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Question of the Week

Will you attend any Checkatrade Trophy games next season?

All of them
All home games
The odd game
Knock out games
Final only
Total boycott


Banned!
Banned!

Get it Sorted!

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 06/08/2006

THE squabble between Grimsby Town FC and BBC Radio Humberside over finances could have grave consequences if allowed to continue.

Humberside have offered the Mariners around £5K for exclusive commentary rights, with the club looking for a figure around four times that size.

In the absence of any agreement between the two parties the club have decided to go it alone and provide their own commentary of games, but this will only be accessible to subscribers of Mariners World, as part of a bundle of "premium" features available online to fans for an annual subscription fee. They have also denied Radio Humberside access to players and staff.

Anecdotal evidence suggests many current Mariners World subscribers are exiled supporters from outside the Humberside region who subscribe to the service largely for commentary of games they are unable to attend. The club seem to be hoping that more Grimsby-based supporters sign up for their premium content tempted by the in-house commentary. How likely is this gamble to pay off?

One problem with commentary and interviews by the club are they bear the hallmark of state run TV in countries run by totalitarian regimes. No controversial opinions are aired, no difficult questions are asked, and the agenda is entirely in the terms dictated by the club. Any club officials who veer from this formula and dare to paint anything but the rosy picture the club would like are liable to be sacked, as happened recently at Scunthorpe or on Man Utd's television station.

Fans are not stupid and they recognise that they are unlikely to divulge much information beyond the basic details from the insipid questionnaires in the matchday programme or an "exclusive" interview on the club's web site. Interviews conducted by independent journalists, who ask "difficult" questions and whose job is to dig out information from often unwilling sources are almost always more revealing.

In other words the product that we are being asked to pay for is inferior to that which we have been accustomed to getting for free.

The danger is that supporters will not pay for the home-produced fare and, if they start to skip games, will gradually drift away from the club because they never hear anything to tempt them back.

Then there is the occasional fan who would never consider paying for premium content. It is a dangerous game the club are playing entirely restricting the broadcast media from reporting on the goings-on at Blundell Park. The risk is that the football club will be further ostracised from the wider community, and occasional or potential fans will not hear of forthcoming games or exciting new players at Blundell Park on their journey home from work, or whenever they catch up on the local news. Grimsby people who do not buy the local paper could be completely cut off from the news flow.

The amount of money involved is relatively small in the grand scheme of things, and it would be in both party's interests to sort it out. Concerned fans might wish to consider not listening to Radio Humberside and not subscribing to Mariners World in a bid to get the two organisations to agree. It's our money and our time after all that the pair our both bidding to obtain, so we have every right to push them in the direction most of us would like them to go.


This site is by the fans, for the fans, and we will consider articles on any subject relating to the Mariners whether it be related to current news, a nostalgic look back in the past, a story about a player, a game or games in the past, something about Blundell Park or football in general. Click here to submit your article!

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This site is by the fans, for the fans, and we will consider articles on any subject relating to the Mariners whether it be related to current news, a nostalgic look back in the past, a story about a player, a game or games in the past, something about Blundell Park or football in general. Click here to submit your article!


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