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Fan Scoops NZ Keeper

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 02/09/2000

Jason Batty, the 1st choice international New Zealand goalkeeper, has joined Grimsby Town on trial after being spotted by a Town fan living in New Zealand. With 43 full internationals under his belt, including six as captain, Batty is a prospect that the Mariners regard as well worth looking at.

29 year old Batty, a Kiwi by birth, started his career in the UK with Norwich City as a youth team player, before returning to his native country to pursue his career. The Kiwi international has also had spells in the USA and Singapore.

Now out of contract with the Football Kings, NZ's first professional team, where he was team captain, he has decided to look at other opportunities with offers from Grimsby, Japan and the USA. He also has a connection at Leeds United.

Peter Lilliman, a Grimsby expatriate who lives in Auckland, a keen Mariners fan and member of Grimsby Town International Supporters Club, spotted Jason playing in NZ and followed his career. Knowing that Jason wanted to move on, Peter contacted Grimsby Town Football Club seeking a trial for Jason with the Mariners.

Assisted by Bryan Huxford, Grimsby's Vice Chairman, Peter was able to manage the arrangements in New Zealand and provide the club with the necessary documentation, player CV's and videos which eventually produced an offer for Jason to have a 3 month trial with the Mariners.

Peter said: "I had to convince the board of directors, through Bryan Huxford, that Jason is a superb, outstanding keeper, and I believe the video I sent, which the board viewed must have convinced them to offer him a trial.

"Jason was approached by two or three other clubs for his services, but still decided to join Grimsby, as he said that it's the ultimate dream for any soccer player to be chosen to play in the higher ranks of English soccer and Jason has promised, given the opportunity, to give Town 100%."

Peter, a Grimsby expatriate, was born in Scartho Village. He attended Scartho primary school, then Nunsthorpe and Chelmsford secondary schools.

After leaving school he joined the Royal Navy, from there becoming an engineer with Port Line Shipping Co, after which in 1971 he emigrated to NZ.

Peter owns a company called Cargo Glide Systems, who deal with manufacturing, supplying and servicing air cargo equipment. Cargo Glide Systems sponsored all of Jason's travel arrangements and costs to enable him to join the Mariners

Jason left New Zealand on Friday and arrived in Grimsby today where he was met by Bryan Huxford who will be introducing him to the club and the players.

Congratulations to Peter on what is a wonderful story of devotion to his football team, despite living on the opposite side of the world.

Kiwi Scouts with Jason
"Kiwi Scout" Peter Lilliman with Jason Batty and son Roger Lilliman after securing the deal for Grimsby Town FC

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