The Fishy - Grimsby Town FC

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End of season
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Groves - The Easy Target

By: Mark Dillerstone
Date: 08/01/2004

BRING me the head of Paul Groves. That seems to be the cry of the majority of Town supporters as we start 2004. I too have been disappointed by this season, but I am loathe to land all the blame at the feet of the easy target.

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Here we have a man who played for the club, a man who captained the side to two Wembley victories no less, a man who was thrust into the job because he was the cheap available option. A man who cares more for GTFC, than most of the people at Blundell Park.

As a manager he managed to keep Town in the First Division for a season longer than expected, managing to get Premiership quality players to come on loan to a small struggling club. The next season was a season too far with a small squad backed up by more astute loan signings Town eventually dropped out of the division. Groves was not helped by his captain, who with Town still have a chance at the greatest escape of all time, managed to get himself a six game ban.

This season he had to go in search of players again. Misfits and players who would have been on the scrapheap. Players who would play for anyone as long as they were getting some money. In his two years of management Paul Groves has never been given money to BUY a player, in fact he has had to cut wages and build a team within the clubs strict financial parameters.

So how do you go about motivating the players when you are in his position? Obviously you cannot offer any financial incentives as the club does not have the money. Dropping players could be an option if you felt that the players coming in to replace them were up to the job of playing first team football consistently. You could try telling them to do it for the fans, but as most of the players are only here for the money, and none of them are from Grimsby, they don't really care about the club or its fans. So how do you get them to perform, to show some pride in the Black and White striped shirt.

Others complain about his tactics. When you have a midfield that cannot hold onto the ball and a quick striker you tend to just try to get it to the striker, its not entertaining, and it is easy to combat, but until the team learn to pass the ball to each other it is just about the only option. Substitutions? Well usually you are only replacing like for like so you only do it when a player looks tired. We have no one who can turn a game and if we do they are usually on the pitch from the start.

Paul Groves is the piggy in the middle. Players who won't play because there is nothing to make them, players who aren't really good enough, players who would be out of work if it wasn't for Town. A board that seems to think its OK for the club to sink lower and lower into the league as long as they survive.

So two years down the line, here we are, where most people seemed to think we belonged, except now its not good enough, now is the time to bring in a new fresh face, who is prepared to build a cheaply assembled team, who is prepared to work without money, we've had enough of this scapegoat (wasn't that why he was made manager in the first place) we need another one.

Sorry Paul, even though it is fairly obvious, to me at least, that you love GTFC, you are the easy target, and for that I am truly sorry.

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