Spreading The Net


2008 - 2009 : Building The Campaign

The Histon Mariners displayed an early resolve to campaign on many fronts. Histon HQ, The Red Lion would play a key role as the fulcrum of The Campaign in the early years.


Chairman Neville was delighted that The Innkeeper used the annual Histon Beer and Cider Festival to promote the Mariner cause.
Even more so that Harry Haddock was persuaded to open the event Lincolnshire Beers from Bateman, Brewsters, Dark Tribe, Fugelestou, Tom Wood, Oldershaw, Riverside and Willy’s supplemented the menu.
The Turncoat hoped for some complimentary samples.

After AB’s departure in mid-Sept. the usual speculation about his successor was rife.
Rumoured potential managers included (‘reliably’) John Deehan, Ian Holloway and Andy Ritchie plus 147 others.

Mike Newell was confirmed as Manager of The Mighty Mariners on 6th October 2008.

The Histon Mariners can only agree with ‘Cod Almighty’, that Mike Newell is a “genuinely exciting appointment ...... absolutely spot on.” (Diary 06-10-2008).
Mike Newell’s arrival created a flurry of interest in The Histon Mariners Campaign. Many new individuals registered an interest. Some interesting possibilities were considered.


21.03.09 GTFC 3 v 0 Gillingham

GTFC v Gillingham Ticket
GTFC v Gillingham Ticket

A squad of 9 was carefully assembled for the venture north - The President remaining at The Red Lion to oversee proceedings!
Chairman Neville naturally led from the front supported by The Innkeeper and Mr.Dean (Restoration Director). New associates Mr. Peter Balaam ( lime tree and aerobic specialist) and Robert Stanley Lawrence (undercover agent) we’re joined by The Turncoat (chameleon). But far and away the most significant development was the role to be played by Richard Tabor. As one half of the construction conglomerate, Chapman & Tabor, his enthusiasm was unparalleled and provided a magnificent example to The Histon Mariners of future possibilities.

                  In the programme there is a full page advert that I’d forgotten about.

Construction entrepreneur Richard Tabor decided to grasp the opportunity and threw the full weight of his hod behind The Campaign. His sponsorship of The Match Ball proved him to be a vanguard agent of The Histon Mariners.

Once encamped in The Kingsway, The Histon Mariners moved on starting preparations in earnest at Willy’s. The Chairman again praised the quality (and the price !!!) of his ‘grapefruit juice’. Mr. Balaam was seen to be choking in disbelief and declared only The Turncoat buying a drink could top such a momentous event.

As Match-ball Sponsor, Richard T. would assist The Chairman in embracing McMenemys facilities, where Ray ‘The Fish’ Blake, Head of Local Intelligence and now Youth Development (Lincs.) Officer, would join-up along with his first recruit, JohnBoy.

The appointment of ‘The Fish’ to a position involving the moral custodianship of youthful Mariners, belies the assertion that anyone with a predilection for blue-toffees, is a person of dubious moral fibre. Black & white throughout, ‘The Fish’ will provide valuable steerage through the troubled waters ahead.


Mike Newell expressed gratitude to M.Tabor for his foresight.


Mariner Legend Dave Smith welcomes Richard to McMenemys


Jammie Clark and Nathan Jarman welcome The Histon Mariners on behalf of the players.


Mr.Les Dean, Mr.Peter Balaam, The Main Man, JohnBoy, The Innkeeper, Ray The Fish, Mr. Lawrence, The Turncoat and a very proud Chairman Neville.

Glorious weather. Superb vittels. Over 6000 fans. 2 excellent debutant performances from Peter Sweeney and Barry Conlan.
3 goals from Akpa Apro, Nick Hegarty and Conlan. No goals conceded.
Mr. Tabor lauded the performance of Ryan Bennett as his Man of the Match.
Mr. Tabor declares the mission a total success. Chairman Neville declared The Histon Mariner Campaign well and truly up and running.

Exploratory ventures proved a mixed bag. Initial debriefing occurred in Grimsby at The Wheatsheaf, Bargate, followed by The Royal Oak, Victoria Street.

The Chairman was anxious to follow up past reconnaissance and led the troops to The Smugglers in Cleethorpes - his expectations were validated, it was to become his firm favourite! Willy’s proved most convivial with luxurious hot chocolates all-round.

On retiring for the evening, Mr. Tabor en route to The Kingsway and still basking in the glory of the days great success, decided on a further solo exploratory adventure. Surprisingly for one in whom ‘caravan culture’ is deeply rooted, he appeared to lose his bearings. Deciding on a few Peculier nightcaps at The Kings Royal Hotel, he eventually asked for the keys to his room. On being told “he had no room”, unusually for such a known diplomat, he proceeded to insist on a final final nightcap and explain the layout and location of his room. He was somewhat taken aback on being told, “ if he continued a further few hundred yards down the road he might have more luck......at The Kingsway!”

After a short rest at the correct location and another further final nightcap, it fell to Mr. Balaam and The Innkeeper to assist his assent up the stairs and ensure he was safely tucked in for the night.

In the weeks following, inspired by the success of his efforts that helped so much in facilitating ‘the great adventure”, Mr.Tabor persuaded new additional career paths. His diplomacy skills have been demonstrated in his active public speaking engagements and has set up in conjunction with the Local Constabulary, both a Public Debating Society and a Speed and Navigation Course!


2009 - 2010 : Consolidation


15.08.09 GTFC 0 v 4 Crewe Alexandra

GTFC v Crewe Alexandra Ticket
GTFC v Crewe Alexandra Ticket

The Innkeeper travelled north for the first home game of the season, meeting with The Fish at McMenemys. After a narrow opening day defeat at Cheltenham and a hammering in the League Cup (temporarily renamed The Carling Cup) from John Barnes led Tranmere, the this day would obviously provide the perfect opportunity for the onset the seasons ReNewell.


Oh dear.  It could be said the season has not started well.
                           The days most memorable occurrences were:-
                                - the fish & chips in McMenemys
                                - witnessing possibly the first, the only and the last appearance
                                   all in one game of the marvellously named goalkeeper,
                                  Tommy Forecast !
                                - Towns only chance of the game, the 90th minute Ryan Bennett
                                   header that shaved the outside of the post


03.10.09 Barnet 3 v 0 GTFC

Barnet v GTFC Ticket
Barnet v GTFC Ticket

By October the downturn in the economy was seen to have had some impact on the plans of The Histon Mariners. Construction Guru, Richard Tabor was feeling the effect of the ill-winds of recession and had thrown in his trowel, uprooted his caravan and travelled to pastures new. The Campaign would always be indebted to Mr.T. for his glorious few stitches in the rich tapestry of Histon Mariner folklore.

By October, it could be said, Towns league record was not as expected - P10 W3 D1 L6. ReNewell had become an urgent requirement.

The brief existence of the Histon Mariners had not yet encouraged the evolution of superstitious rituals that are the bedrock of Real Football People. The regular routes, the same clothes, lucky watering-holes, the essential pie choice etc are all factors that require consideration on match days. For the Barnet fixture, it was suggested that the short journey south to the Underhill Stadium rather than the long journey north could turnout to be a vital and recognisable ‘turning point’ in the season. The regularly acclaimed ‘turning points’ are always looked for, often in desperation, and are universally recognised after the event by Real Football People, the length and breadth of the land.

Oh dear, oh dear. Perched in the North Family Stand behind a goal, with the persistent rattle of the polythene sheet at either side as the only shelter from the driving wind and rain, would be a small burden to bear in order to witness the onset of ReNewell...it was meekly proclaimed.
Further, a five week-old burnt Cornish Pasty, lukewarm insipid Bovril - paid for by himself - and the accompaniment of the constant reverberation of rattling polythene, appeared to encourage The Turncoat to ask, ‘Why ?’ The Chairman reiterated the need “to stand firm”. Fellow sufferers of The Turncoat, noted his expression of sympathy for the king of the travelling trowel, which was perhaps an indication of a severe lack of passion for The Campaign.

Oh dear, oh dear. From kick-off, there was a distinct absence of any likelihood of ReNewell. When the seasons best player, Ryan Bennett, conceded a penalty after only 11 minutes, the omens were not the best. Two down after 16 minutes confirmed the omens were worst than first thought.
The return at half-time to the caravan that had been masquerading as a refreshment outlet, confirmed initial impressions. Real Football People expect and endure grim facilities and grim product but on this occasion it was ventured that Barnet were taking the piss. However out of fairness, it should be recorded, after different choices were placed, the experience was somewhat different. This time it was tepid weak tea and a dry veggie steak-pie (no meat). Oh well onwards from this point, the ‘turning point’ had to be just round the corner.....

59th minute, sub. Barry Conlon arrived to engineer the comeback.
67th minute, a third goal conceded.
87th minute, Barry Conlon is sent-off.
90th minute, collective chorus of “Why”

Post-match in the very pleasant Orange Tree in Totteridge, the temporary set-back was soon put into perspective, The Campaign had only just begun. Reginald Stanley Gilbert Scott parted with a few coins and declared himself a Tottenham fan.

In days to come The Turncoat declared his life-long commitment to indoor golf and announced a serious consideration of a life of South-East Asian philandering. Once a turncoat always a turncoat.

Turncoat receiving golfing instructions from the Innkeeper.

‘A regretful’ Turncoat in a coma after too much 'orange juice'

Turncoat occupying himself usefully by clearing up after others more worthy.

Turncoat on his own 'Billy No Mates', lamenting the day he rejected the cause.


17.10.09 GTFC 0 v 2 Rochdale

GTFC v Rochdale Ticket
GTFC v Rochdale Ticket

With ReNewell increasingly vital, the arrival of the ‘bogey’ Mighty ‘Dale, with an impressive early season record of P12 W8 D2 L2, was for some, a source of anxiety. Leading from the side, The Chairman announced “the need to stand firm. The Mighty Mariners would prevail”.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Only 3754 fans available for selection, told a story. A goal in each half confirmed the growing disparity of the two sides - one aiming for the dizzy heights of promotion, the other in the depths of despair.

The concern with on pitch activities was quickly placed into context. Previously, doubts had been aired about the feasibility of partaking in the renowned hospitality of one of Cleethorpes premier nightspots. The matter was discussed at length and largely concluded to be out of reach. In a momentous and highly significant occurrence The Innkeeper demonstrated in an instant his experience and skills acquired over three decades in the hospitality sector that would, in due course, be seen to have a dramatic impact on The Histon Mariners. The Innkeeper asked if the squad could partake of refreshment and was told, yes!


In a remarkably short time, The Innkeeper had received a warm welcome and an open invitation too conduct post-match debriefings on this day and in the future at the esteemed venue.
The Histon Mariners were delighted to accept and looked forward to a long and fruitful partnership with the New Imperial Club - a bastion of Real Football People.


Over the weekend of 17/18 October “an irretrievable breakdown in relations” preceded the announcement that renewal of the seasons fortunes would continue without Mike Newell and assistant Brian Stein.
Initially proclaimed as a “genuinely exciting appointment......absolutely spot on” (by Cod Almighty Diary 06-10-2008) was the opinion of most Mariner fans. The disappointment of Newell’s tenure proves why it is so hard to win the lottery without knowing the numbers in advance or in other words, had my auntie had balls, she’d have been my uncle!

Mariner Legend and Youth Team Manager Neil Woods, would takeover the steering wheel for the immediate future.



Up The Mariners! 

Thanks to css zen garden for the layout.