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My Black And White Hero: Peter Handyside
By: Richard Lord
I'VE supported the Mariners all my life but I was a relatively late starter in attending Blundell Park to see Grimsby Town play. One of my first Cup games I went to was when I witnessed Jack Lester hit a hat-trick against Oldham and he was, at the time, one of my many favourite players.
The only other player to over-shadow him in my opinion is Peter Handyside, although it's difficult to compare the two. Pete's best season was probably the promotion season of 97/98. He was part of a record-breaking defence which kept 32 clean sheets but of course this wasn't achieved just by himself. Mark Lever, John McDermott, Tony Gallimore and Aidan Davison were the other four who stood firm in every match, helped out occasionally by Graham Rodger.
In all the games that Handyside appeared in, he gave a great account of himself. He didn't really stand out in any way but over the season my estimation of him grew as I became more aware that football wasn't just about good attacking performances and scoring lots of goals.
His performance at Wembley in the Play-off final against Northampton was worthy of the Man of the Match award, but that was given to Mark Lever because the Sky commentator Alan Brazil didn't want to be labelled biased as he was also Scottish.
The best part of Handyside's game was his anticipation. He was always the first to follow up on Pearcey, Chrichton, Davison or whoever was in goal, just in case the keeper spilt it. He was tall, dominant in the air and often marked top players out of the game. Just last season he impressed at West Brom so much that there was talk of him moving to the West Midlands club.
But for the mistakes against Palace last season and Burnley in 1998, we forgive you Peter......
Who is your Black and White Hero? Let us know and we'll publish the best submissions!
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