League Two Form Guide
Question of the Week
Will Paul Hurst stay at Grimsby?
|Alan Buckley 2006-2008|
Farewell Alan Buckley
By: Rob Sedgwick
ALAN Buckley's third spell at Blundell Park began very promisingly with the traditional "honeymoon period". A creditable draw at Northampton of League One in the FA Cup kicked things off, and then Grimsby almost won at Wycombe, something they had never done before, but had to settle for 1-1.
Buckley then stamped his authority on the team seeing Town win three games on the trot [Accrington Stanley (h) 2-0, Barnet (a) 1-0 and Shrewsbury (h) 2-1]. Grimsby fans were once again walking with an extra spring in their step and wearing their shirts with pride - even the crowds went up a bit!
Then came the first of three dreadful runs, starting on Boxing Day 2006 at Hartlepool. Town then lost without scoring in consecutive games to: Stockport, Rochdale, Chester, Walsall and Darlington. Only a last minute consolation at Torquay in a 4-1 reverse meant that Town could only equal a club record of goallless defeats.
The run was ended by a miraculous 6-0 win at Boston, followed by a stunning 4-3 win over Bristol Rovers. Town then charged up the league winning 7 out of 8 games for a late surge towards the play-offs which came unstuck in the last few weeks of the 2006-2007 season.
In 2007-2008 Town once again got off to a poor start and found themselves having to wait until late September for their first win, which came at fellow strugglers Lincoln. Town laboured near the bottom for most of the first half of the season, and only good cup runs gave the long-suffering Town fans much cheer.
Grimsby improved in the new year, winning four consecutive games in January to lift themselves well away from the drop zone. But as the club progressed in the Johnstone Paint Trophy, that soon became the priority and the league results dropped away.
The Johnstone Paint final against MK Dons was the highlight of Alan Buckley's third reign, but Town were well beaten on the day by Paul Ince's side.
Alan Buckley decided to get rid of two first team regulars Ciaron Toner and Nick Fenton in the summer of 2008, but their replacements did no better and 2008-2009 saw Grimsby make an equally bad start to that of the previous season. With only the clubs on negative points stopping Town being in the bottom two, the Town board decided to pull the plug on their manager's third spell at Blundell Park and probably draw a curtain for once and for all on his football management career.
In truth Town are in no better a position than when Alan Buckley came and that simply is not good enough for Grimsby Town FC. May his successor be more successful!
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