‘A symptom of wider issues at the club’ – Grimsby sack Jolley: Our panel discuss the situation at Blundell Park

Hot on the heels of annoying a host of their fans by allowing Nigel Farage to be pictured at their ground holding a shirt, Grimsby Town have now controversially sacked manager Michael Jolly.

The Mariners looked to be amongst the front-runners in League Two this season and started strongly with wins against Port Vale and Walsall, as well as Doncaster in the EFL Cup. That set up a game with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, in which they were hammered 7-2.

However, a fine 3-1 win away at Exeter City had fans believing they might be on the cusp of a successful promotion challenge. That win came at the end of September and six winless weeks later, they’re hunting a new manager.

In the games following the Exeter win, Grimsby have looked disorganised and perhaps lacking direction. Mansfield and Leyton Orient, both struggling in League Two, snatched wins at Blundell Park. Draws with Newport and Cambridge sandwiched an EFL Trophy defeat against Leicester City, but seven winless games hardly looked like a full-scale crisis.

Having had just one game in almost a fortnight, the timing of the move seems odd. A draw with Newport in the FA Cup, themselves play-off candidates in the league, wasn’t the worst outcome Mariners’ fans could have hoped for. With the news breaking six days after that game, it’s not a knee-jerk reaction either.

Is it the right decision? Our Football League writers discuss the latest situation.

Gary H says…..

“I’m not the best person to be asking about this as a Lincoln City fan.

“Jolley is a former employee of ours and the nucleus of their squad are former Lincoln players as well. I can’t say that it’s not a justified decision though; Jolley is in his third season at Blundell Park and it could be argued they’ve trodden water in that time.

“What is unusual is the timing. They’re not in dire trouble and relegation from League Two isn’t as likely given that there’s one place up for grabs. I think they could have given him a bit more time, especially as their winless run isn’t as extensive as some – I think we went more games without a win in a period this season.

“Whilst we’re rivals, I do feel for their fans. I sometimes get the impression that all the different managers and players are not the ones at fault; the owner is.”

James G says…..

“It’s the right decision at the right time.

“Getting rid now means that they’ll appoint before Christmas (hopefully). That gives the new manager a bit of time to work with his squad before the January transfer window.

“Sacking a manager in late December or after is foolish, any new man is almost certainly left with another man’s tools and often they’re not up to the task in hand.

“Grimsby have looked lost recently. After three seasons you expect to see a side have some direction, but the confused approach and differing tactics have left supporters at a loss as to where they’re going.”

Harry F says……

“I watched on as we beat them 3-2 in the EFL Trophy and I was actually surprised with how decent they looked. Maybe it was just us being really bad, but their forwards looked lively and it was a reserve side they put out in the main.

“I suppose Grimsby fans might know better, but they don’t seem to be in real trouble. Yes, they’re 18th but they’ve games in hand of most clubs which, if they won, would lift them to ninth.

“I’ve got a mate who is a Grimsby fan and he’s suggested to me that the problem isn’t in the dugout. This is a symptom of wider issues at the club which supporters know, deep down, won’t be addressed.”

Gary H is a lifelong Lincoln City fan and has worked as a sport’s journalist for the past three years. He’s the editor of the popular Lincoln City site ‘The Stacey West’ and has written for Football League World as well.

James G is a Luton Town fan who has helped build the Real EFL into the successful site it is today, approaching 1m views for the year. He still watches the Hatters, but feels comfortable in the lower leagues and loves the passion on the terraces without money ruining it all.

Harry F is a Sunderland fan and journalist student hoping to forge a career in the world of football writing.

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