Mariners Trust have launched “#operationpromotion”
7 June ~ Just weeks after a gut-wrenching defeat in the Conference play-off final at Wembley, Grimsby Town have ignited a movement that aims to help the Mariners regain their Football League status. Despite narrowly missing out on a place in League Two to Bristol Rovers after a penalty shootout, the fan-led Mariners Trust have launched an ambitious money-raising scheme called #operationpromotion to supply Town boss Paul Hurst with sufficient funds to attract "one or two key personnel” to aid next season’s big push.
A target of £20,000 from fan donations was set, with the Trust themselves agreeing to contribute £5,000 while local EuroMillions winners Lee and Susan Mullen generously offering to double whatever funds could be raised. A donation deadline was set for the end of July to allow manager Hurst some time before the start of the new campaign. By the end of the first day, over £25,000 had been raised. Now with 51 days left to run on the initiative, and almost £40,000 already raised, Hurst could easily be handed a transfer kitty of £100,000 next month; an amount that could make a real difference to the team.
Of course, Grimsby Town aren’t wholly unfamiliar with supporter whip-rounds. In the late 1970s it was the Blundell Park faithful who cobbled together the few thousand pounds it cost to sign future Ireland international Joe Waters from Leicester City, while in the mid-1990s something similar was arranged to raise funds to buy on-loan Italian maestro Ivano Bonetti out of his bizarre contract with an American-based agency. However, soon after the ink had dried on his permanent deal, the move turned sour when Town’s rookie manager Brain Laws allegedly struck his new signing during an away match at Luton Town.
But what is it this time that’s encouraged donations from almost a thousand fans to dig deep and support their team? In time, we all might all look back at 2014-15 as a landmark season for the Mariners. After decades of disappointment, relegations and finally widespread apathy, the love between the club and their supporters was rekindled. The club themselves should take some credit for this but ultimately it was the effort shown on the pitch by Hurst’s players each week that made the team a joy to support again. Let’s hope come May next year the Mariners Trust don’t have to launch “#operationpromotion Mark II”. That definitely won’t have the same ring to it on Twitter. Jack Johnson