2009 - 2010 : Woods And Revolving Doors.

It was reasonable to assume that the immediate business pending on Neil Woods desk, revolved around Ryan Bennett. His rise up the football food chain was announced on Oct.22. An initial loan, to Barry Fry’s Peterborough (!) was to be made permanent when the transfer window re-opened.

Neil Woods caretaker spell witnessed 3 draws and one defeat in 4 league games (best disregard the 7th Nov. FA Cup 0 v 2 home defeat to Bath City) Plus a creditable performance in the 1 v 3 defeat at Leeds Utd. in the ‘Dulux, Rank-Xerox, Coffee-Cup, Paint Trophy.’
The match was televised live (10th Nov.) and watched by The President, Chairman, Innkeeper and The Fish with seven invited guests at The Maypole in Cambridge. Every fan of which ever team, watching live or on television, would have declared Peter Sweeney’s goal as great.

Rumoured potential managers included, Gary Brabin, Lee Richardson, Gerry Taggart and Russel Slade (again) plus ‘11470’ others.

       Neil Woods was confirmed Manager of The Mighty Mariners 23rd November 2009.

With some of the Bennett money presumably made available, Woodsy conducted a flurry of transfer activity. Players obviously left to make room. The speed of the revolving doors was immense and suggested a deep concern re. dismay with the squad thus assembled, concern for league safety and conspicuous Board backing of Neil Woods.

Players brought in:

31st Oct. Ollie Lancashire
9th Nov. Dominic McCory
19th Nov. Nicky Featherstone
21st Nov. Michael Coulson
26th Nov. Mark Hudson
27th Nov. Ben Wright
29th Jan. Tommy wright
2nd Jan. Paris Cowan-Hall
15th Jan. Wes Fletcher
22nd Jan. Ashley Chambers
29th Jan. Lee ‘Capt.’ Peacock
17th Feb. Jamie Devitt

20.02.10 GTFC 2 v 2 Lincoln City

GTFC v Lincoln City Ticket
GTFC v Lincoln City Ticket

With the weather and events elsewhere in turmoil, The President and First Lady of Histon, Yvonne, were joined by a solo Innkeeper at Blundell for the eagerly anticipated main Lincolnshire derby.

Early discussions at Willy’s included revelations as to events at North Thoresby Youth Club, where our leading couple met “around the time of the the shooting in Sarajevo !” and the unfortunate and unexpected solo appearance of The Innkeeper. However the anticipation of McMenemys hospitality and hopefully signs of improvement on the pitch lifted the spirits of our intrepid Campaigners.

Yvonne and President Maurice surveying the campaigns work.

The Innkeeper discusses future plans with Towns latest signing Jamie Devitt.

Lee Peacock’s first Town goal, was an equaliser in the 38th minute.
Though a scrambled effort from the rebound off a Jamie Devitt free-kick, the two new signings offered great hope for the battles ahead.
A second Peacock goal a minute after the break, from a cross by another new player, Michael Coulson, gave Blundell a lift that had been anticipated for so long. Would this comeback be the ‘turning point’ that was so long in coming?
Ultimate the game hung on two penalty decisions. In the 60th minute Lincoln took advantage of their good luck and equalised from the penalty rebound. In the 92nd minute Town were denied arguably the most blatant penalty appeal since the FA Cup Final was played at Crystal Palace.

Bemoaning a teams constant bad luck is an essential trait of Real Football Fans. It is a shared experience that every member of the Real Football Community recognises, embraces and proclaims as their right as a member of the club. And in accordance with this right, on this day it can be confirmed that Lady Luck DOES NOT shine on those at the wrong end of the table!

The draw enabled a dubious record to be claimed - The Mighty Mariners longest run ever without a win, 23 games

The President decided to take refreshment after the game at The New Imperial Club and in so doing, cement The Histon Mariner association. The First Lady on her first visit to the club, proceeded to win the in-house ‘Open The Box’. A little embarrassing for visitors but the members were most magnanimous. Shortly after The First Lady won the in-house ‘Take your Pick’. Even more embarrassing but somewhat alleviated by the purchase of a round of lemonades!

By the time The Kingsway was reached the weather had significantly changed for the worse. Surveying the outside from the warmth of the hotel, clutching ‘pipping hot mugs of Bournvita’, raised quite serious questions re. the viability of the journeys home the following day.

Cleethorpes the morning after the Lincoln game.

Willy’s the morning after the Lincoln game.

Keep the faith - The Campaign Marches On.

19.04.10 GTFC 0 v 3 Torquay United

Whilst events unfolded in Histon, The Chairman had been abroad ostensibly in Indonesia and Malaysia with supporting act Mr. Lawrence. An international dimension to The Campaign was a far sighted ambition of The Chairman. It can be assumed that their Far Eastern endeavours, encountered many opportunities of which the fruits will ultimately help shape the future of The Histon Mariners.

On return, at Willy’s, The Chairman gave a brief synopsis of some of the opportunities further afield. He was informed, that domestic matters appeared to be entering a more stable though possibly much changed format.

It was also the occasion when The Innkeeper declared his intention to retire from certain physical exertions in the future. This decision would facilitate his concentration on The Campaign. The Chairman and his traveling companion displayed raised eyebrows, emphasising their own prevailing approach “that one should never pass an opportunity......”

But attention was needed on the days game. The day was significant, not necessarily season defining, but vitally important. Procedures, that had been slowly evolving over time, had been adhered to. The Chairman had had his seven cancer sticks at the appropriate points on the journey north. The Restoration Director had his bag of fruit pastilles. The Innkeeper as ever, was in a quandary over which lucky scarf to wear - after all it had been 23 games since a win - and The President had had his regulatory stop at Thorp on the Hill, Little Chef.

High on the agenda was a pre-planned meeting at Blundell with Mattie Mighty Mariner. It was largely agreed that whatever help Mattie was able to offer would be a great help and would be gratefully accepted. Some kind of ambassadorial role was generally envisaged but the enigmatic Mr. Lawrence was contemplating a radical alternative that might consolidate during the meeting at Blundell.

The Histon Mariners in discussions with Mattie at Blundell Park.

The Gulls arrived having secured 10 points from the previous 12 available - promotion form!
But Town had taken 16 from the last 24 available - comfortable mid-table form and most importantly Town were now scoring goals

All square at half -time with cautious optimism on the ascendancy.
BUT........ a 17 minute spell destroyed all positivity,
                 - 54 minutes - goal! (Oh dear)
                 - 62 minutes - goal! (Bollocks)
                 - 65 minutes, The Gulls are reduced to 10men! (Hope)
                 - 71 minutes - goal! (Lets get to The New Imperial Club)

Following on from The New Imperial, further surveillance was conducted at the No.1 Bar and The Smugglers before Mariner Legend, Dave Boleyn met up with Mattie and the The Histon Mariners at Willy’s to offer congratulations on establishing The Campaign and wished them well for the future.

Dave Boleyn and Mattie exude excitement re. The Campaign.
Mr.Lawrence still playing his card close to his hip.

Sun 20th April 2010 @ 08.35.
At breakfast in The Kingsway, glasses were half empty. The cold hard reality after the Torquay defeat, with 3 games to go, was the 99 year membership of The Football League was realistically going to expire the following Saturday.

BUT a 2 v 0 victory against Darlington followed by a 2 v 0 victory against Barnet meant the great escape was on, BUT.....

08.05.10 Burton Albion 3 v 0 GTFC

Burton Albion v GTFC Ticket
Burton Albion v GTFC Ticket

Sat.8th April 2010 @ 13.10.
At pre-match preparations in The Burton Bridge Brewery, glasses were half full. A Mariner victory and Barnet failing to win would ensure survival.

The miraculous escape was on. Woodsy would be the hero and become a true Legend.

Do or die, sink or swim, league or non-league, celebrate or commiserate, where better to recuperate post-match, than the town where once the biggest brewery in the world operated Bass, with the first registered trademark in England.

At The Pirelli Stadium, Mr. Dean had put all Restoration Projects on hold.
Mr. Lawrence dreamt of the future.

The dream was mortally wounded after 10 minutes! Town pressed but a sucker punch after 37 minutes extinguished the last flicker of hope The third goal after 58 minutes really didn’t matter.

Statistics belie the fact that Town had no real complaint. 46 matches tends to separate the wheat from the chaff. On the day Town had :-

                 54% possession
                 19 shots on target v 6
                 15 shots off target v 7
                 13 corners v 7        BUT Town scored 0 goals v 3 !!!

The Mighty Mariners became the 4th team who had played in all 4 divisions to drop into the Non-League behind Carlisle, Luton and Oxford.

Amidst the post-match emotional turmoil, it was difficult for anyone to have a sense of perspective, the reality of events were to take some time to sink-in. But even in such circumstances, the Chairman rose to the occasion.

The Mighty Mariners fate was known. Whilst the digestion process continued, the future needed addressing. There could have been no better venue to attain and assimilate some perspective than the magnificent and historic Coopers Tavern. Like Town the Tavern had great heritage. The Tavern like Town had had its ups and downs over many years, but at this time it was in superb form. - the lesson was taken on board. The Chairman talked of the green shoots of recovery that had appeared in the later parts of the season and that they had had a lot of dung to get through. It was thus agreed, Woods should be allowed to finish what he had started - the 2010-11 Campaign was underway.

The Chairman contemplates life in
The Blue-Square Conference.

At The Burton & District Anglers Social Club, Borough Road, the 2010-11 Campaign kicked off in earnest.
Having ascended upstairs to a most convivial welcome, The Histon Mariners found an excellent range of fruit juices on offer and refreshingly intelligent and politically incorrect conversation. A like minded spirit with the New Imperial Club Cleethorpes prevailed. The Club was formally confirmed as Burton HQ of The Histon Mariners.

The Chairman captivated his audience with plans for next season.
The natural predatory instincts of Mr.Lawrence in fermentation.
(Obviously whilst in Burton).

Further recuperation was facilitated by the convivial atmosphere and excellent fayre at The Alfred, part of the Burton Bridge Brewery family.

Soon after, The Dean agreed to accompany a mentally exhausted Chairman back to base camp - The Old Cottage Tavern, Byrkley St.

The Deans concern for the fitness and well-being of The Chairman was impressive and duly noted.

The Innkeeper and Mr.Lawrence continued to trawl, completing manoeuvres at The Plough, Ford Street where perhaps still a little emotional after the days proceedings, Mr. Lawrence held a tight grip on his vision of the future.

The morning after the night before found The Chairman immediately on the ball. He talked of the need to take positivity from the disappointments of the previous day. Accordingly he had 2 announcements to make in readiness for 2010-11 both born from outstanding efforts the previous day.
Additional roles were allocated to:-

       - Mr.Dean - henceforth Director of Fitness & Restoration Projects.
       - The Innkeeper - henceforth also The Logistics Director.

Keep The Faith, Forward March.

Up The Mariners! 

Thanks to css zen garden for the layout.