A Look at our opponents.....

Last updated : 09 November 2009 By Peter Muxlow

Grimsby Town play their home games at Blunder Park in the town of Cleethorpes (I’m sure that’s what it said on wikipedia anyway!).

Recent history has seen the Codheads become the least successful of Lincolnshire’s three clubs, but previously been the most successful of the professional league clubs in the county. They are the only Lincolnshire side to play top-flight football. It is also the only club of the three to reach an FA Cup semi-final (doing so on two occasions) and is the only one to succeed in two finals at the old Wembley Stadium. It has also spent more time in the English game's first and second tiers than any other club from Lincolnshire.

However recent times have seen them slip below City and Scunthorpe in the success stakes, meandering around the bottom of League Two without any signs of improvement or direction. In the last month they fired Mike Newell and assistant Brian Stein, and at the time of writing haven’t got a new manager. However ex Imps Keith Alexander and Mick Harford have been touted as potential successors. If in doubt Mariners, turn to your superior county rivals for guidance!

The club was formed in 1878 after a meeting held at the Wellington Arms public house in Freeman Street. Several attendees included members of the local Worsley Cricket Club who wanted to form a football club to occupy the empty winter evenings after the cricket season had finished. They were originally called Grimsby Pelham. In 1880 the club purchased land at Clee Park which was to become their ground until 1889 when they relocated to Abbey Park, before moving again in 1899 to their present home, Blunder Park.

In 1888 the club first played league football, joining the newly-formed 'Combination'. The league soon collapsed and the following year the club applied to join the Football League, an application that was sensibly refused. Instead the club joined the Football Alliance. In 1892 they finally entered the Football League, when it was expanded to two divisions. The first game was a 2-1 victory over our FA Cup opponents Northwich Victoria. Incidentally Grimsby didn’t make the second round of this year’s tournament after going down 2-0 to Bath City.

Interestingly enough Grimsby Town and Hull City were the only two professional teams which had official permission to play league football on Christmas Day because of the demands of the fish trade, and because devil worshippers don’t celebrate Christmas. That tradition has now disappeared following the dramatic reduction of their trawler fleets in recent years.

Skipping forward 100 years 1987-88 saw Grimsby suffer a second successive relegation, placing them in the Fourth Division. This offered Imps fans a little comfort as the same season we bounced back from our own relegation struggle and won the GMVC. The Codheads financial situation was also dismal, and as the 1988-89 season began, the task at Grimsby was to avoid relegation to the GMVC and to avoid going out of business completely.

Alan Buckley was appointed after the 1988 relegation and apparently had some success with the side. LCM has no interest in this period of history.

Buckley departed Grimsby in October 1994 to join West Bromwich Albion and he was replaced by defender Brian Laws, an extremely popular figure around Sincil Bank. NB – This is sarcasm.

During his tenure Brian Laws became famous for a changing-room altercation after a defeat at Luton with Italian striker Ivano Bonetti, which left the latter with a broken cheekbone, and caused the popular player to leave the club at the end of the season, in which Grimsby finished 17th and were in the battle to avoid relegation right up to the penultimate game of the season.

The season 2002–03 was a disaster for Grimsby Town, and therefore worth a look from LCM’s point of view. Mariners boss Paul Groves attempted to bolster his side as well as he could, such players as Steve Kabba, Richard Hughes and returning hero John Oster all played some part in the season, but the club couldn't avoid relegation and Grimsby finished bottom of Division One and were relegated.

The sudden collapse of ITV Digital had left the club with debts of over £2m, and like Lincoln the club flirted with administration. For the new season, The Codheads had to supply its own kits following the closure of long serving kit suppliers Avec Sportswear. Grimsby played the season using the brand "Grimsby Town Sports"

Paul Groves dealings saw The Mariners boast a big squad for the 2003–2004 campaign but despite this, Groves soon found his men sliding down the league. And they found themselves involved in another relegation scrap. Groves was sacked in 2004 following a 6-0 drubbing against Oldham Athletic.

Nicky Law came in but set about making some major squad changes. He lost Goalkeeper Aidan Davison to injury, as well as players like Marcel Cas, Alan Pouton and Michael ‘show me the money’ Boulding departing for various reasons. Other players such as Iffy Onuora were deemed surplus to requirements and were released.

Law brought in his own team, veterans Paul Warhurst, Alan Fettis and Jamie Lawrence. With little time left for the new team to gel, Grimsby dropped into the relegation zone and went down again on the last day of the season.

The most notable occurrence in the following years was a play off semi final appearance and a memorable 5-0 drubbing at Sincil Bank, courtesy of a Jamie Forrester hat trick.

In October 2008 Alan Buckley was replaced for a third and final time by Mike Newell, a year and a half after his dismissal by Luton Town.

Shortly after the close of the 2008/09 season, the club announced that Assistant Manager Stuart Watkiss would not be offered a new contract for the 2009/10 season. He will be replaced by Brian Stein, who was brought to Grimsby Town by manager Mike Newell and was originally signed as senior scout.

On 18th October 2009 the club's official website declared they had sacked Newell due to "irretrievable breakdown".