Why Grimsby Town Fans Should Be Excited By David Artell Appointment – Opinion

A new era could begin at Grimsby Town this week, with David Artell reportedly set to become the club’s new head coach after parting ways with Paul Hurst over three weeks ago.

The 43-year-old former Crewe Alexandra manager will be taking charge of the second club in his managerial career, succeeding Paul Hurst who delivered two promotions and a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 1939. The club however find themselves 21st in League Two with only four victories.

Despite their poor league form, confidence and ambition remain high at board level as the club have moved from strength to strength under the ownership of Jason Stockwood and Andrew Pettit – Artell is their first managerial appointment since acquiring the North Lincolnshire outfit in May 2021.

In this article, we take a look at what Artell could bring to Grimsby Town in both the long and short term.

Experience At The Level

Experience is a sought-after factor at the lower league level. Despite only being 43, Artell has managed over 250 matches in League One and League Two. With five seasons at Crewe Alexandra, Artell managed to deliver promotion in the postponed 2019/20 season while also forecasting The Alex to an eleventh-place finish in League One – the highest league finish for the club since 2006.

Despite having an 18-month hiatus from management, Artell has placed a great deal of focus on improving himself as a coach during this period – observing training sessions with West Ham and Liverpool whilst also partaking in leadership and coaching courses.

Many factors went against Artell in his last season with Crewe, which saw The Railwaymen relegated from League One with 29 points. The previous summer saw the departures of the strong, youthful core that carried their successes in the top half of the third tier – as Ryan Wintle, Charlie Kirk and Owen Dale departed the club while the side were also without fullback duo Perry Ng and Harry Pickering. Fans must also remember that despite Crewe’s academy proving excellent over the years, David was and will always remain a large part of their careers.

Alignment With The Ownership

Since his acquisition of the club, Jason Stockwood has made the idea of a long-term, strategy-based approach very clear – further emphasised by the youthful squad and long-term contracts at Blundell Park.

To compliment this further, a project-based manager has always been a must for The Mariners.

Under Artell’s leadership, The Railwaymen’s league position improved each year until their relegation from the third tier. This period saw the development of stars such as Perry Ng, Harry Pickering and Ryan Wintle – all of which are now regular features in The Championship.

This current Grimsby squad features the likes of Kamil Conteh, Evan Khouri and Anthony Glennon, all of whom should be excited about their tenure under the coach.

Overall, the statistical, nurturing and developmental approach of both the Grimsby Town board and David Artell make the two a perfect match for one another.

Exciting Football

This is a particularly big factor.

The style of football not being suited towards specific players in the Grimsby squad has been a point of criticism for large parts of this season. Points include the positions of Kamil Conteh and Harry Clifton, how isolated Danny Rose may find himself when up front on his own and the general choice of system.

While overachieving on a low budget with The Alex, statistics under Artell from the postponed 2019/20 season suggest Crewe to have been one of the best sides in the division: (Statistics sourced by FotMob)

Goals per Match: 1.8 (1st in the division)

Average Possession: 58.3 (1st in the division)

Shots on Target per Match: 5.2 (1st in the division)

Accurate Passes per match: 372.9 (1st in the division)

Big Chances Created: 67 (1st in the division)

Clearances per Match: 17.3 (22nd in the division)

These statistics would suggest Artell to be one for the footballing purists, to play this brand of football in the division on a relatively low budget is of further compliment to the Englishman.

Oftentimes preferring the 4-3-3 formation with attacking phases focused particularly through the full-backs, Grimsby Town already possesses two attack-minded full-backs in Anthony Glennon and Toby Mullarkey who would heavily benefit from a system that encourages their attacking prowess.

However, it will be interesting to see which system the manager will employ with his squad and just how possible it will be for him to replicate his previous Alexandra sides with an inherited squad.

Another interesting factor will be the coaching staff, Mariners fans will be hoping that interim coaches Shaun Pearson and Ben Davies remain vital at the club after breathing a sense of security into the Lincolnshire outfit in their temporary spell.

Familiarity With The Club’s Current Position

While much of this piece has concentrated on the long-term benefits David Artell may provide, many Grimsby Town fans will be concerned with the club’s current position posing the possibility of a third stint in The National League.

When taking over at Crewe in January 2017, The Alex sat 22nd in League Two but under Artell’s stewardship, they found themselves in a secure 17th place with no realistic threat of consecutive relegations.

Therefore, Artell has shown the capacity to inherit a squad midway through a season and achieve short-term goals. David will also have much more freedom within the winter transfer market than when he took over during the window in 2017.

David Artell has a lot of work to do with this current squad – the defensive side of the squad particularly.

However, his time at Crewe proves the Englishman to be a like-for-like fit under the ethos of the Grimsby Town chair. Stockwood has made the idea of streamlining a head coach’s job with the correct surroundings and a long-term, strategy-based approach clear and, under a budget likely improved on the one he had at Crewe, Artell could flourish in his new position.

Jason Stockwood and Andrew Pettit may have delivered by appointing one of the most suitable managers for the club. It is now for the board to carry out their promises if Artell is to not only secure league football for The Mariners but also spearhead an upward trajectory on the East Coast.

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