Paul Hurst broke his silence after his departure from Grimsby Town last week, with a long list of thank-yous to the club’s players past and present, staff and fans as he reflected on a memorable second spell with the Mariners.
The lengthy statement was released via the League Managers Association with Hurst reflecting on the few lows but many highs of the last three years since his return to the club in late 2020.
Having taken the club back up to the EFL at the first time of asking after an unceremonious relegation amidst the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Having followed that season up with the club’s highest league finish in 17 years and an FA Cup quarter-final run, meant there was much to look back on with immense pride for Hurst.
Part of his statement read: “People often say that you shouldn’t go back in life but I’m glad I ignored that! Since re-joining the club at the end of 2020, it has been mainly a successful time. There have been many highlights and I feel very privileged to have been part of those. It is difficult to enjoy them fully when you are in the job but I am now able to reflect and look back at some incredible moments. On returning to the club I spoke about creating more memories and we certainly did that.
“The play-off campaign which culminated in promotion back to the Football League was the most extraordinary set of games I have ever been involved in. I am not sure many people will ever experience such a dramatic run of games.
“Our first season back in the EFL saw us achieve our best league position in 17 years, finishing in 11th place, this is something I am very proud of. However, that paled into insignificance with our history-making FA Cup run.
“Reaching the quarter-finals of arguably the biggest cup competition in the World was an outstanding achievement from the players. We became only the sixth fourth-tier club to reach that stage and the first team in history to beat five teams from higher divisions along the way.”
The departing manager went on to thank a list of people including the owners and CEO, Jason Stockwood, Andrew Pettit and Debbie Cook for their “great support” and “faith” during his tenure, as well as all the playing staff at the club for their “hard work”.
He of course gave a special mention to the Grimsby fans, touching on how difficult it was to play behind closed doors during the pandemic without them and the messages he has received from some since his departure was confirmed.
However, probably the most poignant part of his message was to the current group of players, who are in a period of uncertainty and need to prove to the supporters that they are better than the current run of form suggests.
Not many departing managers would dedicate part of a leaving statement to telling the players that they still have their backing, but Hurst did as he wished the club future success as they hope to build on the platform he has built over the last three years.
The former Town boss added: “To the players, I hope you prove me right and show people that you are a talented squad. I am sure you will climb the table and bring happiness to those that follow you. Also, a special mention to all the players that I have worked with during my time at GTFC. It was a pleasure to be your manager and get to know you all.
“Now for me, it is a time for reflection and to see what the future holds. I am sad to leave but also extremely proud of my time at GTFC. With the help of many of the people I have mentioned, the club has significantly improved since I returned, and I am sure it will continue to do so.
“I will always call myself a Mariner and I wish the club every success in the future. I am sure there will be exciting times ahead. Up The Mariners!”
Original story at https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/sport/