Why is Grimsby Town's manager search taking so long?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 13 December 2019, 13:01

It’s been a month since Grimsby Town and Michael Jolley parted ways, yet the club look no closer to appointing a new permanent manager.

Jolley’s assistant, Anthony Limbrick, was the man placed in interim charge of the club and the Australian has evidently been given time to bolster his own credentials over the course of the last four weeks.

However, while majority shareholder John Fenty - who boasted of 50 applicants within five minutes of Jolley’s exit - recently revealed that the board were ‘pleased with the upturn in performances’ under Limbrick, the cold hard truth is that he’s yet to conjure up a win in four games: there’s been an FA Cup exit at the hands of Newport, and just the one point from a possible nine in the league.

Grimsby’s winless streak has subsequently stretched to an alarming 11 matches in all competitions, which dates right back to September. Since then they’ve gone from play-off contenders to relegation strugglers, with the Mariners now down in 20th, just five points above the dreaded drop zone.

Grimsby are of course currently the subject of an ongoing takeover bid from businessman and philanthropist Tom Shutes - a bid that has been hindered by concerns over proof of funds - which appears to be hampering the club’s search for a new manager, as does the hesitancy of the club’s board.

The lack of clarity regarding the club’s managerial situation has become a matter of huge concern as Grimsby approach the congested festive period with upcoming crunch clashes against the likes of Carlisle, rejuvenated rivals Scunthorpe, and Crawley.


Anthony Limbrick has been interim manager since Michael Jolley's departure

Tasmania born Limbrick, who remains the 11/8 favourite in the next Grimsby manager market, has managerial experience under his belt from his time in charge of Woking, while he’s learnt the managerial ropes under Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman at Southampton, where he worked with the club’s youth teams. He also held a similar position at West Ham.

The question now is do Grimsby keep the faith in Limbrick, at least for the time being, or instead look to bring in a fresh face in the hope that they can galvanise the struggling club?

A proven and experienced manager could be what’s needed at the moment. Paul Tisdale fits the bill but while he was initially linked with the job he’s since drifted out to 33/1, and in truth it’s difficult to envision the former MK Dons and Exeter City boss being lured over to Blundell Park.

What about a former player? Robbie Stockdale previously played for Grimsby at the end of his career, before embarking on his coaching career at the club and even oversaw four games as caretaker. He’s since spent the majority of his time at Sunderland but has been out of work since leaving his assistant’s position at Hibernian last month.

Pete Wild has enjoyed a decent start to life at Halifax Town who are situated in the National League play-offs, but while he’s been hotly linked to Grimsby, he’s expressed his commitment to his current project.

It’s been 18 months since Kevin Nolan was somewhat unfortunately sacked by Notts County, and still he remains in the Job Centre. He can be backed at 10/1, while Brian Laws is a 16/1 shot, whereas Nigel Adkins - who has worked in the North East before with rivals Scunthorpe - is out at 33/1.

Unfortunately for frustrated Grimsby fans, the current indication is that it’s a managerial search that’s unlikely to come to fruition any time soon.

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