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Consolation Prize

By: Chris Smith
Date: 27/12/2009

FOUR of us met up in Thorne for an early head off to Nottingham having declared my lawn fit to play although a tad too small for twenty two players. Truth is I’d been a bit doubtful whether the game would go ahead a few days back but given we had colder weather in South Yorkshire than in Notts, even I thought we would be okay.

Grim Rob sent a text to say the game was off before I had a chance to check for myself so we pulled off the M1 and narrowed the choice of games to Lincoln or Wednesday. The early kick off at Hillsborough and uncertainty about ticket availability meant Lincoln got the nod after a quick call to the club. When I asked if there was a pitch inspection, I was told it had already taken place, which made us all very curious as to why the Town fixture was off.

Whilst it became clear that a number of conspiracy theories were making the rounds, my mind had other issues to cope with when one of our number, as we came into Lincoln, mentioned that his ex had lived around here and had driven over his extensive array of Betamax pornography when it had ended including a video of “P*** Parties 3”. This didn’t particularly surprise me but the mind wandered to how there could have been two prequels. After all, I hear that the plots are rather thin on the ground anyway, but three? Oh, and not that I’m obsessed with the stuff, but has anyone else noticed the big adult store in the countryside a few miles out of Lincoln? Weird place…

Thankfully, I was able to shake off these images (perhaps not the most appropriate use of words) and we were soon parking up on a side street before the short walk to Brayford where we had decided to risk the Wetherspoons despite last week’s disaster in Sheffield.

I don’t know Lincoln that well, having only gone there to watch a game or when passing through to others in Nottingham. It is an impressive development by the water with even the modern architecture seeming to fit in. The warmth of the sun reminded us of why were we here in the first place given that our scheduled game would only have been down the road?

I have to laugh nowadays at the wannabee yobboes who are as subtle as a Jeremy Kyle guest. A few groups were obviously meeting up around here although I wasn’t sure whether they were fence pushing Chesterfield fans or not. Anyway, as someone who has read lots of hoolie fantasy books, we had nothing to be concerned about because, as Glynn pointed out, there weren’t any conveniently placed skips with scaffolding poles within or nearby ironmonger shops open as always seem to occur during their relived Jackanories. And with that, we decided to settle down.

Despite the pig-out over the last few days, the half priced mixed grill was a must and after a few leisurely drinks, we decided to move onto the high street, giving the Treaty of Commerce a miss on cost grounds given that our visit for the Town game saw two pints and a diet coke cost over eight quid. We gave Wetherspoons the benefit again before heading off to the ground.

What took our eye was the seemingly local approach to covert surveillance which was where the police were using civilian cars with er, high vis jackets clearly identifying who they were. Either that or the Home Office budget cuts have singled this force out for some reason and there is a shortage of squad cars. It was quiet on the way to the ground with few fans evident until we got to the ground which had the atmosphere of a morgue on mogadon. Mind you, it was early, but it was a little surreal. Glynn was keen on going in the Lincolnshire Echo stand and I didn’t need much persuading at is a quirky structure that has intrigued me on my all too frequent visits to Sincil Bank (I’m referring to Town’s demise here rather than a dislike of the ground). One of my brothers, Tony, who was up from South Wales, hadn’t been to the ground at all so was happy to fall in line.

It’s the first time I’ve paid the full whack to get into the Bank having always benefited from the early bird prices, so winced at the £18 although Lincoln are no worse than most and the £40 of unused Notts County tickets undoubtedly added to the pain. Talking of pain, I groaned as Glynn did the “Have you got any cheeseburgers left?” stunt at the unsuspecting tea kiosk, although the woman took the “You shouldn’t have made so many then” in good part given she was escaping the kids who’d been fighting since yesterday.

A look around the stand showed a good view of the pitch (which was in good nick) and Lincoln itself. Unlike the Upper Findus, at least you could see through the screen, although there were struts partially obscuring the view. Because the seats aren’t too concentrated, there is plenty of gangway space and boogie room which, sadly for the Imps, has been underutilised this year. We couldn’t find three unreserved seats together offering a better view so decided to stay for the duration, no doubt alarming the bloke to the left whose peaceful afternoon was now looking in doubt.

The fence pushers end started to fill and in the end, they accounted for 1,153 of the crowd which is less than we took and they are supposed to be pushing for promotion, so shame on them. Neither set of fans were making much noise and against this funereal backdrop, the game kicked off.

The article continues in Part Two

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