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Stuart Campbell Target

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 29/03/2001

GRIMSBY TOWN are keen to buy loanee Stuart Campbell at the end of the season, provided they stay up. Vice chairman Bryan Huxford said today "If I've got anything to do with it, I'm fully convinced that he will come. With the sort of figures we've been talking about it would be possible to do it".

In an interview with the Grimsby Telegraph Mr Huxford made it clear that the Leicester City midfielder would not want to stay at Blundell Park if the Mariners do not avoid the drop.

"There's no point in talking about whether Campbell will come or not because he, like us, wants to wait and see what situation we're in. He won't come if we're in the second division. He's done a good job, got a lot of potential, he's a quality player and a nice lad."

Revealing that the priority apart from Campbell would be the search for a striker Mr Huxford said "We've got a squad that can do well for us next year. We are strong in midfield and the defence, but we've got to strengthen the front and the money that is available will mainly go there."

Mr Huxford also clarified the situation regarding the Sky TV money, which has been the subject of fans speculation. The Town vice chairman revealed that the total amount the Mariners will be awarded should they beat the drop would be £2.7 million, of which the manager will be given a slice to acquire new players - providing Town remain in the 1st division.

Mr Huxford revealed that the board had received some of the money in advance, just after Lennie Lawrence's appointment as manager in August. "We had a pre-payment of £1.1-million in September, and we used 80 per cent of that to strengthen the squad. That was to keep us up. That was the gamble."

How large exactly the slice allotted to buying new players would be, however, Mr Huxford did not specify - presumably as it will depend on how large the club's debt is when the payment is received. "When the rest is paid in the summer - to balance the books the manager can't have it all - he will get some".

This news confirms previous statements from the club that manager Lawrence had received £700,000 during the current season, and with this additional money he will probably become Grimsby's biggest spending manager. Alan Buckley was the previous holder of that record but it looks now that Lennie Lawrence will surpass that record.

In contrast to Alan Buckley's use of the club's money in the past, most of the funds were spent on loan player's wages, as distinct to transfer fees. Long-term foreign imports David Nielsen, Zhang Enhua and Knut Anders Fostervold all used up a substantial part of the £700K kitty, although only on temporary contracts. Just one player has been purchased by Lennie Lawrence with the funds, Dutch midfielder Menno Willems for £160,000.

Billo's Verdict: It is hardly surprising therefore that yesterday Mr Huxford blasted the apathy in the town towards supporting the club with the current directors allocating more money to a manager than any other board in the club's history.

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