Saturday was a special day for me. Stepping into Football League management in England is something I have worked towards for a long time, and in many ways, it was the end of a journey, but much more importantly, it was the beginning of another.
I plan to give everything to make this an exciting period in Grimsby Town’s history, but I am just one part of this fantastic club. In my experience, clubs that have sustained success have an alignment between their fans, board, manager, players, and staff. We all know where we want Grimsby Town to be, but we have to work together and support one another to achieve it, even if our success doesn’t happen in a straight line.
The players did us proud on Saturday. Our performance wasn’t perfect but the lads gave everything to take something from the game. That’s an excellent starting point. Even better, there was always a belief amongst them that they could get back into the game, even going into the 90th minute. This was the first match since 7th October 2017 in which we have come back in a game and taken some points from the match. A positive sign.
I was very satisfied to see the feedback they each individually took on board in my first week with them. We are still getting to understand each other’s strengths, weaknesses and personalities. This will take time. However, the group has already taken on board some of the principles I believe in and started to apply them which is something we can build on.
Simultaneously we are building trust with one another and this will enable us to have the right amount, and the right type, of conflict for us to move in the direction that is necessary. It's not going to be plain sailing between now and the end of the season. There will be moments of hope and moments of disappointment. We have to be ready to deal with both and to move forward, retaining our focus on our immediate goal; to confirm our place in League 2 for next season.
I'm now looking forward to continuing the work we have started this week. There is still much to do between now and the end of the season. A week or so in, I'm now even more convinced than when I prepared for interview that there is more than enough talent in this group to ensure our survival. We go into a game with our local rivals on Saturday with a sense of belief, hunger and determination to achieve a positive result. There is a desire amongst the players to give our supporters something to smile about after a difficult few months.
Finally - a word on our supporters. On behalf of myself and my wife, I want to thank you again for all you have done so far to make us feel so welcome. The passion and intensity you have for Grimsby Town is a uniquely Grimsby thing. We have felt welcomed into your community. Already I feel there is something special about this Town and its relationship with its Football Club. There is a different feel, an intensity that other football clubs could only aspire to. Your passion for your Football Club is infectious. I have spoken several times in the media about the 'strong heartbeat' at this club and you are the people who sustain that.'
The atmosphere on Saturday was one I will not forget in a long time. We need you to continue this from now through to the end of the season. There are going to be some bumps in the road along the way but I need you to show me that Saturday wasn't a one off. Sometimes that means giving a player encouragement when a pass doesn't quite come off, cheering every tackle and leaving the ground at 4:45pm with a sore throat knowing you have done your bit. There are going to be more tense games like Saturday between now and May. However, the only way we can end the season on a high is if you continue to believe in this group. If you are lucky enough to get a ticket for Saturday, come and sing your heart out. If not, I will see you at Coventry the week after.
It's going to be a rollercoaster ride but together we are stronger and together we will succeed. 9 games to go. Keep believing. We can do this.