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

Cambridge United v GTFC Ticket
Cambridge United v GTFC Ticket

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.

Up The Mariners! 

Thanks to css zen garden for the layout.