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Fenty Says Wilko Sacking Not Just About Money!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 02/06/2003

THE Grimsby Town board has hit back over the demise of Reserve team coach Paul Wilkinson says the Grimsby Telegraph today. Director and major shareholder John Fenty has revealed that the decision to release Wilkinson was not solely down to cash.

Fans have been angered by the decision to axe the home-town hero. But Fenty said the move, plus the expected arrival of at least 10 new players in the next month, will give Paul Groves and Graham Rodger more time to focus on their duties.

The Fenty Statement:

"We don't know of a club that uses three managers to do what we are trying to achieve. Paul Wilkinson was not sacked; he was released because the strategy last season didn't work." "All the three managers worked tirelessly scouting and, particularly, looking for quality loan signings. Simply, the board has decided to provide Paul Groves with a budget to build a squad up to 25 players."

"We expect that at least 10 additional players will arrive before pre-season training starts, with others to follow into the season - therefore giving stability and allowing our young management team to focus on coaching and football at the club."

"We genuinely believe that starting last season with insufficient players and relying on loan signings to supplement the squad was a total distraction and probably contributed to our ultimate demise to Division Two."

"Selecting a reasonable number of players clearly reduces the need for a third manager. For this reason, and after serious consideration, Paul Wilkinson was released. Grimsby Town cannot afford luxuries and it would be irresponsible to spend what the club cannot afford."

"We have excellent support from the fans buying shares and season tickets. It is the board's intention to spend wisely and not to fritter the money on non-playing staff. The board has every faith in our young management team who now have more time available this season to coach."

"Both Paul Groves and Graham Rodger are first class coaches in their own right, not to forget the excellent work that Neil Woods is doing with the school of excellence."

"The club is not abandoning its youth policy or reserve team football and expects progress not to be hindered in any way. Finally, we want to thank Paul Wilkinson for all his efforts in the last two seasons." END

Billo says: One cannot argue with the statement made by Mr Fenty, which is true in substance if not in fact. I am sure fans are pleased to see the board's commitment to not wasting money and, so far, they have followed that promise.

I do think however that there are a large number of supporters who do not share his view regarding the quality of the coaching that the players will receive with the absence of Paul Wilkinson.

But it matters not now, Wilkinson is gone. But the club should have learned a valuable lesson in this issue. That is, if you are going to break news such as this, a full explanation should be given at the time. People are not stupid and understand the situation the club is in and the limited choices they have to get things right.

The backlash caused by the sacking of Wilko has resulted in the club having to make two official statements explaining their reasons. It appears that the sacking (or releasing, using the clubs description) was made for what they considered to be in the best interests of the club and they cannot be criticised for that, no matter how much we rate Wilko.

So I guess it's on with the show as Groves gets ready for the new season ahead. Only time will tell if the strategy works but until we know otherwise, we have to believe that it will and better times are ahead.




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