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The Longest Day!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 05/07/2003

IT was a long day at Blundell Park yesterday for everyone. It has been a long time since fans have had some good news, but Paul Groves seems to have given them something to cheer about by signing what looks to be some very useful players.

A very busy day for Mr Groves in particular. He has seen Danny Coyne leave for greener pastures, given Coldicott a 2-year contract, signed Iain Anderson and agreed terms with Des Hamilton who is expected to sign later today and already planning to add a couple more to the list.

(We must be careful here. Mr Coyne and his agent had talks with Leicester City. I cannot find any announcement yet that agreement was reached or that Coyne has signed.

'Many a slip twixt cup and lip' comes to mind. I hope we don't get bad news today! But we mustn't jump to conclusions either. I have already taken a risk, by leaving Coyne off the "Countdown" list. I have also added Des Hamilton who has not signed yet but said he will.

Last minute changes of mind are not new in football. Ask Mr Laws at Scunthorpe!)

Looking at the deals, Mr Groves seems to have selected players who, in addition to their other attributes, have pace! The Mariners look like finishing up as the fastest team in the division if this goes on.

The players chosen all seem to come with good reputations and Groves has demonstrated previously that he has an 'eye' for players. He has kept to his word too in that he has moved to sign players and not wasted any more time waiting for others, such as Santos, to make up their minds. That does not mean Santos is discounted but the writing is on the wall. Keane is long gone! Plus his shirt by look of it!

Groves will be making a couple more signings before Saturday when they depart for Ibiza. This is a major plus as he will have his full squad almost from day one. This gives the players the opportunity to get to know each other's styles etc before the season starts which means he will have a team that knows what it is doing from the first whistle!

These signings do however present a problem for those players listed below as "In Limbo". With only 4 places left for the 25 man squad and plans to sign two more before Saturday, leave little room for players like Chettle, Hockless, Hughes, Santos, Gallimore, Ian Ward and Livvo unless he intends to make two of those the next signings. (I have included Groves as a squad member. If he is not included in the count it leaves 5 places).

We can assume that a 'keeper will take one of the remaining spaces up, and Groves has previously intimated that a striker could be possible. With the front men we have on board now, that seems a long shot if he intends to keep more of the 'out of contract' players.

He had said previously that Chettle could come in if Santos does not sign, so where does he stand now? We could do with a left sided defender too unless he fancies Barnard for first choice in that position (and why not?). And what about young Ford? Has he got what it takes to be a first choice player?

Mr Groves has certainly answered a few questions today but leaves one or two unanswered. By Saturday we should have the answers to them too. If he continues in the same fashion, we will not be disappointed.

The present squad now stands at 21 (including Jevons and Groves). Will the loss of Coyne mean an extra few quid in the war chest? If it doesn't - someone better shout stop! Because Groves has got the bit between his teeth!

The Current Position

1 Iain Anderson Contracted: 2 years remaining
2 Chris Bolder Contracted: 12 Months remaining
3 Darren Barnard Contracted: 12 Months remaining
4 Mick Boulding Contracted: 12 Months remaining
5 Stuart Campbell Contracted: 12 Months remaining
6 Marcel Cas Contracted: 3 Years remaining
7 Stacy Coldicott Contracted: 2 years remaining
8 Tony Crane Contracted: 2 years remaining
9 Simon Ford Contracted: 12 months remaining
10 Paul Groves Contracted: 12 months remaining
11 Des Hamilton Contracted: 2 years remaining
12 Phil Jevons Contracted: 12 months remaining
13 Darren Mansaram Contracted: 12 months remaining
14 John McDermott Contracted: 2 years remaining
15 Wes Parker Contracted: Youth Players Deal
16 Andy Pettinger Contracted: 12 months remaining
17 Alan Pouton Contracted: 12 months remaining
18 Jonathan Rowan Contracted: 12 months remaining
19 David Soames Contracted: Youth Players Deal
20 Kirk Wheeler Contracted: 12 months remaining
21 Greg Young Contracted: 12 months remaining
...... In Limbo ......
1 Steve Chettle Doubtful Now
2 Tony Gallimore Doubtful
3 Graham Hockless Doubtful
4 Bradley Hughes Possible
5 Steve Livingstone Doubtful
6 Georges Santos Mission Impossible?
7 Chris Thompson Possible
8 Iain Ward Possible

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