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The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man

The Fall From Plaice - Part 11

By: Gainsbro Mariner
Date: 01/05/2013

DID he really exist? Who was Glen Downey? Was he a myth? Well no, amidst much speculation from the Town faithful the man they called "The Invisible Man" really was a real person and did actually play for the end.

Downey's mythical adventure started in late 2004 after receiving a 'phone call from friend of the family, Russell Slade. Downey who at the time was on the books at Conference side Scarborough was a signing that confused many. A seemingly unknown defender who was once on the books at Hartlepool United but hadn't kicked a ball and so had moved on to such desolate footballing outposts like Spennymoor United and Bishop Auckland. He had since moved on to Gateshead, who at the time were struggling in the Unibond First Division before arriving at Scarborough in July 2003.

The question most asked upon signing Downey was after "who is he?" was "why have we signed a 27 year old who had played under 50 competitive games since 1997 and 2004? Anyway, who was Glen Downey? and when would we get to see him play? the answer - not for a while! Downey finished the 2004/05 season having played a staggering 13 minutes of football, and astonishingly he had been named as a substitute in the majority of games that season. This led to his nickname "The Invisible Man" as most did speculate whether he was a fictional character who was out as a substitute by the announcer at Blundell Park every week.

Surprisingly Downey's contract was extended and so continued Slade's consistency to name him on the bench on a weekly basis but never actually bring him on, all this though was about to change. On 24 August 2005 Town were 1-0 up away at Derby County at half time in the Carling Cup and with Rob Jones having to come off poor old Glen was the only defender on the bench. In what was a plucky and shockingly decent performance from a man who had collected splinters not appearances, Downey proved to be a half decent centre half and Grimsby held on to preserve their one goal lead until the final whistle brought victory and a tie with Tottenham Hotspur in the second round.

Unfortunately for Glen he would have to wait until late December before making his next appearance, when he came off the bench to head home a late winner in a 2-1 away victory over Wrexham. Fast forward to the end of the season and Downey was eventually released. 3 games in 2 seasons, including a goal, the funny thing is he didn't put a foot wrong in any game he played for The Mariners.

During the summer of 2006 he signed with Conference North promotion hopefully Worksop Town. Despite playing in the opening 7 fixtures of the season he left the club in October and subsequently never returned to competitive football again. As a professional footballer in a career that lasted 10 years he only just scraped over the 50 appearance mark.

Following his departure from Worksop, Downey returned to his native North East and began living in Seaham. He now works away from the game but in 2009 he hit the news in the local area after he was arrested following accusations of money laundering and running a brothel out of a flat in Sunderland. Surely not? Fortunately for Glen he was found not guilty at his trial, I mean, how are you meant to lock up one that does not exist?

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