The Grimsby Town FC


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Question of the Week

How happy are you with the GTFC board?

Very happy
Very unhappy


Stephen Bateman

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 17/12/2000

Please could you give a brief introduction of yourself.

I'm a Lincoln Mariner whose manic-depressive tendencies lend themselves to supporting Grimsby Town...or is that the other way round?! <

Stephen Bateman
Stephen Bateman

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

Back in the early-eighties my old man took me to see Town vs. Sunderland with the dubious intention of converting me to a 'Makkum'. He failed largely because we went in the Pontoon and I realised from a young age that there was safety in numbers - never looked back.

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

My head says Bonetti - the usual plaudits, but my heart definitely says Futcher - a man well past his best giving all that he had for 90 minutes and showing these young whipper-snappers a thing or two with his footballing nouse. I always see a lot of Futcher in Handyside, whereas I tend to think of a part of Bonetti in other places!

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

Charlton away in 96/7 I think it was - John Oster ran the Addicks ragged and Livvo slammed in a scissors-kick! You had to see it to believe it! We also managed to find what seems to be the only chippy in London that does chips and gravy.

What are your favourite and least favourite away grounds?

Favourite has to be Doncaster for non-Town reasons I'm afraid. A mate and I were at a loose end, so we stuck a pin in the mid-week fixtures and went to see Donny vs. Mansfield in the middle of November. We were collared by a steward at half-time who started banging on about Jim Dobbin being a master bridge player!? Then his young assistant who looked like he'd been clobbered in the face with a shovel after trying to escape from a mine-shaft appeared and told us how Dobbo could drink 15 pints before training and still run the arse off the rest of the squad. Hmmm...much chin-scratching and hilarity amongst the Donny regulars in the second-half - not to mention the sideways glances.
The worst is the McAlpine - sterile, cold, and slap-bang in the middle of Yorkshire.

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

The best is obviously the Wembley season, the worst was the beginning of the Mike Lyons tyranny. I'll always remember my mate Bully stopping his Renault 5 just outside Louth before walking into a fallow-field and unleashing a primal scream after hearing Lyons blathering on about good times being just around the corner in a Radio Humbs. interview. He's a psychiatric nurse these days...Bully, that is, not Lyons.

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

Now there's one to go at! For bad memories it's Port Vale after we secured First Division status on the last day of the season with a 1-0 away win. We got p****d wet through, then with about 10 minutes to go the Vale fans thronged the pitch and charged the Town end at the whistle. Very nasty. On the way out of the ground we were collared by a bunch of Vale yobbo's and took a bit of a beating - the girlfriend even got a clout in the chops. Not at all pleasant.

On the bright side...ish... we got beaten 0-3 by Oldham around Christmas time a few years ago - an absolute shocker. I went out with a few friends in Sheffield after the match and lo and behold there was Grovesie in one of the nightclubs (can't remember the name, it was the local meat-market anyhow). Some lads were winding him and his mates up, Grovesie was a bit the worse for wear and threw a punch at one, missed, went arse-over-tit, and was promptly thrown out by the bouncers. How we chuckled!

Who is the greatest ever GTFC manager?

Achievement-wise, in my lifetime it has to be Buckley, although along with being great he also grated on me. Hopefully in 10 years time I'll be able to say that that's a silly question obviously it's Lennie Lawrence, otherwise we wouldn't be in the Champions League, would we?

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?

I don't get to nearly as many as I'd like to - I've no longer got any close family in Grimsby and travelling from Lincoln is not as easy as you'd think without a car. When I can afford it I get to the away Midlands games and probably about 8-10 home games per season.

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

Batch, Croft, McDermott, Futcher, Tilson, Ford, Cunnington, Waters, Bonetti,Mendonca,Drinkell.

If you have any, do your children support the Mariners?

I don't have any as yet, but I'm open to offers from women who'll let me have a go! Come the day they'll be allowed the freedom of choice that every parent should long as it's a local League side and it's not Lincoln, Scunthorpe or Hull!

Stephen Bateman

If you would like to be a Cod Head please send an email at once to Rob Sedgwick.

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