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End of the Line
End of the Line

Buckley Must Go Now

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 26/01/2007

THE decision to appoint Alan Buckley for the third time as Grimsby manager was a bold one, and for a while it united our supporters behind the club. However, for whatever reason, Buckley's powers have waned to the extent where his position is now untenable.

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My first reaction on hearing of the appointment of Alan Buckley was to say "utter madness". However, listening to Alan speak in the hours after his appointment, and seeing the effect on the team in his early games, I was more than happy to have him back on board. In fact for a few days I was on cloud nine.

However, after seven consecutive defeats and one goal, the club have now reached probably the lowest ebb in their 128-year history. After rubbing shoulders with many of the biggest names in English football over the last few decades, the Mariners are now being humbled by some of its perennial strugglers: Torquay, Rochdale, Chester and Stockport all strolled past us in recent games. Grimsby Town are currently the worst club in English football, something I find it very painful to type, but it is true. It shouldn't be true: our squad is more than good enough to do well in this division.

On reflection Buckley was not only an out of work manager, he was a manager whom no other club would have employed after three years out of work. His recent record was non-existent, and before that it was poor. He was on out-of-work failure. In hindsight Buckley's decision was an enormous gamble that probably no other club would have taken, as indeed they hadn't for the last three years when he had been out of work. Because of the unjust sacking of Buckley in 2000, and nostalgia for the days when Alan turned round the fortunes of the club, it was a tempting decision for us and us alone to hope appointing him would work, but it has failed utterly and we are a much worse team than when he came.

Although the news about the new ground is good, I simply find it like being told of an impending lottery win after my death. A new ground in the Conference would be useless. I would swap it without hesitation for a guaranteed place in the Football League next season, whatever the financial consequences.

If we wish to have both a new ground, and a place in the Football League next season, the only solution is to end Alan Buckley's reign at the club now.

Who to replace him? I would look no further than Stuart Watkiss. He knows the players' strengths and weaknesses. January has almost concluded so no new manager can make his own signings. Far better to get someone with recent managerial experience who knows the players inside out and can get the most out of them. I also have my suspicions than Stuart deserves some credit for the run we had when Buckley first arrived, until Alan's influence over team affairs began to take effect. Certainly the reserves are doing much better since Watkiss arrived at the club. But failing him, anyone would be better than the current incumbent.

Alan Buckley's time at Grimsby is now over, but at least we have had our answer to what it would be like to have him back, something that so many of us have wanted over the intervening years. Unfortunately the fairy tale we all dreamt of has turned into a horror story.

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