Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Grimsby Town - Blundell Park


Grimsby Town FC
Blundell Park
Blundell Avenue
Cleethorpes
DN35 7PY








Ground Number: 77
Monday 25th August 2003
Grimsby Town 3-1 Wycombe Wanderers
Nationwide League Division 2







TEN FACTS ABOUT GRIMSBY TOWN FC

1: Grimsby Town were formed in 1878 and were originally known as GRIMSBY PELHAM. Named after the Duke of Mexborough's family name, they changed their name to their present one shortly after.

2: Grimsby are officially Lincolnshire's most successful club. Pushing rivals Lincoln City and Scunthorpe United into the shadows, their most successful period was in the 1930's when they had spells in the top flight. The 1934/35 saw them finish as high as 5th in what is now the Premiership. In more modern times, they had a spell in the second tier in the 1990's, finishing as high as 9th in 1993.

3: The 1930's also saw their best ever FA Cup run as they reached the FA Cup semi-finals. They lost 5-0 to Wolves in front of the record attendance at Old Trafford. Like most Saturdays nowadays, the place was full of people who had travelled a fair bit, in this case, there were 76,962 present.

4: The Mariners have reached the League Cup Quarter Final on three occasions. They lost out to West Ham United in 1966, Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1980 & Norwich City in 1985.

5: In other cups, Grimsby Town have been FA Trophy Finalists twice - losing to Wrexham in 2013 and FC Halifax Town in 2016. They also lost to vermin club Milton Keynes in the Football League Trophy final of 2008, though better times were had when they lifted the trophy, beating Bournemouth 2-1 at Wembley Stadium.

6: They've never suffered a major giantkilling in the FA Cup, although my team Wycombe Wanderers did defeat them on the way to an FA Cup semi-final in 2001, despite being a division below. They'll want tp forget their first season in the FA Trophy though, where a much-changed side lost to Chasetown in the 2010/11 season.

7: After spending 108 years in the Football League, it was a sad day for the club when they went out of the Football League in 2010 after they lost on the last day at Burton Albion. The first couple of seasons saw mid-table finishes and one of their first games was a humiliating 5-0 defeat at Braintree Town. They got back to the League in 2016, narrowly defeating Braintree in the playoff semi-finals, before beating Forest Green Rovers at Wembley. This followed three successive playoff failures in the previous few seasons.

8: Famous Grimsby fans include comedian Sacha Baren-Cohen, Man Vs Food star Adam Richman, politician Norman Lamont and Malcolm Hebden who plays Norris in Coronation Street.

9: Future Liverpool legend Bill Shankly was the manager at Blundell Park from 1951 until 1954, getting 62 wins in 118 matches.

10: Record appearance holder for the Mariners is the legendary John McDermott who made 754 appearances for the club in a 20-year spell between 1987 and 2007. Record goalscorer is Pat Glover, with 180 goals between 1930 and 1939, including 42 in the 1933/34 season.




MY PREVIOUS VISITS

I'd been to Blundell Park on a number of occasions before my latest one. We seemed to follow each other around for a fair few seasons when I supported Wycombe home and away for 7 years without missing a game. To be honest, familiarity bred contempt and I got a bit fed up of going there every year. I didn't make the most of it to be honest, and now I'm older and more adventurous, I'd probably enjoy it a whole lot more. The below report is from my former blog, Chairboys Forever, which I wrote during the 2007/08 season. 

Wycombe faced their game in hand against Grimsby Town in a bid to put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack just outside the playoffs. The two teams recent League progress had been none too clever in recent seasons. Grimsby were in the what is now called the Championship not so long ago, with Wycombe being in the basement division for 4 years now, after a long stint at the next level up. Wycombe look the most likely to change that downturn, though, a win would place them in good stead for a tilt at the play-offs. Grimsby looked certain to be spending another season in League 2.

The long trip to Cleethorpes, where Grimsby’s ground is situated had been an annual outing for Wycombe for a long time. Owing to Grimsby’s participation in the LDV Trophy Final the game had been moved from it’s original Saturday date to a midweek game, meaning a vastly reduced Wycombe faithful would be travelling.


Wycombe lined up as it was at Milton Keynes the previous Saturday, with the exception of Delroy Facey who came in for Leon Knight. Wycombe won by a goal to nil and in truth could have had many more. Good work from Delroy Facey set up Sergio Torres to finish neatly and to send the Wycombe fans home happy.


Frank Fielding made a couple of good saves but overall Grimsby never really threatened. Stefan Oakes was unlucky with a shot from around 50 yards as he caught Grimsby keeper Phil Barnes off of his line after the keeper had come out to deal with a defensive clearance. The resulting shot hit the post and it was hard luck on Oakes who was enjoying the best form of his Wycombe career at the time. Delroy Facey caused the Grimsby defence no end of problems with his physical presence and pace and it looks like a shrewd move by Lambert to bring him in on loan from Gillingham.


So a good performance from Wycombe and one which left them 5 points inside the playoffs and looking good for a shot at promotion.



VISIT 6: GRIMSBY T 1-2 WYCOMBE W (L2, 4/3/17)

In the period between my last visit to Grimsby, and our latest one, I'd made friends with several great Mariners over social media and been to several games on my groundhopping adventures to meet up with various people. It became somewhat ironic that after not really wanting to go to Grimsby every season, from about 2012 onwards, I couldn't wait for them to get back in the Football League. It took 4 long years for them to get back, but eventually they did for this season, Though not as close to some fans as I once was, it was still good to meet a few of the lads at Adams Park back in August, where Wycombe were somewhat lucky to triumph 2-1 with a late winner. I even got on the Grimsby Town website in one of a series of black and white photos as I was pictured talking to some of their fans, including my mate Kieran.



As part of my Christmas presents, my parents had gifted me a day out at an away game, including ticket, coach travel and pub meals and drinks. As I was definitely due a revisit to Grimsby Town, I chose that as my away day and it would be nice not to have to bear the cost for once. At the beginning of the week, I wasn't really looking forward to it as we were in a poor run of form, but following a battling 2-2 draw at Accrington in the week, my mood improved slightly. I found out what pub we were stopping at - The Sutton Arms in Scawby and was disappointed that they didn't do real cider and the food was nothing amazing, but I was going to make the most of it. When you use the Old Poets Corner in Ashover as your yard stick then anything in comparison is going to disappoint against this brilliant place.

The night before I'd had a late night, following a trip to Gorleston, via Braintree to pick up some mates. It had been a good evening. But as a result of getting back late and winding down, I didn't get to sleep until 3 am. Normally I'm fine on 4 hours sleep, but this morning for some reason I was knackered. I walked down the local shop, buying some chocolate, a paper and some chicken for breakfast, which woke me up a bit. I walked back to the bus stop and met my parents for the coach, which arrived bang on time. Soon, we were on our way and I was happy to bag myself a single seat so that I could catch up on my blog and other things with a reasonable amount of space. Soon enough we were on our way, making decent progress up the motorway to the small village where our pre-match pub was located. I made good progress with my blogs on the way to Lincolnshire and we arrived at our pre match pub, the Sutton Arms in Scawby at 11.45. My first pint was Rekorderlig Strawberry which was refreshing, but too sweet for my tastes. Frustratingly the mobile signal was very poor and the pubs wifi didn't work properly. At least my chicken arrabiatta pasta was nice and generous in portion. Two more ciders were had - Bulmers and Stowford Press, both disappointed, generic, bland and ones I've had several times before. We left the pub at 1.45, making good progress down the M180 towards Grimsby. We passed a well trodden path from our past visits, though sadly Ramsdens Toy Store and it's wonderful plagiarism of the Toy Story logo were no more and I can't find any evidence of the sign on the Internet.



I got to the ground at 2.25, meeting my mate Stu around ten minutes later. It was nice to catch up, though it would have been nice to have met more people. After going in at 2.45, I went in search of the away end bar, not expecting much. The place was brilliant, full of scarves and other souvenirs from opposing clubs and they had a reasonable range of drinks too. The staff were really friendly and the whole place just had a great buzz about it. Before the game, I had a pint of Strongbow Dark Fruits, then at half time I went back for a pint of normal Strongbow. The game saw Wycombe up against it first half and Grimsby took a deserved lead via a penalty that awarded for a poor tackle from Sam Wood where he took the player, but not the ball. We improved in the second and really took advantage of a good ten minute spell by grabbing a couple of goals. The first was bundled in from close range for an own goal, the second a real corker from Paris Cowan Hall. We clung on a bit at the end, using whatever tactics we could to wind down the clock. Listening to the radio on the way back, it appeared that there was a touch of controvesy about our second goal. A Grimsby player was down with a head injury, the referee failed to stop play and Wycombe scored what was the winner. Grimsby manager Marcus Bignot was gracious about it, placing no blame on Wycombe and it wasn't something I noticed, what with it being up the other end.


Eventually the whistle was blown for full time. It was a decent feeling winning away, even if I couldn't go as often as I wanted to. I made my way back to the coach and after getting out of the area around the ground, we made good progress southwards. I needed the toilet pretty much as soon as we got going so I was glad to stop at Thurmaston services around 7.20. After getting rid of the cider that had been imbibed that day, I bought myself a decent pepper steak slice for £2. Surprisingly for a service station it was good value and pretty tasty too. Eventually, after drop off, I got through the door at 9.40, having a couple of ciders as I completed this blog, before watching Match Of The Day and going to bed around midnight.



THE GROUND

BLUNDELL PARK is a very old football ground, making a nice change from modern bland stadiums, but it is a bit well worn in places. The most impressive stand is the FINDUS STAND, a two-tier structure that has executive boxes in the middle. The PONTOON END behind one goal gets its name from the fish docks in Grimsby and this is where the man vocal support for the Mariners gather. It's the only stand in the town with club colours, with black and white striped seats, whereas the others are red. The MAIN STAND and the OSMOND STAND are joined in the corner, and away fans are located in the latter. Views from here are reasonable, though if you sit at the back, the low roof may impede your view.

There are no end of takeaways around the ground, though whenever I've gone I've been disappointed with the fish and chips. The Taste Of China takeaway was good though, with a nice prawn curry when I visited. I've only ever drunk in the Leaking Boot when I've been before, but this is now closed. If you fancy a walk down the seafront around a mile away, the Coliseum Picture Theatre (Wetherspoons) and Willy's look decent. There is also a bar in the away end called Scotties. I visited it on my latest visit, and it was brilliant with tons of scarves, shirts and other bits from other clubs, plus reasonably priced drinks and friendly staff.



 

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