Current Campaign


04.09.20 - Grimsby Town F.C. Youth Development Association Golf Day

Normally arranged at the height of the summer break, like the entire world The YDA Golf Day was moved, readjusted and ‘more or less’ Covid compliant on the eve of the 2020-21 season. The most welcome occasion enabled many glasses to appear half-full!

For several years The Histon Mariner Campaign had embraced the Golf Day. But like everything else at the time, logistical changes were inevitable - not even the chagrin of the Chairman could overcome events. The Logistics Director’s duty in putting together a ‘match-day’ squad and planning manoeuvres in accord with The Campaign was a task taken on with much enthusiasm.

The President was keen to observe commencement of The Campaign, and drove The Logistics Director north from Cambridge. Given the time lapse since previous manoeuvres a nostalgic trip around North Thoresby was highly predictable. The Viking named village provided several highlights that included the St. Helen Parish Church, the home of AWOL North Thoresby Mariner Steve Robertson and tales of ‘various activities’ at the Village Hall (!) and exploits at the Cricket Club.


It would be remiss to ignore the commemoration within the village sign, of the death of the aircrew following the crash on Oct. 4th 1943, of an Avro Lancaster Bomber (as featured in the film “The Dam Busters”) whilst on a test flight from RAF Waltham.

Onto The Grimsby Golf Club where the Wainfleet Mariner President, at the invitation of the Logistics Director, had gathered a disparate group of individuals to represent The Histon Mariner Campaign in line with previous years efforts - somewhere around the bottom three teams.
The President was delighted to meet up with and check the conspicuously absent credentials of Fulstow Mariner Steve Metcalfe, Leicester Mariner Ammo Khan, Skipper for the day Wainfleet President Stuart B. and Nottingham Mariner Dave Mantle.


In accord with golfing etiquette, the Logistic Director commandeered a golf buggy to deliver multiple bacon rolls to the ill-prepared Skipper on the fairway of the second hole. (See picture above)

After The Wainfleet Chairman had finished dining, the intrepid foursome proceeded to reaffirm the remarkably consistent annual Histon Mariner Golf Team performance by finishing third bottom. One unexpected aspect was the Skippers determination to stay awake for the duration of the game - the Histon Mariners were appreciative of his sterling efforts!

Like everyone The Histon Mariners looked forward to more accommodating times when they in particular could accept Stuart’s offer of refreshment at the renowned Cross Keys in Fulstow. Landlord Steve agreed that would be an occasion not to be missed and would go down in the annals of local folklore.


The President and Logistics Director left “the team” to perform whilst continuing operations elsewhere. Cleethorpes HQ, The Kingsway Hotel, under new ownership and refurbishment had been decommissioned until Oct. 5th, when it was hoped normal service would be resumed. Given such circumstances the already known Dovedale Hotel was recommisioned.


Finally after booking into the hotel, what had been so long anticipated, was to be - a visit to Cleethorpes Operational H.Q., Willy’s......

So excited was the President he mistakingly took his wallet out to purchase refreshment.
Jolly Boy Pete and Willy’s owner Bill Parkinson - on hand to welcome the Histon Mariners back - were able to witness the occasion.

It was assumed the chosen golf foursome would finish their round before the hours of darkness.
Such an assumption curtailed what would easily have evolved into a very comfortable, convivial and extended visit to Willy’s!

The President had been delighted to explore future possibilities in the difficult times ahead with the Jolly Boyz at Willy’s. He welcomed continuing the collaboration at The Grimsby Golf Club.

Jolly Boyz Pete and Dave R. with President Maurice prior to further sustenance and the Golf Day presentations (which inevitably did not involve the Histon Mariners.)

Having no part to play in proceedings, had no effect, surprisingly, on the success of the evening. Town Legends, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly all sought out the The Histon Mariners, passing on many complimentary remarks.

President Maurice, John Fenty and the very Jolly Pete and Dave Roberts all sang from the same hymn sheet.
Ian Holloway as he always appeared to be, looked more at ease than the North Thoresby Legend.
Legends included Tony Ford MBE minus Afro) and Dave Smith (without Mullet)

Tony Ford with Afro
Dave Smith with Mullet

Planning future manoeuvres at a time of such uncertainty was obviously fraught with difficulties.
However the commitment to soldier on was never in doubt, a factor to be reiterated to an expectant Chairman on return to Histon.

As the Golf Day approached the conclusion, Jolly Boyz Tour Director summoned his chauffeur to facilitate proceedings in Cleethorpes. Cleethorpes Mariner, ‘Stato Andy’ could not resist joining the planned meet-up with his known associate Ray The Fish plus McMenemy Mike.


No better venue to continue proceedings than The Nottingham Castle. The prevailing mood of the day was the overwhelming desire of Real Football People to return to a deeply missed world, put on hold because of the intrusion of a most unwelcome guest.

Lisa and McMenemy Mike took time out from their excursions at The Lindon Club.
Ray The Fish updated The President on local developments.
Chauffeur Paul and John Tondeur listened to the demise of Dave R.’s planned tour schedule for 2020-27.
Paul looked to have heard it before..!
Nigel Lowther appeared optimistic whilst in discussions with XXXX

Despite the very unusual circumstances President Maurice considered the excursion to have been a resounding success. Reconnecting with old, very old and new associates was always likely to be a delight.
The opportunity to report back to The Chairman a modicum of positivity around GTFC and Cleethorpes would enable glasses to remain half-full. When, the ‘soul of the game’ would next be reinvigorated, when life could next be breathed into The Campaign and when The Mighty Mariners could next be supported from the terraces, was still the Number One concern.

Onwards and Upwards

On reflection, realistic goals peppered with hope rather than expectation had been the overriding sentiment following the trip north. There was no doubt the Corona Virus and the resultant strategies to deal with the consequences had been a major factor in determining the squad. Prudent finance had been an essential element in recent years, which had left the Club in a reasonable (if not exciting) state to fight the unexpected. But at Division 4 level the best laid plans only go so far.

The ridiculously inappropriate finances that creates the Premier Elite, are known to endanger its extended football family. The inevitable continuation of the self serving greed, ultimately will only serve to narrow the base of the pyramid of English Football, which is/was the greatest asset of Our National Game and remains the envy of the world. In such difficult times, the self satisfying interests of the upper echelons continues to alienate public sympathy, the likely results of which are the irreversible erosion for the broad base of the already struggling foundations of the football pyramid.

The return of Real Football People to stadiums other than the Premier Theatres remained absolutely vital for the survival of many clubs. The return of Real Football People to preserve the soul of the game, the return of Real Football People to enliven the economies of the communities that their clubs are part of, to return to a shared history that had evolved over decades was at this point a hope rather than an expectation.

05.09.20 - League Cup Round 1 - GTFC 1 v 1 Morecambe
                                                    (Morecambe 4 v 3 on penalties.)


08.09.20 - EFL Trophy - GTFC 2 v 2 Harrogate Town AFC
                                      (GTFC 5 v 4 on penalties)


12.09.20 Walsall 1 v 0 GTFC

A terrific away day for the B&W Army to start the league season. The Histon Mariners would meet up with friends and associates at The Post Office Vaults....if only!

In reality the match without the edge emanating from crowded terraces, resembled a pre-season game or a testimonial - a scenario that will have to be learnt to be lived with for the foreseeable future.
An injury list of most of the experienced players didn’t appear to help a very young side. The 15 year old Louis Boyd made his league debut from the bench having made his first appearance and scored his first goal in the previous fixture v Harrogate - The Histon Mariners wish him all the best in his GCSE’s......next year!!!

19.09.20 GTFC 0 v 4 Salford City

First home game of the season - Willy’s, Notts, McMenemys, New Imperial, No.2 Bar and The Smugglers - the excitement would be hard to contain..... Alas, it was not to be.
Even The Chairman’s obsessive match-day routine would be missed (just). The only positive would be the Logistic Director not having the mental turmoil of choosing the days lucky scarf.

Oh dear. Pretty much the same as above. When (if ever) have Town conceded 3 penalties in a single game before ? (Answers on a postcard). As is often the case not quite as bad as the score suggested. The result may well be viewed as a freak result - hopefully sooner rather than later. Early days, the glass remained half-full.

Oh shit.  A single positive Covid assessment
            —> squad in isolation for 10 or 14 days depending on whose advice is listened to 
            —> the closure of the Cheapside training ground
            —> 3 matches postponed
            —> possibility of 2 days group training before a trip to Bolton Wanderers ( all of which
                   would end with a likely defeat ! )

The conflicting advice from legal advisors, the changing advice from the EFL. and the uncertainty surrounding the Government’s advice was creating difficulties which were creating additional expense that simply could not be maintained.

It would be unimaginable that this would be the only such occurrence over a 7-8 month season. The associated costs with such events (£5000 to test the playing squad ONCE at a time of virtually no income!) is unsustainable. Talk of the demise of Real Football beyond the reach of the Premier Theatre was increasingly evident and not without some justification.
Bury - gone. Bolton - last minute reprieve. Macclesfield - gone. Wigan continually speculated about. Southend highly likely. Charlton said to be in a very precarious place. And probably about a dozen more.

The Football Family, the shared camaraderie and experiences, that which united rather than divided was at best on hold - the glass had to remain half-full to maintain some positivity but unprecedented times necessitated venturing into uncharted waters and the possibility of spilling the contents of the glass.

The Histon Mariners, given the current information to hand, couldn’t object to a call to end the season now....

The Campaign must continue and will continue.

UTMM

26.09.20 Cheltenham Town P v P GTFC


03.10.20 GTFC P v P Bradford City


06.10.20 - EFL Trophy - Hull City P v P GTFC


10.10.20 Bolton Wanderers 0 v 0 GTFC

Bank Top brewery “Here we come”....but not this season!


A very respectable point. Perhaps the season was finally up and running. Perhaps the point gained was one of the much grasped for turning points so beloved by Real Football People. Such turning points can only be seen by Real Football People but everyone could see the fixture congestion from this point on.

Other teams have had more declared positive Covid cases than Towns one isolated case, yet were still fulfilling fixtures. A threat of point deductions for not fulfilling fixtures appeared paramount in their thinking. How Town could be blamed for not complying with EFL regulations when following Government guidelines, was indicative of the chaotic thought processes evident across every strand of life across Britain at present. When the Government were allegedly seeking to encourage clubs to screen matches inside their hospitality facilities when at the same time discouraging the possibility of allowing limited spectators inside grounds beggars belief.

In Ollie we must trust.


13.10.20 Cheltenham Town 1 v 3 GTFC

An debut appearance at the dreadfully named Johnny-Rocks Stadium had been planned by the Histon Mariners. No doubt The Chesterfield Mariners would use their vast experience to lead the way.....Alas, perhaps next season.
A tremendous result on the back of a very good performance. When an opponent's fanzine site accepted the defeat to a better performing opponent, the reality would appear accepted.
First goals for Ouwura Edwards, James Tilley and Owen Windsor suggested the season was really underway.

‘Project Big Picture’

The unveiling in the week following of, ‘Project Big Picture’ and its attempt to reset ‘Our Game’, dominated discussions amongst Real Football People. In return for critical financial help, it was no surprise that the sugar coated power grab launched during the pandemic crisis, demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of British football culture.

The overwhelming majority of Football Fans immediately opposed the suggestions put forward. Essentially the proposed concentration of power in the hands of an ever decreasing number of elite clubs - and therefore their overseas billionaire owners - would channel an even greater proportion of the monies made, especially from TV rights, towards those elite clubs.
It was not unrealistic to assume, that the timing of the small handouts (bribes) offered to attract approval from lower league clubs, it was hoped (assumed) would be gratefully grabbed by the desperate, for a vital instant quick fix. It appeared to be assumed that so urgent were monies needed by so many outside Premier circles, that the medium and long term sustainability of The Real Football World were factors that would not figure uppermost in thought processes - hopefully how wrong they would be proven to be.

It was rumoured several overseas owners desired no relegation for elite clubs (as per sporting franchises in the USA). Nothing was more indicative of the dangers inherent in the grandiose ambitions of the movers and shakers at the top of the English football pyramid, the pyramid of which the rest of the world was so envious.

The Big Six Fan Groups issued a joint statement in total rejection.
The Football Supporters Association talked of a “sugar coated cyanide pill”, of the “insatiable greed of a handful of billionaire owners cannot shape English football” and the inevitable reduction of competition.
The Spirit Of Shankly Group (SOS) proved consistent in their sympathy for the extended Real Football Family.
     “...all of us understand football does not work in isolation.  It’s a family.  It requires a fair
      share of resources to ensure that the Premier League is competitive to watch and that
      the lower leagues flourish as part of our national game.”

Spot The Gall Competition.


17.10.20 Leyton Orient 2 v 3 GTFC

Without doubt, usually one of the highlight days of the season for The Histon Mariners.....usually! Such days emphasised, that what was being missed! At least 1200-1300 Mariners would not not be meeting up with exiled friends - that which is part and parcel of Real Football.

Well, well, well. As real football people appreciate things can - and sometimes do - change very quickly. Three tough away games in a week, from which the Mighty Mariners earned 7 from 9 points, was more than could have been reasonably expected. But even more pleasing was the manner of performances which bodes well.

This Ollie factor may well have began to reveal itself :-
     - Pollock has looked to have continued maturation and is no doubt a leading candidate of rich
       pickings that the vultures are circling over.
     - Harry Clifton has picked up the challenge of forging a key role in the squad maybe even the
       team, at a time when many were having doubts.
     - Owen Windsor and Danny Preston (already part of a growing list of polished loanee left
       backs - Townsend,  Driscoll-Glennon - who will play at a higher level) indicate the value of
       Ollie’s standing throughout football.  Town would now appear to have placed themselves as a
       club in which other managers place their trust to nurture their better young players.
     - Experienced players such as Danny Rose and Sean Scannell were needed and would
       become a vital element in the the ‘Ollie Evolution.’
As the past week unfolded momentum appeared to be gathering.  Sustaining that momentum would be the next and harder challenge.

Ollie, Ollie Ollie.

20.10.20 GTFC 1 v 2 Harrogate Town


24.10.20 GTFC 1 v 1 Carlisle United.


27.10.20 Forest Green Rovers 1 v 0 GTFC



A Glimpse of a ‘New Normality’.....

At this point it had become possible to watch a live match on a screen whilst eating inside venues such as McMenemys, with the curtains drawn in order to prevent television cameras picking up supporters quenching their thirsts, whilst the game was being played (How such scenes of debauchery differ from The Barmy Army at Headingley is difficult to fathom).

On Thursday 28 Oct. with eager anticipation The Histon Mariners booked to attend The Pie, Chips & Peas Evening with Ian Holloway at McMenemys on Monday 2nd. Plus, eager to indulge in the sudden orgy of available tantalising pleasures, the match against Barrow on the following evening was also booked to watch...on screen.
With great anticipation The Histon Mariners planned to team up with The Jolly Boyz on the Monday evening but had a dilemma the following evening for the Barrow game. A choice of fish & chips and the match ON SCREEN ONLY IN McMenemys or SCREEN ONLY in The Mariners Trust Bar.

With Cleethorpes basecamp The Kingsway Hotel undergoing re-evaluation following a change of ownership, HM Logistics Director was designated to investigate potential alternatives. The Clee Hotel was chosen, his report was eagerly awaited by The Chairman. But...

Oh no, not again.

No sooner had the anticipation of meeting up with fellow Mariners for the double-header as outlined above started to stir, then firstly Tier 2 was announced, quickly followed by a second lockdown. At least Billy from The Jolly Boyz would be saved from taking an extra £5 out from his savings!
Bollocks!!!


31.10.20 Stevenage 0 v 0 GTFC

Undoubtedly given that the trip to Broadhall Way was virtually a home fixture for The Histon Mariners, this was a definite game to be attended.
Undoubtedly one of the least attractive fixtures of the season, for multiple reasons.
Undoubtedly a ground where Town never seem to play well, score a goal or gain a point.

But undoubtedly a successful day - a point secured.
                                                      - a clean sheet (though Town still didn’t score).
                                                      - no travelling necessary.
                                                      - a contented parsimonious Logistic Director.

Come on The Mighty Mariners.


03.11.20 GTFC 1 v 0 Barrow

Gutted not to be in attendance. The circumstances provoked the memory from last March, when enroute to Blundell for the Carlisle game but turning back at Peterborough following the announcement of the first lockdown.

A win at Blundell. 3 points and a second clean sheet.
A confidence booster for Montel Gibson, reflected in his performance after he scored.
Histon Mariner sponsored Danny Rose played consecutive games and looked to be establishing himself as a key player.


07.11.20 - F.A. Cup Round 1 - Dagenham & Redbridge 3 v 1 GTFC

But for the location and the opportunity to see The Mariners put The Daggers to the sword and by so doing, progress to Round 2, a debut visit to the exotically named - possibly by Derek Edward Trotter - Chigwell Construction Company Stadium, Victoria Road, was not high up on any list of the seasons attractions.
Dagenham rightly or wrongly conjured up images of another Stevenage type visit. A place where historic Inns & Taverns have no place. A place where only monolithic refilling stations with ubiquitous choices survived and where even the walk from the rail station would be of little interest.

Whilst the prevalence of the uninvited omnipresent guest forbad any visit to such sporting extravaganza, just as the Stevenage game, the Logistics Directors parsimonious inclinations were never tested.

The nature of the defeat, in which Town dominated proceedings but continued toothless in front of goal, only served to exaggerate the consequences of the mistakes made which led to the goals conceded. Overall the dreadful circumstances in which the world at this time barely functioned were unequivocal, but as ever, a silver lining in every cloud was found and a few pound coins (nee notes) were conserved.

This defeat did raise uncomfortable feelings. The team put out was arguably the best available. The fixture was not taken lightly. The opposition, from the league below, without being over confident, would reasonably be expected to be beaten. Worryingly they had recently shown signs of life after death. Town were the better team. Town were ‘unlucky’. Dagenham were in the hat for Round 2!

10.11.20 - EFL Trophy - GTFC 1 v 3 Leicester City


14.11.20 GTFC P v P Newport County


17.11.20 - EFL Trophy - Hull City 3 v 0 GTFC


21.11.20 Tranmere Rovers 5 v 0 GTFC

Trips to the North-West are always eagerly looked forward to, so fixtures such as Tranmere with Covid restrictions in place, provided stark reminders of what was being missed.
Tranmere have an excellent marque at Prenton Park where both sets of fans mix in totally hospitable surrounds with perfectly acceptable refreshments available.

BUT being 4 down after 34 minutes would not have been part of the expected proceedings. A final score of 0 v 5 left a lot of glasses half-empty. The inevitable vitriol became personal often loosing site of perspective.
The Campaign - relatively dormant at this point in time - recognised only one thing would refill many glasses......


24.11.20 Crawley Town 1 v 2 GTFC

Logistically an easy game for the Histon Mariners to attend would as routine dictated, begin in the splendid White Hart - if it were not for the omnipresent uninvited guest.

Within 90 minutes many glasses were overflowing. Within half a week over two games, football fickleness could not have been better illustrated - there appeared to be no middle ground. A goal down after 4 minutes would have witnessed some glasses being thrown away. But the fight back via goals from Matt Green and Max Wright brought forth talk of winning 2 games in hand and being on the verge of the playoffs.

Oh dear. It is difficult for Real Football Fans to charter a steady ship through such turbulent seas without the camaraderie of fellow sufferers over the customary ‘cup of tea.’

The unique circumstances of 2020 demanded unique approaches and plans. Unsurprisingly not all materialised as one would have wished. We live and learn. The Campaign continued.

In Ollie we have to trust.


01.12.20 GTFC 1 v 4 Exeter City


05.12.20 Colchester United 2 v 1 GTFC

First game played with fans this season - 1000 U’s season ticket holders chosen by ballot.
Once again Histon Mariner thoughts turned to what would have been - the likely nonsense and banter at the convivial Victoria.
The fixture also provided a reminder of what was being missed on the pitch. Only 10 months previous a stunning hat-trick from Charles Vernam secured the 3 points at Colchester and great optimism for the future. Soon after, COVID 19 and all that followed. Vernam was now flourishing at Burton Albion. His departure - of which there was much debate - was not helped by the prevailing circumstances. The circumstances of Vernams departure provides grist to the mill. The half empty brigade viewed this episode as indicative of the story as a whole

No doubt Town were by this point struggling. Adapting to the unique circumstances had proved difficult for everyone. No doubt some decisions made were wrong - hindsight is exactly that hindsight. Salary caps, track and tracing, COVID contact clauses etc. were all new concepts. Different clubs appeared to have approached the crisis differently - The Mighty Mariners, rightly or wrongly, appeared to have played strictly by the rules. A financial rescue package from the cash rich upper-echelons had now been agreed for the EFL and hindsight proved a useful ally for the half-empty lobby.
Town now had to re-adapt and Ian Holloway would necessarily be the spearhead of the march forward.

Once again Town conceded an early goal after 8 minutes. Once again Hendrie equalised midway through the first half. But in the second half Town were the better side despite conceding after 56 minutes. The statistics - always quoted when favourable - thereafter gave Town most possession, more shots in total and more on target and more corners. The Football Gods did not look kindly on Town.
However, no matter how many times one checks the result, it remained the same. Even the half-empty brigade, which always grew during such runs, admitted the performance had been better but provided only hope and no points.

In Ollie we have to trust......


08.12.20 GTFC 0 v 2 Newport County


12.12.20 GTFC 1 v 1 Mansfield Town


15.12.20 Southend United 3 v 1 GTFC

The first visit for some since 2004, for others a first visit to the south coast resort and probably to Roots Hall. Southend would quite possibly have been ‘an over nighter in a previous age - all denied by the unwelcome guest.

For The Logistics Director however it would be a return visit to Southend. His previous visit was 18th May 1964. The precise memory of that Bank Holiday was due to the excitement of a trip by train to the seaside (then living in Willesden, London) on fathers birthday. The day was particularly memorable because of being caught up in the Mods and Rockers clashes on the seafront - and actually being pushed out of the way into the safety of a pie and mash shop.

A goal down after 24 seconds.....ffs.
But then 47 minutes by far the better side, with the woodwork hit three times. Danny Rose was replaced by Filipe Morais in the 23rd minute who straight away looked a very good addition to the squad/team. IRA Jackson Jnr. equalised seconds before half-time - his second goal in two games. Glasses were filling nicely.

But then an awful second half. The Shrimpers scored a further two! (The Shrimpers had scored 7 goals in 16 pervious league games all season!) And, Waterfall sent-off in the 94th minute!!

Oh Dear - an awful lot of half-empty (or worse) glasses on view.

A shambolic week off the pitch. Such shenanigans hardly surprised Real Football Fans. Such shenanigans created shared experiences amongst many in the wider football community. As ever the rights and wrongs would be raked over again and again. Oddly, whilst such a complex web of intrigue was absorbed into the foundations underpinning the short term efforts on the pitch, there was a more important aspect that long term permeated the very soul of the wider Football Family. The culture - both low and high, the histories and the mythology of the wider Football Family, is lived in, experienced and breathed through the vehicle of their own particular club. That Club belongs to its fans, the locality in which it operates, it is a tiny part of a whole. Those in charge of running the Club at any one time are the temporary custodians of a baton which would inevitably be passed on at some - often traumatic - point.

At this moment in time it was felt by many, probably the majority, that a significant turning point had been reached from which it would be very difficult to recover.
The position of Ollie as a Director had become embroiled in off the field matters. Ollie had arrived at Blundell, a year previous, in a whirlwind that encompassed both the pitch and the boardroom. And though difficult to completely separate the two, it was the battles on the pitch that he as Manager had most influence over.


19.12.20 GTFC 1 v 0 Scunthorpe United

Uninspired but committed. A well fought local derby that brought forth a welcome three points. Elliot Hewitt, Luke Spokes and goal scorer Matt Pollock received good reviews. Filipe Morais was certainly considered a bright note that gave some hope to be clung onto.

The noticeable change of tactics was a surprise given the previous declared commitments. It can only be assumed that the dressing room is as one. Such thoughts creep in when results are not as desired and add fuel for the half-empty brigade to devour.

A victory with a discernible level of commitment provided a momentary breather but the ‘ins and outs’ of the off-field shenanigans cast an inordinately long shadow over matters.
The Clubs association with Alex May (nee Alick Kapikanya), a multiply convicted fraudster awaiting a deportation ruling, created a situation from which there was no discernible way back His latest fraud that secured in excess of £3,000,000 was despicable, in whatever manner it was committed it was abhorrent and morally inexplicable.
May/Kapikanya attended Blundell Park, not for the first time, for the Scunthorpe game, with the compliance with at least some from within GTFC. It was reported May/Kapikanya was seeking to invest significantly into GTFC infrastructure. In whatever format, the thought of such an investment should never have been considered. Football People from a multitude of clubs across the entire spectrum of clubs would recognise and support such a stance.

Excluding an enormous number of non-league clubs ruined by the infiltration of such manipulative financial predators and ignoring the despicable deliberations of people allowed to poison our Football World, from the top like Sepp Blatter, through the likes of Owen Oysten to Steve Dale, the recent experiences alone of Bury, Oldham, Macclesfield, Charlton, Wigan etc, etc, etc, should have been sufficient warning to “stand well clear.” Redemption for ones sins may well be a desirable principal. But a convicted, time served paedophile would not knowingly be allowed near a junior school teaching job. May/Kapikanya should never have been allowed anywhere near such venerated community clubs like those cited.
Mr. Shankly, a man of renowned principals, would be turning in his grave - that alone should be sufficient to end all discussion of the matter. However it was known, as this was written ‘The End’ was not yet in sight!


22.12.20 GTFC 1 v 2 Bradford City

A familiar, “We outplayed them for large parts of the game. We just need the rub if the green. If we put away a few more of the chances created, all should be fine.” Unfortunately such a view was probably correct.
The players never gave up and some deserved to be mentioned in despatches. Again Morais impressed as did Spokes, Hewitt and Luke Hendrie but again the score remained and 3 further points were lost.
With over half the games left to be played, snippets of positive news re. the January transfer window and continued commitment from the players, hope remained but the half-full glasses were not totally without some vindication.

UTMM


WEDNESDAY 23rd DECEMBER - THE MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE!
IAN HOLLOWAY RESIGNED FROM ALL ASSOCIATION WITH GTFC.

Holloway citied inappropriate approaches to him, directly or indirectly, by the Tom Shutes led consortium that had been conducting on/off takeover negotiations with the Club for two years.

The forensic analysis of events would no doubt be conducted ad nauseam. The Histon Mariners remembered the immense optimism when Ollie arrived, followed by the buoyancy and improved performances until the arrival of the unwanted guest.
Again the debates about strategy, decisions and events since the cancellation on FRIDAY13th MARCH!!!!!! of the following days home fixture against Carlisle and subsequently the rest of the season, will continue long into the future without coming to a definitive view. The benefit of hindsight will colour many opinions. Whatever the view, 2020 will be remembered as a year of profound disappointment, a disaster on so many fronts.

The arrival of Holloway had undoubtedly been akin to an overwhelmingly whirlwind. The surge of optimism encouraged by quality early recruitment though alongside roll-a-coaster selection conundrums, of 2 promotions to the Premier Theatre but with notes of caution from some supporters from other clubs, a discernible improvement in playing style and an improvement in results gave cause for the half-full brigade to be in the ascendancy. The occasional eccentric/oddball/individual/characterful performances by a media-savvy Holloway no doubt entertained and won over the vast majority of the B&W Army.
Then........
The rapid all-consuming descent of the unknown phenomena, Corona Virus caused total disbelief, fear and confusion to an unprepared world. The consequences on all fronts were confronted as they were. In the football world, beyond the Never-Neverland of the Premier Theatre, there appeared different approaches to the problems. The consequences of Towns approach did not serve the Club well. The half-empty brigade were handed validatory material. The outcome of the unfolding story manifested itself a couple of days short of the first anniversary of IH’s arrival on the 23rd December.

But the somewhat uplifting reality, was the multiple phone calls, texts and emails from Supporters of many clubs, from all over England discussing events with The Histon Mariners. As such, the events were taken as signalling the start of ‘The Next New Era’. Such dramas existed within football reality and in the cold light of day helped provide context. The Mighty Mariners and The Histon Mariners would carry on regardless.

The unfolding of such events encourages reflection and a revisiting to a familiar territory, ‘Why do we do it?’

Even this debate was at this time conducted in unfamiliar circumstances. There was to be no enlightened traditional tribal debates conducted in ceremonial surrounds such as The New Imperial Club or The Notts.
There was to be no copious supplies of refreshing glasses of sarsaparilla. There was to be no argument about significant turning points, usually missed by everyone apart from one visionary individual. Instead sitting on the settee with a cup of tea and a mince pie,’ whilst trying to decide between ‘The Queens Speech’ or ‘Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang’, the pros and cons appeared vaguely familiar.

We are Town. It could have been Rovers, City or Athletic. It is the match-day routine - even The Chairman’s match-day routine. It is the hope rather than the expectation. It is the prematch preparations in gloriously old fashioned surrounds with fellow travellers from obscure places with crooked spires. It is the frantic search, (because one has always done it), for a programme which is nowadays barely scanned because it contains little of real interest. Once attained, respite is possible with a volcanic vegetation steak pie and insipid Bovril. Then there is a match. After-which in the freezing rain, it is the 30 minute march to the railway station to the accompanying Marching Song, “Fuck This, I’m Not Going Next Week. (I’ll See You As Usual In Willy’s At 1)”. It is the expectant delays and regular Rail-Worries. It is the post-match analysis, which starts off as pessimistic as is possible. It is the transformation of that discussion to one of heightened expectation in direct proportion to the height of stacked glasses on the table. It is the morning after, when checking the scores and reports to see if anything had changed overnight.

Oh well, not my decision it was to be ‘Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang’ and it was to be another mince pie - my decision.

Onwards and Upwards, 27 games (81 points) left to play.


26.12.20 Morecambe 3 v 1 GTFC

The customary prematch visit to Lancaster would be sorely missed and have to wait for more accommodating times. With increasing publicity being given to a vaccine (or two), the view through whatever glass, was probably veering towards the 2021-22 season.

In the prevailing circumstances, memories were stirred by each fixture that provided stark reminders of what was being missed.
Firstly the Morecambe visit was always preceded by a much anticipated cultural and thirst quenching visit to Lancaster.
Secondly the Mazuma Stadium (nee, The Globe Stadium) was the venue for one of the great moments in B&W Army folklore. During the game when the ball was kicked onto the terraces, Chesterfield Mariner The TefMan (aka Ian Fitz) displayed consummate ball-skills when hitting the ball back into play. Unknown to fellow fans, was his aiming for and hitting a supporting post with such force and accuracy, that the ball rebounded with even greater ferocity back onto the terraces, in the opposite direction to the pitch!!

Ben Davies was handed the baton of leadership with the ever present shorts-wearing Dave Moore to assist. Morecambe were on a great run, 5 consecutive league victories, in their best season for a decade. With ex-Mariners Harry Davis and Liam Gibson from last season in the match-day squad, The Mighty Mariners we’re up against it.

Unsurprisingly The Mighty Mariners were on top for large parts of the first half and went in with a half-time lead. Towns leading scorer had struck yet again - 19 year old centre-back Mattie Pollock, for the 4th time this season!
Unsurprisingly on the hour Morecambe equalised as they gained the upper-hand. Very quickly as one would expect from a team suffering from confidence deficiency, Town unsurprisingly surrendered the lead 10 minutes later. As Town pushed forward, unsurprisingly The Shrimpers broke away and scored their third several minutes into added time.

29 DECEMBER 2020 @ 15.00 IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT HEADS OF TERMS HAD BEEN AGREED WITH REGARD THE TAKEOVER OF THE CLUB, 363 DAYS SINCE THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF HOLLOWAY AS MANAGER!!!


29.12.20 GTFC 0 v 0 Oldham Athletic

A point would probably have been taken before the game given Towns situation and because The Latic’s had won their seven previous away games. A clean sheet probably the most positive outcome to be taken from the game.

PAUL HURST WAS REPORTED TO BE AT BLUNDELL FOR THE GAME!!!

Wednesday 30.12.20 @ Approx.15.00

PAUL HURST ANNOUNCED AS THE NEW MANAGER WITH CHRIS DOIG AS ASSISTANT.

Whilst the legal process regarding the proposed takeover of GTFC was grinding on, Jason Stockwood, from the new consortium, acknowledged the cooperation of the various parties in securing the return of Paul Hurst and Chris Doig to manage The Mighty Mariners, an encouraging announcement as the legalities were proceeding.

Paul Hurst officially left The Mighty Mariners after the 0 v 1 home defeat to Cheltenham on 22.10.2016. It would appear his fate had been decided by that stage. The previous week when ‘Shorty’ was properly in charge, was the away fixture at Cambridge United.
15.10.2016 proved a great away day for The Mariners, when The Black & White Army descended on The Histon Mariners H.Q., The Red Lion. A 1 v 0 victory left Town on the verge of the playoff places. However life’s rich tapestry was soon to be woven in unexpected patterns.

It is the nature of football fans, that when things go particularly badly, to wish for the polar opposite. Fans who perceived Holloway’s exuberance in a slightly more derogatory light, welcomed back ‘the dour Yorkshireman.’ Those same fans were probably those who had criticised Hurst for a lack of ‘a more adventurous style’ when last at Blundell in 2016.

“We keep us shape.”

The first game back for Histon Mariners sponsored Paul Hurst will be at Blundell against........ .........Cambridge United !!!
Was it to be one of the internally searched for ‘turning points’ that football fans are forever debating?
With more glasses half-full than for some time, one could only hope and dream.

The Histon Mariner Campaign Marches On!

02.01.21 GTFC v Cambridge United
09.01.21 Port Vale v GTFC
16.01.21 GTFC v Southend United
23.01.21 Scunthorpe United v GTFC
26.01.21 Barrow v GTFC
30.01.21 GTFC v Stevenage
06.02.21 Newport County v GTFC
13.02.21 GTFC v Tranmere Rovers
20.02.21 Exeter City v GTFC
23.02.21 GTFC v Crawley
27.02.21 Harrogate Town v GTFC
02.03.21 GTFC v Leyton Orient
06.03.21 GTFC v Forest Green Rovers
09.03.21 Carlisle United v GTFC
13.03.21 GTFC v Colchester
20.03.21 Mansfield Town v GTFC
27.03.21 GTFC v Walsall
02.04.21 Salford City v GTFC
05.04.21 GTFC v Cheltenham Town
10.04.21 Bradford City v GTFC
17.04.21 GTFC v Bolton Wanderers
20.04.21 GTFC v Morecambe
24.04.21 Oldham v GTFC
01.05.21 GTFC v Port Vale
08.05.21 Cambridge United v GTFC



Up The Mariners! 

Thanks to css zen garden for the layout.