the first place.

I failed to spot any real signs of the imminent collapse of football as we know it, but not surprisingly, myself and others, have, in the past, voiced concerns over football being more about money than the game itself. Plus the fact that Grimsby, and clubs like us, were being increasingly left behind.

So was the writing on the wall for GTFC a long time ago?

Grimsby Town Football Club, always has, and probably always will be, a selling club. We have never had a fairy godmother waiting in the wings to hand over bundles of cash to save the club....Or have we?

Looking back to when Huxford, Everitt and Lake all resigned from the board in May 2001, you have to wonder if that was the beginning of the end.

It was around this time that the then vice chairman, Bryan Huxford, released details of his vision for the future of our club. This, in short, involved him, or someone like him, taking full control of the club, so as to allow "International Bankers" to invest in, or takeover, the club. If this had gone ahead, would we now be in the same financial mess we find ourselves in?

Other reported investors at that time were also named. The Norwegian Business Tycoon, Erik Soler, was reported to be interested in buying a football club, and he was closely linked at that time to Grimsby Town and Bryan Huxford via mutual contacts.

Had either of these deals reached fruition, would we still be deep in the mire of financial collapse? Of course, none of us know the answer, but it does make us wonder if the current situation could or should have been averted.

The main reason none of these deals went ahead, was because of the "in house battles" in the board room. Different factions pulling in different directions did nothing at that time to strengthen our position for the future.

So where to now? I can only see two ways forward at the moment, and that’s for the current board to either invest cash into the club, or find others who might.

Easier said than done though. Lets face it, if by some miracle, a extremely rich investor could be found, the current board would probably have to release their hold on the club, or rather, OUR CLUB. I doubt this would happen.

The other way? Well it's been tried twice and failed both times, but its another share issue. It's more of a short term measure, but at least its something.

Its more than probable that the current board would change should this happen, if not entirely, at least in majority shareholdings. What effect this would have on the club is anyone’s guess, though I doubt it would make our situation worse. But will it happen? I wont hold my breath......

So, did we miss the boat or was it a lucky escape? we have a future?


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