New owners sail into Mariners as club takeover completes
Grimsby Town Football Club has been sold to new owners as the club prepares for life outside the Football League for the second time in just over a decade.
On Wednesday afternoon, shareholders voted overwhelmingly to take the club private, triggering a takeover deal by Jason Stockwood and Andrew Pettit and signalling the end of a torrid period for the Mariners, who were this season relegated from the Football League.
The deal means an exit for divisive former majority shareholder John Fenty, who had led the boardroom for 18 years. During his tenure, which started with the Mariners in the Championship, the club managed only one promotion and included two relegations to the National League.
Stockwood is currently the vice-chairman of business insurance giant Simply Business, while Pettit made his living away from his family’s butchers trade, which is well-known in North-East Lincolnshire. He has been a property lawyer for 25 years.
Stockwood said: “Grimsby Town belongs to the fans and the community: we are truly honoured to now be the custodians of the club, running it on their behalf. To that end, involving the fans is essential for us: we will listen carefully to them and will want their help in running the club properly and setting an ambitious, progressive and – crucially – sustainable vision for progress. The board will be launching a survey in the next few days to gather feedback crucial to the future planning of the club. We will also be organising a series of ‘Meet the Fans’ engagements in conjunction with the Mariners’ Trust.
“We’re fully aware we’ve inherited a club in a challenging situation and we commit to be open and transparent about what we can and can’t do – and to be realistic about the job in hand. We wish to give special thanks to Paul Hurst for all the hard work and commitment he and his team have been putting in to build the squad from a tough position. We look forward to continuing to work with Paul and the team into next season and beyond.
“Andrew and I are working as close partners on all decisions. We are passionate about Grimsby Town and I am deeply honoured and privileged to take on the role of chair and have the opportunity to try and help the club improve over the next few years.”
“We’d like to send this message to the club’s supporters and the people of North East Lincolnshire and beyond: we need your support. At one level this means coming to games, buying season tickets and supporting the club’s commercial activities, such as sponsorship. At another level, it means recognising we’re all working towards the same goal – success for the Mariners, the club we’re all so passionate about. We’re welcoming and encouraging discussion about the club and want to hear people’s opinions, but we want this to be done in a positive manner and with a degree of respect.”
Pettit added: ‘There are ‘three ‘Ps behind our investment. Passion for the club we love. Philanthropy – giving back to a community that has been home to our families and pride – developing and growing the Mariners as a community asset which can be a significant catalyst for the regeneration of the area. We are also proud that Grimsby Town will be the first professional football club to seek certification as a B Corp, a governance structure that requires balance between social purpose and profit, requiring active consideration of the community, our employees and the environment, as well as shareholders.’