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The Story So Far ...

By: Richard Lord
Date: 09/08/2002

IT'S been a summer of ups and downs for the Mariners, but the club is currently riding on a high after the acquisitions of Chettle and Barnard - and also the removal of Coyne and Jevons from the transfer list.

The immediate feeling generated from Town's great finish to the last campaign was one of joy, after Town finally secured safety with one game to go after looking doomed in February.

After the initial elation of survival, thoughts quickly turned to the out-of-contract players. Boulding and Ford were at the centre of attention and the club would struggle to keep both at the club.

For players like Burnett and Allen, all they could do was wait and hope of a contract renewal. Jeffrey and David Smith were released, and suddenly the realisation set in that Town's squad looked very depleted.

Menno Willems headed back to Holland and doubt still surrounded the futures of Boulding and Ford. Doubt was also thrown over any positive outcome of the ITV Digital situation.

Rumours of Quick Mick departing for Middlesborough were quashed when an unexpected intervention by Aston Villa took Boulding away from Blundell Park, while Ford trained with Wolves.

Pre-season got underway, only after star players Danny Coyne and Phil Jevons were placed on the transfer list. Rumours were rife that Coyne would be joining up with former Town manager Lennie Lawrence at Cardiff in a free transfer.

Three pre-season defeats in Scandinavia and two more local defeats later, the Football League revealed its failed attempt to retrieve the outstanding £187.5m payment owed from ITV Digital.

Sky TV sealed a deal worth £95m over a four-year period with the Football League but this still left Town with heavy debts. Finally, the bad news turned to good, when Groves was given some money to bring new players to the club.

The money was reportedly generated from board member and shareholder John Fenty. The money brought in Steve Chettle, Darren Barnard and the re-signing of Simon Ford.

It also meant Coyne and Jevons were taken off the transfer list and a pre-season win over Stockport duly followed. Now the squad is growing in numbers, and things look just that little bit brighter for this season.

Who can say that supporting Grimsby is boring?




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