24 April ~ On the September evening when Sven's men put five past Germany in Munich, Grimsby Town were sitting pretty at the top of Division One. Today, less than nine years on, the Mariners are 90 minutes away from losing their Football League status. Sadly, I don't think anyone is that surprised. The writing has been on the wall for a while now.

I'm sure I don't have to remind people that without Luton's stupidly weighty point deduction and Chester being well, shit, Grimsby would have been booted out of the Football League last season by Christmas if it was based on performance. Unfortunately for Town, no League Two side has been docked points for going into administration this year, so relegation is going to be sorted out the old fashioned way – the two worst teams in the division. Fair enough, I suppose.

Today's encounter against already relegated Darlington – the only team in the division that can "boast" a worse record than the Mariners – is, at least on paper, a huge game for the club. Mathematically, there's a faint glimmer of hope. But I wouldn't hold your breath. Town need to win their final three games of the season and hope Barnet, Lincoln or Cheltenham Town do the unthinkable and lose their final three.
Last weekend Grimbsy succumbed to a soul-destroying 3-0 home defeat to in-form Torquay United, in a game that was described in the local press as the "game of the century". Cheesy commentator Guy Mowbray was even seen swaggering about Blundell Park in an ill-conceived tank top and sunglasses combo – the Beeb must have shared a similar sentiment. Despite the rousing attempt by the media to create a buzz around the town after a recent revival that saw the Mariners secure four wins in their last nine, a trio of soft second-half goals effectively ended any chance of survival. At the final whistle, instead of capturing images of hopeful supporters cheering off their defiant team after an crucial win, Mowbray and his BBC cameraman was left to film thousands of deflated supporters quietly ambling out the exits and a half-hearted pitch invasion, lead by a handful of angry adolescent kids. What their aim was no one knows. Judging by their bizarre behaviour once they got on the pitch neither did they.

If results had gone differently last week, today might have been a very different story for Grimsby. No doubt they'd have packed out the away end, sung from the first minute to the last and given Town a huge advantage over their condemned opponents. But they didn't. So today's game is probably little more than a dress rehearsal for next years Conference clash.
If you're a Leeds United fan I hope this has put your recent "struggles" into perspective. I know some Town fans that would give their left plum to be in your position. The others would probably give both. Rob Andrews

Comments (7)
Comment by Sean of the Shed 2010-04-24 11:18:28

Many of Tamworth's supporters are looking forward to Grimsby being in the Conference next season, if only because it will be another trip to the seaside. At the moment there is only Eastbourne, who may not be there next season, and Barrow, which doesn't count because it's a grot-hole. I know that this is of no comfort to you, but you never know, you might actually start to enjoy Conference football next season.

Comment by Dalef65 2010-04-24 14:44:53

Next season,Darlington will have the honour of having "The best ground in the Conference"........!!
As i dont follow Blue Square football as much as i probably should do, Im wondering who had that particular honour this season....?
Oxford maybe,or Rushden and Diamonds perhaps ?
Incidentally and im going off topic now,can someone enlighten me,why is it Rushden "AND" Diamonds?
Surely the logical name for a football team from Rushden would be simply "RUSHDEN DIAMONDS"
There is probably a simple explanation but i dont know it....!

Comment by Sean of the Shed 2010-04-24 18:59:18

Rushden and Diamonds are the amalgamation of two former Southern League sides, Rushden Town and Irthlingborough Diamonds. They were merged by Dr Martens skinhead shodder Max Griggs, who wanted to make one reasonable football team of Football league standard by gluing together two mediocre non-league sides and parking them in a Lego stadium off the A6. It's a decent enough ground if you like that sort of thing.

Comment by Dalef65 2010-04-25 12:23:58

Thanks SotS, for the explanation, I sense though that RAD wont be getting your vote for "Best Stadium in The Conference" any time soon.......!!!

Comment by madmickyf 2010-04-26 03:20:13

Grimsby got lucky last year with Luton's point deduction. What's the betting they'll be equally luck this season with the other Hatters, Stockport, being booted out of the League to hand them another reprieve? If that happens they'll be east coast equivalent of Altrincham!

Comment by Ianrod 2010-04-26 13:01:35

We're not down yet! We might still get lucky with Barnet being even worse than us. They still need 3 points from three games and we play them at Blundell Park on Saturday, but the odds are against us - we still expect to become the biggest club in non-league (I know Luton will argue it's them but they should get promoted through the play-offs).

Comment by Lincoln 2010-04-26 15:33:37

I now hope Grimsby stsy up. I have been indifferent for some time, until Lincoln were safe, but now I am fully behind the Mariners and hope they survive.

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