Grimsby Town FC held its 2019 annual general meeting (AGM) at Blundell Park on Thursday morning.
Town board members John Fenty, Philip Day, Stephen Marley, Michael Chapman, and Jon Wood were all present at the 128th meeting at Blundell Park.
They discussed a variety of topics including the club’s finances, a potential takeover and new stadium plans, the current managerial situation, and more.
John Fenty confirmed that prospective club-buyer Tom Shutes hopes that the club can relocate to the fish docks for a potential new stadium.
Mr Fenty said: “We wanted to relocate to Peaks Parkway, but it’s clear that as a result of the flats coming down in Freeman Street it became less likely that we would get the political support to go to Peaks Parkway.
“It’s clear that certain politicians hung the hat on the club relocating to Freeman Street, and the Freemans undertook some work to do a few visuals to gauge the appetite of the public, which was very strong in support of regenerating Freeman Street.
“The football club have then been faced with an alternative direction. Tom Shutes has an aspiration to acquire the football club and relocate it onto the fish docks, which requires filling the dock in.
“The football club aren’t precious where it goes, but the fact is that we do need to relocate – our counterparts are enjoying higher income streams, as a result of a better business case, than we are.
“We’re challenged by the car parking and getting people here. With a new facility, in a location where you could easily get there and park in reasonable numbers, you would drive up your seven-day incomes which is an aim and objective for every football club.
“Tom Shutes has other aspirations for buildings around the town, but at this moment in time those discussions are halted by the fact that you have to put your money where your mouth is – and so far that has not yet happened.
“So in principle there’s an agreement to go forward. In terms of the board, we would like a bit more comfort about his plans – there are some gaps, and we need to be absolutely clear that the football club’s not going to become indebted in a way that you could end up like Bury.
“There are quite a few gaps and the financial commitment has not been met yet so it’s difficult to see where that one’s going.
“The Tom Shutes plans have really put back the club pressing forward with Freeman Street, and we need to draw a line under it very quickly, and the board is working on that with a view of deciding between the fish dock and Freeman Street.
“If we hang around and do nothing and Freeman Street ends up being used for something else, we will have missed out. So we’re trying to draw a line under whether the fish dock is practical or not so that we can then start to get serious about Freeman Street if it falls down.”
And John Fenty also said that the board are happy with the Mariners’ progress and improvement so far under interim manager Anthony Limbrick.
He said: “At the moment we’ve asked Anthony Limbrick to take up the caretaker role and we’ve brought in Ben Davies to assist him, which has gone down really well in-house.
“I think it’s fair to say of the three performances since Michael Jolley left, we’ve seen increasingly better performances.
“I think we’re passing the ball better, and we’re certainly giving ourselves an opportunity to score goals.
“The sad part is we’ve not been able to exploit that because we probably deserved six points from the last two games – not one.
“We’ve said to Anthony that we’re pleased with the upturn in performance, we can see what’s going on in-house, and there’s been a big lift.
“We’ve asked him to continue preparing the team. He’s got 11 days since the Cheltenham Town game to prepare the team.
“He’s hardly been able to impact the preparation because the games have been coming thick and fast in the last week, and he’s now got an opportunity to forge his own ideas.
“As a board what’s important to us is that through difficult times we’re looking to a manager to tell us what they think is wrong and how they will rectify it, and we feel that Anthony understands those two things.
“He’s put his case to us and as long as we believe that story and we can see some progress then maybe we should just give him a little bit more time.
“So we’ve asked him to work on preparing the team, and the objective is hopefully we can build on the draw and turn that into a win.
“We’re certainly not going into the interview round and we’re not targeting particular managers just yet.
“There is broad support from the fans for Anthony so far, and I think we’re all on the same page. If we can get behind him and the team, which the fans do, we’d like to see how it pans out game by game.”
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