Blue Square Bet
Published 6th May 2012
The 24-year-old Essex-born player chose a career in the professional game a year ago ahead of a future in finance after completing a degree in economics, business and finance at Loughborough University. And despite an indifferent campaign at Blundell Park after following his former Boston United bosses Paul Hurst and Rob Scott to Cleethorpes, he wants to have another shot in sport and keep banking on the back burner.
Church, whose move last summer ended with Town paying a five-figure compensation fee to the Pilgrims in November, doesn't regret his decision to sign for the Mariners.
And he believes he has learned a lot despite just twenty-three appearances this campaign.
Now he is back in his native south east hoping to seal a move to another Conference Premier team.
Church said: "I don't have any regrets about my decision to turn professional.
"If I have a post-mortem on the season at Grimsby, I think I've become a better player for it even without playing regularly.
"It was an eye-opener, training every day.
"I would have never lived with myself had I not given football a go and can't get disheartened because it didn't work out as well as I'd have liked.
"I want to stay in full-time football next season, hopefully at Conference level again because I believe in my ability.
"It was a big learning curve for me after playing part-time but I don't think I've got to the level I can yet; I'm still only 24 years old and staying full-time is my aim next season.
"I have to see what's around; hopefully something will come up.
"I made over twenty appearances and I hope another team will see that and give me a chance.
"I believe a solid run of games and I can show that I can cut it at this level.
"I don't plan on giving up and going into a career away from football yet."
Church started just sixteen games for Town, scoring once off the bench in a 6-0 rout of Bath City.
After two successful seasons at Boston, injury didn't help as he looked to establish himself with the Mariners and he went out for a spell on loan at Alfreton Town.
Another injury set-back on his return, however, meant he was in and out of the side more than he would have liked.
He admits the writing was on the wall with regards his future because of that but was still slightly surprised after Scott and Hurst tried so hard to lure him to Blundell Park 12 months ago.
Church added: "I was a bit surprised; I think with more time at Grimsby and more football I could have got better and to the level I was at with Boston.
"I just couldn't get used to being a squad player, though, after being a regular in the past few seasons.
"I had an unfortunate start by getting injured in pre-season and then was in and out before going on loan to Alfreton.
"I played there and it helped me find my feet a bit but then I got injured again just before returning to Grimsby.
"It was up and down after that; when I played I thought I did well and never lacked effort.
"But I was brought off when the system was changed at Wrexham at half-time which I thought was a bit harsh.
"Maybe the writing was on the wall for me; sometimes fate plays a part and the amount of times I was in and out of the team was probably a sign it wasn't meant to be at Grimsby.
"The gaffers were fine with me when we talked; I think they think I'm good enough to play at this level, but maybe I don't fit in with the system they want to play next season.
"But I wish everyone at the club all the best for next year.
"I met some great lads in the squad and the fans were good with me.
"I hope I'm back with another team to play at Blundell Park again."