Grimsby Town and Russell Slade both craving a period of stabilityby Mike Holden / 14 July 2017, 11:44Tweet
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Russell Slade and Grimsby Town ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 League Two season.
A series of questionable career moves over the past 12 months have brought Russell Slade back to where he was more than a decade ago. Having done a reasonable job under difficult conditions at Cardiff, he probably believed he could cope in any crisis but failed miserably in spells at Charlton and Coventry. So now he’s back with a club that remembers him fondly but one also lacking continuity. The last three transfer windows have seen three different managers make sweeping changes.
Slade is an idealist, a warm and compassionate man who sees the good in everybody and believes he can get the best out of anyone. But that’s not to say he’s a soft touch if he believes his altruistic nature is being abused. When he refers to local reporters by their first name in media briefings, this isn’t a gimmick - it simply reflects his desire to connect with people and understand them. His faith in others is both his biggest strength and biggest weakness.
"The more leaders you’ve got in your group the better. When my team did well at Leyton Orient, I think I had about six leaders, any one of them could’ve worn the armband. That’s what we’ll be looking for here – a mentally-strong group where there’s a real trust in each other and the staff. If you can get that tightness among your group, then when things are tough – as they always are at some stage in the season – that group just gets closer and binds together, and gets you over that sticky period."
No fewer than 26 players made debuts for Grimsby last season and the departures of Craig Disley and Shaun Pearson have stripped the club of any lingering continuity or team spirit fostered by their Wembley success 14 months ago. So creating a fresh collective identity is the priority and it could take time. In terms of pedigree, Slade ought to be a cut above this level but has endured a turbulent 12 months himself and this season might be just as much about restoring faith in his own ability.