THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

8 March ~ Every morning on my way to work I pass Bestall Road, a nondescript road named after Jackie Bestall. He was arguably Grimsby Town's greatest ever player, an England international from the 1930s, a decade which we mostly spent in Division One. It reminds me that we used to be quite good before I was born. A 3-0 home win over Shrewsbury on Saturday was greeted with raucous celebrations. It was after all our first victory since September.

We were in the Championship as recently as 2003 and only two years ago we took over 25,000 to Wembley to play the MK Dons. But now we are on our knees, second to bottom of League Two and four points adrift from safety. The only reason we managed to stay up last season was because the Football League took so many points off Luton and Chester.

The position Grimsby find themselves in is symptomatic of the entire town. Once the world’s largest fishing port, it's now sunk in decay. Opportunists who moved here to make a quick profit have lost millions of our money investing in Icelandic banks, aided by an inept local political establishment. A Conservative councillor John Fenty took control of the Mariners in 2005 and has since demonstrated precisely why his party should never be put in charge of anything.

Manager Mike Newell is taking legal action over his sacking in October that allegedly came about as a result of a personal feud with Fenty. Caretaker manager Neil Woods was given the job on a full-time basis despite having no experience of first team management. Our record 25 games without a win ended on Saturday but it’s probably too little too late.

There have been rumours of fan protests but I don’t think anybody can really believe the position we are in. In our centenary season, we are sleep walking into becoming, alongside Luton, the biggest club in non-League. Ian Rodwell

Comments (4)
Comment by Lincoln 2010-03-08 13:30:33

Perhaps it is telling of the times that a lot of Lincoln fans wish for Grimsby to stay up due to the financial implication to City's income next season. However there are some who will miss the rivalry having lost Boston and Scunthorpe in different ways. I am hoping they stay up, I used to go to Blundell park to watch higher level football back in the late 90s when Lincoln were away. Those days seem to have gone the same way as day tripping to Hillsborough, Bramel Lane, Elland Road, Valley Parade, Pride Park, City Ground and Filbert Street (Walker's Stadium), to watch top level football. Perhaps it's a regional thing.

Comment by lone striker 2010-03-08 14:12:19

Good point about the club's plight being like that of the town as a whole. Compared with other places, Grimsby has failed spectacularly to regenerate, Local councillors are as unimaginative as they are incapable, and all the extant but derelict dock buildings are like a concrete collar, choking all the hope out of the place.

Have to pull you up on one point though Ian. This is our 100th consecutive year of Football League membership; the club's centenary was in 1978.

Comment by Ianrod 2010-03-08 16:54:51

Hi lone striker,
It is our centenary in the Football League after our previous relegation from it in 1909-10 to the Midland League, even though the club was founded in 1878.

Comment by madmickyf 2010-03-10 04:00:56

Good article but a couple of corrections are needed:

1. Chester didn't lose any points last season, only Luton did. Chester were simply rubbish.
2. There is no way that Grimsby will be the equal biggest club in the non-league if Luton are still in the BSP next season. 2nd biggest maybe.

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