2022 - 2023 : Current Campaign

09.07.22 Cleethorpes Town 0 v 2 GTFC

12.07.22 Hull City U23 1 v 6 GTFC

16.07.22 Alfreton Town 0 v 4 GTFC

19.07.22 GTFC 0 v 0 Lincoln City & 20.07.22 North Ferriby 1 v 0 GTFC

Bloody hell. Absolutely gutted. Due to catch train in the morning to Cleethorpes, staying two nights for two games. All trains from Cambridge cancelled (except limited service to Liverpool Street, London) because of heat.
No No.2 Bar, no Willys Original, no Ginnies, no fish & chips at McMenemys, no New Imperial Club, no Notts, no Smugglers, no Willys, no Kingsway Club but on the upside no expenditure.

On past experiences one would expect the season to begin mid-August. However the totally non-sensical decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar (will the Cricket World Cup ever be held in Iceland ?) had brought the football season forward approximately 3 weeks in order to facilitate a mid-season break in order to facilitate ‘the Qatar fiasco’ during Qatars ‘cooler weather’. Given divisions 3 & 4 will not be taking a break only added to the Pythonesque farce.
As a result of not having hindsight mid-summer plans were proceeded with in order to be “match-fit” for the commencement of the season. As a result many football supporters were to miss several early fixtures. Sods Law being what it was trips to Leyton Orient and Rochdale - two of the better away days - were off the radar for The Histon Mariners.

30.07.22 Leyton Orient 2 v 0 GTFC

06.08.22 GTFC 1 v 1 Northampton Town

Only after much politicking and intense negotiations was Blundell Park back on the radar for the Cobblers game. New arrangements for travelling north had emerged over the ridiculously short 8 week summer break. Cambridge Mariner Pete (nee Mableforth) had become a season ticket holder (as had almost 6000 others !) and offered when possible to facilitate the Histon Mariners travel arrangements. The debut journey north, as would be expected in early August, witnessed clear blue skies with bright sunshine, conditions that lasted throughout the day and early evening. It was later thought to be the first occasion after a trip to Blundell that home was reached in sunshine with the temperature still in the mid-twenties.

The opening day defeat at Orient was not a bad result in itself and could even have been useful in shaping expectations that had soared on the crest of the wave emanating from possibly the most extraordinary playoff campaign ever. After Orient - a fancied team - facing Northampton, a favourite for promotion amongst many, witnessed more cautious realistic expectations.

Blundell particularly the pitch, appeared in fine fettle. Many familiar faces met after the short hiatus - the 2022-23 Campaign was certainly under way.

Smudger Smith took time to introduce 2 of the new signings to The Histon Mariners, both unfortunately temporarily out of action

A thorn between two roses
Danilo Orsi and Niall Maher.

A substantial injury list particularly of forward players, left Hurst with limited options and hence particularly devoid of attacking options on the bench. But as ever, any Hurst Xl would be expected to “keep us shape”.
A first half was one of ‘almosts’. The Mighty Mariners almost applied pressure on The Cobblers. Town almost looked fluid - in only the second game the machinery was evidently being greased to enable a smoother operation. Some crosses almost found Waterfall and one or two efforts were almost on target. And the referee almost let the game flow!

The second-half saw Town take a further step in the direction of normal service, whilst The Cobblers Amateur Dramatic Society raised their performance level in an effort to catch the March-official’s eye - which was accomplished with increasing regularity. And the referee almost let the game flow.

Waterfall and especially Smith remained in control at the back despite the worst efforts of the two ‘clumsy lumps’ up front. Kieran Green, Bryn Morris and Gavin Holohan were becoming more at ease with one another as each half passes and Brendon Keirnan occasionally gave notice of what was to come.

As time progressed Town were comfortably the more likely to score - then the inevitable. The referee failed to see a foul on the half-way line on Clifton. The ball broke, The Cobblers counter-attacked and scored from a tight angle on the right.

The never say die, grit and determination so uniquely demonstrated in the play-offs, again served The Mariners well. Substitute Drew-Maguire equalised and Stephen Wearne produced a notable cameo on the left. Had the 6 minutes of added time not been consumed by the extraordinary antics of mortally wounded Cobblers, The Mighty Mariners would surly have secured a more appropriate points reward.

Glasses Half-full


09.08.22 GTFC 4 v 0 Crewe Alexandra - Carabao Cup

13.08.22 Rochdale 0 v 1 GTFC

16.08.22 GTFC A v A Carlisle United

20.08.22 GTFC 0 v 0 Sutton Utd

Histon Mariner President was on parade to survey all things Town. After establishing basecamp at Ginnies the first port of call was ‘surprisingly’ Willys.

The outstanding extension and refurbishment of The Kingsway Club has made it a likely port of call on future Cleethorpes manoeuvres.

The Tuesday early afternoon trade was clear evidence of the Clubs vibrancy.
Nanuskha, a very jolly Shaun and Ellen made time to meet & greet the Histon Mariner President.

The first visit to Blundell of the new season, proved hectic for the President as many associate campaigners met up to renew acquaintances.

Terry R and Stuart welcomed Maurice to The Fan-Zone.
The evidence of successful pre-season preparations were clearly evident. Charlotte confirmed such an assessment by enthusiastically noting, “… seen it all before !”
Crocodile Paul was observed in intense discussions about absolutely nothing with Kelly B.
Town Official Master of Ceremonies Kev Rodgers applauded The Histon Mariner continuing Campaign, wishing continuing success for the season ahead.
Enamoured with their previous meeting with The Histon Mariners Danilo Orsi and Niall Maher took time to specifically meet with El Presidente.
Maurice himself wanted to thank Official Shutterbug Ann, for all her excellent work and her support for the Histon Mariners.

Paul Hurst said in his post-match interview, that this game against The U’s/ The Yellows/ The Amber & Chocolates ( which ever name they prefer to go by ) was “the worst game of football he had ever seen”. Though probably an exaggeration brought on by frustration, it was certainly not memorable except for a great deal of cynical play by the team happy with a point and the inability of a team to circumnavigate a parked bus and thus rue the loss of 2 points.
In mitigation, Town did have a goal disallowed when the goalkeeper caught the ball and carried it over the line! And on a positive note 19 year-old Aribim Pepple, whilst not the finished article, looked a lively and useful addition to the squad.
A clean sheet, a point gained, we move on.

23.08.22 GTFC 0 v 3 Nottingham Forest - Carabao Cup

After the rather turgid affair v Sutton, the visit of Forest understandably prompted much excitement that the Campaign truly was back on track. Leaving home in the now normal Mediterranean sun could only serve to exacerbate the feel good factor. Going to Town games without sweater and/or coat, let alone gloves, headgear and anything waterproof had become normal unnaturally quickly. The obligatory scarf was the only nod to normality - determining which scarf brought forth good fortune in the different climatic conditions had yet to be ascertained!

The month early start to the 2022-2023 season to accommodate the ludicrous farce masquerading as a meaningful tournament in November, staged by the football fanatical Qataris had added substance to those calling for a mid-winter break. The extraordinary weather had further eroded some of the objections to the desecration of our national winter sport. It would take an incredible performance of mental gymnastics to imagine anybody in their right state of mind advocating holding the Cricket World Cup in Iceland ? Undoubtedly £$€£ would determine the outcome!

The 10.05 departure from Cambridge was on time, suggesting a great day ahead. The 11.18 departure from Peterborough was packed, finding a seat was a challenge successfully completed, all appeared essentially still on track. But the 12.37 from Doncaster was cancelled, along with all Cleethorpes trains bar the 18.37! Normal rail-service had been resumed! The early season reminder of likely forthcoming train-woes was fortunately on this occasion in pleasant weather. The shared taxi to Cleethorpes with three others was an endurance test that only those from latitudes significantly south of the Mediterranean would have found comfortable.

The wait at Doncaster for an authorised replacement taxi, enabled sufficient time (just) to visit The Railway in order to comply with Aunties governmental advise to stay hydrated.

Arrival in sunny Meggieland bode well for the day ahead. Homely basecamp Ginnies and the convivial Willys, only served to confirm expectations.

Blundell Park was buzzing. It had been some time since such exalted opposition had graced the hallowed turf. In the pre-match commotion nervous excitement was clearly evident.

Gareth the Engine gave a notable enthusiastic thumbs-up for Hursts team selection.
Like sister Charlotte (above) Becky had “seen it all before”.

Such scenarios would have seemed far-fetched as recently as 3 months previous. In modern times, management of such circumstances entails ‘computer glitches’ to be expected and so it came to be. Those in the know talk of “the problems are not computers, it’s the people involved”. Such thoughts permeated the psyche when Jolly Boy Paul’s season ticket was excluded from entry to BP. Ticketing Supremo Lisa was left with the task of making sense of an Old Gits dilemma!

Modern parlance refers to certain scenarios as ‘a free hit’ but those of a certain vintage still perceive such circumstances as opportunities. The game dame against Forest was such an occasion - albeit a tough one - whereby progress to the next round was at stake.
In the opening salvo, The Mighty Mariners exchanged blows like for like, though Forest might reasonably be seen as playing in a lower gear. Perhaps Town showed too much respect but when Forest scored with apparent ease after 20 minutes, the half-full brigade talked of the writing on the wall. Fifteen minutes later a second goal justified the view of those knitting around the metaphorical guillotine. Two clinical finishes was the essential difference but ‘the never say die’ attitude of Hurst’s latest creation would be ignored at ones peril.

As part of the desire to utilise the squad, at half-time Wearne and Taylor replaced Pepple and Kiernan, which helped Town dominate the opening 20 minutes. The Cropper-Waterfall double act caused Forest considerable anxiety - alas clinical finishing was not an attribute on display by The Mighty Mariners. When Forest scored 15 minutes from time, it could reasonably be claimed the scoreline flattered the visitors.

The match story was indicated in one particular set of stats :
                Town 24 shots 5 on target 0 goals
                Forrest 5 shots 3 on target 3 goals
Small differences during a game ultimately make a big difference at the end.

Despondency is rightly a far cry from Mariners outlook. Indeed half-full glasses are the order of the day. At Willys much debate ensued about the extent to which Town could advance in the current season.

Andrea raised a toast to the Meggie veteran double-act Andy & John.
Even Francis & Kim of Ginnies fame arrived with Sandra to toast continued progress.

27.08.22 Walsall 1 v 2 GTFC

Walsall v GTFC Ticket
Walsall v GTFC Ticket

Another expedition to provide interesting/challenging train tribulations. On this occasion the advertised route was Cambridge, Birmingham New Street and onto Bescot Stadium, due to take about 3.5 hours. It transpired to be Cambridge, Coleshill Parkway (Bus) Birmingham New Street and onto Bescot Stadium taking just under 4 hours. Not so bad, small mercies.

N.B. An enforced change in routine from the usual cycle rack at the station, had prompted ideas of problems ahead.

A depletion of forces meant President of the Chesterfield Mariner Lord Hasland, travelled without any staff, causing considerable apprehensiveness to those nearest and dearest to him.

Cutting a lonely figure, His Grace later mentioned he was mystified with the difficulties often displayed by his logistics team when confronted with simple navigation tasks.
The Wellington proved a most agreeable choice of His Lordship - all done without the aid of his minnows!
Likewise The Shakespeare was found with consummate ease and proved another perfectly suitable choice - all done without the aid of his support team.

A regular haunt when visiting Englands second city as ever lived up to expectations. On this visit to The Post Office Vaults El Supremo Terry predicted a Mariner victory by two goals which he hoped would displease his Tiger supporting University cohabitant. Able-assistant Charlotte whilst in total agreement was understandably a little overawed with proceedings.

The short train journey to The Bescot Stadium inevitably witnessed the gathering of familiar faces of The B&W Army, new recruits and occasionally celebrity newcomers who fail to avoid the limelight.

East End Mariner Rob struggled to contain his ‘youthful exuberance’. Tilly had “seen it all before”.
Kevin The Minion was unable to remain incognito despite his best efforts to blend in with the B&W Army
Bournemouth Mariner at ‘Home’ exchanging insightful observations with a like-minded authoritative Lord.
Without assistance from Tilly, East End Mariner Rob could only look on with bemused admiration.

The B&W Army assembled in summer attire more applicable for Edgbaston than The Poundland Stadium.

A thorn between 2 roses - X and Lisa

Pedestrian Mariners or formidable Sadlers? At such an early stage of the season an accurate assessment was inconclusive. Town could certainly have been two down after 20 minutes so a single goal deficit was was quite acceptable - fine margins.
Smith (again) and Waterfall almost held things together. Taylor as the Lone Ranger up front was on a hiding to nothing but battled gallantly The need for more guile or a partner up front would surely be on Hursts mind. As half-time approached the game progressed on a more even keel - resurgent Mariners or tired/failing Sadlers?

An early Saddler onslaught in the second half was to be expected but they failed to seriously test an increasingly confident looking Crocombe. Cynics would say The Sadlers were happy to preserve their lead. Optimists were noting Town becoming more assertive.

Options from the bench had become more encouraging as squad depletions improved and with the transfer deadline approaching one would not bet against the canny Hurst pulling yet another rabbit (or two) out of the bag.
At half-time Wearne replaced Green, with the versatile Clifton taking on a a more central role. Wearne’s positivity and more direct approach raised B&W spirits. When Pepple replaced Amos to play alongside Ryan Taylor, Paul Hurst declared his intent for yet another last ditch effort. Lo and behold ‘One of our own’ equalised after 77 minutes after getting on the end of Taylor’s flick on.
Not prepared to settle for a point, Hurst sent on Danilo Orsi as a fresh second striker alongside Pepple.
Lo and behold ‘One of our own’ scored the winner after 81 minutes. Fortune favours the brave.

One could only wallow in the after glow of yet another last ditch success story. The togetherness of Hurst’s squad is readily apparent, manifesting itself in the ‘never say die’ attitude that had become all too familiar.
Equally familiar was the weekly ‘Just Back’ post on The Fishy, usually begun by Barralad. Always well received, with balanced insights within an hour of the final whistle - on this occasion at 17.23

As ever and increasingly more so,

in Hursty We Trust

30.08.22 Derby County 3 v 1 GTFC - Papa Jons Pizza Trophy

03.09.22 Newport County 0 v 2 GTFC

Newport County v GTFC Ticket
Newport County v GTFC Ticket

Over 50% of trains cancelled from Cambridge meant a train an hour earlier than anticipated was taken. Great weather (again) made an optimistic outlook easier to maintain. Arriving an hour ahead of schedule enabled the full English to be taken plus a flying visit to the Windsor Castle prior to an arranged meet up with fellow travellers.

Onwards to a great favourite of many, The Tiny Rebel Tap Room. However as a no cash venue serving refreshment only of a certain genre, all was not as hopped (sic)

Ye Olde Murenger House proved a most suitable alternative. The oldest pub site in Newport (1530) proved a venue for enthusiastic social interaction of old and young, Mariners and Ironsiders/Exiles, English and Welsh - disparate elements orchestrated by the legendary landlord of 20+years, Rob Jones.

The Campaign For Real Football was further reinvigorated by virtue of a most successful session with like-minded Exiles. Recalling past battles, plenty of football trivia and a particularly strong antipathy towards Welsh Assembly Leader Mark Drakeford (aka Mr Doubtfire ) only served to emphasise the mutual bonds of association which would always rise above efforts to divide.

Towns poor record at Rodney Parade was enthusiastically mentioned by the Welsh contingent,
but only on later reflection was the dismal extent truly realised :
   - 41 years since any win @ Newport - 8th Dec. 1981 League Cup, 2 v 0
   - 52 years since last league win @ Newport - 1st Dec.1970  Division 4, 1 v 0
   - 11 years since last scored (Michael Coulson) @ Newport.  National League fixture.  Lost 2 v 1,
      the first goal @ Newport following 8 goalless visits.          
   - 5 years since last point - 14th Feb 2017, League Two, 0 v 0.
Towns dismal record at Rodney Parade had to end sometime!

Exile Don, despite alluding to Towns fishing heritage, arranged to meet up after the business element of the day had been concluded.

The 410 travelling Mariners whilst down on recent numbers was still a commendable effort given the recent away games, the ‘impending doom’ sparked by media obsession with the lethal cocktail of fuel prices, inflation and interest rates and the fact that the visit to Rodney Parade was the furthest away fixture of the season.

On a solo mission and surprisingly standing up was Caistor Mariner Pez NB Derby Mariner Andy paying close attention and Brentford Mariner Chris trying to keep up with events.
New Imperial artefacts Steve and Sean, look serious but as brothers in arms would no doubt find something to ‘Chuckle’ about.
Steve impersonator Phillip Serrell was absent being on ‘the road’ looking for inspiration elsewhere.

The additions to the squad of debutant Lewis Richardson, with Keyendrah Simmonds on the bench alongside the much heralded return of Alex Hunt, accentuated the positivity that was permeating all things Town.

Whilst not quite firing on all cylinders The Mighty Mariners looked confident and quietly in control. A regular moan of the ‘half-empty brigade’ has been the lack of a dominant Town mid-field. Morris and Holohan with good support from Kiernan and Clifton disproved those false arguments on the day at Rodney Parade.
A rally by the home side after half-time was as expected but Town were never really troubled and themselves rallied to dominate proceedings. Bryn Morris’s 30-yard drilled effort after 63 minutes was deserved reward for an increasingly dominant display. Harry Clifton scored (again) 8 minutes from the end to complete a thoroughly competent alround performance. Note also Lewis Richardson hitting the bar and Harry Clifton not finishing a chance he will castigate himself for, then Towns performance was one that will further fuel expectations.

Towns dismal run at Rodney Parade had been impressively halted.

With the days business concluded, post match debriefing had been arranged at Ye Olde Murenger House with Exiles Don, Melville, Kerry and Andy. The Exiles were obviously disappointed with the result but more so for their team’s performance. They were though complimentary about The Mighty Mariners, to the extent that they could be challengers for a play-off spot.
Looking ahead to the return fixture on January 28th, rudimentary plans were discussed for an Exile weekend in Cleethorpes.
Real Football and Real Football Supporters again demonstrated what unites over what divides.

Up The Mighty Mighty Mariners

10.09.22 GTFC P v P Crewe Alexandra

English football united to postpone all games on the weekend of 9/10 Sept. as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth ll.

Matties Last Minute Sicilian Sojourn

Given the enforced break, Mattie Mariner took the opportunity to forge ahead with The International Campaign, to make new contacts and promote The Mighty Mariners. Short notice, a small window and practically dictated the Mediterranean would be a sensible destination - more so given a relatively low profile in the area.

Word had already reached Palermo before Mattie arrived. With eager anticipation staff members Ramona and Anna were delegated to welcome and facilitate Mattie’s programme.

Between planned meetings, locals were keen to share their hospitality and in so doing catch up on the early season promise shown by Town.

Luna at the Punk Funk Record Shop Music Bar, was jubilant that Mattie took time to meet and chat with customers

Moving on to Cefalu witnessed repeat scenarios only more so as news spread.

Internazionale Milan fanatic Dario was fully aware of the significance of Matties visit.
Cetty and Pina sporting suitably supporting attire helped to make Matties stay a resounding success.

Even when taking a well earned breather, it was understandable that locals would seek to engage Mattie on the wide range of topics of mutual interest. Local Town supporter Dan sought official affiliation for The Cefalu Mariners to The Campaign, which Mattie was only to happy to endorse.

A delegation of Juventus fans wanted to make contact with Mattie and were keen to revisit memories of Italian legend Ivano Bonetti who stared for both clubs.


Mattie noted, Juventus along with Notts. County and Newcastle were a select band for whom The Mighty Mariners should only ever change from their B&W strip.

After much humour, banter and ‘serious football engagement’, a Juve-Mariner Accord was readily agreed. Real Football Supporters recognised no boundaries.

The sun shines on the righteous!

13.09.22 GTFC 1 v 1 Gillingham

17.09.22 Colchester United 0 v 1 GTFC

Colchester United v GTFC Ticket
Colchester United v GTFC Ticket

A newly assembled conglomerate of Mariners - Fen Ditton, Cherry Hinton and Histon - had emerged in part due to ongoing problematic rail concerns, exacerbated by potential strike action, the ever more frequent engineering works and staff shortages but also the rising pressure on everyone’s pockets but also by practicality and common sense.
The individual strength and weakness’s of the said trio had yet to be determined but the first confrontation with technology witnessed a hasty retreat leaving Cherry Hinton and Fen Ditton Mariners to fathom out car park regulations……eventually !

The JobServe Community Stadium not one of the worst of the new grounds but probably as poorly located as any. Given the intrinsic unattractiveness of the physical surrounds, the adoption of an equally faceless, cashless soulless operation reiterates that visiting The JobsWorth Stadium is one of the least attractive away days. Being told/instructed to “Get the App” does not endear a significant chunk of Real Football Supporters to such experiences.
A saving redemption was the familiar camaraderie amongst the assembled B&W Army. 589 Mariners - and not a Jolly Boy in sight! - amongst a disappointing crowd of 3167. Home support of a little over 2500 was an encouraging sign to Mariners that all was not well in The U’s camp.

Other than a dearth of Jolly Boyz, one notable absentee was Lord Hasland. Given the nature of events elsewhere, the arrangements being finalised for the forth coming state funeral and the social standing of His Lordship it should perhaps been of no surprise. Equally unsurprising was the evident confusion amongst his entourage in the absence of leadership.

Rear Admiral Mitchell - in summer attire, almost - made the point several times that he was determined to fly the flag as a sole representative of the absent Jolly Boyz contingent.

Xxx. suffering from the effects of a shortage of fizz, is given plenty of room by an unsurprised Humberstone Bill.

Hardy campaigners Kingsway George and Dave kept a close eye on Muddy T-Bone Meggie John whilst Meggie Andy dreamt of what could be.

EastEnd Rob ….
Tilly’s familiarity with proceedings was all too apparent.

An uninspiring first half saw The U’s probably just on top without troubling the increasingly comfortable Max Crocombe. The prevailing view at half-time was that minor adjustments and raising the tempo would bring forth a fourth consecutive away victory.
No personnel changes at half-time manifested itself in little change on the pitch. Certainly from the home side though a moderate raising of the tempo from The Mariners was just about discernible.
The usual Waterfall-Smith performance minimised any concerns from a poor home attack. Alex Hunt showed glimpses of what is expected once he resettles.
Just after the hour, Taylor’s exquisite lob into the path of the advancing Clifton, who equally deftly lobbed the advancing keeper, provided the one piece of quality play that separated the two sides - fine margins.

Harry Clifton goal machine - again. The Grim Reaper was seen hovering over an opposition manager - again. 3 more points away from home -again.

At the final whistle, confusion still reigned amongst Lord Hasland’s troops. Without his inspirational leadership, they debated logistics with the assistance of the inevitable technology.


20.09.22 GTFC 2 v 0 Mansfield Town - Papa Jons Pizza Trophy

144 years ago (1878) on this day members of Worsley Cricket Club amongst others set up Grimsby Pelham Football Club which would provide something to fill the winter break between seasons. Thus in the Wellington Arms on the corner of Wellington Street and Freeman Street was born the club that would become The Mighty Mariners.
It could not be corroborated as to how many of the Roberts Bros. we’re at the meeting.

Friday 23rd September

Living near the station and knowing some of the counter staff it is easier to purchase tickets from the station. Spent an hour at the counter splitting tickets for the trips to Stockport, Barrow and Hartlepool. The process was made even more complicated by The Avanti West Coast service, whereby tickets could be purchased but in order to be permitted to travel a seat reservation was required. The problem being seat reservations were only possible nearer the due date ??? So the ticket purchased can only be utilised if and when a seat is reserved!

Another exhausting ‘Rail Experience’. At least tomorrow was booked for The Mighty Mariners v The Robbins…..

24.09.22 GTFC 1 v 2 Swindon Town

…. Early morning news that all trains home after the final whistle had been cancelled was not well received. The enforced change led to re-consideration of the mid-week visit of The Cumbrians. Being previously unplanned, an urgent phone call to Kim at Ginnies for Tuesday refuge proved successful, followed by a return to the rail station for a refund and new booking.

Forward March…..hopefully!

27.09.22 GTFC 1 v 2 Carlisle United

Meeting up with Legendary Leeson, with whom the Histon Mariners sit by at home fixtures, is always looked forward to. A great example of the strength and need for continuity within an ever changing picture. Occasional words of wisdom and random insights add depth and context to rapid evolution. Voices from different eras invariably help make sense of the direction of travel we experience in contemporary situations.

Equally Dixon Snr. attempted to pass onto Dixon Jnr. a few words of wisdom - alas with little success.

A first defeat in 8 games v Swindon, gave the half-empty brigade an opportunity to call for wholesale changes. The depth of squad regularly eulogised over, added fuel to the fire, but Hurst was not one for wholesale changes and certainly not one to panic. Hence five changes were a surprise but would help substantiate / repudiate arguments about squad depth.

Carlisle appeared to target Town’s right flank and duly scored after 6 minutes. Adding to the disappointment was the memory of the domination prior to the abandonment of the original fixture a few weeks previously. The Mariners were largely second best for most of the half, other than a brief rally mid-half when Amos provided energy and Khan promise. On the verge of half-time, ex-Mariner Dennis added a second following a mix-up between Waterfall and Efete, making the second-half an uphill challenge.
With little change in game dynamics, after 60 minutes Hurst sent on Orsi and Richardson for Simmonds and the seemingly injured Taylor. An injection of life was discernible and just 5 minutes later Maguire-Drew and Khan combined to put the ball on a plate for Efete to tap home. Town continued to dominate up to the opposition 18 yard box but lacked the extra bit of creativity and ultimately the necessary clinical skills inside the 18 yard box - not an original or unfamiliar assessment.

“Fine margins” yet again. Town will play worse and win but hopefully play better and win well.

In Paul Hurst We Continue To Trust

01.10.22 Salford City 1 v 1 GTFC

Trains cancelled - The Campaign stalled.

08.10.22 GTFC 3 v 0 Crawley Town

Bollocks - train @ 09.27 available but the last one back at 14.24 wasn’t really of much use.
Secondary plans :-
       - was possible to travel Friday and return Sunday …… considered but rejected.
       - lift nearly arranged but driver circumstances dictated otherwise.
       - no easy car hire available for 1 day only, plus an awkward pick-up available all for £100+
       - investigated picking up the Crawley Supporters Coach, but no early train to Crawley.

Another non-campaigning day

15.10.22 Stockport County 1 v 3 GTFC

Stockport County v GTFC Ticket
Stockport County v GTFC Ticket

After an enforced absence for one reason or another it was thankfully back to ‘God’s work’. At last a train journey that ran to schedule…if only it was usually the case.
A low key pre-match was most welcome with the excellent Magnet proving a most convivial staging-post, great host, great refreshment, great environment, great prices, a reminder why away days ‘up north’ are so welcome.

Local Hatters were as Real Football Fans are, most welcoming, enhancing the visit in accord with all that was desirable

No matter how prevalent the good humoured camaraderie, a few lost souls appeared to mourn Lord Roy’s chosen absence.
Hebden Bridge Mariner Jack looked admiringly to his future…
Scartho Mariner Phil and Wakefield Mariner Jason - a study in intensity!
At half-time many vocal chords appeared in need of lubrication. ‘Rose water!!’ the chose of the ever thirsty Golden Girls Lisa & Jane.

The fixture against The Hatters, Town’s promotion partners from the previous season, was deemed to provide a good indication of the seasons potential. Big physical opponents meant Paul Hurst introduced the tenacious Green for McGuire-Drew with counter attacking the order of the day. An increasingly settled side was a sure sign of progress.
Squad depth provided great scope for the occasional desired tweaks.

As expected The Hatters applied pressure from the outset. Crocombe added substance to the growing belief in his increasing confidence and stature. Kieran looked dangerous and Green’s inclusion looked fully justified. The counter-attacking tactics proved inspired when Khan set up “the prolific” Clifton on 24 minutes. 6 minutes later a similar goal from fHolohan, with assistance from Khan, sent the 1295 B&W Army into rapturous song. Hesitancy in Towns 6 yard box after 41 minutes gifted a home goal. This rare error failed to dampen the elation of theB&W Army, which could be read as further proof of the belief in ‘the Hurst project’

Without doubt The Mighty Mariners were under the cosh for large spells of the second-half. A tremendous team effort to resist the onslaught was key. Waterfalls head and leadership, the warrior-like Green, Crocombe’s body on the line and goal-machine Clifton’s energy deserve particular mention.
Another counter-attacking goal in added time set up by Glennon for a superb Hunt finish sealed 3 points after a thoroughly professional performance.

* One note of disappointment should be recorded. Whether one calls it game-management, shithousary or old fashioned time-wasting, it has become all too conspicuous in recent times. Referees need to be instructed to clamp-down in an effort to remove it from ‘our game’.
Until this happens The Mighty Mariners need to fight fire-with-fire. At Edgeley Park, Town performed the role as well as anyone, led by Max Crocombe who appeared shameless in his pursuit of ‘the dark arts’.

Another great away-day on all campaigning fronts. Terrific camaraderie with Hatters, excellent hostelry with invigorating liquid refreshment, a most encouraging performance and 3 points. Only the train journey ahead could dampen one’s demeanour. And so it came to pass - 3 cancelled trains creating a 75 minute wait!

Paul Hurst’s B&W Army.
(1295 in a crowd of 9464)

22.10.22 GTFC 0 v 0 Bradford City

Train on time at 06.58 and connections made with military precision. Perhaps travelling with rail aficionado, Cherry Hinton Mariner Andy was a coincidence. Or perhaps it was because of aligned heavenly bodies virtue of a vigorously compliant match-day routine - same cycle route to station, including the stop at Mr. Handsome’s stall, who was setting up for the days trade as ‘The Earth’s Crust’, purchase of 2 samosas - one veg. one chicken, eaten in the correct order, the same cycle rack and seat at the station.

Travelling Bantams Darren, Richard and Alister joined at Doncaster. So enthralling was the exchange of cultured views that they joined the Histon Mariners for a little light refreshment at The No.2 Bar. Young bantam Darren was a debutant in Cleethorpes. The more experienced duo agreed they’d found a new venue to be added to their recommended list. Once again the evidence of like mindedness prevailed - Real Football Supporters are ultimately on the same side.

A crowd of 8020 was testimony that this fixture against automatic promotion favourites would provide a real test of the aspirations of Town but also of the Bantams. Increasingly newly promoted Mariners were laying claim that being around just for the ride was an inaccurate assessment.
After the deservedly successful mission to Edgeley Park the previous week, picking the same side confirmed impressions that the season was progressing in an orderly and measured fashion.

Town out of necessity started energetically and were comfortably a match for Mark Hughes side. Difficult to name stand out players but Kieran Green was fast becoming known for his tenaciously competitive style and like a direct debit Smith and Waterfall consistently attract plaudits as one of the best centre-back pairings in the division.
So much so that the EFL’s leading scorer, ex-Mariner Cook without a meaningful effort was substituted towards the end of 90 minutes.

Whilst The Bantams had chances, no-one would have been surprised had Town led 2 v 0 at half-time. Green’s 20 yard shot rattled the angle to such an extent it probably required some form of Health & Safety reassessment during the interval. Holohan would likely dwell on his miss on the stroke half-time for some time, without concluding how.
The return of Bryn Morris at half-time witnessed the ever versatile Clifton shifting from left to right midfield. Town had periods of sustained pressure in the second half whilst Bradford raised the level of nervous anxiety when countering attacking with considerable speed. Both keepers performed heroics, the Bantam keeper more so.
Clifton’s versatility was again put to the test when he was switched to accommodate Lewis Richardson after 79 minutes.

The New Imperial Club Hospitality Charter was clearly in evidence. Ami and ‘older sister Linda …! struggled to contain themselves when engaging with The Histon Mariners.

It was unusual to leave Cleethorpes for Grimsby, but when doing so Docks Beers was a good a reason as any. Messrs Lowther and Tondeur invited The Histon Mariners to catch-up on Campaigning Matters, with joint commitments to engage again shortly.

The more familiar Notts provided for the ‘coming out’ of Mr & Mrs McMenemy.
Mr. Mc. admirably abstaining, with Lisa likewise choosing Rose Water…!
Coleen and Ray Fish adopted a more familiar approach!

Another successful mission that could only be blighted by “the trains” the following morning. Tomorrow was another day.

On to Barrow-in-Furness

The journey home next day encountered no trains from Peterborough to Cambridge. A bus was provided to Ely. ……..An extra 105 minutes travel time!

25.10.22 Barrow AFC 1 v 0 GTFC

Barrow AFC v GTFC Ticket
Barrow AFC v GTFC Ticket

A joint mission with the Jolly Boyz planned with military (or possibly naval) precision was inevitably at the mercy of National Rail Networks. However the journey north went essentially to plan and optimism prevailed.
Rendezvous at basecamp The Furness Railway. Here it was announced that tour party leader, ‘Judith Chalmers’ was unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances. In an effort to alleviate potential difficulties he had handed the baton of leadership to a brace of subordinates, brother Paul AND Rear Admiral Mitchell. Whether these two would mould the group of disparate individuals into a coherent fighting force remained to be seen.

The substitute Tour Leaders made a gallant early effort to coordinate manoeuvres, Grimsby Mariner Gaz duly paid lip-service …. with no intention at all of complying.

The Furness Tavern proved a magnet for travelling Mariners and ultimately a glue-pot. With so many on parade there was considerable banter, badinage and total bollocks. Time flew and visits to other Barrovian hostelries would have to wait for another time. Pictures can often provide a better narrative than words :-

Eventually the reputation of the Duke of Edinburgh Hotel proved an opportunity not to be missed.

Unsurprisingly an alternative staging post had been established prior to our arrival. In the suitably grand building Lord Roy of Hasland appeared at home. His Lordship’s ‘absence’ from Stockport had caused considerable consternation amongst acolytes. Doncaster Paul appeared greatly comforted with his return. Visiting Iberian Mariner Will (nee Mableforth) likewise as Lord Roy recounted Country Tales From A Landed Estate.

Optimism was justifiably prevalent and clearly demonstrated during pre-match preparations inside the SO Legal Stadium (more commonly and reasonably known as Holker Street) by Scartho Phil and Wakefield Jason.

By half-time concerns were evident amongst ‘Old Campaigners’ that proceedings were not going completely to plan.

Mr. Townsend and Mr. Hall witnesses of many many, many campaigns could see the writing on the wall, the literary depiction of which would probably provide a challenge Barralad’s ‘Just Back’ Report.
As TefMan and Lord Roy searched for inspiration, ever optimistic Mr. Stubbs looked to an alternative way.
Youthful exuberance should never be discouraged.

After justifiably lauded performances against Stockport and Bradford the trip to Barrow on a Tuesday night presented a different type of challenge. Town failed to rise to the challenge.

* A crowd of 3301 including 462 travelling Mariners.
* Smith had a great attempt that rattled the bar - unfortunately it was at the wrong end.
* Crocombe saved a penalty after 38 minutes - the 1st penalty for anyone in a Town match this season.
* 0 v 0 at half-time
* The B&W Army were reminded about Cropper’s long throw.
. * The Bluebirds scored after 75 minutes.
* Hurst made a triple substitution.
* A scrappy game in appropriate damp conditions.
* The end of 5 consecutive away victories.

The settled team selection had been welcomed. Perhaps there was some tiredness given the nature of the past two games. Such claims are hard to fathom but it appeared to be often cited in the current era by those ‘in the know’. If tiredness was a factor the forthcoming trip to Hartlepool would be an opportunity to test the squad depth.

The ups and downs of performances on the pitch were the foundation stone of the shared experience of Real Football Supporters. Such shared experiences enable shared camaraderie even in those moments of heightened disappointment. And so it was at debriefing afterwards at The Tally Ho!

Yet another occasion of Real Football Supporters joining forces - the Campaign never stops and as ever put the trial and tribulations of events on the pitch into context. Baz Jnr, Baz Snr and Jack (NB not Baz) welcomed Mariners and as jubilant as they were with the result likewise acknowledged common bonds.

The return home the next day brought forth yet more train woes. Train woes are tedious in the extreme but their recording illustrates a point and encourages the question, Why ?
    - the 09.58 Barrow to Carnforth as planned.
    - the 19.56 Carnforth to Leeds as planned.
    - the 13.15 Leeds to Stevenage cancelled, as was the 12.45 and the 13.45.
        - as a result the vast numbers waiting to travel south naturally sounded alarm bells.
        - enquiries about taking an alternative route via Birmingham was met with sympathetic
          understanding from LNER (with whom the ticket was booked) personnel but the proposed
          alternative route was run by 2 different companies (that TO Birmingham and that FROM
          Birmingham) and to switch routes require “official declassification.” With such
          declassification not forthcoming,
    - the 14.40 Leeds-Kings Cross could take one to Peterborough from where a different company
operated the onward journey to Cambridge - the journey being done on one train not being
allowed without an additional charge.
Consequently alight at Doncaster.
    - the 15.47 from Doncaster to Stevenage.
    - the 17.15 from Stevenage would (?!) arrive in dock

2 Steps Forward. 1 Step Back.


Up The Mariners! 

Thanks to css zen garden for the layout.