THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Grimsby fan Ian Rodwell discusses why his side have been relegated for the second successive season

What were the main reasons for your relegation?
We were relegated because of bad management throughout the club. In recent years Grimsby have been run as a hobby instead of as a business. Having been relegated the previous season we kept our inexperienced manager Paul Groves, obviously out of his depth, until March, then appointed his assistant, Graham Rodger, who won a few games. He was then replaced by Nicky Law – who had no idea at all, managing three wins in 12 matches. The club needs strong leadership, something the chairman, Peter Furneaux, is incapable of providing.

What was your best ever moment as a Grimsby fan?
In 1998 when we reached Wembley twice under Alan Buckley. We won the Auto Windscreens Shield with a golden goal from Wayne Burnett – my brother-in-law claimed he was going to name his forthcoming child after the goalscorer, but he had a daughter and would never have got away with Waynetta. However, getting promoted to the First Division by winning the play-off final was even better than the Auto Windscreens, especially after the six minutes of time added on.

Who are your biggest rivals and has this changed?
Our main rivals have always been Hull City, Lincoln, Scunthorpe and any team from South Yorkshire, so there’s usually at least one team in the division. The three geographically closest teams are Hull, who we haven’t played for a while and have now gone in the opposite direction, Lincoln and Scun­thorpe, with whom we can reacquaint ourselves. However, they seem to dislike us more than we do them – it’s more of a big brother-little brother relationship. Our main dislike has always been Yorkshire, especially South Yorkshire, whose in­habitants seem to spend most of the summer in Cleethorpes.

Are home crowds as good as they could be?
At the moment are crowds are poor – about 4,500 – and have fallen in recent years because we are not very good. There does seem to be a distance that has emerged between the club and the local community with the increased number of loan players and the fact that most of the team don’t live in the local area any more. The club needs to be doing more to attract people – 157,000 people live in the Grimsby area, the nearest teams are about 35 miles away and are at least as bad as us. The potential is there because we took over 30,000 fans to Wembley only six years ago.

Milestones & Millstones
1878 Founded as Grimsby Pelham after a meeting in a local pub. Become Grimsby Town a year later.
1892 Founder members of the newly formed Division Two, finishing fourth.
1901 Champions of Division Two, but relegated after two seasons.
1910 Finish 19th and relegated from the League into the Midland League. But promoted straight back.
1920 Bottom of the Second Division, but form the new Division Three with the Southern League. Moved to Division Three North a season later.
1925-29 Promoted twice to return to Division One, followed by  relegation and promotion again.
1935 Finish fifth in the First Division (below), our highest position so far. Lose to Arsenal in the next season’s FA Cup semi-finals.
1939 Old Trafford’s record crowd of 76,962 sees us lose 5-0 to Wolves in our second semi-final, after our goalkeeper is carried off injured early on.
1948 Lose 8-0 at Arsenal in our last top-flight game as we finish bottom.
1949-68 Promoted and relegated six times, during the Bill Shankly (manager) and Graham Taylor (player) eras.
1956 Grimsby director Arthur Drewry elected president of FIFA.
1972 Win Division Four with Lawrie McMenemy, but relegated in 1976.
1978-80 Promoted twice, to reach Division Two. Five years of stability end when Mick Lyons is appointed.
1992 After two promotions under Alan Buckley, the creation of the Premiership puts us in Division One.
1994-98 Buckley takes half the team to West Brom. All return two years later to win the Auto Windscreens Shield and promotion.
2001 Buckley sacked just two games into the season.
2004 Second straight relegation takes us to Division Three.

From WSC 209 July 2004. What was happening this month

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