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Wilkinson Sacked! Another Disaster?

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 29/05/2003

RESERVE coach Paul Wilkinson has been sacked as part of ongoing cost-cutting measures at Blundell Park. Wilkinson has been responsible for producing some of the young players who have achieved first team status.

His sacking may be due to the decision not to have a reserve team at Grimsby Town next season. That decision has already been made.

A statement by the club on Mariners Net says: We regret the redundancies that the club has been forced to make resulting from the collapse of the collapse of ITV Digital and the club's subsequent relegation to Division Two.

Reserve Coach Paul Wilkinson is one of the members of staff, along with office and ground staff at Blundell Park.

The club has had to identify cost savings in all areas including staff reductions and a reduction in operating costs. The club has had to identify where savings can be made and the existing staff will have to cover the remit of those people leaving the club.

Grimsby Town are not alone in terms of action we have had to take and many other clubs are facing similar difficulties, and have had to take similar action to reduce workforces in line with their incomes. Obviously the impact of the Bosman ruling has limited our ability to subsidise losses incurred through its staff costs and the club must operate on a more sustainable level.

The club however, has a solid business plan financially supported by the board that will enable the Manager to build the squad to the objective number of 25 players. It will also allow the Manager to concentrate his efforts on the players and management of the team, so as not to be substantially distracted from looking for loan signings throughout the season.

The club thanks the staff concerned for their loyalty and service and wish them all the best for the future.

The loss of Wilkinson plus the sacking of the young players recently announced, indicates that the board have decided to run on the present with scant regard to the future development of young players.

In terms of coaching, Town are left with the deadly duo of Groves and Rodger, whose performances over the last season have raised serious doubts about their abilities.

It certainly looks like the club is offloading all but the first team structure in an attempt to recoup some of the losses incurred by being relegated.

On Mariners Net today the club have announced 5 new additions to the youth development programme but if the last few days are an example of what the future has in store for them, they will be sacked as soon as they command a decent wage.

Of all the recent moves, the sacking of Wilkinson is a major blow to football at Blundell Park with many suggesting that he was a better coach than Groves and Rodger together.

Maybe the club would have been wiser to have sacked Groves and Rodger and kept Wilko!!

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