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Another Summer of Discontent

By: Tony Hamilton
Date: 07/05/2003

HERE we all are again all moping about another relegation season at Blundell Park, and what the consequences will be between now and the start of next season, with players out of contract and the club’s finances suffering due to the drop to Division Two.

With 12 players contracts up in the summer it's make or break for the club as it tries to balance the books and also meet the players' demands in respect of keeping them at the club. So it will be a busy summer again and could also mirror last summer season when, in pre-season training, only nine professionals were on the books. Although admittedly that’s was partly due to the ITV digital deal collapsing around the club’s ears at the end of the 2001-2002 season.

This season has been a test for the board and management of Grimsby Town as they have used loan players and tried to sign players using a self-imposed wage cap for new signings to make sure they don’t spend beyond their means as they've done in the past. Ultimately it was a test that we failed on the playing front, although the fact that we still exist is a testament from a purely business point of view.

With having players still under contract on pre-ITV Digital money these have now become a burden to the wage bill and The Mariners have tried to relieve this pressure by sending them out on loan to other clubs and circulating their names on the transfer list. Half the players with their contracts up are also on contracts signed when the ITV Digital money was still forthcoming, and I won't bore you with telling you who they are as it is common knowledge by now.

The rumours have already started with who is meant to be going where and club's names being mentioned as well, but one thing is certain that there will be a few shocks at Blundell Park in the summer, with certain players that have been here a few years going and the club trying to replace them with cheaper options.

As more players than last summer will be released by all 92 League Clubs the club also have to bear in mind that we need a good in-depth squad next season, as there are potentially more games to be played in Division Two since we will enter the cups in the first round, and also have the opportunity to defend our Auto Windscreen Shield trophy. But hopefully Paul Groves and the board will have this in mind and we all will be celebrating another promotion next season and not yet another drop to another Division.

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