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Question of the Week

Should Russell Slade be sacked?

Yes immediately
Give him one more game


Cod Head of the Week: Zola Budd

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 03/05/2004

THIS site is written by fans for fans and the latest installment of the new series of Cod Head of the Week is Zola Budd.

Home > Features > Cod Heads > Zola Budd

We regularly need new Cod Heads, so would appreciate contributions from lifelong supporters of the Mariners. This week's Cod Head is Zola Budd.

Zola Budd

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have spent over 30 years following Town and, although being an exile in Plymouth for 23 years while in the navy, I've recently returned and now live in North Somercotes.

When did you first start supporting the Mariners, and what was your first game?

My first game was against Port Vale, it was 0 v 0 (sometime in the early 70s maybe).

Who is the best player you ever saw wearing a Grimsby Town shirt?

Dead easy this one. Without doubt it is Ivano Bonetti. He was a real star and added 1000 to the attendance just for turning up!

If there is one game you were allowed to go back in time and watch what would it be and why?

Being at Wembley for the auto windshield was a real dream come true. I'd always promised myself I wouldn't go to Wembley unless Town were there and then one season it happened twice! The Bournemouth game was the best of the two though, it didn't matter too much if we won - it was being there that made it for me, winning the trophy was a bonus! Of course we went back for the play offs a little later in the season - The tension was terrible and the game was nail biter - it must have been a sickner for Northampton when they lost......

Of course in my time in the navy I've been to a few games overseas and one particular game in Brazil at Fortaleza springs to mind. It was a friendly against Peru and Brazil won it 6 v 0. It was fantastic, not just the football but the atmosphere and the crowd. The beer was 2 bottles for a dollar, and the women......!

What are your favourite and least favourite away grounds?

My favourite ground has to be old Anfield. I just loved being sandwiched into the cop when we got thrashed by the reds.
Back to reality I enjoyed watching Town in Plymouth for the opener this season. Home park is a terrific ground - funnily enough the last time I saw Plymouth was against Town when they beat us 5 v 0 about 7 years ago.

What, in your opinion, are GTFC's best and worst seasons since you have been supporting them?

Best season has to be the Wembley year. Buckley did so well to get us their and promotion was the icing on the cake. I took my wife who was 5 months pregnant with our first son to Wembley - it was nice of them to be their too and made it a special year.

Worst season has to be this one. I have never seen such consistently poor performances from any Town team before. On paper we looked to be favourites to go up at the start of the season and now we're a shambles ...........least said. Good luck to Nicky Law.

What is the most eventful day you have ever had in the course of following the Mariners?

When I was on a ship in Portsmouth I drove from there to Charlton. It was raining on the way and I noticed my wipers were really slow, they slowed and slowed and then eventually stopped. When I pulled over the engine died and I had to get RAC to get a new alternator. By the time I got to Charlton it was the 2nd half and I had to pay full price to get in. It cost me over £200 all in all and I can't even remember the score.

What is the strangest thing you have ever done at a game?

The strangest thing I ever did at the game was when I was at school on the Tuesday evening matches. I used to be in the youth orchestra and they had band practice on Tuesday evenings. I would always wait outside the ground and then get in for free at half time. I remember one game in particular against Darlington. At half time we were winning 6 v 0 - of course I missed that bit but I did see Town get 1 goal and Darlington get 2 in the 2nd half!!!!!

Who is the greatest ever GTFC manager?

Maybe John Newman from the 70s or perhaps Alan Buckley.

I would have said Brian Laws for getting Ivano Bonetti to Grimsby but after the black eye, maybe not......

I also thought of Lawrie Mac but I remember what a rotten job he did as assistant England Manager and how he let Graham Taylor take all the flak for what were some of his decisions.

Possibly in my life time Town have not really had a great manager. They've had some good ones (and more recently, terrible ones) but no great ones. Lets hope I live long enough to see one get us to the Premiership.

How many games a season do you get to now, and what do you do while Town are playing games that you can't get to?

I get to all the home games and go to some away games. I listen to Humberside when we're away.

Name your all-time starting eleven since you have been watching Town?

Nigel Batch, Gary Croft, Paul Futcher, Kevin Moore, John McDermott, Ivano Bonetti, Joe Waters, Paul Groves, Kevin Drinkell, Clive Mendonca subs Keith Alexandra, Phil Jevons and Zhang Enhua.

What's the best-ever atmosphere you remember at a home and away game?

1979 in the league cup against Wolves, we drew 0 v 0 and it was a full house at BP, a few weeks before I joined the navy. The replay was also a draw at wolves and the 2nd replay was at Derby's Baseball Ground. I went to this game as well with my neighbour but we finally lost.

Best away game - there has been loads. Honestly! Most of the games I've seen over the last 23 years have had to fit in with months and months at sea, getting to see Town has always been a special buzz for me. Losing by 5 goals to Plymouth wasn't so good but I've enjoyed those trips to Twerton Park (Bristol Rovers) in 1991 and 1992. My highlight was watching Town at Torquay first game of the season (again 1991?) we won 3 v 0 and it was a lovely hot day. 4 4 2 magazine took a photo of me and my mate and it featured in their magazine.

Do your children support the Mariners?

I have 2 boys aged 3 and 5. My eldest has already been to one match. Can you believe it but the only game he has seen is Town winning 6 v 1 against Barnsley ! Its a shame as he cried for most of the match as he didn't like all the shouting and cheering. I thought it was funny as every time we scored he seemed to be having such fun, I thought they were tears of joy!!

Anyway I've promised the youngest I'll take him next time, don't want them turning into Man Utd fans do we?

Zola Budd

If you would like to be a Cod Head please send an e-mail at once to Rob Sedgwick.

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