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Bobby Cumming Interview
By: Rob Sedgwick
Bobby Cumming Interview
The following is an email interview undertaken by Paul Dawson with Bobby Cumming the ex-Grimsby Town player.
You left Town at the end of 1986-87 season and joined Lincoln City. What happened to your career after that and what are you doing now?
When I left Lincoln city I went to play for a team in upstate New York called "Albany Capitals " who I had played for during the close season 88-89. Our team had a few players of note, John Harkes and Brian Bliss ( USA team players ) and a character called PaulÂ Mariner. ( who Iâ€™m sure everyone remembers ) At the end of that season with them I retired from the pro game, to many sleepless nights due to pain from one joint or another LOL.
Did you not think about going into a management or coaching role?
I was offered a Player/coach position by Colin Murphy at Lincoln City, but after serious consideration I turned him down, the amount of hours those guys ( 2nd,3rd,4th Div. managers ) put in is unbelievable, you just wouldn't have any sort of family life.
Was it your decision to leave Grimsby or did the club not offer you a new contract?
I was at the end of my contract with Grimsby in 86-87 and the manager at the time ( Mike Lyons ) knew that I was heading out to the States to try and hook up with a club, therefore no contract was offered. I spent the summer out in the States with family trying to secure a club but had no luck. When I came back to Grimsby I asked them if I could train with them ( Pre-season ) to get fit until I could find another club. I was invited to spend the day with Dave Booth and Phil Bonnyman at Darlington and also at Lincoln. The new manager at Grimsby BOBBY: ???? ( that's terrible I can't remember his name now ) asked me if I would re-sign for Grimsby and to cut a long story short Grimsby could not match what Lincoln was offering.
Was it your's or Bridgette's idea of moving to the US or was it something you both had always planned to do?
Moving to the USA was always the plan when I finally retired from football.
Obviously living in the States means you can't pop into Blundell Park every Saturday but have you been back at all since you left, and do you still look out for Town's results? If so, what is your opinion on the last few years.
Since we left Grimsby in 1990 we have not been back, but hope to be in the near future. Yes I always check Grimsby's results on the Internet but it is almost impossible to form an opinion as I haven't been there to see them play.
The Town team of 1983-84 finished 5th in the old second division and is generally regarded as the best Town team of recent years. The likes of Nigel Batch, Joe Waters, PAUL: Wilkinson, Kev Drinkell, Tony Ford, Dean Crombie, Gary Lund, Kev Moore & yourself all played for Town that year - do you keep in touch with them or any of the other Town players?
The only one Iâ€™ve been able to keep in touch with ( sort of ) is Deano. When you leave a place and move so far away it is really difficult to stay in touch with people no matter how good your intensions are.
You played in many positions for Town, what was your favoured position and why? You also scored 65 goals for Town in 414 appearances. Do you have a favourite game and/or goal.
If my memory serves me right the only position I didn't play for Town was in goal, but my favourite position had to be left side midfield. I loved being able to forward but I've always really been a defender at heart so this position enabled me to do both. As for my favourite game, well one game I really enjoyed was the one against Everton at home in the cup when we won 2-1. As for my favourite goal, well I mean, there was so many good ones, HA/HA I guess the goal I scored against Sheffield Wed. at home when I was moved up to play centre forward when Drinky was sent off. Do you remember who the centre half was for Sheffield?
It has to be said that although you were not exactly short on skill you will always be remembered for many a crunching tackle on the opposition players. Stu Morton a Town fan living in France asks :
Were you so violent because the opposition took the p*ss out of your surname ?
Well Stu, I never considered myself "violent" I just looked after myself and as the old saying goes " Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me"
Once you got your "hard man" reputation, did you feel obliged to continue to please the crowd (we loved it, got more cheers than a goal when opponents flew up in the air), or was it out of sheer pleasure ?
I wasn't the biggest of players therefore I used all the strength I could muster whenever I was making a tackle on an opponent, as most of them were bigger and stronger than me and yes it did give me pleasure, wouldn't you?
Do any of you sons look like following in dads footsteps?
Both my boys are playing and I have to say they have a lot more skill at this stage than I had at there age. So if they want to take up this profession then I will back them all the way.
Over recent years we've seen referee's sending players off for fouls which, ten years ago, would not even have earned a booking. Do you think this is good for the game or do you think over reacting referees are ruining the game?
It's not so much the Referees over reacting but being conned by players faking injury from a tackle. What I mean by this is with the continental influx of players into the U.K. they have brought with them that if you lose possession of the ball and you are in close contact with an opposition player then fake, feign or fall down and 90% of the time the Ref will award a free kick. This in turn is ruining the flow of the game. I will say that the players from other countries can only be a good thing because of the obvious skills they have and they are a pleasure to watch but they also have bad habits they show.
Pete Green seems to remember a feud that took place between you and Allan Clarke then at Barnsley (He thinks it was Clarke anyway). He heard a story that after you "did" Clarke at Blundell Park he threatened revenge in the return fixture and it was taken so seriously that the manager at the time withdrew you from the game. Do you recall this?
Dear Pete, I do recall the incident that you are taking about but disagree with your version of what happened. As I recall I was going for the ball and he got in my way, oh well, that's how it goes sometimes!! The manager at the time did not pull me out of the return game because of any threat, I'm pretty sure I played in that game but can't be certain. Let's just say that this so called incident put some oomph!! into all the future games we had against Barnsley while Clarky was there.
Lawrie McMenemy invited you for trials with Town so I'm calculating that you played under 7 different managers. Who did you rate as the best & why? And the worst - Mick Lyons by any chance? Mentioning his name in Grimsby is still an offence you know.
I would have to say the combination of John Newman and George Kerr were the ones I learned most from, followed by Dave Booth who taught me a lot when he was still playing. Newman turned me into a wide midfielder and Kerr gave me a lot of freedom to my thing. The worst, well that would be a close call between Tom Casey and Mike Lyons, they just couldn't get it over to the player's what they wanted of them and that caused a lot of frustration and resentment from both sides.
The womenâ€™s world cup has just finished in the States & they had the world cup in 1994. Is football finally taking off in America and do you think that an American team (men's team) will ever win the World Cup?
Football is really starting a put down roots here and yes it is possible that in the near future the USA team could become a major player in the world sport.
It has to be said that although you were not exactly short on skill you will always be remembered for many a crunching tackle on the opposition players. Glenn Cowlam asks :
Can't think of any questions at the moment, perhaps over the weekend I'll come up with some. But please reiterate what Stu has said. I started watching Town regularly from 1978, & this man was my hero! I remember Town played against a team from the local leagues at King George (how topical!), I think it was for charity. Anyway I managed to get Bobby C's autograph that day, I think I had a smile for the rest of the summer. I've still got the programme with it on.
Well that seems to have taken care of all the questions you sent me and say hi to Glen and all the rest of the fans who supported Town during my stay there, truly they were great!! I hope I gave them as much pleasure watching me play as I had playing for them.
If anyone would like to contact me personally Paul, then go ahead and give them my E-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org), and tell Dave Boylen that I'd be more than happy to come for a visit if he will pick up my travelling expenses. HA/HA
PS Piece of trivia for your readers What was the nick name given to me and why??
See you later Up the Mariners.
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