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Grimsby Town: A Long And Miserable Journey To Oblivion...Then Back Again!

Monday 9th January 2012
Whilst making my way home from Cleethorpes back to Newcastle, after another miserable defeat and relegation confirmed from the Football League for my home  team Grimsby Town a couple of Years back, I wrote down my thoughts so that I would remember in future, that there could not possibly be a lower moment in my life - I have removed for the most part the swearing so not to offend young eyes!

Now I'm as optimistic as anyone when it comes to this aberration of a football club, but after this afternoon's latest capitulation it's time to wake up and smell the coffee – we're knackered. Down. Goners. Non-league.

To be honest I didn't know how it would affect me, it's not like it hasn't been coming, but tonight I just feel absolutely deflated. Absolutely soulless and devastated. Its like someone ripped my heart out and stood in front of me with it, laughing in my face.

I can't get away from these emotions, I just want the whole world to just go away and leave me alone. To help me come to terms with this whole mess, I've decided to compile a list of everyone and everything I want to go away most of all and also a couple of things that are right.

For starters, work can do one. If they think I'm going to be there on Monday morning they've got another thing coming. No way am I going in to spend time dealing with faceless a-holes that I can barely stand being with when I'm in a good mood; let alone this crushing feeling of anger, frustration and being metaphorically-kicked-in-the-nether regions.

The Geordies at work can also do one! They will no doubt take great pleasure in berating my misfortune, I hope their new owner financially melts them down!

Mam and Dad - why, oh why, oh why, couldn't you have moved to Liverpool, where half the family are from, then I would of been born there, and would still live there, and thus would have a birth right to support the mighty reds! But no, you settled in Cleethorpes! Damn you!

The girlfriend can definitely shove off, her best attempt at consolation – “I don't know why you're bothered; you knew they were pathetic anyway”. Yes love, but they're MY pathetic team. They've been MINE for pretty much as long as I've been able to wipe my own backside, and they'll be MINE for as long as I'm alive (or at least, until I'm no longer able to wipe my own backside).

Barrow, Ebbsfleet and Fleetwood - really?!?. I've been all over the country and beyond to watch my team, but frankly I just don't have the stomach to visit any town which makes Scunthorpe look like Monte-Bloody-Carlo!

Nan (God rest your soul). This is your fault. Your idea. You introduced me to this world of hell. “Come with me to Blundell Park” you said, “Join the Junior Mariners”. I'll buy you a GTFC key-ring and scarf. What could I do? I was an impressionable four year-old susceptible to bribery, what choice did I have? Why not crack open a four pack of special brew and call it 'special tea' and feed it to me introveniously whilst you were at it? I could have gone with mum shopping for bras and knickers at BHS, but no, you knew best. I should of called child-line there and then myself and reported you for child cruelty.

The F.A. can do a running jump from Cleethorpes pier. Not for supplying us, week-in, week- out, with inept referee after inept referee, but for imposing sensible financial rules on all clubs in League Two. How many clubs in this division have been into administration this season? Not one. How many points deducted? Not one. How else are we supposed to avoid relegation – footballing merit? We didn't have to last season, you took multiple points away for fun! So why spoil the fun now?

The World Cup is now not happening in my house, South Africa I hope you win! – I don't care anymore. Hell, at this point I would gleefully don lederhosen and join the Germans! Or even put on a skirt, a bib with two big letters on it and join the local girls netball team, just to avoid this immense sense of disappointment again!

East Coast Mainline Trains or whatever they are called nowadays - Your inadequacies are legendary and are compounding my misery! Signalling works on a Saturday night - Really!?! Just what I need; 130 minutes in Doncaster, Yorkshire to break my journey! Great, thank you! Honestly, you do me for £70 for the 'pleasure' of taking me to see the Mariners sink to the conference, and this is how you repay me!?

Most of all though, the last 31 years should be banished into oblivion. In that time I have watched my team fall from the top of the 2nd Division (Championship nowadays) into non-league mediocrity. We've gone from one great big mess to the next without even coming up for air, and today is just the icing on the cake.

One thing I'm sure of though is that, when it comes down to it, a football club is basically just a set of supporters, and frankly what I've learned in the last 30+ years is that this set of followers are amongst the strongest, hardy, knowledgeable, forgiving and most loyal bunch you will ever come across. If they keep following and supporting the team, the future can only be bright.

I can only think of two people I actually want to thank today.......ne has some of the most loyal and best. We've had to put up with some horrendous decisions, boards and chairmen, constant barracking from away fans about the fishy odours emanating from our docks and being called cod heads,(even though Haddock is clearly by far the superior fish).But in spite of all of that the future is still bright as long as those die hards keep attending lest we not forget its the fans that attend, that make the club (Man Utd fans that's why we despise you).

Firstly, my Grandad (God rest his big scouse soul) who saved my own footballing soul when I was five for taking me to Anfield in 79' and getting me hooked on a proper team, with proper players: Dalglish, Mcdermott, Rush and Hansen to name a few. I was given the pleasure of watching from the legendary Kop. However now it looks like the Yanks may ruin that too - am I cursed? (Maybe I'll support Hull next year and lead them into financial ruin, he he he)

Secondly my five year-old Daughter, who seems to be the only one to understand me right now, just spoke to her and she is saving me a bar of her chocolate for when i get home - proper comfort food! And will keep me from aforementioned oblivion.

So, thanks for reading, next time you speak to a fan whose team is dicing and flirting with relegation, please show them some empathy, and try to put yourself in their shoes.

By the way, yes I do still, from time to time, allow East Coast trains to take £70+ from me to go back to my place of birth to endure more Conference constipation! I call it constipation as GTFC seem destined to be stuck there for the forseeable future. I also (when I can get a ticket and have the funds) attend Anfield and occasionally St James' Park too, as its now my 'home' ground. After all I think you will agree there really is no substitute whatsoever for watching the 'beautiful game' live!
Paul Culyer

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