‘Meeting the opposition’ – Grimsby Town F.C
I spoke to my good friend, Aaron Rattray, ahead of Wednesday night’s League Two encounter at Blundell Park. He goes into detail about his personal stories as a fan, the manager who wasn’t appointed too long ago and new recruit Stefan Payne amongst other subjects.
How long have you been a Grimsby supporter and how did you first come across the club?
I’ve supported them since I was 2 or 3, my parents are lifelong fans so you could say it runs in the family unfortunately!
What are the moments that stand out during your time as a Mariners fan? (Highs and lows)
In my lifetime we have not had much success! However, winning the 2016 National league play off final at Wembley Stadium against Forest Green Rovers is the highlight so far and the low lights was the relegation to the national league in 2009/10 season, in 6 seasons we had fallen from the championship to non league and we look to be returning to non league again.
Random fact about either the club or the area?
Blundell Park is the lowest ground above sea level at just 2 metres.
What were your expectations going into the season and what are your thoughts and feelings now the campaign’s drawing to a close?
This season has been a disaster, the board and Ian Holloway planned terribly for the season and assembled a cheap below par squad as the board held the opinion that the season would be null and void so my expectations is just to finish 22nd and stay up. However, I am certain we will get relegated.
Paul Hurst returned to the managerial hot seat following the sacking of Ian Holloway, thoughts on him?
Paul Hurst inherited a truly embarrassingly poor squad from Holloway which was certain to get relegated, Hurst himself in January made 11 signings which tells you it all about the squad Holloway put together. Regardless though Hurst has done terribly, he inherited a dreadful squad but we need to remember he was appointed to keep us up and would he have took the job if he felt he could not do that? His 11 signings on paper mostly seem better than what we had but that is not transferring at all onto the pitch, in Hurst’s 12 games so far we have 1 win 2 draws and 9 defeats which is disgraceful regardless of the circumstances. I am not saying Hurst is totally to blame, as Holloway and the board got us in the mess in the first place but Hurst was appointed to get us out of it in which he has not done so he needs to take his share of the blame.
Who are the club’s owners and what are your thoughts on them?
John Fenty is our majority shareholder and you will honestly struggle to find a fan who likes him after 18 years of mismanagement and doing absolutely everything on the cheap to the disadvantage of the club. We were in the championship when he purchased the club, now look at us… (there are hundreds of examples I could give)- thankfully a takeover is in process, a consortium of Tom Shutes, Andrew Pettit and Jason Stockwood has agreed to buy the club and are just awaiting EFL approval and maybe relegation will be good for us, a fresh start from top to bottom, fresh start in the boardroom and a fresh start on the pitch with a brand new team.
Players that should cause the Rovers defensive line a few problems?
We do not have many, but I would say Julien Lamy, he’s a skilful winger and the only player we have who is capable of beating his man and getting balls into the box. For some reason he always seems to be subbed first by Hurst which is baffling.
How do you see the game panning out? (Score prediction etc)
Unfortunately, I see a Tranmere victory 2-0, I think you will be the better team without doubt and every game is must win for us but I don’t see it.
In the league encounter at Prenton Park between the two clubs, Tranmere won 5-0. This sunk further doubts to the quality that Ian Holloway possessed as a manager and he raged in a meeting with the press after the full time whistle. Keith Hill was also appointed that day. Thoughts on Grimsby’s performance in that defeat and Tranmere’s appointment of Hill?
It was a terrible performance.
Holloway after the game was really rude and aggressive to the journalist who was asking the questions and Holloway tried to insinuate that the journalist was to blame for the defeat, I don’t know how! And you could say it was frustration and he didn’t mean it but In every interview after that regardless if it was pre match or post match regardless who the journalist was asking the questions he was very rude and aggressive to them and at one stage it was actually bordering onto bullying rather than just being aggressive. The journalists were just doing their jobs in asking questions and Holloway was out of order in his approach to them as they don’t deserve to be shouted at and on occasions being bullied for just doing their job.
Keith Hill was always going to instill some know-how and fluidity into Tranmere, he is a proven astute manager who always did a good job at Rochdale with a limited budget.
What eleven and formation do you think Paul Hurst will opt to go with?
I expect 4-4-2 so from right to left, Mckeown, Hendrie, Hewitt, Menayese, left back I can’t name as it depends who is fit, Morais, Coke, Matete, Lamy, John Lewis and Hanson.
Thoughts on Tranmere? The club as a whole.
They’re certainly an established club who are playing below their actual level, and a good fan base with some real decent lads such as yourself! (even if I do say so myself ?)
Thoughts on the January transfer window recruits?
On paper we’re certainly better than what we have but are not gelling on the pitch at all.
One of these recruits was Rovers forward Stefan Payne, thoughts on him?
Stefan is a waste, he scored on his debut off the bench but since then he visibly looks as so he does not really care and he does not seem afraid of showing that when he is playing, most disappointing.
‘Stefan’s been a waste, he scored on his debut after he was put onto the pitch as a sub but it looks like he’s not cared since’.