The Fishy - Grimsby Town FC

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Long Ago
Long Ago

The 'Three Divisions Theory'

By: Andrew Hill
Date: 28/02/2024

I write as a 75-year-old who first went to Blundell Park in 1958. I have witnessed many ups and downs but the club always survives and I have no doubt it will come through its present difficulties—ever the optimist.

Optimism, though, has to be tempered with realism. So rather than complain about the present situation I will introduce you to my ‘Three Divisions Theory’. Perhaps three "Leagues" is more in keeping with modern terminology.

1921 saw the creation of the Third Division (South to be precise). Town were original members of it having just been relegated from Division Two only the season before: So, instead of losing our League status we managed to maintain it: maybe we’ll do so again if the National League becomes League 3.

From 1921 until the outbreak of WWII Town were up and down between the three levels: Division One in good times and Division Three (North), to be precise in the bad times. In 1948 (the year of my birth) Town fell out of Division One never to return.

Move on 10 years. By 1958 when I first saw Town play it would be fair to say that a return to Division One was looking ever more unlikely. The following season, 1958/59, Division 4 came into being. Town first went down to that level in the late 1960s. Since then, Division 2 has been the highest level we have been realistically able to achieve, with Division Four being the lowest we would likely fall to. So the "Three Divisions" slipped a notch from levels 1,2,3 to 2,3,4. That remained the situation for most of my adult life.

In 1979 Level 5 came into being. Town kept out of it until the early part of this century. When I look at the average attendance in Level 2 and the sheer cost of running a Championship side, it looks to me that the three divisions have dropped down a further notch from Levels 2,3,4, to 3,4,5.

The thought that League 1 is the highest level of football most Town fans will ever see at BP is dispiriting, to put it mildly, but I fear it is the case. Town are a small-ish club with few resources (euphemism for little money) so what can we expect?

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