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The End is Nigh!

By: Graham Howes
Date: 21/09/2002

I personally have felt Groves needed time before judgement. I am now drifting on the thought that Groves could well be the worst manager for at least 25 years since I have supported the club. Groves' management even seems to be eclipsing the infamous Lyons-Darracott period.

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The board has to really seriously look in the mirror and ask why was a three year deal offered to an inexperienced management team who had still to prove they were right for the job.

Yes the management team was successful in avoiding the drop, but how much was that down to the players' desire to impress a new boss? I always felt the acid test to the management's credentials was going to be this season when rival managers knew his style of management. He also seems to have a stubbornness to play himself and Chettle to the detriment of the club's tactics.

Why else do we persist with 4-5-1 to give cover for an aging slow back four? Quite frankly it is unacceptable if you are not good enough to play then drop yourself or Chettle and be more ambitious than play a negative system. I fear he is not an Alan Buckley Mark II but a Mike Lyons double and will wait with baited breath to see him pick himself as striker.

At present there seems no light at the end of a dreary tunnel. There has been many posts arguing we are a small club in a big sea, yet so is Rotherham, Walsall and Gillingham to name some and they are competing. The reason why these clubs are doing the business in the league is that they have a fighting spirit, and a board who are committed for the club to reach the highest level they can achieve on the pitch. The set-ups at each one of these clubs put our own efforts to shame.

Rotherham have a worse ground than us but have a board who are committed to invest in the club's future in youth and are reaping rewards with youngsters breaking through. You can argue that relegation would not be a big deal, but at present the club is so bad at all levels it would be unlikely to be equipped to compete in the 2nd division. The net result would be crowds dwindling further, adding extra financial pressures which quite frankly could be the final straw to break the camel's back.

There is a few who think the board are doing all they can under the circumstances but things like the announcement of collapsing the youth setup hardly shows that is the case. With very little funds to strengthen the only way is to produce your own. Sacked Director of Youth Ian Knight's comments a few weeks ago show the future is looking very very bleak indeed. The latest is that Knight has indicated he believes the club has now severed all the ties that it has built with youth clubs in North America and Ireland. Yet this was not costing the club a great deal of cash and in fact was already covered by a grant which has now been reduced further due to downsizing.

The board's unwillingness to maintain and back the youth set-up has already cost us developing Canadian stars of the future. Knight has recently revealed that the club was contacted by Abbotsford last year about a 'keeper. The player Lars Hirschfield has since been signed by Spurs. Now Liverpool and Everton are set to step in and become new link-ups for these feeder clubs and the Mariners may well one day rue this madcap decision of the board.

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