2023 - 2024 : Current Campaign

14.07.23 Grimsby Borough 1 v 5 GTFC

08.07.23 Cleethorpes Town 1 v 2 GTFC

15.07.23 GTFC 1 v 2 Hull City

European Campaign ‘23 - Alicante

18.07.23 Qatar SC 1 v 0 GTFC

21.07.23 Port Vale 1 v 1 GTFC
@ Real Club de Golf Campoamor Resort, Alicante.

A tremendous start to the seasons Histon Mariner Campaign saw the fruits of the previous seasons liaison with Alicante Mariner Sergio. It would be difficult to find a more enjoyable location to kick-off The Campaign in Town’s 146th season.

A picture often betters a thousand words :

The B&W Army congregate on arrival.
Temporarily conducting affairs as Oldham Mariner, Lewis from Grimsby made early contact with Histon M’s.

Mattie Mariner as ever at the heart of so much activity was eager to hit The Campaign Trail.

An early thirst-quencher.
At Harry’s, something to sustain the efforts ahead.

The next day being the main day based around the fixture v The Valiants necessitated a prematch planning meeting @ Drakkar’s

A full programme of activity was organised with Jolly Boy representative Rear Admiral Mitchell and Manchester Mariner Rob, pictured with Drakkar mine-host.
During discussions, Rob added weight to his dads renowned decision making reputation. He explained and expanded on the trouble he went to in constructing a rather elaborate gateway to Peaks Parkway in readiness for Towns new ground……!!! Alas construction is yet to get underway, the gateway will shortly be ready for renovation but rest assured Rear Admiral Mitchell Is fully prepared.

The following provided for a unique 10.00 kick-off at the Real Club de Golf Campoamor.

Four thirty minute sessions produced a 1 v 1 scoreline during which Town probably ran out the morale victors. Clearly the temperature was a significant factor in what was self evidently a further step in preparing for the soon to be new season. Unsurprisingly a call for extra-time fell on deaf ears!

Rear Admiral Mitchell was as ever fully
prepared for a turn of weather and any
sudden drop in temperature….Robert had
seen it all before !

What was particularly noticeable was the emerging ‘team spirit’, so much part of Paul Hurst’s mantra. After the final whistle the opponents quickly dispersed whereas The Mighty Mariners team and staff stayed, mingled with The B&W Army, chatting, signing ephemera and participating in photographic opportunities.

An enthralled Charles Vernam listened intently to the ‘wise’ words of The Rear Admiral……Robert had heard it all before!
Paul Hurst welcomed Mattie and HM, wishing them well for the forthcoming campaign.
Having sponsored Paul for the best Part of a decade, an administrative error at the Club had meant HM were to transfer sponsorship for 2023/24
HM Sponsorship for 2023/24 would be of Michee Efete. After consolidating in L2 last season Michee would be looking to advance his career alongside Towns ambition for a top seven finish.
Nick, Phil, Tom & Martin
It would be an unusual occurrence for any Town game for the HM not to meet up with fellow campaigners from The New Imperial Club - the trip to Spain was no different.
New Imp Carl and HM shared logistic notes for the forthcoming season.

GTFC had clearly made an impression in Spain with locals as a result keen to meet up with Mattie and all things Town.

On the evening at the end of the training camp the players were delighted to join The Histon Mariners at Draakers Bar. With great camaraderie self evident Paul Hurst had without doubt built a team mentality. Whether they proved good enough time would tell. But without doubt all bode well……

Some players were particularly keen to engage with the Histon Mariners. Danny Amos and Luke Waterfall, aware of past associations, were most engaging. Some of the newer players were obviously aware of Mariner history.

Luke Hackwood was unfortunate not to encounter ‘words of wisdom’ from the Rear Admiral. Rob was happy to oblige.

In all a wonderfully successful mission born out of communications via Sergio/El Cid in the previous season. It was hopefully thought to be the start of a long and fruitful relationship.

25.07.23. GTFC v 0 Lincoln City

26.02.23 Boston 3 v 2 GTFC

29.02.23 Fleetwood 1 v 0 GTFC

05.08.23 GTFC 0 v 0 AFC Wimbledon

The opening day of the season always has an aura about it unlike any other fixture in the season.
The hopes and expectations whilst swirling round in people’s heads are almost tangible as fans gather for what has traditionally been a bumper opening day crowd. Old routines are re-adopted, whilst a risk may be taken in changing the odd (very odd) one. On this day a differentscarf was chosen……if 3 points were to be the the outcome, a new routine would be established.
Acquaintances are re-established and friendships are reinvigorated occasionally via ingurgitation… Train Woes are likely to be encountered, as is the plummeting of expectations at 16.50. The glorious summer sunshine would make February away days to far off distant lands seem but a quirk of one’s imagination. And so be it.

With new scarf being trailed, the cycle ride to Cambridge station was akin to what would normally be expected mid-February. Arriving drenched to find the planned 06.58 train was cancelled being a stark reminder of the nine month trawl ahead.
However meeting up with Cherry Hinton Mariner Andrew - renowned ‘Rail Guru’ - who would navigate the necessary reconfiguration with aplomb, reiterated the season was truly underway.

Given the retirement of Kim & Francis at Ginnie’s the search for a new base-camp was again on the agenda. The Vines proved a perfectly good functional option though it’s location made adhering to established routines difficult. Having gone ‘off piste’ with a new scarf, further divergence would be a step too far. The AFC Wimbledon fixture would be the first home game ever that Willys was not the first port-of-call for the Histon Mariners!

Rather riskily The Notts was the stating point for the 2023/24 season. However ‘fortune favours the brave’. For the first time since some time BC (Before Covid), re-engagement with long standing associate of The Campaign, Melbourne Mariner David Kenwery, occurred. Whilst recounting past exploits, Dave admitted to torn loyalties because of having a house in Wimbledon and meeting up with Wombles in Cleethorpes.

The encounter with Dave and wandering Wombles proved a great reminder of the great depth of shared values and camaraderie amongst Real Football Supporters. Not to be taken for granted, the continuing importance of The Histon Mariner Campaign was re-energised as kick-off approached.

Dave with Wombles Hazel, Don, The Innkeeper, an incognito Sean & ‘No I’s Tuesday’ Ian.

09.08.23 Mansfield Town 2 v 0 GTFC - League Cup

12.08.23 Notts County 3 v 2 GTFC

Notts County v GTFC Ticket
Notts County v GTFC Ticket

One of the few games that Town should necessarily have to change shirts - also v Newcastle, Juventus and St.Mirren!

Great memories from the last visit to Meadow Lane would have no baring on this game but inevitably on the first visit back from that memorable occasion much of the talk revolved around that game and the rest of the play-off campaign.

Nottingham had always been a most hospitable destination and this day was no exception. The B&W Army were out in force particularly at the iconic Ye Trip To Jerusalem.

At Ye Trip New Imperial Mariner Carl and the Histon Mariners reconvened after their Spanish sojourn.
The initial coming together of the Chesterfield and Histon Mariners was as has come to be expected successfully enacted.

Further options in Nottingham are always many but Castle Rock’s Canalhouse Bar is invariably on the agenda. Such a regular venue can induce a feeling of deja vu. A clearly excited Chesterfield Mariner Ian did well to focus on all things Town given his Canadian wedding attendance post match ……..via zoom ! As ever a phlegmatic Doncaster Mariner Paul retained a ‘detached interest’

Such is the plethora of choice in Nottingham new opportunities continually present themselves. This day was to be no exception.

En route to Gay Meadow the Fellows, Moreton & Clayton stood out as being worthy of future investigation.

2818 Mariners congregated for the first away fixture of the season. Inevitably much of the talk was about the previous visit for the play-off eliminator in 2021. Given today was the first meeting since then, Magpie revenge was high on the agenda. It was also the Magpies first home game back in the league, a stern test was expected.

At the start of any season re-engagement with the excitement of the unknown was felt throughout the football world. Re-engagement with old friends and fellow supporters was the duel privilege of Real Football Supporters.

Very old associate of The Histon Mariners Steve Gibson re-engaged in eager anticipation of the season ahead.

15-08-2023 GTFC 2 v 0 Salford City

19-08-2023 GTFC 1 v 1 Mansfield Town

26-08-2023 Walsall 1 v 1 GTFC

29-08-2023 GTFC 2 v 2 Manchester City u21 - EFL Trophy
                           (2 v 4 after penalties)

02-09-2023 GTFC 2 v 0 Gillingham

05-08-2023 Barnsley 2 v 0 GTFC - EFL Trophy

09-09-2023 Bradford City 1 v 1 GTFC

Bradford City v GTFC Ticket
Bradford City v GTFC Ticket

Match moved to 12.30 to accommodate television - football followers being more important (financially) than Football Supporters - undoubtedly a sign of things to come. The extensive police presence as so often, appeared a tadge pessimistic until Lord Hasland arrived in his inimitable style at Bradford Station whence forth the police presence seemed perfectly justified.

The B&W Army was able to bask in the glorious late summer sunshine outside The Record Cafe.
Inside Lord Hasland displayed his renowned but nevertheless remarkable consistency.

The highlight of the stay at The Record Cafe was the appearance of legendary Bradford poet and showman Glyn Watkins. Aware of the Histon Mariners in town, Glyn arrived as part of his celebrating J.B. Preistley’s birthday. Manningham born Preistley’s Cambridge connections (student at Trinity Hall) were lost on neither Glyn or The Histon Mariners and partly as a result the protagonists became “God Companions”

The weather certainly contributed to a remarkable atmosphere at The Valley Parade, above and beyond what could be reasonably expected for a Division 4 game.
Mariners were able to take full advantage - Wakefield Mariner Jason - with a restrained Lord Hasland, Terry ‘The Bus’, McMenemy Mike and Lisa - with a cheeky peek from Liam - all appeared upbeat, confident of Towns chances at a Club geared for better things.

Half-time - all going to plan.

A game of the proverbial two halves, that could easily have ended with 3 points rather than 1. But in football parlance, a point would have been taken before kick-off.
Post match refreshment was more than welcome on what could have been the end of summer.

The City Vaults
The Exchange

The Bradford Arms

16.09.23 Wrexham A.F.C. 3 v 0 GTFC

Wrexham A.F.C. v GTFC Ticket
Wrexham A.F.C. v GTFC Ticket

The 06.58 train from Cambridge foretold the reality of the long day ahead. Such efforts would be more than justified if a fraction of the drama witnessed at The Mariners last visit to the Racecourse ground were repeated - THE 5v4 play-off victory. On that most memorable of days, other than the match itself, the visit to Joules Royal Oak was indeed the highlight - a return was compulsory

As easy as it would have been to prolong one’s stay at such a a distinguished hostelry, other jewels awaited. Magic Dragon Brewing was highly recommended. It was anticipated that some familiar travellers would be in situ.

Predictably Gareth ‘the engine’ was at home with some of the exotic choices on offer.
Predictably TefMan failed to travel incognito.

The Magic Dragon was a home for Red Dragons who warmly welcomed Mariners - a base for Real Football Supporters.

Inside The Racecourse Jolly Boyz from the ranks had been entrusted by ‘Judith’ Roberts with responsibility for the disabled supporters. The infamous double-act Stuart & Paul unsurprisingly displayed total confusion and incompetence to the extent that doubt was raised re. the decision to leave them in command.

Eventually modern technology enabled ‘Judith’ to rescue his floundering troops who booked in for advise, In future serious consideration would have to be given as too whether such a level of trust is wise.

The defeat was not to be disputed but the three goal margin was harsh. A couple of swift visits en-route did little to ease the the disappointment. Inevitably the half empty brigade were beginning to raise their heads above the parapet, revelling in the atmosphere of disappointment.
The doom and gloom espoused by the half-empty brigade would soon turn disappointment and frustration into an impending disaster.


23.09.23 GTFC 2 v 3 Crawley Town

30.09.23 Swindon Town 2 v 1 GTFC

03.10.23 GTFC 2 v 1 Barrow Town

Rail-Woes avoided by train-networks being on strike! Accommodation cancelled. Fish at McMenemy’s cancelled. Ticket cost lost.

07.10.23 Tranmere Rovers 2 v 2 GTFC

Tranmere Rovers v GTFC Ticket
Tranmere Rovers v GTFC Ticket

Sticking to well worn routines, the availability of the regular cycle rack at Cambridge station in good time for the 06.14 train hinted at a successful mission ahead. A pleasingly uneventful rail journey bore witness to one’s hopes. A speedy booking in to base camp permitted for brief refreshment at the Perch Rock. The Wirral, and New Brighton in particular, being a familiar old stomping ground was to provide fertile soil for The Histon Mariner Campaign.

But the priority visit was planned for the renowned Gallaghers. The excellent fayre was no surprise and with excellent hospitality, neither was the longer than anticipated stay. A true local with friendly Rovers fans - the essence of The Campaign.

Meeting up with the Chesterfield Mariners decided the next venue as the Glen Afric Brewery Tap. Very much ‘designed(!)’ in the modern idiom and probably very well but without the character and bonhomie of Gallagher’s.

The Tranmere FanZone being one of the best in the country was always on the agenda - a truly welcoming area for all Football Supporters. However few Superwhites could have been as bored as much as on this occasion by Mr.Parker in full flow!

The level of consistency invariably displayed by Mr. Parker is truly admirable, but fails to diminish the toil taken on those listening to his monologues, no matter the level of his ‘erudite presentation!’

Others managed to avoid the monosyllabic diabtride on offer.
Lord Hasland continued in his own inimitable style.
TefMan as ever sought unsuccessfully to travel incognito.
East End Rob remained utterly bamboozled.

Lengthy post-match analysis again agreed Town could quite easily have come away with 3 points but on checking, the result still stood at 2 goals apiece.

The summer optimism fuelled by early success in the transfer market did appear to be waning - the half-empty half-full dynamic appeared to be gathering momentum particular amongst the doom-monger hard core minority who thrive on negativity. No doubt fine margins would settle the debate.

Over analysis is always a possibility but when the imponderables, as opposed to obvious failings, are the crux of the matter the debates tend to be circular fuelled by the degree subjectivity.
Visiting haunts from several decades past minimised debriefing, helped to raise spirits before settling in for the more usual football bollocks in an old favourite, Stanley’s Cask

The James Atherton aka The Three Bellends, formerly The Railway.
The Harbour Lights, formerly The Criterion

Stanleys Cask


10.10.23 GTFC 1 v 2 Bradford City - EFL Trophy

14.10.23 GTFC 0 v 2 Accrington Stanley

Bloody Railways. Engineering works made the routine Cambridge, Peterborough, Doncaster, Cleethorpes route difficult. As a result it was to be Cambridge, Stevenage, Newark, Lincoln, Grimsby, Cleethorpes. Departure at 06.53 was delayed. After 40 minutes enquires suggested the delay May last for several hours ! Money retrieved. Fish again cancelled at McMenemy’s.

21.10.23 Stockport County 3 v 2 GTFC

24.10.23 GTFC 2 v 3 Colchester United

Hopefully the train service would be somewhere close to ‘as stated’. But at the ticket office - still operating! - an explanation of no return tickets (now an official policy on certain lines) was that it was a step towards complete surrender to the onslaught of technology, whereby some device would eventually be used to simply tap onto another device to pay for that one journey. As a further illustration of incompressible policy :
Tues. 24th - Cambridge (via Peterborough & Doncaster) to Cleethorpes £27.55
                     and the same for the return journey next day.
Sat. 28th - Cambridge (via Peterborough) to Doncaster £27.45
                  and the same for the same day return journey.
Logic would suggest therefore Doncaster to Cleethorpes would cost 10p - probably not the case.

A stop at The Draughtsman on Doncaster Station, one of the excellent Station bars, proved expectantly rewarding. In the marvellous Draughtsman, rail-woes seemed to diminish leaving only the weather doom-mongers and the half-empty brigade to contend with.

On arrival at Cleethorpes the familiarity of another, and even more familiar, excellent station bar only added to a growing sense of well-being.

By the time Willy’s was reached glasses were certainly half-full.

- A fluke own goal handed the first goal to Town.
- A well taken breakaway goal for The U’s, though legitimate questions re. individuals defensive positioning would be asked.
- An unfathomable goalkeeping error by Eastwood put The U’s in the lead at half-time.
- Town began the second half with restored ‘dog of war’ Kieran Green showing much needed leadership. A deserved equaliser from Wilson restored parity - and surely now was the time for the tide to turn, for refereeing decisions to go Towns way, for ‘the laws of average to play fairly, but.
- A fluke third goal for The U’s via a huge deflection, though an individual error in giving the ball away would raise legitimate questions.
- Another 2 v 3 defeat. Another game from which The Mighty Mariners deserved a point/points. Individual errors again proved costly.
- The statistics (for what they are worth) suggest Town are not far from getting things right.
- It is widely thought Town are lower in the league than they deserve but, the table never lies…
- “The luck always goes against you in such circumstances“
- Fine margins indeed.

The tone of post-match analysis was predictable. Frustrations ran high. Emotions were raw. Glasses were at least half empty. But as time wore on replenished glasses induced a degree of rationality. For sure things were unacceptable but solutions were not readily forthcoming.

Several hours later after the Full English, on the walk to the station, even the thought of potential Rail Woes could not dampen ‘the morning after the night before feeling’ as one took in the inspiring views and reflected on the rather cliched but nevertheless true, ‘small margins’.

Things could be better but they could be much worse.
Onwards and Upwards.
Doncaster next.

28.10.23 Doncaster Rovers 1 v 0 GTFC

Doncaster Rovers v GTFC Ticket
Doncaster Rovers v GTFC Ticket

And so began manoeuvres. No longer did one expect a smooth logistical exercise but, as when thinking about Town’s form ‘we live in hope’. A later than usual trip to the station was most welcome. Familiar cycle rack availability bore-well. Train departed on time - all good…….….. 10.53 connecting train to Doncaster cancelled! Re-routed to Grantham. In the grand scheme of things and indicative of ongoing experiences, arriving in Doncaster 30 minutes behind schedule was considered quite good.

For the second time in week a visit to The Draughtsman was a delight whilst preparing for the long time planned and eagerly anticipated visit to The Little Plough. Expectations can often deflate the actual experience but no such scenario on this occasion.

Magnificent. Immediately transported back to drinking days from a past era. The heavily patterned red carpet, the original(?) 1930s fittings, cash-only, large groups of friends imbibing - one group of 6-8 studiously studying and watching the racing. Fans of several clubs. Quality refreshment. Magnificent.

Regular and Donny fan Mark, Derby County fan Adam, The Innkeeper and Forest Fan Pearce shared much story telling and football bollocks, making time spent at the Little Plough truly in keeping.

Approaching the Eco-Power Stadium bought focus on the heightened tension courtesy of the doom-mongers. Undoubtedly the game would prove very important, unlikely to be “season defining” but all-in-all would not dampen the resolve and good humour of the vast majority of The B&W Army.

Derby Mariner Andy and Chris (unable to hide his Brentford sympathies) refused to yield to the doom-mongers.
Stuart with carer Emma and Andrew with a brace of Jolly Boyz Paul and Dame (sic) Judith Having completed his latest travelogue, Dave had assumed command after the fiasco at Wrexham (see above)

‘Must win games’ are viewed as much more prevalent amongst many fans than those that really merit such a description. However this fixture had increasingly attracted such intensity as more and more glasses required substantial refilling. The B&W Army had gathered in substantial numbers (2474) and thankfully diverse opinions appeared shelved for the duration…..an attitude that would probably be severely tested should The Mighty Mariners fall behind.

The game had 0v0 written all over it, as was confirmed at half-time. But a penalty conceded after 72minutes was surely enough to seal Towns fate, just as surely as it gave the half-empty brigade the opportunity to raise their standard and exacerbate self-evident divisions even whilst play continued.

Extremely disappointing and once again very small margins dominated post-match analysis. As too how long the current poor run would continue the debate raged. Town certainly looked tighter and Harvey Cartwright preferred in goal provided some positivity. The FA.Cup next week, away to Slough on a plastic pitch, on the one hand offered to the half-empty brigade a huge banana skin but conversely it also provided a break from the league.

“ When the going gets tough, the tough get going ”.
FA Cup glory would begin again at Slough.

At approximately 17.45 it was announced that Paul Hurst was leaving Town. Whether resigned or sacked was unclear at the time. The half-empty brigade would be mollified until their glasses were drained again next-time. The debate re. the successor would no doubt rage. The mention of a Director of Football reporting to the CEO, with a Head Coach out on the pitch, was not a model to be welcomed. One would be hard pushed to think of a successful example of such a model anywhere in the history of the football pyramid.

The Histon Mariners sponsored Paul Hurst for many years. Always a gentleman who provided for many, many great memories. We thanked Paul for his efforts and wished him good look in his future endeavours.


05.11.23 Slough Town 1 v 1 GTFC - FA Cup 1st Round

Slough Town v GTFC Ticket
Slough Town v GTFC Ticket

Being last years quarter finalists would likely encourage Real Football Supporters to think in terms of being knocked out in Round 1 the following year. Drawing one of the lowest ranked team away would support such pessimistic thoughts. Add, that the game would be played on a plastic pitch, was like ‘grist to the mill’ for the glass half-empty brigade. The absence of Paul Hurst would add a further unknown dimension - for better for worse.
All football factors taken into consideration and Slough not being renowned for vibrant refreshment venues plus a 2 hour rail journey turned into a 3¾ journey because of engineering works made even the most optimistic a little fearful of what laid ahead.

Courtesy of Cherry Hinton Mariner the replacement bus service from Cambridge to Royston was itself replaced by driving to Royston from where the train was taken.

The Innkeeper decided Windsor would be a better option than Slough for pre match planning and refreshment. From 11.30 all 4 hostelries approached were closed - The Duchess of Cambridge, The Horse & Groom, The Carpenters Arms and The Prince Harry. Most surprising and infuriating.
The Innkeepers Windsor choice appeared a grave error until it was realised the game was being played on Sunday!!! The Innkeeper thus announced opening times were thus 12.00!!!

The Duchess of Cambridge - closed because it was Sunday!
The Horse & Groom - closed because it was Sunday!

The Carpenters Arms - closed because it was Sunday!
The Prince Harry - closed because it was Sunday!

The Windsor Trooper was reached by opening time 12.00 !) and provided fine facilities for prematch considerations. Uppermost was the absence of Paul Hurst. Ben Davies & Shaun Pearson had been put in charge of affairs. An opportunity to regroup and clear the heads was the job to be tackled with the same players. It would be no surprise if the quality of the squad assembled by Paul Hurst would in the forthcoming weeks reveal its true nature.
The Mighty Mariners had not got the results they probably deserved. The Mighty Mariners had underperformed. The Mighty Mariners were in a false position in the table. But this was all conjecture. The Mighty Mariners were in the position they had attained.

In the circumstances a switch away from the league would often have been considered a useful departure but away to The Rebels at Arbour Park on the dreaded plastic pitch encouraged hope rather than expectation. To be in the hat after 90 minutes was the order of the day.

Whatever the Gods had in store, the group of disparate individuals aka The B&W Army would surely forge themselves into a coherent fighting force on what was a most testing of days.
The Old Gits aka The Jolly Boyz typified the fighting spirit evident on the day…

Stuart (allowed out without carer), and a trio of Roberts, Paul, Mike and Dave (in between travels), ready to ‘spring into action!’

Town started brightly playing into the wind but as was the case recently posed no real threat. Alas the closest to a goal were The Rebels, but Cartwright saved well - a note of positivity that Cartwright increasingly looked assured, would surely jinx proceedings. The scrappy affair was too often punctuated by the whistle of an over zealous referee, degenerated further after 28 minutes when the worst fears came to the fore when Town fell behind. A post saved Town further blushes as half-time approached.
Half-time 0v1…..
Two substitutions at half-time alluded to the deadly duo - B&S - trying to assert themselves and kick start Town. Kieran Green certainly added some leadership and purpose and Town looked the more threatening team. A counter attack on 74 minutes involving Clifton and Efete set up the Rose equaliser. Slough tired.
Town tried to press.
Full-time 1v1.

All was well - The Rebels had done themselves proud, had a record crowd of 2205 and Town were in the hat for the draw. A successful reply would earn The Mighty Mariners the opportunity to visit the highest ranked team in the competition at this stage, Oxford United!
After the previous season’s exploits there was nothing to fear. Even a sudden downpour failed to dampen the fragile but evident optimism.

Grim Rob and Cherry Hinton Mariner, Andy realistically looked forward to the trip Oxfords Kassam Stadium.

Davies and Pearson clearly showed their intent. 2 changes at half-time presumably because preplanned efforts weren’t working plus a further 3 in the second half, suggested they were their own men. Undoubtedly a positive attitude that will take time to manifest itself in the results. Time on the training pitch will prove the validity of such an early observation.

The Ben & Shaun double act was up and running.



The emergence of the Asian nations on the football world stage and the level of ‘support’ (albeit largely of the Premier Theatre) provided interesting opportunities both financially and on the pitch, which Mattie was keen to explore. Previous Campaigning in India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Mauritius was to be continued in Indonesia. Initially from a base in Bali and Lombok, Java and Borneo would follow in due course.
Awareness of Matties impending arrival, in the age of social media, was inevitable.

On arrival at Denpasar Airport, Jack (sic) from national Tour Operator ‘Destination Asia’, was on hand to greet Mattie.

After the long flights rest and recuperation was high on the agenda before the business side of the trip begun


Once begun the Campaign Trail became relentless. The welcome received from so many can partially be explained by a flurry of social media activity but also by the gratitude of a previously untapped market being put on the world stage. That someone of such stature from the English football pyramid would take time from their busy schedule to visit such far away places was certainly appreciated by locals.

Nickhael and Bika accompanied Mattie as he toured on his factfinding mission.
Ketut, proprietor at The Blue Lagoon with a member of his Commercial Team held positive talks with Mattie.
At the coffee plantation in Lumus-Baruriti.
Bedugul, Oliv and Ema proved enthusiastic and appreciative hosts.

The unrelenting pace and intensity of The Campaign Trail could not reasonably be maintained.
No-one would deny a little mixing of business with pleasure and Mattie took the opportunity for a little R&R at Warung.

Before leaving, the fruits of his extensive networking were clear as he cemented what was hoped would be lasting connections

Mattie with fellow visionaries at Apa-Kabar, in Tamblingan.

11-11 -2023 GTFC 3 v 2 Morecambe

15-11-2023 GTFC 7 v 2 Slough Town - FA Cup 1st Round Replay

18-11-2023 Forest Green Rovers 2 v 2 GTFC

25-11-2023 GTFC 1 v 1 Sutton United

Set off via all too familiar routines, fearful of ‘Train Woes’ ahead but alas all went according to plan. The starting point as always for home games was Willy’s. Any visiting away fans had to be like minded supporters, this day was no exception.

Fans of The Yellows, ‘ull Paul, Bob (conscripted Membership Secretary for Croydon & Sutton Camra Branch) ‘Dark Ale Catherine & Mark, met up with The Histon Mariners, further justifying the plaice of Real Football Supporters.

The Kingsway Club & The Notts as ever provided for excellent fayre and all appeared well with the world. At McMenemy’s many questions were asked about the success of Mattie's SE Asian excursion. Mattie being on manoeuvres elsewhere left The Innkeeper to pass on reports and gratitude for people’s interest.

A most welcome and surprise encounter was with Dave Smith. Dave sadly missed by all regular McMenemy attendees was delighted to catch up with The Histon Mariners.
‘98 hero Dave, so much a part of HM association with Town, made the days excursion totally worthwhile.
When 2016 hero Nathan Arnold also arrived to re-engage with HM, the scale of interest in the Campaign was all to evident.
From the current squad Club Captain Danny Rose made a special effort to pass on the best wishes and thanks from the players.

Not the most memorable of games but a draw meant Town were unbeaten since the departure of Paul Hurst - 5 games. Ben Davies and Shaun Pearson continued to hold onto proceedings, making a valuable contribution. The ship had been steadied. There were fewer half-empty glasses and the vocal few were less and less accommodated.

The Mariners Continue To March On.

David Artell officially announced Mon. 27th with Shaun Pearson as assistant and Ben Davies also on the coaching staff. Good news to see SP & BD involved who held things together well in the interim period. Artell appeared a positive appointment and certainly spoke well in his early interviews. The future looked good. The future looked B&W.

28.11.23 Milton Keynes Dons 1 v 1 GTFC

02.12.23 Oxford United 2 v 0 GTFC - FA Cup 2nd Round

09.12.23 GTFC 2 v 1 Crewe Alexandra

Heavy rain meant cycling to the station was most unfavourable - a small disruption to the routine but a disruption all the same. Dull, very dull and wet, very wet all the way to DN35 provided for a journey devoid of much enthusiasm.
Having got drenched between getting off the train and finding cover at Cleethorpes Rail Station and being unable to hail a taxi, The No.2 Bar was the favoured solution. An hour later as the rain began to recede a taxi was forthcoming - basecamp for the day, The Dovedale Hotel, Willys and The Kingsway Club beckoned.

With pitch inspections at 11.00, 12.00 and again shortly at 13.00 it seemed apparent there was a determination to play the game. And as the weather improved (sic), play was confirmed and optimism emerged for Artell’s first home game - against the club his successes are most closely associated with.

At McMenemy’s the most welcome return of Dave Smith on match days brings forth a tangible improvement of the atmosphere. This coupled with the positivity emanating from the arrival of Artell meant few half-empty quibbles were audible.

‘98 hero Kevin Donavon was at McMenemy’s His positive comments re. Town and The Histon Mariner Campaign carried great weight and were very much appreciated.
Even amidst all the positivity, some with no mates continued to plough a lonely furrow.

A very promising and lively first half performance saw Town go in 2 v 0 at half-time. An encouraging good all round team performance with Glennon and Rose leading the way. Alex Hunt proved many doubters wrong with probably his best performance for some time - possibly his best in a Town shirt.
A resilient second-half performance secured 3 points, encouraging The B&W Army to look up the table rather than down.

Post-match a discernible upturn in hopes and expectations re. The Mariners was self-evident.
The New Imperial was buzzing and elsewhere in Cleethorpes the great and good were out in force, tempered only by a rare appearance of Orphan Boy in.
At The Notts Noddy Cartwright, father of Towns No.1 Harvey, was understandably jubilant with his increasingly settled situation between the posts.

Cleethorpes Mariner Dave and Town Vice - President and local CAMRA el Supremo Kevin Donovan like most others had glasses more than half-full.

One aside that possibly would amuse was a call to Histon Mariners Logistics Director from The Burlington Hotel asking about his time of arrival. Explaining that The Dovedale Hotel had already been checked into, it became apparent that an erroneous double booking had been made!

The following morning the full-English was successfully dealt with at The Dovedale and when the dry stroll to the station met with the departing on time train all appeared at one with the world.
Likewise the Doncaster to Peterborough was on schedule but soon forewarnings of disruption between Grantham and Peterborough due to collapsing overhead cables, raised concerns.
As a result the; the train arrived at Grantham 41 minutes late at 11.36. A bus replacement service was at best skeletal - but at short notice one had to be understanding.
The bus from Grantham to Peterborough left at 13.40
The train from Peterborough to Cambridge left at15.19
Train arrived at Cambridge at 16.18 - 6 hours and 50 minutes after, 3 hours and 53 minutes late! Why oh why? Because!

Next week would be a trip to Newport…hopefully not tempting fate but the GWR had been over the years probably the best run train line. Time will tell.


16.12.23 Newport County 1 v 1 GTFC

Newport County v GTFC Ticket
Newport County v GTFC Ticket

The potential for more train woes was a given but the resurgence of optimism whilst warmly embraced was not to be taken for granted, Departure from Cambridge at 0814. Arrival in Newport as expected - early enough for the full-English at a familiar Pot Cafe.

Equally familiar was The Old Murenger, a quintessential old school watering hole the likes of which are less and less to be found.

Ever the traditionalist Derby Mariner Andy in residence with Nottingham Mariner Londy.

The cliche about taking an away point before the game once more came to the fore. Not the most fluent of performances but opportunities to win need to be taken and oh for a clean sheet.
Plenty of 7/10 performances with no one outstanding but Clifton looked re-energised and Rose’s goal was just reward for another big shift.
Cartwright continued to make progress.

The draw put Town a point nearer a playoff place than a relegation place! Neither would attract a great deal of money at this point in time but some were intent in hoovering up every available piece of information to assess possibilities.

An apple never falls far from the tree. Cleethorpes (nee Hebden Bridge) Mariner Carl with Jack.

In David Artell we have to begin to build trust.

23.12.23 GTFC 1 v 2 Harrogate Town

26.12.23 Mansfield Town 2 v 0 GTFC

29.12.23 Salford City 0 v 3 GTFC

01.01.24 GTFC 1 v 6 Walsall

13.01.24 GTFC 5 v 5 Notts County!

As midnight approaches the proven necessity of checking that the planned train leaving at 0557 was on schedule revealed a non-runner. The alternative had to be the 0515 but that would go a different route - via Lincoln - which meant different companies and thus potential ticket problems.
Thus a particularly early start, was embarked upon*. Arriving at the station with additional time to deal with the ticketing issue, a staff member was sought - given that the automated machines could not deal with the problem - I was told there must have been a problem on-line because the 0557 was running as stated. Oh well only an hour wait!!!

* A staggered exit from the house due to a thought that recent games were attended without an old favourite scarf. A return to get might could be the missing piece of a jigsaw.

Train eventually ran as planned, including the additional 50 minutes to account for the bus link between Peterborough and Grantham.

A rare appearance from Wainfleet Mariner Chairman had many in Cleethorpes excited about the day ahead.

Prior to commencement at Willy’s Stuart was determined to meet up with Maureen, proprietor at Think Bubbles his favourite women’s cloths shop.
Later at the Notts, Stuart was most enamoured to meet up with former Town LegEnd Andy Moore who didn’t appear quite so enamoured

It was of course customary to partake of excellent fayre at McMenemy’s. On this occasion seasoned campaigners were on parade to mark Sgt. Dodds 80th alongside The Histon Mariners.

Sgt. Dodds with a not so ‘Elderly’ Sue
Louth Mariner Alister attempted to ascertain King Lynn Mariner Jason’s latest scoop.
Official Secrets prevented any divulgence.
Lone Spireite Joe

A 10 goal extravaganza that ended all square defied the notion that Town when leading 2v0 should/could have had a three, possibly four goal lead before the Magpies scored.
An end to end game was facilitated by a ‘proper’ refereeing performance from Craig Hicks who let play flow, taking no nonsense from player amateur dramatics - oh for the good old days. Amazing how players once realising Hick’s stance, got on with playing rather than acting.
Having led 2v0, 3v2 and 4v3, when the Magpies equalised 4v4 on 80 minutes and then took the lead on 92 minutes, the fat lady could be heard loosening her vocal chords. BUT a 95th minute equaliser brought rapturous joy to Blundell as if the winner had been scored.
Yet still The Mighty Mariners had opportunities to score a sixth.
Alas the chances were spurned and a point each the final outcome.

So dramatic was the game the Wainfleet Mariner Chairman managed to stay awake for the entire duration. He continued in full flow after at The New Imperial, No.1 and No.2 Bars where he appeared vaguely compos mentis when taking on board wise words from Town Improsario Kevin

After further brain-storming sessions at The Notts and Smugglers, the world appeared to have been ‘put to rights’ and the day declared fairly successful.

Train woes the following would by rights be considered painful but given ongoing experiences, the interruption at Grantham to Peterborough via a bus seemed a minor inconvenience. The wait for the bus presented an opportunity for a little light refreshment at the station Whistle Stop.

Up The Mighty Mariners.

20.01.24 Harrogate Town P v P GTFC

Harrogate Town v GTFC Ticket
Harrogate Town v GTFC Ticket

The train journey was unexpectedly as expected until a slight delay at Leeds onto Harrogate for about quarter of an hour. Meeting up with a full complement of Chesterfield Mariners supplemented by Doncaster Mariner Paul at Leeds made the delay of no consequence. With an overnight stop in Harrogate to look forward to, all seemed to be progressing well.

However assumption is often the mother of all “cock-ups” …..
…. match called off after 11.30 inspection - news filtered through about 20 minutes later!!!

An early pit-stop at The Harrogate Tap was deemed appropriate - reformulation of manoeuvres took little mental energy.

Unsurprisingly Gareth the Engine took to the ‘phone’ whilst Doncaster Paul waited with eager anticipation for a reformulated scenario

Being stranded in Harrogate - many many worst places to be stranded - left little to be decided and an intense market research exercise.

Cold Bath Brewing
Hales Bar - long awaited visit (see 27-2-21), a tad disappointing

Inn at Cheltenham Parade
Major Toms Social

As the pace slackened liquid and solid sustenance was parked at the excellent Old Bell.
It was no surprise to bump into Blues enthusiast Muddy T-Bone Estuary John at The excellent Blues Cafe Bar.
An extended stay almost inevitably saw Histon Mariner Innkeeper catch up with 40 winks as soon as the band opened up their set……!

A long day but relatively early night facilitated recuperation for the potential ‘train woes’ ahead, made all the easier by not having dropped any points and a clean sheet.


27.01.24 GTFC 1 v 2 Tranmere Rovers

The 06.58 from Cambridge was to be the first complete rail journey through Peterborough for some weeks without having a bus section….one could only cross as many appendages as possible.
Unexpectedly meeting up at with Rail Guru, Cherry Hinton Mariner Andrew would certainly provide for expert logistical information re. any difficulties to be encountered.

As per established routine starting at Willy’s provided for an unexpected but welcome meeting up with the most amenable Town legend Dave Worthington. Ever the gentleman Dave was happy to talk all things Town and football generally with the added insight of a former player.

Dave was to meet up with several former players in McMenemy’s in support of a couple who were struggling with debilitating dementia issues.
Clive Wiggington, Dave Worthington, Dave Boleyn and…….., reminisced and provided for many great stories. The Histon Mariners were of course delighted to support the efforts to support those suffering.

Caistor Mariner shared stories with Dave W. and Dave Boleyn.
John Cockerel found time to catch up with The Histon Mariners and the continuing Campaign.

A performance that began to seriously raise alarm bells with regards the chosen route to be taken by David Artell. Whatever the rhetoric, whatever the data, points gained will be the final adjudicator of Towns fortunes.
Points decide league position - this truism is ‘The Grimsby Way’ just as it is with every other club.

Post-match Dave Roberts, Ray the Fish and Jane Banks, who have all been round the block many, many many times all reiterated the importance of total support.

Up The Mighty Mariners


03.02.24 Accrington Stanley 0 v 0 GTFC

Accrington Stanley v GTFC Ticket
Accrington Stanley v GTFC Ticket

Totally routine preparations and journey to the station. On a day of national Union rail disruption, the journey to Accrington was too all intent and purpose “on schedule”……we would see!
In anticipation that all would not go to plan the earlier 06.58 was taken however all was spot on. Thus The Commercial Hotel (ala ‘Spoons’.) beckoned by virtue of the ‘Full English’.

Leaving fighting fit, a swift half at the Black Horse to gather intelligence led to further refreshment at The Arden Inn, serving fine ale from Wye Valley Herefordshire!

However the must visit hostelry in Accrington for football supporters is The Peel Park and the original home of Stanley. Great, traditional watering hole with excellent fayre.

The Innkeeper announced the “brass, to be something to behold, a standard to be aspired too.”

“The Peel” situated above Peel Park, the original home of Stanley, now the home of Peel Park FC remains a place of pilgrimage for Real Football Supporters.

As ever The B&W Army travelled well particularly at a time of change and uncertainty, when all was not well with the world - 688 in a crowd of 2745. The good, the bad, the ugly and Mrs Slocombe were everywhere.

Scaffa Mariner with Wakefield Mariner Jason with cup half-full.
Croxton and The Innkeeper ‘a brace of curmudgeonly tacticians
Fortunately Mrs Slocombe was on hand to ensure the salty ol’sea dog was wrapped without neglecting her pussy.

Three debutants including Histon Mariner sponsored Curtis Thompson alongside Denver Hume and Liam Smith all gave good accounts of themselves. Curtis in particular looked like something long missed in a Town team - a combative leader.
Overall looking more resilient, The Mighty Mariners were probably the better side without really creating more than the odd chance.
Maher and Rodgers appeared to benefit from the 2 new fullbacks and a rare clean sheet was the overriding positive to be taken from the game.

Derby Mariners Andy and Dan - now more accurately Mansfield Mariner helped pursue a rigorous post-match debriefing. With trains departing at 18.13 urgency was the order of day. Thus flying visits to The Grey Horse and the Canine WMC were brief, instructive and fruitful.

At Leeds Station The Hop, an obvious favourite of Derby Andy beckoned, as to why became abundantly clear once in situ. As an Ossett Brewery establishment it was clearly the purveyor of a full range of Ossett fayre, all sampled being on fine form. However it was soon realised that Mansfield Dan was the youngest imbiber on site. With a vigorous display of rusty moves not seen since the 1970’s, it became apparent The Hop was the West Yorkshire home of the ‘divorced, separated and single’….. It didn’t take much to persuade a couple of deluded, barely able old fools to risk serious injury by demonstrating their early disco moves.

Mercifully and most surprisingly no one was was injured, trains were engaged as prescribed - everyone lived to fight another day.


10.02.24 GTFC 1v 3 Stockport County

13.02.24 Colchester United P v P GTFC

To go or not to go. Colchester away mid-week is not an easy expedition but when duty calls, the call-to-arms is difficult to ignore. The offer of a lift to the JobServe Community Stadium from Cherry Hinton Mariner Andrew, overcame all excuses. The relatively short journey in the region of 90 minutes proceeded to plan with optimism on the rise. Parking around an hour before kick-off indicated good timing, all as expected.
However…..100 yards from the car, news was picked up that the game was off!!! Unlike Harrogate an immediate about turn was possible with arrival back at The Kingston Arms close to 20.30. The only problem being a choice between playing skittles or crib.
However… 15 minutes into the journey back to Cambridge HQ, just before J46 on the A14 an enforced stop behind a Polish 40 foot trailer blocked our view for 1 hour and 50 minutes!
Skittles nor crib remained on the agenda as home was reached at 22.20.


17.02.24 GTFC 1 v 5 Doncaster Rovers

24.02.24 Morecambe 1 v 1 GTFC

02.03.24 GTFC 1 v 0 Forest Green Rovers

05.03.24 Wimbledon 0 v 0 GTFC

Wimbledon v GTFC Ticket
Wimbledon v GTFC Ticket

First time ever - lethargy and a lack of enthusiasm to attend Plough Lane for the evening fixture existed. Many factors but overwhelmingly concerned with much of the rhetoric surrounding the direction of travel the Club is embarked on. Perhaps fuelled by the immense optimism that grew in the close season, that was severely decimated as the season progressed and latterly by confusing information and decisions made by the Club. It was difficult to be at one with the world at the present time.
Heaven knows any Mariner can inform about the ups and downs of following Town. That over time, the numerous repetitive battle scars come and go with a frequency is often admired by other clubs. Only time will tell but ultimately duty beckoned and once more unto the breach, Wimbledon was the destination.
The trains were as stated, all good. Arrived at Colliers Wood to be confronted with the Holden Arms and the Royal Standard. Both looked inviting, but sometimes looks can be deceiving.
Research conducted whilst in the Holden brought forth the opportunity of the Sultan - a Hopback pub that offered an oasis to be indulged in.

The Sultan was an excellent locals hostelry. Card only but locals and bar staff offered to assist - people still make the world work. Super chat with locals about the pub and its rebuild in the 50’s after bomb damage as an Ind Coope house alongside all things Wimbledon FC.

Onto the Cherry Red Records Stadium ! Card only when purchasing a ticket - fellow Mariner assisted. No one appeared to know where a programme could be purchased. A steward replied on being asked, “I don’t know, I’m a steward ”. Onto the obligatory pie and Bovril but card only. Still couldn’t find a/the programme seller. Eventually gave up and claimed one’s seat. As kick-off approached no one appeared to want to sit. After several efforts, given underlying concerns it was decided the best course of action to avoid falling out with fellow Mariners was to cut losses, leave and reconsider.

All Town Aren’t We……..

09.03.24 Sutton United 1 v 1 GTFC

12.03.24 GTFC 1 v 0 MK Dons

16.03.24 Gillingham 1 v 1 GTFC

23.03.24 GTFC 1 v 3 Wrexham

23.03.24 Aldershot 1 v 1 Solihull Moors

Aldershot v Solihull Moors Ticket
Aldershot v Solihull Moors Ticket

An undercover operation alongside Shots veteran Flo would be a great contrast to the intricacies currently permeating The Campaign.
Aldershot - “a northern town in the south”. Without its historic military presence, Aldershot was essentially deindustrialised a la Grimsby, the Potteries or Birkenhead. A worryingly familiar experience on travelling around which a lamentable Flo illustrated on manoeuvres.

Context was provided for both the town and Shots recent history by Flo firstly over a ‘rather substantial’ full-English followed by visits to several hostelries.

The Shots managed by ex-Mariner Tommy Widdrington would face a Moors side containing 2 former Mariners, Jamey Osbourne and Alex Whitmore

A 1v1 draw courtesy of a late Shot penalty probably denied the better side 3 points. Jamey Osbourne perhaps unsurprisingly as MoM, gave credence to a commonly held belief that Town missed seeing a potential legend in Black & White stripes.

A final visit prior to a relatively short journey home to an all too clear former bastion of the military, reiterated the demise of yet another British town.

29.03.23 Barrow 3 v 1 GTFC
          A tale of tickets.

There must be reason such tails of woe are repeatedly embraced :-
  - The arrival of a match ticket, previously 100% reliable, was anticipated daily alas to no avail. A reissued ticket should be available from the ticket office on the day!
  - An unfortunate derailment meant the Lancaster to Barrow line was out of action. A trip to Cambridge station appeared prudent, the before travelling. Good Friday was always likely to be problematic but the likely issues with 'railway systems', induced a familiar feeling of foreboding.

  57 minutes later original ticket refunded new ticket £27 dearer.
  Original departure at 06.14 to Kings Cross to Leeds to Lancaster to Barrow with a replacement
  bus from Lancaster adding 90-120 minutes to the journey became, departure at 05.23 to
  Stevenage to Newcastle to Carlisle to Barrow arriving 40 minutes
  later than originally but at least an hour earlier via the bus - all for an extra £27.

Without the patience from a most helpful member of the ticket office, given the incorrect information on Trainline, one wonders how the situation could have evolved. AND THE EXPERTS WANT TO GET RID OF TICKET OFFICES!!!

However the trains ran perfectly to the time table. Room booked at Wetherspoons - any upstairs/downstairs attitudes need dismissing the reception and the room were absolutely spot on. Some swift refreshment in said establishment and onto the Holker Stadium to confront the ticket dilemma.
No problem what so ever, the chap in the office was expecting me, alls well that ends well. Just like my experience at the ticket office the previous day, when people speak to people the world runs so much smoother.

Lost 1v3. Defending poor. Creativity and fight lacking. Artell shouted aplenty from the touchline but his message does not appear to the outsider to be well received for what ever reason.
The B&W Army is going through the motions. A crossroad is on the the horizon.
                *************For the first time my glass is half empty ! ***********

Up The Mariners! 

Thanks to css zen garden for the layout.