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An Invitation To Join Grimsby!

By: Richard Lord
Date: 18/02/2003

WHEN Grimsby Town were staring relegation in the face this time last year manager Paul Groves pulled off a masterstroke by signing both Martin Pringle and Andy Todd on loan for one month.

The two signings followed on from the 1-0 win over Sheffield United the weekend before and it proved to be the catalyst that helped save the Mariners from the drop - along with the sparkling form of Allen and Boulding up front.

Although Town are not seven points adrift of safety - in fact they are currently two points ahead of the bottom three - fans are beginning to feel frustrated.

The league's bottom four teams are cut off from any reasonable chance to drag another team into the relegation dogfight and so it looks likely that it will be any three from four candidates.

As things stand the Mariners would obviously survive but there are many games left and fans are losing their patience. What has been promised and not delivered are new faces.

At the start of each week we hear the cries of the management team regarding possible loan signings only for the players themselves to turn down the opportunity.

So it's not as if Groves et al are not working hard, far from it. Could you possibly say that he is aiming too high? Why try and approach teams and players who, realistically, don't want to be associated with Blundell Park?

Paul Groves is fully entitled to aim as high as he possibly can. If he hadn't showed as much enthusiasm and belief this time last season he would never had landed Todd's services.

It is the high-profile players themselves that need to be sorted out. The reasons are obvious why they don't want to join up with Grimsby yet if they took the chance to actually think about it, they might change their mind.

To be fair, Andy Todd was too good for Grimsby. A lot of professionals around him admired his decision to come up and join the Mariners initially on a one-month loan that ultimately turned out to be until the end of the season.

He played 12 games in total, got booked only once and scored three crucial goals in the process. He was so good that he stood out by a mile and that helped develop the move to Premiership Blackburn Rovers.

Steve Kabba was a nobody when he joined Town on loan from Palace earlier this season. Not even rated by his own manager Trevor Francis, he scored six goals in 15 games for Town and earned a move to Sheffield United.

John Oster had lost his way at Sunderland and had fallen out of the international fold. During his spell with Town he scored five goals in 10 games before being recalled by the Black Cats and he also made an appearance for Wales last week.

So to all you footballers out there who are currently out of the first team: don't be scared about coming to Grimsby. You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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