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Billo's Back!
Billo's Back!

Wake Up!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 20/03/2008

IN my last article for The Fishy, I said my second part would be in a few days. My apologies for the delay but, as you romantics know, affairs of the heart take precedence.

Like everyone else, I am delighted that the Mariners are going back to Wembley. Unfortunately, my doc has prevented me from going as 22 hours is too long a flight both ways in a short time and I am not yet fit enough to manage it.

I am also delighted to hear that the club is going to make around the 400,000 mark from the total Johnstone’s Paint Trophy comp. It is good to see the club making money.

But despite the excitement and the euphoria of Wembley and the good news about the money and these are high moments of the club’s history, in real terms they are short term gains.

What troubles me greatly is that in the main, when we talk about the future of the club, people look no further than the next season. Few look to the long term future, where the club will be in 10 or even 20 years time. Few even consider the possibility that the club may cease to exist yet many clubs just like ours have gone to the wall over the past few years.

One would hope that it would not happen to us, but we have to accept the dangers ahead. Finance or lack of it, in particular. Town have avoided disreputable people gaining control of the club so that danger we have avoided so far.

But the greatest danger to the club comes not from the crooks and asset strippers, it comes from those who love the club the most. The fans and supporters who in my opinion, do not understand why the trust can be a valuable asset to the club and what the trust movement is about and why it is an essential for every club.

The club directors and officials fail to take the trust too seriously and why should they? Grimsby Town fans let their supporters club die through apathy and look like doing it again with the trust.

These are the very fans who say: "The club don't listen to us."

Fans and supporters who do not have an organization that represents them will never be listened to. Sure the directors will talk to individual fans but that is not helping the rest.

Every Grimsby fan should join the trust who have already made inroads into the club. The club talk to the trust as it represents the fans and supporters and through the work of the committee, they have made financial contributions to the club on your behalf creating a good working relationship with the board. It has never been better.

The club too should do more with the trust. In return for their support, they should appoint a trust representative onto the board without demanding a ridiculous figure as a joining fee. A rep on the board is part of the future success of the club in that working with the fans representative body is more productive than dealing willy nilly with individuals.

That was the old way, when the club didn't want to hear from the fans.

The club are now looking at funding the new stadium and if that gets off the ground, they will need every fan and supporter to kick in. If that is the case, and we all know it is, the club should treat the trust members better.

For example: The Wembley ticket issue and all major fixtures should issue tickets to season ticket holders and trust members first. That will encourage more to join the trust and at the same time demonstrate the importance of the trust to the club.

The trust should not fund anything else at the club until the club demonstrates its commitment to the trust as something more than another fundraising avenue.

The trust should continue using its funds to buy shares in the club until it holds 26% of the total shares. I highlighted the importance of this in my last article.

In short, the fans should not let the trust die. The club should be more proactive with the trust and the trust should stop putting money in until they do.

All deals have to be mutually beneficial and until they are it is not a good deal.

I hope that I am here long enough to say I told you so. When the you know what hits the fan and it will. Maybe not soon, but sometime in the future, unless the fans trust the trust and the club recognises its importance, who will help save the club when the crunch comes?

Not today’s fans and that’s for sure!

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