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Editorial: Alan Buckley - Deal or No Deal?
By: Jake Olley
Date: 27/01/2008 (Last updated: 03/03/2008)
WITH only a couple of days remaining until the January transfer window closes the majority of Town fans cannot be blamed for having mixed feelings about Alan Buckley’s activity, or lack of it, this month.
It’s common knowledge that it isn’t Buckley’s style to ship many in, or out, during the season and he does favour stability rather than making wholesale changes during the mid-way part of the season however – as a Town fan – you can’t help but feel a little disappointed that Buckley hasn’t built upon the relatively small squad.
With the Mariners Football League survival all but secured for another season I personally would’ve liked to have seen Alan to go out and have bought a couple of players in to help build on our squad for future years – giving them time to get used to their new surroundings and settle in time for a serious promotion challenge next year.
However, this hasn’t been the case and not only have Town not really built upon their small squad but they simply haven’t looked like wanting to.
York City winger Martyn Woolford – one of the hottest prospects outside of the Football League – was linked to the club this week though personally with Buckley now seemingly favouring the 3-5-2 formation with two wing backs you never seriously really saw Buckley going out and spending his entire transfer budget – a six figured sum - on a attacking left winger that wouldn’t have fit into his relatively successful new formation.
However, I think the past two performances against Shrewsbury and Dagenham have shown that the cracks that appeared for the majority of this season – and for large parts of the season before - are still there and, in my opinion, if we are to push on next season – and ultimately try and get out of this division we do need to strengthen in the summer.
Also, and only reading between the lines, the fact that Buckley has only made one permanent signing this window (Martin Butler – 18 month deal – who has been a absolute flop) could possibly indicate that this is possibly Buckley’s last season as Mariners manager.
Despite a fine purple patch during late December and January nobody can forgot how badly things were earlier this season – and for the majority of 2007 – and I personally am undecided as to whether we should stick or twist with our manager come the end of this campaign.
On one hand, Buckley’s sides – at times – can be unplayable and a joy to watch. However, Buckley doesn’t seem to do bad in small spells. When it’s bad under Buckley it’s really bad and unfortunately since returning in November 2006 we’ve seen two really terrible large spells when it has been embarrassing to a Mariners fan.
I personally believe Buckley’s future at the club hinges on whether he can ensure the club finish in the top half of the table and get to the final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – anything less than that and I personally think we should thank Buckley for keeping us up following the dark days under Graham Rodger but look for somebody younger, with fresher ideas and contacts, to take us out of this division.
When you consider the Mariners are unbeaten in 2008 and have played much better – baring the Shrewsbury game – this may seem a little harsh on Alan but you just don’t forget some of the ‘football’ we’ve witnessed at Blundell Park this season.
Only time will tell as to how much longer Alan Buckley will be manager of Grimsby Town but sooner or later we’re gonna have to stand on our own two feet and build a new Grimsby Town in a new stadium, with a new hero and hopefully a new spell of success.
Otherwise – I fear – this prestigious little club could become Rochdale AFC Part Two.
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