2022 - 2023 : One Step Forward, Two Steps Backwards & Two Steps Forward

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 - Lauran 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.


29.11.22 Hartlepool United 2 v 1 GTFC

Hartlepool United v GTFC Ticket
Hartlepool United v GTFC Ticket

The train journey north in good weather ran to schedule, inspiring optimistic thoughts that stars were aligning and a plan was heading towards fruition. A constant source of interest on such journeys is who would join the journey from which team. On this occasion Hebden Bridge Mariner Carl (soon to revert to Meggie Mariner status) joined at Doncaster. As always in good company the journey flew-by and we were soon able to indulge at the renowned Rat Race.
The former newsagents was one of the first micro-pubs in England set up in 2009. The inspiration of Peter Morgan who now acts as ‘mine-host’, certainly did not disappoint.

Hebden Bridge Mariner Carl was both enthralled and enamoured with the Rat Race, despite appearing to have no mates.

A lengthy stay would have been most welcome but the pull of Cameron’s Tap-Room ( now known as The Anchor), a favourite destination of The Histon Mariners, and the an audience with the Lord of Hasland was difficult to miss.

The Cameron’s Tap (aka The Anchor) with its excellent fayre coupled with familiar scenarios eased the disappointment of leaving The Rat Race.

Grimsby Mariner Ackers found solace in his audience with The Lord of Hasland.
Aidan praying for similar consideration was obviously overawed by the occasion.
The Histon Mariners requested and were granted 2 minutes of of Lord Roy’s time.
Exiles representing Histon, Derby and East London.
A solo Jolly Boy on the lookout for fellow foot soldiers…..again.
Mr. Townsend ‘Just Arriving’ but already planning ‘Just Back’

After Barrow, the anticipated changes saw Maher in as one of three centre backs. Effete and Amos would play as wing backs and one could only surmise that Green, not long back from injury, was benched as sensibly managing his minutes played.
A bright opening. Effete looked more like his old self had a few early soirées down the right, one of which after 6 minutes resulted in a pass into Richardson whose effort ended up on the edge of the box from where Holohan scored into the top left-hand corner. As good a goal as would be seen over the course of the season but unfortunately was as good as it got on this day at The Suit Direct Stadium ( more normally known as Victoria Park.). The rest of the first half saw Town in control without threatening to score.

Initially the second-half seemed a continuation of the first-half. A half-chance fell to Clifton but was saved by ex-Mariner Killip with his legs (fine margins) and Smith’s weak header were the highlights in an increasingly lacklustre Town performance. The commitment and energy levels shown recently against Stockport and Bradford seemed a long time ago. The disappointment was complete after 2 goals from The Monkey Hangers after 72 and 80 minutes.
A bit of huff and puff without any real threat led by substitutes Pepple, Khan and Simmonds barely raised any hope of retrieving a point.

With time of the essence before the last train home and with The Rat Race closed a rather low-key debrief in The Ward Jackson ensued.

The ‘Blues’ were bound to get an airing as the result was analysed. But Muddy T-Bone Estuary John was keen to welcome back Carl to The Meggie Mariners on his imminent transfer from Hebden Bridge Mariners.

Why? Because All Town Aren’t We.

05.11.22 GTFC 5 v 1 Plymouth Argyle - F.A.Cup Round 1

After Barrow and Hartlepool, ‘Wow’. Fine Margins indeed!

08.11.22 GTFC 1 v 1 Manchester City U21 - Deep Pan Pizza Pantomime Trophy

(GTFC win 4 v 2 on penalties)

12.11.22 GTFC 1 v 3 Doncaster Rovers

19.11.22 GTFC 1 v 1 Stevenage

22.11.22 GTFC 0 v 1 Accrington Stanley - Pepperoni Pizza Trophy

The visit of Tranmere to HQ on Dec.10th was earmarked as the date of return to duty after the acquisition of a new knee - however fate worked in a mysterious way. The cup draw at Cambridge precipitated an earlier return to duty than was otherwise planned. The unexpected can often give rise to new circumstances and challenges. On this occasion travelling by wheelchair presented an opportunity to mingle with Town’s Disabled Supporters Club, providing a valuable different perspective on proceedings.

26.11.22 Cambridge United 1 v 2 GTFC - F.A.Cup 2nd Round

Cambridge United v GTFC Ticket
Cambridge United v GTFC Ticket

The Jolly Boyz, Mrs Slocombe and Officially Appointed Carer Peterborough Mariner Dave (extreme right) all helped with varying degrees of sympathy and empathy to facilitate logistics.
Gratitude was duly acknowledged. With such care and compassion from fellow Mariners the match-day experience would be remembered for several minutes into the future. More concern (probably understandably so) was demonstrated that Mrs Slocombe had wrapped up Rear Admiral Mitchell sufficiently against the winter chill. Concern was also evident that Stuart (extreme left) was on parade minus his carer - Peterborough Mariner Dave was fearful of a busy afternoon.

With an abundance of welfare concerns in and around The Abbey Stadium, it did not go unnoticed that Lisa appeared a little disconcerted when confronted with an unfamiliar unlicensed outlet……
….fortunately Lisa found comfort from ‘caring’ Marinerettes after her troublesome experience.

Given the sudden change in weather, forthcoming seasonal events and a train-strike the B&W Army once again surpassed expectation. The figures alone provide validation. The growing conversation around home games v away games has substance. The spreading around Blundell of the more vociferous travelling Mariners understandably often lessens atmosphere - especially when home results fail to meet expectations.

Invariably on duty home and away, well known double act KB & KG are justifiably compared to other double acts such as Wallace & Gromit and Laurel & Hardy.
They fully deserve their accolade as ‘The Chuckle Sisters’.

An even, fairly scrappy first-half saw little goalmouth action. The nearest to a goal was Greens header against the bar - unfortunately at the wrong end. No one could have reasonably separated the two sides as being a division apart.
Town grew in confidence as the second-half wore on. After 61 minutes Kiernan, Towns best player thus far, cut in from the right, set up Holohan whose shot was parried to the marauding Khan. Reinvigorated, McAtee should probably have done better and brought the 4th round a little closer.
The U’s began to run out of steam and sought to refresh with three substitutions in quick succession. The equaliser seemed to be helped by Crocombe being wrong footed but he had recently accrued much credit in reserve to avoid criticism. Almost immediately Holohan had a glorious chance which cleared the bar by some distance.

Whilst it looked highly likely that Town would be in the draw for the 4th round, an unwanted reply was looming large.
BUT it was 2022 - ‘the year of dramatic finishes’ and the half-full B&W Army members maintained hope to the end…….just.
In the 90th minute, substitute Simmonds put through Khan, whose precise finish sealed victory. Once again a last gasp winner enabled 726 (out of 3044) Mariners to raise the roof for the 4 minutes of added time.
Brendon Kiernan, McAtee and Otis Khan’s brace of quality finishes even went some way to dampen the half-empty brigade whinge re. ineffective forward players.

A 100% record for the new knee - won every game it’s ever been too.

Forward March Onto The 4th Round.
If only we draw………

03.12.22 Wimbledon 1 v 0 GTFC

10.12.22 GTFC 2 v 1 Tranmere Rovers

Without doubt winter had returned. Barely above freezing point with heavy fog forecast, the assembled squad of ‘southerners’ would certainly get a taste of the N.E. coastal weather - particularly in the Upper Findus. However the journey north was trouble free, encouraging optimism towards a successful mission - established routines permitting.

At Willys, The President routinely briefed grandson James now a graduate of the Histon Mariners Youth policy.
At The Kingsway Club Maurice appeared content with Jame’s progress.

McMenemy’s was established routine for The Histon Mariners and always invoked a warm welcome from familiar friends and new acquaintances. Lewis Richardson, Anthony Glennon and Jordon Cropper took advantage of their absence from the match-day squad to reinvigorate The Campaign and plans for the rest of the season.

The Histon Mariners were invited onto the pitch to be presented with a framed signed shirt from Paul Hurst whom they had sponsored during his first tenure and since his return.
Long standing friends, impresario Kev Rodgers renowned Lens-Women Ann (BOWERS) and Mighty Mariner were on hand to reaffirm associations. Likewise Sean Scannell, whose lengthy rehabilitation was progressing positively, thanked The Histon Mariners for their continued support.

Elsewhere around Blundell, March-day activity continued routinely but with more optimism than might be expected given recent league form.

No doubt the feel-good factor was enhanced by Alan Pouton’s visit to BP.
The Chesterfield Mariners were clearly excited none more so than Gareth.
Gerry Dixon and Vinny were in deep conversation about who was to pay and how much for a ‘cup of tea’.
Though late on parade, Histon Mariners O’Munnelly &……………. looked very much at home and soon displayed evidence of a successful pre-match fitness programme.

The one change ensured Town started with 2 recognised full-backs. Effete, having recovered from the initial scare of a very serious head/neck injury and a fit again Danny Amos in for the make-shift Khouri.
Town looked lively from the start - a statement difficult to make in recent fixtures - none more so than McAtee whose 6th minute cross was headed in by the unmarked Kiernan.
Town continued to dominate and after 10 minutes an extension of the lead courtesy of Holohan was ruled offside. Failure to convert several other half chances (fine margins) allowed Rovers to assert themselves towards half- time without troubling Crocombe.

The opening exchanges of the second half saw The Mighty Mariners again controlling proceedings largely down the right through Effete with Kiernan and McAtee in support. However on 57 minutes Khan’s free-kick from the left was nudged in by Maher. A third goal looked imminent but completely against the run of play an unnecessary back pass to Crocombe was followed by a casual and unnecessary attempted long clearance which resulted in a freak rebound off an unsuspecting ‘roving’ forward into an unguarded net.
An unlikely 2v1 scoreline energised a previously dominated opposition and induced an element of nervousness into The Mariners team and crowd.
The Rovers scented blood and pressed but Town still had better chances on the counter attack.

Ultimately 3 points are 3 points but this was a big 2 v 1 rather than a grateful narrow victory.

There was another match on the day in Qatar that held interest for some, kick-off at 19.00 and the New Imperial Club, as expected proved a perfectly suitable venue for viewing.

Histon Mariners in high spirits following Towns victory were equally optimistic of seeing the French put to the sword.

A French goal against the run of play raised the inevitable sentiment - not without justification - of “here we go again” The English equaliser raised the roof…..alas to be short lived.

Englands dream had expired but The Mighty Mariners marched on.

Young HM’r James helped put into context a glorious Mariner victory and a French scrambled win to a rather more cynical HM’r.
Restrained analysis continued on arrival at Docks Beers but on leaving, spirits appeared more animated particularly with The Smugglers next on ‘the campaign trail’.

Early seasonal festivities were clearly in evidence at The Smugglers. With heightened post-match optimism The Histon Mariners were totally in tune.

James was immediately in tune with Ollie & Megan from the nearby Fisherman’s and Smuggler Nicola.
The voice of experience often struggled to temper youthful exuberance.
Histon Mariner Cllr O’Munnelly as ever a shrewd Campaign Tactician pulled no punches when pointing the way forward.


17.12.22 Mansfield Town P v P GTFC

26.12.22 Harrogate Town 3 v 2 GTFC

29.12.22 GTFC 1 v 4 Salford City

The repetitive phrases of ‘half-full/half-empty’ and the notion of ‘fine margins’ had certainly found fertile ground in recent weeks. Though currently 16th in the table the play-offs were, points wise, closer than the relegation places. An absence of context is a common trait amongst football supporters everywhere. Feast or famine was another oft used - accurate (?) - cliché.
The past twelve months had seen unusual runs of success interspersed with extended runs where despair raised its ugly head. This roll-a-coaster had been dissected by the ‘never-to-be-seen again’ victorious Play-Off Campaign. Predicted by no-one, the instant bounce back to the Football League, had exaggerated a loss of context.

Would anybody disagree that Town were currently in a better place than 12 months ago?
Consider :-
     11th Dec 2021 v Chesterfield lost at home 0 v 1. Dropped to 10th in National League.
     18th Dec 2021 v Stockport lost in FA Cup 2nd round 2 v 3. Failed to reach Round 3.
     Borehamwood (h) Halifax (a) Kings Lynn (h) all postponed.
     3rd Jan 2022 v Halifax lost at home 0 v 1. Glasses were being rapidly drained!
                                                                       Calls for change increasingly heard!

The vast majority would concur that the playing squad was now richer and deeper than 12 months ago.
No-one would deny some incomings had not hit expectations but such a scenario is the same for every club in the world.
Managing expectations is a difficult objective in every walk of life. With passionate, opinionated, often irrational football fans such an objective is even harder.

At this time many are frustrated that matters on the pitch are not continually improving - even though most admit such a progression would be unrealistic. The mantra of quality of scotch-eggs, as symbolic of off the pitch improvements, does little to temper frustrations. At the end of the day scotch-eggs and football matters are hardly natural bed fellows and when times are challenging, alternative fodder is easily found.
But in Paul Hurst we trust. With the January transfer window about to open, Hursts undoubted talents in the field of player recruitment will again come to the fore and within a few weeks context will likely be rebalanced.

Oh dear. What to say. A goal down in the first minute rang alarm bells that unfortunately had a familiar tone. However Town rallied and looked more than capable of competing. The 21st minute brought forth just deserts. Orsi intercepted on the right, flicked onto McAtee who found Khan about 12 yards from goal who duly shot past the goalkeeper’s left to equalise. However….

… after 9 minutes of justifiable raised hopes a series of errors involving 3 Mariners (Smith, Crocombe and Holohan) gifted The Ammies a 2v1 lead. And with true ‘festive spirit’ errors 5 minutes later and again 10 minutes later handed a 1 v 4 lead to the visitors.
The remainder of the first-half past in a blur with nothing on the pitch to grab one’s attention. The second largely followed suit. Multiple (5) substitutions made little/no impact. Few - if any - moments of excitement. In all a blessing was felt when hearing the final whistle. However…..

….. as much as one can deride (and we usually do) looking at the match statistics would cast an interesting light on the proceedings :-

                                               Shots. GTFC 16 v 12 Salford
                                Shots on target. GTFC 4 v 5 Salford
                                      Possession. GTFC 60% v 40% Salford
                                             Passes. GTFC 418 v 285 Salford
                             Passing accuracy. GTFC 72% v 60% Salford
                                            Corners. GTFC 7 v 1 Salford

A 1 v 4 scoreline would be difficult to attribute to such stats. Therefore repeat once more - glasses half-full/half empty and fine margins. Mistakes can be tolerated but failing to learn from them is something to be addressed - Paul Hurst is the man for the job.

Post-match debriefing was understandably a little subdued but The Campaign continued at familiar haunts. At The New Imperial Club, the legendary Linda was delighted to unveil the latest framed sponsor shirt from The Histon Mariners. This recent addition boosted the collection of signed sponsored shirts into double figures.

The Campaign Marches On.

01.01.23 GTFC 1 v 0 Stockport County

07.01.23 GTFC 1 v 0 Burton Albion - F.A. Cup 3rd Round

14.01.23 Swindon Town v GTFC

Swindon Town v GTFC Ticket
Swindon Town v GTFC Ticket

Joined by Windsor Mariner Chairman and a couple of his representative youth members, The Histon Mariners chose a proven routine visit to the excellent Glue Pot, which had in the past a record as a lucky venue.
Train woes were rather foolishly unexpected, made more arduous by a brief but torrential downpour. Extensive flooding west of Swindon created train chaos back to London. The effect on travel increased a 65 minute journey from Windsor & Eton, to a 140 minute journey to Swindon. The far reaching disruption encouraged fellow travellers to book taxis far in advance of arrival at Swindon. Following suit, a fourth call found an available taxi which was booked 1½ hours in advance of a 14.20 pick-up from the choose hostelry. The late arrival of the train meant time had become ‘of the essence’, thus a further taxi was grabbed to enable desperately needed refreshment at The Glue Pot.
However on arrival The innkeeper declared (not unreasonably) The Glue Pot was unable to accommodate small people. It was a just reminder in current times that one should not assume such grown up venues have to please all-comers. But in the true spirit of timeless hospitality, ‘Mine Host ‘ took pity on weary travellers, made a quiet corner available for the junior members under the threat of a severe beating and expulsion to a far away land.

“ The Pot “ with a reputation for excellent liquid refreshment was commonly frequented by many Robins. Equally, travelling Mariners were made welcome, creating a Real Football Supporter environment. Fen Ditton Mariner Andrew, a renowned Fishy scribe, found great bonhomie amongst fellow Football Supporters.

Outside The County Ground youthful exuberance was momentarily kept in check
Inside The County Ground youthful Windsor Mariner Alfred was awestruck on meeting Lord Roy, President of Chesterfield Mariners.

A surprise debut upfront for Peston NE loanee Micky O’Neill certainly raised interest and optimism following two battling victories against Stockport and Burton, both 1v0. Early exchanges suggested the outcome was up for grabs, though The Robins came closest when hitting the post.
On 15 minute uniquely for the vast majority, if not all 11,053 (563 Mariners) spectators, the referee was knocked unconscious when hit by the ball. 10 minutes stoppage ensued, the ref was stretchered off and replaced.
A defensive lapse allowed The Robins to easily take the lead on 25 minutes after-which rather than heads down, teeth gritted and a characterful rally, Town seemed to surrender even more space especially out wide.
As a result, 10 minutes after the goal, defensive generosity left Danny Amos exposed as the final defender with any infringement resulting in a red card. Down to 10 men, a re-shuffle saw Otis Khan sacrificed for left-back Glennon. Getting to half-time with just the one goal deficit was a positive, and permitted a flicker of optimism.

The second-half yielded nothing worth reporting. The facts were, further Swindon goals after 62, 65, 78 and 88 minutes.
Was the 5 goal margin an impressive Robin display or a consequence of Town’s ineffectiveness - fine margins.

A day of awful weather, the all too familiar ‘Train Woes’ and a performance easily forgotten. But Real Football Supporter camaraderie in top hostelry the Glue Pot, as ever eased the disappointment of the football reality.
The journey home was nearer to normal made memorable for Windsor Youth Mariner Daisy when she met Sean Scannell and Brendon Kiernan - she certainly made strenuous efforts to hide her excitement….


21.01.23 GTFC P v P Harrogate Town

Though in doubt The Histon Mariners whilst driving north remained optimistic encouraged by most favourable weather until an inevitable and expected fog blanket over the Wolds. The 11.00 pitch inspection foretold of a 13.00 inspection. Glasses remained half-full.

Onto Ginnies - glasses still half-full. Onto Willy’s - glasses half-full. Onto McMenemys - glasses half-full. Half way through superb haddock, game called off - glass drained.

A forlorn Steve Wraith could do no more

A meeting re. future campaigning with Ray the Fish followed by a nostalgic trip, led by President Maurice, around North Thoresby taking in premier nite-spot The New Inn and also The Plough, helped fill the afternoon void.
An early visit to The Notts enabled an early finish and onto Ginnies. An unusual and not unwelcome ending was deemed to be a result of circumstances and age…….!

Unbeaten in one. Crawley next. Come on Town

24.01.23 Crawley Town P v P GTFC

Crawley Town v GTFC Ticket
Crawley Town v GTFC Ticket

25.5 hours notice. The disquiet following the large number of late call-offs on the previous weekend probably/possibly influenced the decision. A lot of hassle avoided at a cost of the non-refundable advance rail tickets. Hey Ho. Onto Kenilworth Road.

28.01.23 Luton Town 2 v 2 GTFC - F.A. Cup 4th Round

Luton Town v GTFC Ticket
Luton Town v GTFC Ticket

A day with no ‘Train Woes’. Ironically, gratitude was to the fore courtesy of experienced ‘rail bod’ Fen Ditton Mariner Andy, who on this occasion facilitated travelling by road rather than rail.
Inevitably much of the conversation revolved around the impending closure of the transfer window and the chances of a very much depleted squad at Kenilworth Road ( aka as The Kenny to Hatter fans). Not all glasses were half empty. Indeed a view was held (admittedly a minority) that glory was obtainable largely on the basis that it would be typical Town to succeed against a competent 2nd division side after previously loosing 0v5 to a division 4 side.

There are people that moan about The Kenny, that it’s tired demeanour offers little to satisfy the more modern expectations of some fans. Situated amongst dense Victorian housing, as once were for all grounds, without a Benny ‘n Jerry or a Dunelm in site. The difficulty in parking brought forth a hike through the backstreets as was once the norm to possibly the most concealed entrance in the football league.
Inside facilities were basic but perfectly functional. Programmes were readily available unlike the sparse supply at Swindon and certainly not a digital version as some impose. Refreshment looked de rigour but wasn’t sampled being “card only” - a nod to modernity. All under cover, held up by multiple stanchions and conducive to ‘a Real Football Atmosphere”.

Speculation that Town would struggle to sell their allocation of tickets on basis of cosy of living crisis, exceptional cold weather, post Christmas finances, disappointing draw, Brexit/Covid/Ukraine and what ever else was a little pessimistic given the strength of southern exiles fired up for the FA Cup, why would anyone have thought otherwise? Sure enough all tickets were sold, 1473 (excluding haddocks) in a gate of 8552

A depleted squad for various reasons - injuries, suspensions, cup-tied, transfer window outgoings. - caused further concern that the day was not to be for the obvious underdogs. The clash of high-vis orange v high-vis pink conjured up ideas of what Mr.Shankly would have thought - at least no Mariners wore gloves whereas 3 Hatters felt the need!

As if the kick-off was a signal, after 2 touches the game was stoped as the sprinkler system sprung into action. Failing to put a dampener on proceedings, The Hatters almost as quickly revealed their Division 2 qualities. Sustained early pressure from The Hatters, with only brief forays into the opposition half, reiterated the size of the task ahead for The Mighty Mariners. On 12 minutes, Town conceded only for the goal to be ruled off side. The afternoon appeared to be getting longer.
Town were proving to be ‘real dogs of war’. The three centre-backs, Waterfall, Maher and Smith led the pack from the back. Morris and Holohan were ‘jack russell like’ in mid-field. And the rest of the the dogs of war’ raised spirits and hope amongst the B&W Army.
Just after the half hour a move down the right saw Holohan cut in and thunder a thirty yard missile to the top right hand corner which the opposition keeper managed to tip over the bar. An effort that would have proven a worthy winner. From Glennon’s corner Holohan’s header from the far post was watched over the line by Waterfall. 10 minutes or so frantic defending saw Town go in 1v0 up.

At half-time The B&W Army were in fine spirits, though experienced campaigners (aka cynical old gits) implored caution.

Fen Ditton Mariner and Fishy scribe Andy with Dorking Mariner ‘techno’ GrimRob exemplified such sentiments
Purley Mariner Tony, was almost as surprised when hearing tales of McMenemy Mikes recent outings.
Representing Northern Mariners were Spireite Mariners Gareth the Engine (whose glass approached half-full) with his liege Lord Roy - no longer thirsty and Nottingham (aka Brentford) Mariner Chris.

Two minutes into the second half, Morris was adjudged to have tripped a Hatter with an Actors Union Card close to the edge of the box. From the resultant penalty the score was levelled. The half-full brigade warned of impending doom.
The half-full contingent pointed out the continuing competitiveness of Holohan, Clifton and Morris in mid-field and the increasingly fruitful endeavour of lone striker Danilo Orsi.

2 minutes - the 67th and 68th - provided for football memories which were the embodiment of why Real Football Supporters do what they do.
67th min. - The Hatters again worked their way down their right flank, working the ball into the edge of the box from where a well struck shot could only be tipped into the net virtue of Crocombe’s valiant effort. The plunge of optimism was tangible, despair facilitated the shattering of a dream.
68th min. - From the kick-off Holohan threaded the ball through to Orsi, whose clever flick put through a marauding Clifton who calmly slipped the ball into the net to equalise. Jubilation followed. Wembley was in sight. Glasses were over-flowing.

A minimum of 22 minutes remained. ‘The Dogs of War’ fuelled the audible support of an ecstatic B&W Army. ‘The Crocombe Cramp’ appeared infectious as Mariner after Mariner sought the attention of an over-worked Dave Moore who presumably passed on instructions from the nerve centre and the modern essential, rehydration! Hatter enthusiasm appeared dampened.
In the final minutes and added seven minutes, The Mighty Mariners were actually the more likely winners. Much of the threat coming from Efete whose stature visibly grew in tandem with Town’s confidence.

The whistle blew. Crocombe’s cramp recovered enough for him to walk the length of the pitch to join his teammates in a show of mutual admiration with the B&W Army.

Town were in the hat for the 5th Round draw.
Dream to dream…..

04.02.23 Crewe Alexandra 0 v 3 GTFC

Crewe Alexandra v GTFC Ticket
Crewe Alexandra v GTFC Ticket

After the luxury of lunch-time chauffeured travel to the Kenny (courtesy of Fen Ditton Andy) the more familiar routine of 07.00 cycling to the station and all that accompanied that process prior to the lone but perfectly pleasant (foolishly assuming no ‘Train Woes’) expedition north. However bumping into Fen Ditton Mariner at Cambridge Station eased any rail concerns given his level of train expertise.
As Nuneaton was approached the journey had thus far proceeded as timetabled. F.D. Mariner had proven his worth as a lucky rail omen. But his excitement soon entered a different dimension when he spotted High Output Tamping Machine No 75012. I was informed that it was owned by Swietsky, that it was a dynamic track stabiliser and fundamental in ballast levelling. On reaching Crewe F.D.M. would further enhance his day by visiting the PAD (Pre-Assembly Depot)….

Chesterfield logistics guru Gareth the Engine had earmarked a newish and interesting hospitality venture in the old internal Market Hall. The success of the choice with its splendid mix of independent traders serving either liquid or more substantial fayre was confirmed by a general reluctance to move on.

However, despite his success in finding said venue, Gareth found it quite lonely.
Derby Mariner Andy likewise was searching for a mate.
All appeared resolved when ‘the two Billys’ teamed up.
Huddersfield (nee Timberland) Mariner Ed arrived to pay due deference to his Lordship but remained very thirsty…
…whereas his Lordship and The Teflon Man ensured supplies aplenty for themselves.

After the Luton extravaganza, it would have been unfootball-like if optimism did not fill the proverbial glasses. However it would have been totally in-accord if those over-flowing glasses were not drained at an even greater rate than they had been filled.
However after the initial Alex attack, McAtee picked the up Lloyds clearances on the half-way line, preceded towards the edge of the box and clinically put the ball the ball in back of the net. The cruel hand of fate was pushed away a little further.
Debutants Emanuel and Lloyd must have thought they had joined an unstoppable juggernaut. But such first impressions aside, The Mighty Mariners did give an impression of being on a roll.
After only 10 minutes or so, Emmanuel, whose previous career was largely at a higher level and was at Town because of injuries, showed his pedigree when he appeared to give Efete ‘advice’ in a ‘rather forceful’ manner. Emanuel was correct to do so and Efete appeared to concur. A brief moment of no great significance but an indication of team spirit and Paul Hurst’s aspiration levels in terms of the quality he was seeking to attract to Blundell.

Although the game ebbed and flowed, The Mighty Mariners looked the more likely to score. And so it was after half an hour. McAtee again won possession around the half-way line, put Lloyd through whose shot from around 15 yards made it 2 v 0.

Town began the second half with real vigour made all the more apparent by a lacklustre Alex. Morris and Clifton came as near as dominating midfield as in any game in the season to date. Waterfall and Maher enhanced their reputation as a formidable partnership. For all Towns dominance in the second half, the only goal came 5 minutes from time when debutant substitute Dickinson-Peters deflected Amos’s shot home.
Crocombe didn’t have a shot to save in the second half. The overwhelming majority of glasses were definitely half-full. When the the final whistle blew, Crocombe fortuitously appeared to have avoided cramp and the need to confront the rail journey home was embraced - albeit in good humour.


07.02.23 GTFC 3 v 0 Luton Town - F.A. Cup 4th Round Replay

11.02.23 GTFC 0 v 1 Colchester United

14.02.23 Gillingham v GTFC

Gillingham v GTFC Ticket
Gillingham v GTFC Ticket

The train journey south was delayed for only 15 minutes at St Pancras because they were “having difficulties locating a driver” !!!
Fingers and toes crossed, both scarves worn (one had to be lucky), necessarily facing the direction of travel and carrying bag as always in right hand, it was hoped would be enough to ensure the last train out of Gillingham was caught after the game ………..

Two carefully selected rendezvous points one would have assumed would have quenched the thirst of weary travellers. On arrival at Gillingham one would have to say surprise - perhaps even shock - was the immediate reaction. The political discourse in recent years often alluded to the ‘levelling up’ of the ‘Red Wall Seats’ invariably ‘up north’. The vast majority of Town fans would be all too familiar with such sentiments. However Gillingham town centre was clearly a claimant for any funding available.
Walking through the town centre was eye opening, the loss of Chatham Docks had caused decimation just had the loss of fishing in Grimsby. A quarter of an hour walk through the town centre found only one venue for refreshment - albeit not particularly inviting. Eventually an experienced campaigner with a proven instinct for such situations found the welcoming and perfectly suitable ‘Past & Present’.

Man of Kent (or Kentish Man ?) Pete was more than welcoming on his 60th birthday.
Like-minded Mr. Teflon, certainly endeared himself and once more raising the flag of Real Football Supporters.
As ever a thoughtful Lord Roy was not only mindful of the task ahead but even more so of his missing Valentines Night in Hasland.
The Tefman’s glass inexplicably appeared more full than His Lordships…!

Tremendous support from The B&W Army would never be a surprise. At a damp cold midweek fixture 236 miles from Cleethorpes, 294 Mariners was still an impressive turnout.

Cleethorpes (nee Hebden Bridge) Mariner Carl experienced a double whammy by being in Gillingham and …..
Brothers Grim were used to the ups and downs of being members of the B&W Army - the visit to Gillingham certainly followed a well trodden path.
……..appeared upbeat whilst East-End Rob sought an early exit.

The distraction of the F.A. Cup was brought into sharp reality during a scrappy game from which both teams needed points, albeit The Gills probably more so. And so it proved to be. 0 v 0 at half-time with Town having the better chances. Efete and Glennon looked the best source of creating opportunities.
The second followed a similar pattern but the home side from the outset appeared to want it more - an unusual observation involving a Paul Hurst side. 10 minutes into the half The Gills, recently invigorating by a January transfer influx, took the lead. Town rallied and deserved the equaliser when Holohan put away Glennons cross.
Commitment was rewarded when the home side retook the lead on 87 minutes.
The 3 remaining minute an 7 minutes of added-time were reduced to virtually nothing as the home side displayed shithousary skills that are a curse on the game.

A trek back to the station hoping the night would not get any worse, all rounded- off an episode that would not feature prominently in the annals.


18.02.23 Northampton Town 1 v 2 GTFC

21.02.23 GTFC 0 v 0 Harrogate Town

25.02.23 GTFC 2 v 2 Leyton Orient

01.03.23 Southampton 1 v 2 GTFC - F.A. Cup 5th Round

Southampton v GTFC Ticket
Southampton v GTFC Ticket

The 5th Round brought forth the 5th game against a side from a higher division, a run few would logically expect to continue but football and particularly the F.A. Cup historically was often illogical.
Rail network proclaimed to be ‘on track’, the stars were aligning. Positivity was present though admittedly a little thinner as progression through the rounds advanced.

The short walk from the station to the episodes base camp according to the scribes was a 10 minute walk. 10 minutes frustratingly became 45 minutes was essentially due to individual incompetence. However asking 5 ‘locals’ for directions highlighted a fundamental cultural change to a normality that was now in the past. Not one of the 5 was able to direct. One said he couldn’t help because the battery on his phone was dead ! Two immediately sought the answer from their phones which partially helped but didn’t resolve. And the two more senior individuals said they didn’t visit the town centre much because it was constantly changing and struggled to find what they wanted.

The excellent home of Dancing Man Brewery was self-evidently a destination for the ….. of The B&W Army.

Some were left to conduct a solitary approach to proceedings in the vague hope of finding ‘a mate’.

As accommodating as the brewery tap was inside information advised a visit to The Platform Tavern. The advice was taken-up. The advice proved to be wholly correct.

Lord Roy appeared particularly keen to press on. The reason soon became apparent.
The visit provided for a poignant moment when Lord Roy revealed an old associate of his had lived on the site.
Very much ‘a locals venue’ to the extent Mr. T found his way to the bar, though conveniently found on one else in the vicinity who required replenishment.

Locals in the bar recognised fellow travellers and were soon regaled in tales of trivia at best and more likely total bollocks. John, JB, Fred and a ravenous Mick, were regular visitors to ‘the other island’ from the Isle of Wight in support of The Saints. They were extremely disillusioned with their season and were resigned to a possible defeat at the hands (or feet) of The Mighty Mariners.
Mick a veteran imbiber of Burts’s Brewery actually paused eating to agree.

Inside St.Mary’s, The B&W Army proved once again proved to be in good form, possibly over and above the high standards already established

The Fish, John Boy ( nee ‘the fringe’), Clee Mariner Reuben under the watchful eye of Colleen were in good voice.
A few were left to conduct a solitary approach to proceedings whilst still hoping to find ‘a mate’.

Town started nervously whilst settling into the defensive mode that was inevitably to be the order of the day. Despite Saints pressure, few clear cut chances were created and Crocombe was rarely stretched. When The Saints thought they had scored the linesman came to Towns rescue by waving the flag for offside. Undoubtedly the correct decision. Undoubtedly the decision was welcomed by the B&W Army.
Waterfall and Mayer led from the rear. Morris appeared to relish the battle and Harry C. motored and motored, making one wonder how he would last till the end. In similar fashion Danilo Orsi again gave his all, prompting many to ask, why he secured so little game time.
The Mariners were clearly under the cosh but remained relatively secure. A rare flurry into opposition territory saw Josh Emanuel’s cross hit a Saints defender seemingly of no great consequence but Town were playing by Premier Theatre rules and were invited to reacquaint with VAR, an old foe from Selhurst Park and certainly no friend of Andrew Fox. With no significant protests things looked to be carrying on but a word in the Ref.’s ear brought the game to a standstill giving everyone time to visit the facilities, purchase and consume further rations, reread the programme, phone home to clock in with management and conduct a debate on the possible outcome from what felt like the 3rd lockdown.
After 7 minutes of intense analysis VAR deemed the ball to have hit the defenders arm, the result being a penalty. Gavin Holohan drew on all his experience to convert in the 46th minute. What a wonderful thing was VAR……

The B&W Army braced itself for a second half which one would have thought be an even greater test of resilience than the first. But 5 minutes into the half Orsi was ‘poleaxed’ to the extent that VAR was consulted to mercifully confirm he was still alive. A penalty, never in doubt, was confirmed. Again iceman Holohan converted to make the score an unbelievable 2v0. Who ever doubted the need for VAR ?
At 2v0, dreams of progressing attained a degree of realism. With backs firmly against the wall, to hold out for the rest of the half would probably have been unrealistic. So it was after 65 minutes, Saints made the score 2v1. Again after 75 minutes the Saints thought they had scored but the Mariner friendly VAR again ruled in Towns favour, convincing not only the waverers but even the confirmed half-empty brigade that it could be Towns day.
And so it proved to be. Most fortunately Crocombe’s ‘cramp’ in the final few minutes managed to ease sufficiently for him to sprint to join his teammates for 10 minutes of celebrations that conjured feelings of joy, bewilderment, disbelief, pride, excitement, exhaustion and relief all at once.

It would have been crass not to indulge afterwards in a little relaxation and recuperation whilst reflecting on what had passed. Objectivity and context sat uncomfortably alongside the long comedown from the magnificent victory. When news emerged that Town had been rewarded with another trip to the south coast to play Premier Theatre hosts Brighton & Hove Albion - one of the four remaining F.A. Cup ties - it had to be admitted that not drawing one of the so-called ‘glamour sides’ and thus providing huge funds was disappointing but Brighton would provide for a great weekend/away day.

Wallowing in the euphoria of the moment, the early hours of the morning were soon reached. Allegedly the final stop, The Grapes, was but a short distance from the overnight base camp - however this could neither be confirmed or denied…..!

“Up The Mariners, Up The Mariners, we’re going to win the Cup one day”

04.03.23 Carlisle United 2 v 0 GTFC

07.03.23 GTFC 1 v 1 Newport County

11.03.23 GTFC 1 v 0 Rochdale AFC

14.03.23 Sutton United 0 v 1 GTFC

19.03.23 Brighton & Hove Albion v GTFC - F.A. Cup 6th Round

Brighton & Hove Albion v GTFC Ticket
Brighton & Hove Albion v GTFC Ticket

Established routines were closely followed and on reaching Cambridge Station to be confronted with no ‘trains to Kings Cross’, all appeared as normal. A bus to Royston enabled manoeuvres to get back on track.

On this day, the 6th game of Towns F.A.Cup run, unlike the previous games the notion of one step too far was never far from the mind. Whatever the outcome, The Mariners were the first team ever since the competition begun in 1872 to reach the 6th round having been drawn in every game against teams from higher divisions - history makers !

A busy Brighton had proven to be a most hospitable destination to a large element of The B&W Army who had conducted manoeuvres over the whole weekend. Match-day proved equally vibrant and most hospitable.

A brief thirst quencher was partaken at The Sussex Arms
Chesterfield Logistics Team had earmarked The Pump House as the main stop for refreshments.

Haddock’s and Seagulls enjoined in good humoured banter creating a most amicable occasion that would reside proudly in the football memory bank. Lord Roy’s natural persona saws him slip effortlessly into his role as a figure of respect and authority. Home supporters were most appreciative of his efforts to engage.

Those of more humble origins found themselves with much in common. Seagull supporters were very aware of their recent exulted status and considered themselves part of the wider football family and not simply a Premier Theatre extra.
Pauly the Painter and the Histon Mariners found great mutual appreciation of Real Football and in particular the ability to find great humour amongst the ‘severity’ of the occasion.

Because of the variable kick-off times The Mighty Mariners were one of 6 teams left in the competition at 15.00 hours !!

Inevitably Town were soon ensconced in their own half. Frustratingly a little too much respect was shown and the Mariners fell behind in the 6th minute. Many expected a deluge but The Mariners resisted bravely with very little let-up - Town certainly ‘kept us shape’. A cry for handball outside the area by The Seagulls keeper fell on deaf ears and without a friendly VAR reversal (this time) it was surely not to be Towns day. That potential sending off would (possibly) have changed what was looking inevitable.
Town conceded again 6 minutes into the second half. The B&W Army responded by accepting all was but lost and proceeded to party whilst still in the sixth round for the first time in 84 years.
A further goal conceded in the 70th minute and two in the last 10 minutes - the last an unlucky ricochet off Waterfall’s shins - produced the 5v 0 scoreline that was perhaps a shade unkind to the plucky Mariners. Even accepting beforehand that defeat was almost inevitable, Town didn’t do themselves justice on the day but the memories from the glorious cup-run had been created and would remain in the memory bank for ever more.


21.03.23 Mansfield Town 0 v 0 GTFC

The return of an old soldier……

… after a self imposed travelling ban, McMenemy Mike re-emerged at Field Mill resuming his leading role in The B&W Army.

25.03.23 GTFC 1 v 1 Walsall

28.03.23 Crawley Town 1 v 1 GTFC

Crawley Town v GTFC Ticket
Crawley Town v GTFC Ticket

A lot had happened since the original scheduled date of 24th January. With only 8 games left after the visit to The Broadfield Stadium and with Town pretty much guaranteed division 4 football next season, the emphasis was on the players to secure their place in a squad that would reasonably be expected to challenge for promotion in 2024/24. Match-day routines were closely adhered to and most helpfully the rail network operated entirely to plan. Equally predictable was the prearranged meet at The White Hart before venturing to The Brewery Shades.

As ever bumping into members of The B&W Army was unavoidable. As ever spirits were high as the troops met up with friends and associates. As ever some preferred to plough a lonely furrow - but even they met up with like-minded supporters.

With Lord Hasland’s arrival being somewhat delayed, the opportunity to move on to The Jubilee Oak was thought a prudent manoeuvre. His excellency, due to his want to delegate, was not renowned for his orienteering skills. The Jubilee being more conspicuous was thought a suitable landmark for ‘the wandering Lord’ to aim for……

… TefMan an experienced batman sought to act an usher to the wandering minstrel’.
Inside, Sutton Mariner - no stranger to theatrical drama - waited with eager anticipation whilst Sutton Snr. John (nee Cleethorpes nee Crawley) Mariner sought an update from Reuters
Once inside The Broadfield Stadium the feeling of belonging, as ever, was tangible. Once amongst fellow likeminded Old Gits, what more could have been asked for.

Hurst continued with the recent attacking formation - Hurst needed to be careful, the dour Yorkshireman tag could be lost.
Town dominated from the off but still appeared a little profligate in and around the box. McAttee (particularly) and Khan wasted good chances both created by the impressive Emanuel. Lloyd was busy and a thorn in the side of The Red Devils. One of our own ‘out-muscled’ two defenders to get on the end of an Amos ball to put the Mariners in the lead after 42 minutes.
The second half confirmed the opposition really were as poor as first thought. Lloyd was unlucky with a great effort, after cutting in from the left and rattling the inside of the post but poor finishing from McAttee, Hunt and O’Neil encouraged the view that Town were due to pay a price. Sure enough after 87 minutes Maher was deemed to have caught his opponent sufficiently to give away a penalty.
Crocombe parried a nondescript penalty into the net thus punishing The Mariners for not capitalising on a multitude of chances, several of which should have resulted in goals.

Whilst Niall Maher demonstrated what a good signing he was and should be an integral component of the team next year, Josh Emmanuel’s class and experience could only be hoped for as part of The Mariners assault on the promotion places in 23/24.

In Hurst We Trust

01.04.23 Bradford City 3 v 2 GTFC

07.04.23 GTFC 1 v 4 Hartlepool

10.04.23 Doncaster Rovers 1 v 2 GTFC

15.04.23 GTFC 1 v 1 Mansfield Town

Histon Mariner Logistics Director had come out of retirement to repossess the title Landlord by taking command of The Kingston Arms Cambridge. Formally based in The Red Lion Histon, it was decided to retain the Histon Mariner name whilst transferring Operational Administration to The Kingston.

The journey north for the game v The Stags was the first venture to Cleethorpes since the administrative changes. However the established routine was adhered too when The President collected The Landlord and debutant Sergio from said meeting point in Cambridge.
Sergio, newly selected resident incumbent at The Kingston, was on board which added the possibility of a potential expansion of operations on the Iberian Peninsula.

Whist travelling north discussion about The Campaign and legacy of The Histon Mariners had clearly motivated the Spanish recruit. On arriving in a sun drenched Cleethorpes, Sergio made immediate comparisons to obvious Spanish hotspots - Costa del Meggie had immediately become home from home.

Landlady Kim at Ginnie’s was on hand to welcome the new recruit.

The importance of adhering to established routines could never be overemphasised to Real Football Supporters. Sergio was quickly introduced to Willy’s, The Kingsway Club and The Notts.
President Maurice took the opportunity to fully brief ‘El Cid’ on the heritage of The Campaign, The Current Campaign and future plans.

At The Kingsway Club briefings intensified.
At The Kingsway Club it was momentarily thought that Histon Mariner Chairman had made a surprise appearance……
…….alas the Chairman lookalike proved far too cheerful.
By the time The Notts was reached, ‘El Cid’ appeared fully briefed and ready to go.
Word soon spread that The Histon Mariners were in talks about the possibility of an enhanced relationship with Spain. Supporters, Club Officials and the Club Captain all made efforts to welcome the Alicante Mariner.
X… welcomed Sergio to McMenemy’s
Humberstone Mariner Bill was on hand in The Trust Bar.
The ever alert Gerry with a heavy eyed Steve introduced Sergio to McMenemy facilitator Lisa.
Club Captain Luke Waterfall and Ticket Office Manager Lisa were on hand to continue formalities.

With no great importance(?) attached to the fixture (for Town) except pride, top half finish and future playing contracts, fan expectations were low. A month previous the equivalent fixture at Field Mill saw a dominant first half performance from Town cancelled out by The Stags in the second half. This home fixture was one for the soothsayers and of course “the experts”.

The first-half performance was as poor as any from Town over the season. Disappointing, but more concerning not totally surprising. One down at half-time, having conceded 7 minutes before half-time, was better than it could have been Would the second half mirror the opposite swing to the reverse fixture?

Town did start the second half with more energy, purpose and cohesion with Khan, Lloyd and substitute Glennon leading the way. A rapid Town counter attack saw Lloyd clear but pulled down by the keeper, who escaped with a yellow. Khan’s penalty was saved but a quick reacting Lloyd headed home the rebound 7 minutes into the second half. The game hence forth came to life with efforts from Efete, Green and Clifton close at one end and Crocombe saving well at the other. Glennon continued to supply much of the ammunition, whilst another substitute Orsi again looked lively.

The remaining 5 fixtures would likely provide more question than answers for The B&W Army but hopefully more answers than questions for Mr. Hurst.

Post-match campaigning was as ever sure to be vibrant given conducive weather and league status no longer a real concern, added to renowned Meggie hospitality.
It would have been remiss not to have begun post-match analysis in the ever welcoming New Imperial Club. Sergio certainly hit the ground running when Imperial Legend Linda was on hand to ‘welcome’ the Iberian traveller…

…President Maurice was well aware of the protocol!

The visit to Docks Beers was to serve multiple purposes. Campaigning would be to the forefront, supplying a Kingston Arms Beer Festival in Cambridge added extra significance. Likewise meeting with Mr. Tondeur accentuated proceedings giving valuable insights to Sergio.

A gathering of Mariners late on at The Smuggler's was never a surprise and Landlady Julie always looked forward to such occasions.
“There’s only one Sean Scannell dropped into The Smugs, adding support to The Campaign. Players always add interest and Sean often readily gave enthusiastic support.
Ray The Fish as ever provided a level headed analysis and context.


18.04.23 GTFC 1 v 0 Barrow

22.04.23 Tranmere Rovers 2 v 0 GTFC

25.04.23 GTFC 2 v 0 Crewe Alexandra

29.04.23 Stevenage 2 v 0 GTFC

Stevenage v GTFC Ticket
Stevenage v GTFC Ticket

Recent developments had temporarily limited Histon Mariner operations. As a consequence ‘Rail Woes’ had slipped into the recesses of the mind but were immediately brought into sharp focus on this day on arrival at Cambridge station. Engineering works meant a bus replacement service to Royston, then a train to Stevenage where an hour wait for a one stop journey to Knebworth was prescribed. A taxi became inevitable. In all a 35 minute journey had become a 2 hours 50 minute or a 2 hour plus £11.00 taxi journey.

The eager anticipation as the The Lytton Arms was approached was tangible, there was to be no disappointment. The inspiration behind renowned ‘The Earths Crust’ (Cambridge Market), local Knebworth celebrity and Lisbon Lion Mr. Handsome, was on hand to welcome The Histon Mariners.

Mighty Mariner proved determined to embrace the opportunity, to the extent of suspending his activities elsewhere.

Whilst future campaigning was the priority issue, reflection on the current plight and the past was inevitably part and parcel of Real Football psyche.

A very rare football artefact, survived to provide a link back to an era whose ethos and values have been overridden by global business principals…..
Would a team, let alone a Scottish team ever win The European Cup with 10 players born within 10 miles of their home ground?

The association of The Lisbon Lions and The Histon Mariners was an event that landlord Ray keen to commemorate. His obvious delight was symptomatic of the occasion. Even younger Stevenage fans, probably unaware of The Lisbon Lions, recognised a significant the significance as they listened to facts, stories and mythology.

Sam, Max, Sam & Pat, Boro supporters from Codicote, were enthused with The Real Football ethos and embraced their place in ‘the wider football community’.

Mr Handsome as the inspiration behind The EarthsCrust on Cambridge Market, had over time become a key element on match-day routines involving ‘Rail Woes’. The set cycle route to Cambridge station necessitated passing The Earths Crust. The dilemma then presented was the decision as to which 2 samosas to select from the choice of 3. Being unsure of which combination was the lucky combination only compounded the dilemma of which was the lucky scarf. Such conundrums were a curse for Real Football Fans but we soldier on.
Samosas being in the forefront of thoughts was even more the case when Mr.H. provided a case for consumption by travelling Mariners.

A battle-weary and emotional landlord arriving at The Lamex Stadium hopefully with the lucky scarf, customary bag and samosas.
Samosas all round courtesy of renowned Lisbon Lion, Mr. Handsome proprietor of The Earths Crust.
Some were not so lucky and had to seek nourishment elsewhere……!

The weather was fairly good, Town had the chance to finish as high in the league for the best part of two decades. With The Boro anxious to secure 3 points and thus promotion, one had to be realistic about different motivational factors - the notion of spoiling a certain Managers day seemed fairy prevalent amongst the B&W Army.

For most of the first half Town dominated proceedings but a succession of corners was as near to a goal as The Mariners came. Hope of attracting ‘party pooper’ headlines appeared possible.
The second-half saw a reversion to the anticipated script with Boro goals after 57 and 67 minutes - the party could begin…..for The Boro.
A long, very long season was self-evidently drawing to an end.


08.05.23 GTFC 1 v 0 Wimbledon

05.06.2022 Town won promotion back to the EFL. The most unbelievable play-off campaign masked the surprise that most felt i.e. the immediate return to the EFL. The debate as to whether Town had planned for such a quick return would continue. The possibility that success had come quicker than expected logically implied a reset of plans would be necessary. The late start to an exceptionally short pre-season was thus considered by some to be insufficient for such a sizeable reset. However 11th in the final table 14 points from a promotion place and an FA Cup run to the 6th round was 12 months previous unimaginable. A long - and perceptibly even longer - season had been a huge step forward to the extent some would nurture half-full glasses for most of the close season.

Paul Hurst’s B&W Army Marches On.

In Hurst We Trust

Up The Mariners! 

Thanks to css zen garden for the layout.