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Tony Butcher

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 18/06/2000

Cod Head Tony Butcher

The following is an interview of Tony Butcher undertaken by The Fishy.

Fishy:
When did you first start supporting the Mariners, and what was your first game?

Tony:
My first game was a 2-0 defeat at home to Luton in the League Cup, about 1975.
I first started supporting them properly in the 1977/78 season when I moved back to Grimsby from a short residence in Lincoln

Fishy:
Who is the best player you ever saw wearing a Grimsby Town shirt?

Tony:
The most skillful was Ivano Bonetti (followed by Gary Childs). The best was Joe Waters.

Fishy:
If there is one game you were allowed to go back in time and watch what would it be and why?

Tony:
Sorry to be boring but none. If you know the score then you lose the tension and interest. Never go back is my own creed

Fishy:
What are your favourite and least favourite away grounds?

Tony:
My favourite is Oxford (except when it rains). I Iiked Bristol Rovers when they were in Bath as we generally won on a hot summer's day with a splendid view of Bath to our left.
My most hated ground is Crystal Palace as we always lose badly, it is a rip off price, in bad seats with a rubbish view.

Fishy:
What, in your opinion, are GTFC's best and worst seasons since you have been supporting them?

Tony:
For the worst I was (fortunately) exiled in Plymouth during the Lyons/Roberts fiasco, so it must be the Laws/Swain relegation year of 1996/97. Although it would be more accurate to say that 1996 was the worst year (rather than season) as it had 10 months of the Laws disgrace. For the first 5 months several players were actively playing for defeats, and they were replaced by incompetents.
The best should be the 1997/98 season, but I enjoyed the 1983/84 season more as I saw more wins and goals.

Fishy:
What is the most eventful day you have ever had in the course of following the Mariners?

Tony:
Luton v Town in February 1996. The club failed to post our tickets on time, promised to bring them down on the coach, and the commercial manager expressed surprise at our demand for our tickets as he stepped off the coach. The Town coach reversed in to the Luton chairman's £80,000 Mercedes and Town threw away a 2-1 lead in the last 15 minutes to lose 3-2. Then I got home to hear that Laws had beaten up Bonetti.

Fishy:
Who was the greatest ever GTFC manager? And who was the worst?

Tony:
Alan Buckley has achieved so much over a long period. Although he did buy Tony Daws and Murray Jones. In the short term this may not look a wise choice, but historically it is unarguable - and it is a history question.
The worst manager is a toss up between Lyons and Laws. Probably Laws as he destroyed a team that could have gone up. Lyons was told to sell the best players but just didn't replace them with decent players (His sole criteria appeared to be that a new player must have a bubble perm like his). Both were unfit to be concerned in the management of a football team. Not a very difficult question

Fishy:
How many games a season do you get to now, and what do you do while Town are playing games that you can't get to?

Tony:
Between 30 and 35. I either "watch" the games on CEEFAX or in the chatroom. Both ways are more painful than being there, of course. Until one sees them and remembers that it is supporting Town that is painful, the method is immaterial.

Fishy:
Name your all-time starting eleven since you have been watching Town?

Tony:
GK Crichton (pre-Laws)
LB Croft
RB McDermott
CB Futcher
CB Handyside
LM Bonetti
CM Waters
CM Groves
RM T Ford (pre-Lyons)
CF Drinkell
CF Mendonca

Fishy:
What was the worse game you have attended?

Tony:
Watford 6 Town 3. Handyside playing on Pluto, Crichton actively seeking defeat (he threw one in and should have stopped all 6). Several other players were not trying. As I recall only Groves and Johnnie Walker put much effort in. Oh, and Lever of course, when he came on.

Fishy:
Who are the worst players you have seen Town buy or use?

Tony:
Dale Banton, Tony Daws, Murray Jones, Tommy Widdrington, Andy Love, John Steeples, Mark Hine, Mark Flatts, Dave Burgess, Mike Saxby, Andy O'Dell, Mick Halsall, Ian Barroclough.

Fishy:
What do you think are the best and worst Town kits of recent years?

Tony:
The best Town kit was the 1994 kit (stripes on the sleaves, red trim on the collar)
The worst Town kit was Fuchsia Pink, white shorts, white socks. It was only used once v Wolves. Looked like schoolgirls playing hockey.
The present away kit looks like it was bought from a C & A sale.

Fishy:
What was your most memorable match and why?

Tony:
Town 1 West Brom 0 (1995). Scorer Bonetti. When it went in Blundell Park went wilder than I have ever seen it. The noise was deafening and the passion in the crowd that day was awesome. A boil was lanced that day. I also hit my head on the girders at the back of the Pontoon when Bonetti scored. Somehow it didn't hurt.
The Wembley games seemed a little too odd to me. We were far too far away from the players and one of the games (the AWS) was, ultimately, irrelevant.

Tony Butcher

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