The Imps’ Wembley hero Elliott Whitehouse has today joined Grimsby Town on a two-year deal, bringing to an end weeks of speculation about his future.
Usually when a player leaves it is either classed as a huge loss or the fans say he wasn’t any good anyway. Elliott is a curious case in that he’s going to split opinion, with many feeling he wasn’t given ample chance, others under the impression maybe he wasn’t quite good enough for a top seven side. I fall into the latter category.
I’m not changing my tune either, in this article I suggested despite his decent form he might not be quite what we need. My exact words, should you not have time to read it all, were “he (Danny) only recruits players who improve the squad and, as much as it hurts me to say it, Elliott is one area of the squad we can improve upon.” I stand by that, no sour grapes, no vicious undertones, just me echoing my thoughts.
I’m not the only one, nor do I speak for the majority. Elliott has his fans here too, supporters who saw the hard work and endless endeavour as something far more than a mask for limited technical ability. Many thought he was under used and under rated. They feel that now he’s gone to Grimsby, they might enjoy the ‘Hawkridge effect’. After all, the parallels between Terry and Elliott can’t be ignored. Both split the fan base, both were on the edges of the National League winning side, both played similar amounts of games in the season they left, both moved to a local rival in black and white stripes and both scored goals that will be toasted for the next five decades. In my opinion, both were offered the sort of deals at other clubs that we weren’t willing to match, not because we weren’t able to, but because we didn’t need to.
Personally, I thought Elliott would go as soon as Andrade signed. Along with Lee Frecklington and Tom Pett, that ‘forward’ midfielder role was well covered, meaning that for yet another season Elliott would be on the edges, waiting for a chance. His good display against Grimsby and his crucial goal in the final would keep him popular in the eyes of some, but wouldn’t be enough to earn him a two year deal and a press conference to announce it.
Watch Grimsby get playoffs with glove man having top assists
— Piers (@pierspearson19) June 15, 2018
Yes, he has his supporters, but I think they’re seeing some of his performances through tinted glasses. He was given a chance, he started 22 games last season in all competitions, coming off the bench 21 times. Granted, many of his starts came when we needed to reshuffle, pushing Bostwick back into defence or resting Freck, but 22 starts is, in my opinion, ample chance. In those games, Elliott scored four and assisted twice, with one of those four coming from the spot. Two of his goals came in the EFL Trophy. Is that the mark of a player who is going to be such a huge loss? Are we not meant to be moving forwards, improving all the time? Last season, albeit in the National League, Bruno Andrade scored 22 and assisted 13 times. Progress.
I’m not saying I’m glad to see the back of Elliott, but I suspect the contract offer was the sort that said ‘thank you, but if you get better don’t hesitate.’ I know Grimsby fans will relish signing a player who, on the face of it, was a regular for us, but he simply wasn’t, not even in the National League. Whilst he worked hard and occasionally came up with a good performance or goal, he was one of the players I watched labouring against Exeter thinking ‘we need better if we’re going to go further next season’. His deal at Grimsby works all ways up, Danny had another squad place to play with, more wages to spread around and Elliott, a good honest professional, has a two-year deal and a chance to prove me and Imps fans like me wrong.
Yes, we’ll always have Wembley, but in moving to Grimsby of all places, that might be sullied just a little. Notts County, Mansfield, Chesterfield… those moves would have been fine, but Grimsby Town? He’ll be doing very well if he gets cheered when he comes back next season, although after scoring our first ever Wembley winner there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be. However, if anyone applauds a goal like they did Terry’s for Notts County, I demand they be removed from the stadium immediately.
This is not a significant loss, it is not one I shall be losing sleep over from a squad point of view and I’m sure Danny Cowley feels exactly the same. A selection of your responses on Twitter can be found below.
Goodbye Elliott, thanks for Wembley, all the best.
Not terrific… an ok player. Good signing for a relegation battling team mind
— Nath (@Nathhjones) June 15, 2018
Gutted about this, he’ll net against us you can virtually guarantee it 😩
— Kevin Barwise (@kevin_barwise) June 15, 2018
Didn't get enough game time for me. Can't remember a bad Whitehouse performance, contributed in tail end far more than freck
— Anton Pearson (@AntonPearson91) June 15, 2018
Not sour grapes really is it considering he's a squad player for us. Wish him the best of luck he will do well for you.
— Ric Stephens (@RicPepeStephens) June 15, 2018