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Why Slade Is Here To Stay

By: Blundell Park Scout
Date: 31/03/2005

AFTER 3 perilous years, the freefall of Grimsby Town FC has been halted. The dreaded dive-bomb into the Football Conference, has been averted. True, we are two divisions lower than we were when the collapse started, but at least, for now, this is as low as it goes.

Home > Features > 2005 Features > Why Slade is Here To Stay

So why is there any question that the hero of the moment, Russell Slade, should not have his contract extended? If Alan Buckley had returned to the club in May last year, and had the same result as Slade has had, would the reaction from fans be any different? You bet it would.

The problem with Town is that as fans, not only do we expect too much, but we are always comparing the present with the past. We have strange heroes; not least Buckley who, lets not forget, quit the club when he thought he could get a fatter salary at WBA. Yet, the majority clamoured for his return, and treated him like a king when we got to TWO Wembley finals in his first year back. Good stuff, but when we struggled in the old division one, he was sacked, and the chain of events that ends now, commenced.

Following the short, expensive and controversial reign of Lennie Lawrence, the club turned to another hero in Paul Groves. He became even more of a local saint when he managed to avert relegation in his first season, only for the Houdini act to fail the following year. By now, the real cost of Lawrence and ITV Digital had set in, and Groves was unable to motivate his Band of Gypsies into a winning streak, and was sacked.

Replaced temporarily by Graham Rodger, Groves also quit the club as a player, and another Town hero rode off into oblivion. Then, in a final act of desperation, Nicky Law came to Grimsby to save the club from freefalling into League Two. He failed, and like others before him, left town with his tail between his legs.

Enter Russell Slade. Brief? Build a team starting with the 4 full timers that we have, and put the rest together from anybody who has ever played the game, can walk, and knows where Grimsby is. Most of all, stop the slide into the Conference.

The squad was assembled, very slowly, so slowly in fact that we wondered if we would even have a full side to field on opening day. Players came on trial, on short-term loans, on medium-term loans and long-term loans. We even signed a couple. Throughout the season, there was the continual call for the dismissal of Slade. Why? He did what he was asked.

So why not give him another year? Maybe it's because he isn't Buckley; maybe it's because he isn't Groves; maybe it's because in another life, he was a teacher.

Maybe we have become too obsessed with the past to recognise what may be the beginning of a new future.

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