2010 - 2011 : Novel Experiences And Out Of The Wood

Pre-season activities proceeded at a pace. A growing number of people had declared an interest in The Histon Mariner (HM) Campaign. IT consultant Sean was particularly keen to visit Blundell and Messrs Scot (no relation to Turncoat Scott!) Thurston, Carlisle and Brummie Mariner Bob Hind had been added to the squad on a on a trail basis.
However, the decision was taken to keep the powder dry until after the first excursion which was being viewed as a salient milestone in the growing crusade. The forthcoming fixture v. Histon F.C. had obvious connections and provided exceptional opportunities. Accordingly, Chairman Neville entrusted The Innkeeper with the task in hand and in particular to facilitate where possible his own international vision.

03.08.10 GTFC 2 v 1 Histon

The Muncey entourage (the heart and ‘sole’ of Histon F.C. for decades) offered to transport The Innkeeper north to Blundell. The resultant car load of Real Football People made the journey north an illuminating, stimulating experience and a productive beginning to the days Campaign. The dedication of The Innkeeper had proved admirable.

The Muncey (not Munster) Clan at Blundell. Val, Graham (Life Vice President) and the fearsome Muriel.
N.B. Muriel's determined posture ahead of negotiations.
The Innkeeper welcomed Angelo Dama, Histon F.C., Vice Chairman,to McMenemys.

Histon took the lead in the 23rd minute. It was not undeserved and could have been the prelude to a chorus lamenting the inconsistencies of Woodsy’s ‘new team’. But a hint of greater resolve was evident plus Town appeared to have found a goalscorer - those two factors would always provide hope in salvaging results and would be key to regaining a plaice back in the League.
Alan Connell’s equaliser in the 39th minute and his penalty 5 minutes from the end, secured the 3 points.

The penalty was ‘soft’. Was it a penalty? The referee gave it, it was therefore a penalty. It is accepted that Football People have to endlessly discuss the merits of penalties for or against, given or not given. Since football began, referees appear to have the casting vote.

Histon accounted for themselves well and the return trip to the Glassworld Stadium was eagerly anticipated.

Afterwards in the Boardroom at Blundell Park, the Histon F.C. negotiating team were keen to build bridges and forge a close association with The Histon Mariners. The cordial atmosphere was lubricated with ‘lashings of lemonade’ which helped dispel the grey clouds of defeat hanging over the Histon F.C. contingent. Eventually after intense discussions a lasting pact was agreed. As Official Associate Partners,

       i )  Histon F.C. would welcome visible evidence of The HM Campaign at The Glassworld
            Stadium as evidence of the shared commitment to the Campaign For Real Football.
            This may well involve advertising The Histon Mariners.

       ii )  Histon F.C. would become ‘the other team’ of HM, and as such seen as such at The Red

       iii ) Histon F.C. as ‘Middle-East Official Agents’  of HM, would pursue all avenues and utilise
             all contacts in pursuance of The Histon Mariner Campaign on behalf of Real Football
             Mr. Nacer Relizani, Director of Histon F.C. would head the Middle East Campaign from
             his Algerian Base.  The Logistics Director of HM would coordinate with Mr Relizani.
             Ray ‘The Fish’ in his role as Youth Development Officer would be deployed in due course
             to access potential.

The Negotiation Team on behalf of The Board of Histon F.C.

Commercial Consultant Philip Biggs, Chairman Russell Hands , Vice Chairman Angelo Dama and Algerian Director Nacer Relizani in The Boardroom at Blundell Park after concluding negotiations - their excitement could hardly be contained ...!

09.11.10 Cambridge United 1 v 1 GTFC

Blue Square stalwarts Cambridge United welcomed the opportunity to entertain The Mighty Mariners. The Histon Mariners used the fixture to introduce many new faces to The Campaign and further contemplate their plans for the visit of Town to The Red Lion’s ‘other team’ in January.

Several Cambridge United supporters from The Red Lion were keen to join The Campaign for a Real Football occasion. Many armchair critics were inspired during the build-up, and with only a little encouragement joined to help HM boost the attendance figure. Pre-match preparations as ever......“Meet under the Hewitts sign”.

Mr.Taylor a lapsed U, born and bred around Cambridge was unsurprisingly a Manure fan.
The President explained the need for The Campaign......under the Hewitts sign!

A Real Football occasion at The Abbey Stadium ensued. Supporters of both clubs, as custom dictated, discussed form and tactics whist reminiscing about ‘the good ole days’ in the Dublin Suite.

Chairman Neville received a rousing reception when he addressed the assembled throng. His oratory skills delivered a tour de force that served to demonstrate the importance of strong and inspirational leadership. The audience was left speechless. Though a hard act to follow, ‘The Fish’ was given the opportunity to carp on about his Youth Development role.

Largely as a result of Neville’s opening motivational salvo, a flurry of activity ensued. 
  N.B.  As Chairman of HM, his enhanced reputation rapidly brought forth an increase of
           engagements as an After Dinner Speaker.  Even with the increased demand on his time,
           The Chairman was still available for bookings!

Converted Mariner enthusiast Brummie Bob, sought to convince Mr.Taylor over a shared sparkling apple juice .
Mr.Taylor tried in vain to explain the subtleties of Premier League theatrics to a sceptical Maurice and an excitable Bob.
Director of Restoration & Fitness, Mr. Dean gallantly tried to restore old Cambridge relic, Dave Keeble.
Andrew (nee Cegelskaite) Hurst was eager to embrace any help he could find.
Neville congratulated Les on his sterling efforts but doubted the likelihood of success, given the quality of the material available.
Neville congratulated Les on his sterling efforts but doubted the likelihood of success, given the quality of the material available.

Mr. Carlisle, prospective son-in-law of The Chairman, was enthralled with his position in The Histon Mariner Family. Always a great advocate of the family environment, Neville as father-in-law, had proved a commendable role model. So much so that Mark C. said  

                 ”The inspiration that oozes from my father-in-law is so infectious, I
                  could not wait to throw my brushes into The Campaign.  Also following
                  his lead, I am offering all Mariners a BOGOF on rooms decorated.”

** Editorial Note :
   The example alluded to was when The Chairman was given the keys to Mr. Hall’s house in order
   that he could put coving up in a bathroom.  When Mr. Hall returned home, The Chairman had
   coved a bedroom - an easy mistake to make !  Consequently, when the coving of the bathroom
   was eventually completed, Mr. Hall had been given a very competitive, though not necessarily
   wanted, investment.
   It must also be added that the coving as far as was known had managed to stay up without
   the use of nails......

The match was almost a secondary affair given the level of activity beforehand. Robbie Eagle’s 41st minute equaliser was probably just deserts.

At all times Real Football Fans have an endless list of topics to wade through. After games football fans are obliged to lament the bias of referees. Others will pick an incident or particular performance as a potential turning point in a game or even a season or even in the history of a club.
After the Cambridge game it was the turn of the “Town at times over played” lobby to be vociferous. The ‘Too much hoofball” brigade would of course have their day.

Murmurings of discontent with the progress being made under Neil Wood were grossly premature. How such murmurings were considered to sit comfortably with demands for stability, must have employed a level of mental gymnastics beyond the wit of the majority.

Post-match the Commercial Manager of Cambridge United, Claudine (unlike Town Commercial Manager, had never played against Sutton United in the F.A.Cup) made great efforts to express gratitude to The Histon Mariners for helping to elevate the occasion as a Real Football Occasion.


20.11.10 GTFC 1 v 1 Barrow AFC

GTFC v Barrow AFC Ticket
GTFC v Barrow AFC Ticket

The lack of activity in and around Cleethorpes up to this point has been noted. In defence, significant Campaigning had been ongoing but often under the radar. The Middle East Scenario had been noted above, as have Far-Eastern manoeuvres. A Hawaiian base had also been hinted at.
Further, The Chairman's International vision had been supplemented by the Stansted Project. The establishment of such a base near to an international airport is testament to Nevilles vision and the opportunistic instinct of Mr. Lawrence.

By the time the Histon Mariners had descended on Willy’s, word had spread - the ensuing traffic problems were an indication of the level of interest in The Campaign. Equally the assembled crowds inside Willy’s provided an illustration of how difficult it had become for The HM to pursue a ‘normal existence’.

Amidst the burgeoning crowds, The Dean and Chairman begun preparations in Willy’s with a ‘fruit smoothie’.
Equally, note the traffic chaos outside.

As part of Nevilles International vision was his concern with an ability to satisfy world wide demand for merchandise. At Blundell The Chairman discussed branding and the range of products that could be made available.
His sales experience of the domestic DIY sector was an added bonus. He aired the possibility of making available Black & White Coving that would stay up without the use of 6” nails and also Town branded Artex....!
The Dean of Fitness and Mr. Lawrence taken along for experience, were truly mesmerised.

                  N.B.  Two, hatted interlopers bottom right.  The Chairman was impressed by
                           their audacious intrusion, hence an invitation to The Gaffer and friend
                           to The Red Lion before the Histon fixture on 3rd January.

Inside McMenemys, Mariner Legend Dave Smith proposed that injured players might avail themselves of the expertise of The Fitness and Restoration Director. More than happy to oblige, Neville sent The Dean to get a celebratory jug of ‘blackcurrant cordial’, whilst he and The Innkeeper met with Dave Smith and the injured Steve Watt.

In 9th position and 3 points off the play-offs, cautious optimism was not misplaced. But again The Mighty Mariners had to fight back, having given The Bluebirds a goal start. Robbie Atkinson equalised 5 minutes later, the final result 1 v 1.

An even game of mediocrity, Town probably had the better chances. But plenty of material for the aficionados to analyse long and hard.
The glass remained half-full....

The Innkeeper was noted to take a couple of power-naps during those spells when Town were not pressing (most of the game !). The ongoing demands of The Chairman and resultant level of activity was the cause of some stress and strain amongst the officers of HM. Some sympathy was thus forthcoming (very little, if any !) though some suggested the dozing could have been the result of over-enthusiastic preparation the previous evening......

The Innkeeper lying asleep.
The Innkeeper sitting asleep.

The first point of call for post-match analysis was The New Imperial Club. As a bastion of reasoned analysis, The Histon Mariners felt very much at home and were becoming truly accepted into the club.

Despite post-match concerns, The Chairman distributed ‘grapefruit juices’ to his weary troops.
Very soon The Chairman was back to his jolly and inspirational best.
The Chairman looked to the future. The Dean grabbed a power nap. Mr. Lawrence checked on manoeuvres elsewhere!

Last season at The Burton & District Anglers Social Club Mr. Lawrence had displayed a natural talent as potential recruitment officer. In an effort to secure an official position his instincts went into overdrive.

Mr.Lawrence’s opening gambit was without doubt a brave and ambitious effort - the inimitable Imperial celebrity, Linda!

On the debut of The Histon Mariners in The New Imperial, they were understandably asked to sign in as guests. Each guest needed a Members support. All were signed in except The President. On looking for a member to support him, he asked ...... Linda! Perhaps weighed down with Towns then relegation concerns (2009-10), Linda clearly very thirsty but with arms folded, abruptly and most earnestly suggested that Maurice should ‘try elsewhere!’
Since that initial introduction (17-10-09 v Rochdale) The Histon Mariners were more than a little cautious when approaching Linda. Where angels fear to tread, held no fears for Mr. L. and soon his persuasive charms bore fruit.

Truly motivated, Mr. Lawrence grabbed an opportunity to explain the offside rule, with supporting props to many other New Imperialists. Rachael and friend were clearly won over and offered him their support whenever he was in Cleethorpes.

The Schooner Bar facilitated quieter moments for reflection in a marvellous outside area with excellent musical choices but Mr. L. appeared on a mission, anxious to continue his quest.
With ‘adrenaline’ pumping and eager to secure the important recruitment role, Mr. L. suggested The Riverside Bar as fertile ground for his recruitment drive.

Mr. L. eagerly points the way forward to Mr. Dean and Neville.
Inside The Riverside, disillusioned Mariners appeared invigorated by the charm and technique of the experienced Histon Lothario.

Onto The Smugglers where The Chairman, after only a couple of visits, was already regarded as a character of stature.

The Chairman outside The Smugglers, where his appearances had become so eagerly anticipated.
Landlady Julie has become fully supportive of The HM Campaign and The Chairman was as ever most gracious in accepting her support.

Neville was particularly enamoured of the Landlady’s hospitality because of the availability of....’Oxo crisps’!!!

“Oxo Crisps All Round”

Locals were eager to be in Neville’s magnanimous and cheery company as he shared so many pearls of wisdom.

Whilst The Chairman enthralled all and sundry with his bonhomie and cheerful antidotes, The Dean of Fitness and Restoration Projects was anxious to oversee Mr. L. take a much needed refreshment break, following his marathon pursuit of recruitment opportunities. Unremarkably even during the brief interlude, Mr. L.’s instinct for an opportunity spotted yet another potential recruit.

The growing influence of The Histon Mariner Campaign was deemed to be making satisfactory progress. Growing frustration amongst ‘some supporters’ with the pace of progress of GTFC, could only be placated on the pitch.
The Histon Mariners would continue to give wholehearted support to Neil Woods and his ‘new team’

On New Years Day 2011, The Mighty Mariners laid down a marker that it was hoped was an indication of things to come. At home to Mansfield, who on the back of thrashing Cambridge 5 v 1, arrived at Blundell full of confidence.

01.01.11 GTFC 7 (Seven!) v 2 Mansfield Town

Peter Bore x3, Alan Connell x2, Michael Coulson and Darren Kempson.

‘Seven Ups’ All Round.

No doubt ‘some supporters’ bemoaned the lack of a clean sheet. The Histon Mariners could hardly contain their excitement ahead of Towns visit to Histon in 2 days time on January 3rd.

03.01.11 Histon 1 v 6 GTFC

When the Chairman had held discussions at Blundell about merchandising, two unexpected interlopers had impressed him with their cheek and tenacity. As a result the Chairman invited The Gaffer and friend to The Red Lion for exploratory talks. The ‘brazen interlopers’ made an immediate impact.

The Gaffer and friend adopt 7UP as their favourite
drink following the Mansfield Massacre.

There was a discernible buzz around Histon on the morning of the match and excitement levels grew towards a crescendo as kick-off approached.

‘Under the Hewitts sign’, The President, Chairman and Mattie met up with The Gaffer and associates. Hatchling JohnBoy - initial product of ‘The Fishes’ Youth Policy - could hardly believe his luck in being photographed with the HM hierarchy.

7UP’s All Round

Ray ‘The Fish’, HM local man in Cleethorpes, clocked up thousands of miles a week in his ‘Trawl For Talent’. 3 hatchlings, Jimmy the Gill, JohnBoy and Keenan the Koi displayed great promise in their training session ‘Under the Hewitts Sign’

Probably the greatest opportunity of the day was the potential meeting up of many geographically dispersed Mariner fans. One such lucky Shoal could hardly contain their Skate of euphoria. The appearance of the Chesterfield Mariners presented an opportunity which the HM were eager to develop. An association with different group’s of geographically diverse Mariners was an essential plank in the evolving Campaign.

As had become the norm, Ian, Becky and Gareth, TescoMan and group leader Roy, awaited the arrival of the enigmatic Micky Jewell. Still Reeling from Jewell’s absence at Burton the previous season, was a disappointment that quickly faded into insignificance when Chairman Neville and President Maurice joined them in a morale boosting exchange of views and a round of ‘cream-sodas’.

The Chesterfield Mariners were delighted with their debut at The Red Lion but none more so than TescoMan. The proximity of a Tesco Express, opposite HM H.Q. together with meeting the HM hierarchy, was almost too much for TescoMan. A relaxing hot tea with honey provided him with some solace.

The Histon Mariners were delighted to continue their policy of invigorating interest in Real Football, was as they had done recently at Cambridge United. As a result of such efforts local dignitaries and celebrities (e.g. Declan aka Mr. Histon F.C. and local Cricketing Legend, Jez ‘Lisa’ Downes) joined the Boards of Histon F.C., GTFC and of course The Histon Mariners for pre-match refreshment and analysis.

The Gaffer took his mates to The Glassworld Stadium to promote The Campaign. The potential for World Wide Sponsorship from the worlds no.1 soft-drink company had been rumoured.

A sumptuous feast was provided. Real Football People, by mixing and exchanging the usual football Pollocks provided validity to The Campaign For Real Football.

Renowned After Dinner Speaker Neville, felt his blood pressure rise in accord with the pride he felt, as his life-time ambitions were evolving in front of his eyes. He delegated to The Innkeeper to conduct any necessary formalities.

The Innkeeper put flesh on The Campaign skeleton.
N.B. Local dignitary and Histon F.C. fanatic Declan in tune with the HM ethos.
Graham Eales, P.R. Manager of Histon F.C. never shy in coming forward, thanked the HM for their Input into a Real Football Occasion.
N.B. Local dignitary, Declan in local colours, in awe of proceedings.
Angelo Dama, Vice Chairman of Histon and integral to the accord struck at Blundell, was overcome by the enormity of the occasion and was consoled by The Innkeeper.

After the 7UP against Mansfield 2 days previous, few could have been greedy enough to wish for much more than three points, however they were acquired. But Real Football Fans are always on the lookout for ‘the turning-point’. Having witnessed another drubbing (1 v 6 j even the serial doubters might have been excused a brief moment of optimism.

A renowned heavy pitch may well have contributed to a scrappy first half but a first goal of the season for Ademeno gave Town a one goal lead at half time. Reasonable expectations appeared satisfied.

But further goals from Charles Ademeno, Dean Sinclair and the three substitutes, Mark Hudson, Capt. Peacock and Robbie Eagle, produced an unbelievable 1 v 6 score-line to follow the 7UP.

Eagle’s goal in added time, from the half-way line will be recalled for years to come, by trivia aficionados whilst some supporters may have been handed the opportunity to proclaim they witnessed ‘the turning-point’.

13 goals in 2 games over 3 days and 9 different scorers - an impossible scenario to predict. The events of the day had certainly supplied a thick layer of icing to the Campaign’s Cake.

The developing bond between The Histon Mariners with Mariners from far and wide was increasingly evident.

The 655 Mariners who flocked to The GlassWorld Stadium looked truly inspired when meeting Mattie and The Innkeeper.
Some Town supporters had struggled to come terms with the Blue Square Conference but had tried to remain upbeat.

Crowd hysteria demanded an appearance from The President and Chairman. They were invited to publicly conduct the formalities and were delighted to oblige by presenting The Man of the Match award to Mariner, Charles Ademeno.

Chairman Neville was heard discussing the fitness programme of Ademeno.
He offered the services of the Dean of Fitness to the injury prone striker. The results of that discussion were recognised during Ademeno’s 6 week lay-off following an operation. The President was seen consoling a shell-shocked Remy Clerima from Histon.

A few well chosen words from The Chairman, in his best Churchillian style, eventually persuaded the crowd to disperse.
A memorable occasion had set a bench mark for future manoeuvres in the pursuance of promoting Real Football for Real Football People. Travelling Mariners were very complimentary about the welcome Town received from a club whose elevation to this level in the pyramid, was a testament to the core of Real Football People who had backed the club over many years - long may it continue.

22.01.11 GTFC 0 v 0 Crawley Town

GTFC v Crawley Town Ticket
GTFC v Crawley Town Ticket

An unexpected turn of events initiated an unexpected trip north for The Innkeeper and former associate Reginald Stanley Gilbert. It was reported that R.S.G a.k.a ‘The Turncoat’ had expressed deep regret at shunning The Campaign - the success of the events at Histon had brought his mistake into sharp focus. Initially The Turncoat had approached Mr. Lawrence to act as intermediary but due to commitments elsewhere, The Innkeeper was left to take up the mantel.

The Turncoat wanted to return to the fold! He felt he had been misled and consequently made an error of judgement. He was prepared to face his critics and explain all to The President and Chairman in the hope of redemption. Further if it would help he was prepared to buy a round and include Messrs Balaam and Tabor as a sign of his total remorse.

N.B. There was never any evidence of such expenditure.

The Innkeeper listened to much heartfelt remorse on the drove north. Even in such unusual circumstances it was imperative to adhere to as many of the pre-match routines as possible. The Innkeepers difficulty in choosing the lucky scarf/scarves had been exacerbated by Towns inconsistency.

A remorsful Turncoat reflects on his isolation over the past 12 months whilst at Willy's Bar. A pint of Ginger Beer Shandy lubricates the confessional process.
On leaving Willy's for Blundell, Turncoat can be seen here as if the weight of the world had been lifted from his shoulders.
Lee Ridley on behalf of the team and Dave Smith on behalf of the Club Officials are clearly overjoyed at Turncoats return. Turncoat himself looks positively jubilant.

Turncoat in extacy

On the return journey to Histon H.Q., Turncoat could not wait to reveal his successful rehabilitation. Mr Tabor and Mr Balham would be proud of his return to the fold and finally appreciate the unstinting devotion to an alleged lost cause by the The Innkeeper.

12.02.11 Grimsby Town v Cambridge

GTFC v Cambridge Ticket
GTFC v Cambridge Ticket

The long awaited visit to Blundell for Cambridge Supporters was facilitated by Histon Mariners who continued their inclusive education policy by inviting some to join them on their excursion to Cleethorpes.

The response from the Cambridge faithful was underwhelming and eventually two of the infamous 'U's joined the Histon Mariners for the trip.

As the crowds flocked to Cleethorpes Sea-Front to see their heroes, the Innkeeper demonstrated the attention to detail (some would say) so vital to the Histon Mariners.

Innkeeper warming up with broom.

Note the bent knee and rather fancy footwork.

The military precision of the Mariners was soon evident, meeting at 1115hrs at Willy's on the day of the match. Whilst Histon Mariners fell into line, the 2 'U's were late on parade. At Willy's Senior Officers re-confirm details of manouvres ahead.

The Dean of Fitness and Restoration Projects anticipated a busy day ahead taking care of so many Cleethorpes virgins.
His initial consultation, held at Willy’s was with associate Scott (no relation to The Turncoat).
The President welcomed U.Diehards, Fletch & Thomas to “the Cleethorpes experience. He explained the aims and objectives of The Campaign on behalf of Real Football People.
Mr. Taylor, once a U Diehard now preferring Manure, was renowned for his astute observations on the managerial Merry-go-round and had expressed some misgivings....

Whilst HM Officers were concentrating on the day ahead, The Chairman was as ever a subtle blend of rigid adherence to procedural routine and an incredible determination to push the boundaries of The Campaign into areas few others could envisage.
Already observers had commentated on 0817 (precisely) being the designated time of departure, the compulsory 7 cancer sticks taken at exact points on the journey north, his routine inspection of the penultimate roundabout on the A1 (the Greenfields roundabout at Balderton) preceding the A46 turning to Lincoln, all culminating in his regular observations on the quality and price of the refreshments on offer at Willy’s

At Willy’s, The Chairman took calls from Reuters and other worldwide news agencies.
Mark C. marvelled at his prospective father-in-law.
Mr.L was engaged in affairs elsewhere.

The taxi from Willy’s to McMenemys was as ever preceded by the Innkeepers mental aguish caused by making the decision as to which scarf to wear. The terrific experience that is consistently McMenemys awaited the bevy of Cleethorpes virgins.

Potentials recruit Scott, between a brace of bedazzled U’s Fletch & Thomas

Diehard ‘U’s’ - Thomas reported back to The Fens. Fletch was seen to ‘Flounder’ as he took all on board.
The Dean offered dietary advice to Mr. L. Some were concerned he might choke on his own words.
Neville’s future son-in-law, Mark C., considers his good luck.
Peter Bore and Tom Corner welcomed bedazzled ‘U’s’ Thomas and Fletch, on behalf of GTFC.

The opening 20 minute performance from The Mighty Mariners was possibly the best spell for many games, alas only the one goal from Dean Sinclair.
Critics of more direct styles of play, are considered in tune with the current fashionable paradigms of football employed in the theatrical world of the Premier League. Cambridge deployed the long ball and their use of ‘the big man up front eventually brought them the equaliser.
It was not the concern of Cambridge to comply with the thoughts of footballs upper echelons but to exploit the defensive frailties they perceived in the opposition.
Defensive inconsistencies had been Towns recent Achilles heel. The success of Alan Buckley (and Russell Slade) evolved on a slow build.
Neil Wood had a lot of deadwood to clear out from the years of downward spiral. There was evident progress being made albeit not at the pace many desired, but the call for consistency of management has always to be reconciled with evolutionary rather than revolutionary progress.

Post-match comments by The ‘U’s Manager Jez George, (allegedly infamous from Soham all the way down Newmarket Road!) comparing his team to Real Madrid were a little bizarre, but can be explained in the context of him being caught up in the unfamiliar experience of a grand sporting occasion.

Immediately after the match The Chairman called for an in-depth review at The New Imperial Club.

The Histon Mariner inner sanctum in action. An intense Chair. A contemplative President. The Dean steals ’40 winks’ Plus an enthralled onlooker.
‘Grapefruit juice all round’.

The Chairman’s intensity was short-lived. His concern for the morale and well-being of his troops was legendary, and at times caused him considerable mental anguish. Real Football People quickly get situations into perspective - Schooners with its el fresco-music area provided the perfect environment.

Maurice took note of The Deans fitness regime.
A ‘Flounder(ing)’ Fletch and a Doubting Thomas indulged in a little self-education.

The Chair after speaking to regulars inside, continued to set a furious pace.

The relentless energy of The Chair continued - The Dean caught up with another ‘power-nap’
Our awe-inspiring Chair. a proud prospective son-in-law and a disbelieving Scott.

By the time The Smugglers was reached the match-day squad was truly reconciled to reality.
Locals and bar staff eagerly awaited the arrival of the HM. The Chairman declared a need for ‘Oxo Crisps’....

The Diehard U’s continue to reflect, with admiration, on the days proceedings.

The Cleethorpes Debutants were already amazed by the days events but on arrival at Willy’s to find a full buffet laid on for The Histon Mariners, their astonishment rose beyond belief.

Mr. L. as ever spotted an opportunity, this time culinary.
Mark C. and Scott toast the days proceedings with a Diet Pepsi.
Mr. L. a ‘Dab’ hand at recruitment, hovered.
Mr. L. as ever spotted a recruitment opportunity.
Fletch was seen to ‘Flounder’.

Postscript: Turncoats rehabilitation had been short lived.  Lovely Dereck (part-time Care Worker
                  to R.S.G.) reported that R.S.G. was now perusing opportunities in The Far-East,
                  avoiding his public show of remorse but allegedly building on the foundations laid by
                  The Chairman and his entourage on a previous exploratory excursion. 
                  It can only be assumed a short supply of free drinks will diminish his commitment
                  over time.

Keep The Faith.   UTMM

Sat. 19.02.11 Fleetwood 3 v 0 GTFC

Tues. 22.02.11 GTFC 1 v 1 Forest Green Rovers

Wed. 23.02.11 Neil Woods reign as Manager came to an end.

Neil Woods had been handed the enormous task of reversing a downward spiral that had been evident for over a decade. It was generally agreed he inherited a poorly assembled unfit squad, low on confidence of whom expectations were often unrealistic.
The commercial pressures on the upper rungs of the football pyramid increases impatience amongst fans. This attitude cascades down to levels where there is rarely any financial clout to buy success. At these lower levels even more patience is required to develop a team, ideally by nurturing young talent - which if successful is likely to be culled by those at the top in need of new blood to further instant and future success.

Neil Woods improved squad quality, fitness and attitude. He arguably began the end of the downward spiral and consequently handed the next occupant of the hot seat a more solid base on which to build. Criticism is perfectly acceptable but an element of that which he endured was not. No doubt the same element were the unjust critics of Dave Moore’s well executed 28 day caretaker stint. It would not be a big surprise if Woods returned to Blundell in some capacity in the future.

Wed. 23.03.11

Paul Hurst & Rob Scott announced as the new Joint-Managers of The Mighty Mariners.

Wed. 30.03.11

‘Cod Almighty’ recorded after 2 draws, a one goal defeat and more “direct tactics....there are already calls from GTFC supporters for their dismissal.”!!!!!

09.04.11 GTFC 3 v 3 Kidderminster Harriers

GTFC v Kidderminster Harriers Ticket
GTFC v Kidderminster Harriers Ticket

With the other Officers on alternative manoeuvres, The Innkeeper perused a ‘Sole’ mission to Blundell. The ‘Porpoise’ of his ‘Fleeting’ visit was to announce the imminent ‘Baltic Trawl’. The ‘Baltic Trawl’ was a six week tour in line with The Chairman’s international vision.

Mattie Mighty Mariner would accompany The Innkeeper. The objectives would be to promote The Campaign, extend and establish foreign relationships with an eye kept open for talented ‘Pupfish’. ‘Ray’s’ knowledge of the ‘Plaices’’ that were planned to visit, was the result of a life dedicated to fish which together with his evolving youth programme, made him a ‘Dab’ hand in The HM hierarchy.

At McMenemys, The HM had a low key introduction to Paul Hurst & Rob Scott behind closed doors. The new management duo wished The Innkeeper ‘Bon Voyage’ on the Baltic project and looked forward to the fruits of that mission and the onset of the new season at the end of the summer.
Town Legend Dave Boleyn, joined injured duo Lee Ridley and Steve Watt to thank the Histon Mariners for their support and wished them good fortune on their ‘Baltic Trawl’.

A creditable draw. A roll-a-coaster of a game - an early lead (Mark Hudson), then falling behind, only to equalise (Alan Connell), followed by re-gaining the lead (Capt. Peacock) and finally being pulled back to 3 v 3. Given this sequence, it can be argued,

                  - Town are an attacking side with plenty of goals.
                   - the defence is poor and needs new blood.
                   - the defence is OK but needs to be organised properly,
                   - the attitude and fighting spirit is good.  For Town to come
                     back as they did, when in reality there was little to play for,
                     was a sign.
                   - to give away the lead twice, mental resilience is lacking.
                   - generally Town look better under Hurst & Scott.
                   - overall Town were better under Woods.
                   - there is nothing wrong with the squad that organisation and
                    commitment will not put right.
                   - a complete clear out is required.
                   - the squad only needs a few adjustments.
                   - the thrown-in just before half-time, when X threw to Y was
                     the turning point that we’ve been waiting for.
                   - next season must bring Town the share of luck not had this season.
                   - Town surely can’t have so many bad referees next season.
Mix ‘n Match any of the above to automatically renew your membership as a Real Football Person.

Alternatively, you can turn-up, sit/stand in the same lucky spot since Harold Wilson was P.M., hope and pray, follow vital match-day routines, meet up with the others and after it all, ask yourself, “Why?”........
                              ......because next season might just be the one.......
                                             ..... Hope above experience !

In Hurst & Scott we trust.


Up The Mariners! 

Thanks to css zen garden for the layout.