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Keep Buckley but Sack the Fans!
By: Bill Osborne
The wheels on the bus go round, round, round. So too does the Grimsby annual cry of 'Sack the manager'. Not that it is without some merit on occasions, but we should at least have it in the diary as a special event. Just pick a date and we might even try to get it made into a public holiday.
Let's go through his points one by one.
Looking at our current position and recent run of losses, it would seem that the current cry of 'Sack the manager' is justified, a view I would readily agree with if it wasn't for our history and our resilience.
We have not had it good for too long now and it is hard to remember the last time we felt happy at season's end, except perhaps during Mr Slade's time, which most people scoffed at anyway, so no pleasing us is there.
No Sir, qualifying for the playoffs cuts no ice for Grimsby fans. Let's face it, we were in the Championship League or the second division once. Or was it the first division? So confusing with Coca Cola, Dulux or Johnstones Paint, Auto Windscreens and Fairy Floss leagues today.
But whatever, we were there and Town fans will let you know that readily enough.
They will also tell you that it was the time we were riding high up there and Scunny were a struggling fourth division team with at least 1,800 going to their games, and most of them will tell you that because they still think that's what we are. A successful League One or Championship side.
Not for them to see the reality. Because the reality is that we are a struggling lower division team, fighting to keep our position in the Football League and trying to keep the administrators at bay.
And the few who do realise where and what we are, will tell you whose fault it is.
Buckley, the players, the commercial department, the Trust, the Fishy, David Burns, the local council, the bird twitchers and that no good chairman who won't put his fortune into the club.
They must be right because no one else can be blamed except for the fans and nobody could accuse them could they?
Well I can.
Because I haven't forgotten that just when it looked like we were getting somewhere, the fans drove out the manager. The manager who took us to the playoffs, after we endured season after season of rubbish.
He left us and was accused of selling us out. Any person with any sense at all would have left Town as quickly as they could after putting up with all the crap Slade got.
Because he got results but the football was not pretty. But that's life in League Two. You endure the crappy football because it is the means to the end. Gaining promotion. If you want pretty football go to the Premier League. Grimsby Town is not for you.
But now the tables have turned. You now have what you wanted. Pretty football. The Buckley way. Passing and movement. That's what we want! Good football. Never mind that rubbish Slade gave us on the way to the playoffs.
A wiser man than me said; "Be careful what you wish for"
And now, we have what we wished for. Pretty football.
But with it comes a price. We are not getting the results we want and we all know what that means don't we?
For those who don't know, I will tell you.
It means we have to stop moaning, get behind the team, the manager and the club and give them time to jointly solve the results problem.
It isn't going to happen overnight and we all know that. But being the impatient types we are, we expect it to anyway.
I will not and cannot defend Buckley and/or his tactics or team selection. I hear the comments and suggestions about what he is doing wrong.
But calling for his head right now is not the answer. It doesn't matter who he is. He could be John Doe or someone but it is still too early to sack him.
Over the past seasons we have gone from one sacking to another and still failed to get out of this division. That was until we gave Slade more than a few months and we almost made it.
We have to stick by Buckley and give him time to get us ticking. It is going to take a lot of patience and we will have to put up with that. But a sacking now would be a disaster.
Let us get it right this time. Don't let us drive another manager out unless he deserves it. Buckley deserves the chance to get it right and take us places.
I have said for at least three seasons now that avoiding relegation to the Conference is a victory. I have no reason to change my mind. We should give this manager time to build a team and get us out of this league. One season is not enough.
Slade proved that.
(Note to John Fenty: We will lose on Saturday probably but do not listen to the 'Sack the Manager' calls. Public opinion is not always right.)
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