League Two Form Guide
Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
|Rant, Rant, Rant|
The Grimsby Way!
By: Bill Osborne
IT goes without saying that the official statement from the club last week would bring a response. I am not sure if the response has been what they expected but response they got on message boards.
What is clear however is that many did not really understand what John Fenty was saying or what he meant.
I think he was quite clear about one thing, and that was his disgust with those calling for both his and the managers head and the resultant loss in attendances, due to our first few results not being what we expected.
On the one hand, I agree with him, but on the other hand, we are Grimsby Town and Town fans traditionally are the biggest moaners and groaners in the league, (if not the world)
Even though we are only 3 or 4 points away from a play off position, to many, the world is coming to an end and we will be in the Conference League before Xmas.
But even that is not what irks him.
He accepts that the fans have the right to moan, groan and criticise. I think it is the criticisms and statements that are made without any foundation at all that concerns him.
I forget how many times he and Buckley said that we need at least two more players and we are doing everything we can to get them, and money is available to do that. The news that two Championship players turned us down last week is stark truth of that.
Yet people continue to call for Fenty to put his hands in his pockets and buy us two more players, in particular, a striker. Do they ever read the news? Do they ever listen?
Fenty is also right about the glory days of Grimsby Town being long gone. We are in the fourth division and players are not going to climb over each other to sign for us. It is going to take time and patience. Sure we can sign a couple of journeymen to fill the gap but why waste money on buying players who are no better than what we have. Buckley won't do that, neither will Fenty, and do we really want that?
We will have to wait and be patient. (like Gary Jones Mr Buckley?).
But to reassure Mr Fenty, he should know that the people on message boards around the traps, calling for everyone's head, are not representative of the majority of the fans and supporters.
It may seem that they are but the moaners, groaners and those who criticise for the sake of it, are usually the most vociferous. They fall into the same category of that small minority of so called fans at Blundell Park who abuse players and management. The fans at BP know who they are.
They may make the most noise, but that doesn't make them right. Behind them sit the real fans. Not as noisy, but committed none the less.
The same on Message Boards. The noisy ones get the most attention but the quiet ones are in the majority.
Even then, there is no problem with criticism, if it is founded on fact. It lets people let off steam about some issues and initiates discussion. Sensible discussion that is. That really is the role of message boards and is the most accessible forum for fans. But abuse is not criticism or discussion. Just rubbish. We can do without it.
On the issue of attendances, that is a more difficult problem and will require a creative solution.
Grimsby Town hase three types of supporter, the committed fans who get to as many games as they can, and the so called supporters who only attend the 'Big" games. The armchair supporters. Those who would have gone but it was raining, we lost the last match, I don't like Buckley or whatever.
We all know some of them.
Better results are not what affects the solid group of committed fans who go, whatever the result. They are driven by their passion for their club. But the rest measure their support by the league table. PWDFA is their bible. There is no easy solution to converting this lot except winning every game perhaps.
But the deadliest of them all are the 'pretend supporters'. Those who never go to a game or listen to a commentary, who can tell you everything that is wrong with GTFC, the manager, why we lost and who are the best and worse players etc. etc. etc.
You will find them on any message board. They are a lost cause. No passion there.
Those are the difficulties clubs in the lower divisions face. Grimsby is not alone. Low attendances, reduced income and an expectation from the fans that are well below the capabilities or budget.
But one solution lies with the fans. If Town fans were to persuade their mates to go with them to a game or two, their mates may find themselves liking it, and may go again of their own accord.
That is not the only solution, but it is one the fans can get involved in without it costing them a penny.
The directors have made it quite clear that they are working to make the club self sufficient and getting to the stage when it can survive on its income.
In his statement last week, John Fenty gave the strongest indication that his priority is the new stadium and he is not prepared to continually fund the shortfall of the club.
That is a warning to us all. It won't last forever he is telling us.
It is time that the community played its part. The NELC Council for one part and we, the fans, for another.
There has to be a way and I am not pretending I have the answers because I don't. But when I look at the results of the 'Keep The Mariners Afloat' campaign and the Trust's membership drive, I wonder if we will survive at all.
It seems no one cares and are happy to leave it to someone else.
But that's the Grimsby way!
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