John Hartson: Grimsby Town's plight sad to see
FORMER Arsenal and Celtic striker John Hartson was in town on Friday night to speak at the Artie White Foundation's annual sports dinner.
Here he gives his memories of playing at Blundell Park and his thoughts on the position of Grimsby Town and their promotion rivals Luton Town – where he started his footballing career.
"Last time I was in Grimsby was in 1993. I was a 19-year-old striker with lots of energy and lots of orange hair and I took my first trip to Blundell Park with Luton Town.
"At that time, Luton and Grimsby were in the second division, the equivalent of the championship today.
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"It is always sad to see clubs fall out of the league. We have seen it with teams like Hereford, my old club Luton and Grimsby Town – their plights have been sad to see.
"But with the way football is now, fans can only pray for that rich owner to come in and take over their clubs.
"The financial aspect have taken over in football. Unless you have a rich owner, it is very difficult to compete.
"There are teams such as Swansea City, where I grew up, that have shown that you can climb up to the top flight without billions in investment.
"However, even with all of these things, financial restraints will still stop the smaller clubs from competing right at the top.
"Clubs like Luton and Grimsby have a lot of heritage and history, so of course it would be great to see them back in the league."