Grimsby face uphill battle against overspending rivals
In another flex of Hollywood spending power, Wrexham have convinced another player to drop down the divisions and help their promotion push.
Former Town loanee Ollie Palmer has left League One side AFC Wimbledon and has joined the Welsh club for a reported £300,000.
The 6ft 5in striker joins fellow League One standard players Ben Tozer, Paul Mullin and James Jones at Wrexham, who reportedly have one of the highest wage bills in the division.
Wrexham aren’t the only promotion hopefuls splashing big, as Chesterfield signed Kabongo Tshimanga for a reported £250,000 in the Summer and have poached Joe Quigley from Yeovil for an undisclosed fee.
Stockport also signed League One Bolton Wanderers captain Antoni Sarcevic, albeit on a free transfer but an expected wage hike to drop down the leagues.
Grimsby on the other hand, have only signed players on free transfers or loans from League Two or National League sides.
Some fans may label this as a ‘lack of ambition’ by the new owners Jason Stockwood and Andrew Petit, but it is a reality of the situation Grimsby find themselves in with a lack of funds available and with heavy spending rivals.
Speaking on the DN35 Podcast, Jason Stockwood said: “We’re three million quid in the hole at the moment, this is our family’s money, so when people say ‘cough up Stockwood, buy a striker’ we care about this [club’s future].”
It is this idea of sustainability that the owners have emphasised since they took over and it is why Grimsby cannot financially compete with the spending of other clubs.
Stockwood warned against the “super-rich individuals who use brute force to achieve success by underwriting losses” in his Guardian column in November.
“Even if those individuals are acting honourably, which many are, it distorts the market for everyone. And crucially, when it doesn’t work it leaves the kind of disastrous mess we have seen at Bury, Wigan Athletic and Macclesfield Town in recent years,” he added.
Chesterfield may have splashed a quarter of a million pounds on a striker, but just six months prior, they launched a crowdfunding appeal to their supporters for new training equipment.
The Grimsby owners are looking for off-the-pitch improvements to aid the club in the medium to long-term.
The Coronavirus pandemic highlighted how little support clubs in the National League have, and at least one of Wrexham, Stockport and Chesterfield will still be in non-league next year, with a high wage bill and greater expectations – possibly forcing more expenditure.
Grimsby, meanwhile, will carry over a significant core group of players from this season to next – something that hasn’t been done in recent years – and will have benefitted from experience and possibly new equipment to aid their on-pitch efforts.
The Mariners face Wrexham on Tuesday night, looking to do the double over them after a 3-1 win at Blundell Park in September.