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Is it the Right Time to Look Ahead?

By: Jason Ives
Date: 06/02/2002

PAUL GROVES and the board members are faced with a difficult decision to make - do we plan ahead and make provisions for playing Division 2 football next season or do we look at ways to strengthen the team short term and hopefully secure our Division 1 tenure.

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It's a tough choice - talk about stuck between a rock and a hard place!

If the decision is to look to maintain Division 1 status, how do they do it? It has already been said by Groves that the funds are very limited and trying to persuade players to come to Blundell Park is proving difficult, due to salaries, Town's position and the geographical location of the club. With Robert Taylor's sending off at the weekend the club are perhaps only going to get one more game out of him, Watford, before he returns to Wolves.

The search then resumes for another loanee, unless the club decide to keep faith with the squad we have. Results affect attendances and it has been down to the Town 'die-hards', the 4,000 or so who turn up whatever the problems on the field, to keep the coffers coming in. Without these fans the club would be in REAL trouble and I'm sure, or hope, that the club realise the efforts of the fans and thank them for it.

With the option of buying players virtually a non starter it is down to the present squad to somehow lift themselves and start getting some results. The return of McDermott and Pouton is a big plus, yet confidence is surely low, and the squad are going to have to dig very deep if they wish to remain Division 1 players.

So the question is - do Town plan ahead for Division 2 now? They could do this by perhaps inviting offers for all the squad, Danny Coyne being the most obvious asset we have, Pouton would possibly attract clubs as well. Do Town make the decision to take players off the pay roll, i.e. Allen, Burnett, Livingstone etc. With deadline day fast approaching the only way Town can invest in players for the future is by getting money for their assets now. Where do they look to find new players?

It would seem to me that the only option is to find promising players from non league to save on transfer fees or perhaps Div 3 players. Then again, that raises another question. To develop players surely requires experienced heads, Paul Groves has been a manager for 2 months, Rodger a coach for the same, do they have what it takes to nurture a player to perform at a higher level? Do we know if Paul Groves will be in charge next season? I am not aware of any contract being signed, though I stand corrected if it has.

Whatever way you look at it Paul Groves is in a very difficult position. He's only been at the helm for 2 minutes and the future of the club is in his hands. If we are to be relegated then the TV revenue would be lost, something Town can ill afford. But, surely, no one could blame Groves, he has been left in a no win situation. If we go down then it was only to be expected, but would he be left in charge to plan the club's efforts to rise again, or was he only a stop gap measure until the club find someone with experience for next season?

It is a very difficult and un-nerving time for Town fans, but spare a thought for Groves. If faced with some of the decisions he is - what would you do? Is it time to plan ahead or do we wait until the season is over - over to you members of the board.

TRUE or FALSE by Jodie Holden

Team over Xmas: played PNE, WBA, Portsmouth, Barnsley, scored 3 against 1 Pts 6. Taylor comes for £4,000 a week, he plays 3 games against 3 low teams we score 1 and let in 4, Pts 1, and Taylor gets sent off and the fans claim that it's getting better. Alright we drew we York and lost to an own goal against York, but remember York beat Reading 2-0 in the FA cup and look at Reading now. Get behind the players who want to play for Grimsby. The team won't score many goals with 9 in defence but as proved over Xmas it is possible to pick points up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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