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Grimsby Town appoint manager for second time

Grimsby Town have chosen to appoint manager Paul Hurst for a second time following the departure of Ian Holloway last week.

Ian Holloway took to his social media account on last Wednesday to surprise fans with an announcement of his resignation from the club.

At the time, the Mariners dropped a place to 20th while opponents Bradford climbed to 18th in the League Two table, a point ahead of Grimsby and seven above the bottom two.

Grimsby Town are delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Hurst as manager with immediate effect on a contract until June 2023.

Joining Paul in the dugout will be his long term trusted Assistant Manager, Chris Doig who he has worked alongside since 2014.

We welcome back Paul as he returns to the club where he spent five-and-a-half years, taking charge of over 300 games. Memorably, he guided the Mariners back to the Football League after a 3-1 victory at Wembley Stadium over Forest Green Rovers in 2016, ending a six-year spell in the National League.

Paul went on to spend two years at Shrewsbury Town, guiding them from the bottom of Sky Bet League One to the League One Playoff final in 2018, falling just shy of promotion after a 2-1 defeat to Rotherham United at Wembley in extra-time following a 3rd place league finish.

His stock continued to rise, as he was appointed manager of Sky Bet Championship side, Ipswich Town where he spent a short period before joining Lincolnshire rivals, Scunthorpe United at the start of the 2019/20 season.

We spoke exclusively to Chairman Philip Day, who was delighted to secure the signature of our new manager. “I am delighted that Paul has agreed to join us as manager”, said Philip. “He needs no introduction from me. We can look back to his five and a half years as manager between 2011 and 2016 and the success we enjoyed under his leadership including four visits to Wembley Stadium. The consortium has been involved and consulted on Paul’s appointment and is very supportive of the Board’s decision. As Paul has identified there will be a necessity to sign players in the forthcoming transfer window, I am pleased that the consortium will again be involved in decisions relating to this and we welcome the added value this will bring.”

Paul was present at Blundell Park yesterday evening, where he saw his side draw 0-0 with Oldham Athletic. Gtfc.co.uk caught up with Paul, who spoke about his delight at re-joining the Mariners and his readiness for a fight. “It’s a bit surreal to be back!”, he said. “It brings back a lot of nice memories too. It’s great to see a lot of familiar faces here still and I have enjoyed it. Not much has changed, many of the faces are still the same but that can be a positive. In terms of getting to know people that’s easily done, I already know the people here so that’ll be an easy transition.

“No one wants to see the club where it is. There is no doubt that it is a perilous position. There is no point in hiding away from that fact and after being a big part in helping the club get back into the League, I can hopefully play a big part in making sure that we are still there come the end of the season.

“You part company and we went our separate ways for a period, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re always looking for the results. I don’t take any pleasure in looking at where the club is currently. Between now and the end of the season the goal is to stay up. There is no point in trying to pretend that it’s any more than that but, longer-term, I have always said that this club can go further, I truly believe that.

“I have still been watching a lot of football. Part of my routine is watching games from the weekends. It helps with one, my routine but also two, helps keep my knowledge up. It’s no good thinking a certain player was good a couple of years ago, you’ve got to stay on top of it and that’s why, when the next challenge comes, you’ve got to be ready for it and I believe that I am in a good place for that in terms of knowledge.

“I think it’s crucial that some players are brought in to help the ones that are already here. Again, people will have chances, but I have watched the last four games now. Already, some players have had that opportunity and whether they have taken that, I always say that I don’t think players understand that they never know who’s watching in any scenario. Whether that’s in the future for a new club or in this case for a new manager, it shouldn’t take a change of manager or someone fresh to bring the best out of people but unfortunately that happens sometimes and it’s not nice for those that have departed, but it’s the case sometimes.

“It will be a fresh start. There are some things that I have seen that I like, but some things that I haven’t liked. One thing is obvious, we are not scoring enough goals and we’re conceding too many. Unfortunately, that’s a terrible recipe and we have got to try and change that. There have not been enough clean sheets for the team and when you’re out there and you concede and you’ve got the feeling that you’re not going to score too many, that can be deflating. You’ve got to be able to cope with that as individuals but most importantly as a team and a squad. That is something we’ve got to try and do. We’ve got to try to get people wanting to play, play with a smile on their face, but working extremely hard and that’s where it all starts.

“I am really keen to get back to work, to get to know the players, I have got to make some decisions very quickly in terms of ins and outs, in terms of who to include. One thing that is evident is there are too many players here. I have proved before that’s not what I like to work with, I like to work with a smaller squad. There, it is easier to get everybody on board, you try and cut out any cliques or negativity around because if you have got 30 odd players, you can have 18 and the subs aren’t happy anyway and then you’ve got another group of players. For me, how I like to work, that is something I will have to deal with, but I am looking forward to the challenge. I am certainly up for the fight and that’s what we are going to want and need from the players”.

Finally, Chairman Philip Day made a plea to fans following an eventful week. “The last few days have been very divisive”, said Philip. “I trust and hope that everyone can put their differences behind them for the good of the Club. Let us all get behind Paul and the team to ensure that we can move up the table. Paul and the players will need all of us united to support them in their endeavours to achieve this.”

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