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Barnsley Statto Pack

By: Richard Hubbert
Date: 02/03/2001

Saturday will be the 96th league meeting between the two clubs, a record number of games played against anyone by the Mariners. Never does a game between these two sides flatter to deceive. However, in recent years Town have become unstuck against the Tykes

Grimsby suffered a 2-0 loss earlier in the season, and two 3-0 defeats last season. So, Lennie's men will be looking for a good home win.

Past Meetings

Over recent years there have been many thrilling encounters. Most of the time with Mark Lever at the centre of the attention. It was the 1995-96 season when Town trounced the Tykes 3-1 with an own goal, Steve Livingstone and Mark Lever getting on the scoresheet. Immediately after Lever scored with a header, he ran into the post and received treatment, consequently unable to celebrate his rare goal! A moment many Town fans will never forget. But a moment Lever himself would rather forget was the next season when he was wrongfully (obviously debatable) sent off in a 3-2 loss for Town.

In a debut for loanee Alan Miller, Town played well with their goals coming from the other loanee Michael Appleton and youngster John Oster. That season Town were relegated and Barnsley were promoted, but in two seasons they were back in the same divisions.

The Player Link

There have been a bagful of players over the years that have played for both Barnsley and Grimsby. But this week we'll start back in 1952, with Town goalkeeper CLARRIE WILLIAMS who made 188 appearances for Town between the sticks. He moved on to Barnsley in 1959 but made just 24 starts with the Tykes.

Over 10 years later arrived winger FRANK SHARP who spent 3 successful years at Oakwell before a one year stint with Town, playing 26 games for the Mariners. Also in this era was forward RON WIGG who scored 12 goals in 51 games for the Mariners before joining Barnsley in 1976, where he scored 5 goals in 14 games, before retiring a few years later. Unfortunately he died in 1997 at the young age of 47.

Town's manager in the 60's TIM WARD played 33 times for Barnsley in the 1940's and 50's. Ward got Town promoted in 1962 into the second division after coming close seasons before. But he left halfway through the 1962-63 season to manage Derby County. In the 63/64 season Town finished 19th.

Forward MIKE LESTER also moved to Barnsley after scoring 10 goals for Town. Lester was signed from American side Washington Dips. He was never a regular, but his days were numbered under GEORGE KERR, who himself played 166 games for Barnsley between 1961-66. The former Lincoln and Rotherham manager masterminded Towns 1980 promotion campaign to the second division. He guided Town to 5th place in the first season back in division two, but was sacked in 1982 and replaced by DAVE BOOTH who played for Barnsley in the 60s and 70s before a move to Grimsby in 1972, where he played 199 games for Town. He was unfortunately forced to retire in 1979 after some horrendous injuries but stayed on as a trainer, until his chance came in 1982 to be manager, Booth had quite a bit of success and Town finished 5th under his guidance in the second division. He then moved to Tenerife to help in a business, which proved the wrong decision, as he quickly returned to management with Darlington, where he was largely unsuccessful.

Accomplished centre half NEIL COOPER played 57 games for Barnsley between 1979-82 before he was brought to Blundell Park by George Kerr in 1981 for a fee of £40,000. He stayed at Town until 1984, meaning he made just 47 appearances in 4 years. Welsh international IAN WALSH scored 15 goals for Barnsley in a 2 year spell from 1984-86, until a move to Blundell Park saw him score 13 in 36 games. Always a class act, his career at Grimsby was disrupted by a reported fall out with manager Mick Lyons. He left in the reign of Bobby Roberts after Town were relegated to the fourth division.

Paul WilkinsonIt was Walsh, however, who filled the boots of current Town reserve team manager PAUL WILKINSON (left). Wilkinson was influential in Barnsley's 1996/97 season promotion into the Premier league. He almost always scored against Town and did so in 1997 for Millwall. He scored 27 goals for Town in 2 years between 1984 and 1986, before he was snapped up by Everton for a fee of £300,000 after scoring the goal that knocked the Toffees out of the league cup. Everton won the first division title that season, and he went on to play for Forest, Watford, Middlesbrough and finished his career at Northampton.

Members of Alan Buckley's first reign as manager were JIM DOBBIN, PAUL FUTCHER and TONY REES. Dobbin played 155 times for the mariners, including a second spell in the Wembley year, when he covered for injuries. The following season he was reserve team captain and helped develop some of the younger Town players. But in his first spell he orchestrated the midfield with Paul Groves and will be most remembered for his blockbuster of a goal away against league leaders Newcastle.

He left under Brian Laws in 1995 and finished playing for Rotherham, Doncaster and Scarborough. Futcher was arguably the best central defender to play for Town, a former Halifax player, 'Futch' was pure class. He was skilful on the ball and a great defender. He was influential in Buckleys two successive promotions and played until 1995 when he became manager of Darlington, when he was sacked after 12 games following 11 losses and 1 draw.

Rees played for only a year at Barnsley, where he was almost surplus to requirements, until Alan Buckley brought the former Birmingham forward to Town in 1989, when he went on to play 127 times scoring 33 goals in the process. In 1993 he followed Buckley to West Brom, but was plagued by injuries. At one time it was rumoured he got injured tying a shoelace(!) But nevertheless he was a good servant and Town fans owe him a lot of appreciation for the goals that got us where we are today.

A mention of a man of tomorrow, with reserve team player ANDY SMITH watching his former team take on his new team, where he was given a 1 year contact in the summer. Hopefully we will see more of this player with his performances on the right hand side of midfield in years to come.

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