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Fri 25/09
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Over Land and Sea - Part 3

By: Chris Smith
Date: 02/12/2009 (Last updated: 19/12/2009)

OF course, part of the appeal is the (ahem) social side of things which is as it should be. Desmond Morris wrote a book called The Soccer Tribe in the very early 80s and it was a study on football fan behaviour.

In one part, he identifies the different groups that make up the support on matchdays. I was tickled to see he even had a distinct group called The Drinkers. In this, he says there is a group of fans who use heavy drinking as before a game as a status symbol. Well, I was one and it is good to see that the tradition continues. This was even featured in the Grimsby Telegraph in 1998, when they mentioned the consumption by Town fans in the Rat and Parrot without adverse judgement. It looks as though the Austrian branch will fit in well with at least one Grimsby tradition then.

Even when Town had a really good side back in the 80s and 90s, an away day was about enjoying some quality time with your friends and a good game with or without a win was a bonus. That’s why Lucky, Rudi and The Dan (who thinks he is Liam Gallagher apparently though we shouldn't hold that against him) are arriving at Stansted on Friday. Rich will then be taking them up to Cleethorpes to meet up with Ian and Bob for a dedicated attempt to keep the brewery outlets in business. I'm told that Rich, Ian and Bob (a Donny fan from the Meatloaf Stadium as he calls it) have reached hero status in Austria in a reciprocal effort to improve international relations and promote cultural understanding.

Whether Lucky will again drink through the cannon at the Smugglers in a simultaneous attempt to rival Eddie in Bottom for vile feats of alcohol consumption and clean its insides for the first time since the Industrial Revolution is debatable. Apparently there was more dust in the cannon than a Sahara sandstorm although he did (appropriately enough) look like a Black and White Minstrel afterwards.

It isn't the first time they have come over early for a Town game either. They did take in a UEFA Cup game at Villa Park some time ago and when their accents were identified, were asked who they were supporting. The deadpan response was "Grimsby Town" followed by plenty of renditions of "We all hate Hull and we all hate Hull" As Lucky said the next day "I think he is still laughing".

Never mind, we can do with all the fans we can get at the moment and its spot on that we are known in Austria. It’s amazing how far our Town’s name can spread just by our enthusiasm for our team, despite some current despondency. Whilst Poojah did a top job, I know folk in Malta who watch out for our score only just behind that of their own and some people I've bumped into many years after first meeting them say they always look out for the Mariners because they never forgot how mad I was about them. They're even concerned about us even though acquaintance with a Town fan is their only connection with the club.

I know we are carping a bit at each other for not getting behind our team as others perceive we should be, but overall lets be proud that many of us have spread the word that there is a club with a long and proud heritage in a corner of Lincolnshire which boasts some of the most fanatical loyal supporters anywhere. And with that, let’s welcome our newest international members.

See you on Saturday.

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