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Have Grimsby Broken Any Mirrors?

By: Richard Lord
Date: 28/02/2002

JUST what Grimsby have supposed to have done to deserve such rotten luck over the past eight months is beyond anyone's estimation. Has the Man upstairs got something against the Mariners? It seems no matter what we try, the general consensus is that it is just not going to be our season.

Home > Features > Have Grimsby Broken Any Mirrors?

The recent 'curse' talk at the moment appears to suggest that whatever the club attempts to do, we will ultimately suffer. Is anyone to blame? Or is it really a case of sheer rotten luck?

It would be silly to blame individual players, management or officials for our bad luck, but we should have guessed that it was never going to be our season right from day one, when before a ball was kicked; a lad on trial called Ellison got injured.

Also let's not forget the injury to Steve Livingstone - initially described as 'sore calves' but what has since turned out to be a combination of bad circulation, tight blood vessels, a syndrome never heard of before and a cyst/blood clot. From then the scene was set and we should have predicted that what COULD go wrong, WOULD go wrong.

To begin with, everything seemed rosy. We topped the league for a day, we had success in the League Cup and we were scoring goals. There has been a lot of finger pointing as to where it all started to fall apart. Here, in chronological order, is where I believe it all started to conspire against us.

In the 2-1 home defeat to Gillingham, John McDermott suffers a bad calf injury and is on the sidelines for the next four or five months. Without our Mr Reliable at right back, we have experimented with Butterfield, Chapman and a certain Alan Nielson.

Event Number Two was the failure to get David Beharall on an extended loan. Nobody may have knew his name when he came to the club, but his performances were impressive and he was always part of a nice neat and tidy defence.

Although the 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield in the League Cup was a momentous occasion, it did provide a distraction in the league, where we suffered one bad result after another and so we kept on falling down the league.

When we won against Birmingham, things started to look better, briefly. Despite a knock-back in the very next game, we suffered a last-minute deflected goal at Wimbledon that cost us a point. After a gutsy display at Wednesday (where Pouton hit the bar and Allen nearly scored from an acute angle) more bad luck.

In the game against Millwall, Boulding scored what looked like being the winner, only to be denied by an equaliser in the fourth minute of injury time, when five were signalled - where five minutes was though up of is anyone's guess. The cost? Two more points.

Then giants Manchester City visit Blundell Park and we match them for most of the game. Boulding is unlucky to hit the post, and minutes later the referee awards City a very dubious penalty, which Huckerby won and scored from.

Then in the next game at home to Wolves, Groves is very unfortunate to make minimal contact with the ball and put it past his own keeper. That cost us two points on a night when Wolves looked less than average.

In the same game Pouton breaks his ankle and it turns out that Marlon Broomes opted to leave for Sheffield Wednesday after Town couldn't finance a permanent move for the highly rated centre back.

Let us not forget that for all of the season Livingstone has been absent, McDermott has been injured and Jonny Rowan is in and out of the team through injury. Also Stacy Coldicott was rarely capable of playing one match after the next.

Then we move on to more recently. There's a manager casualty and an appointment of a completely inexperienced player to help us get out of what is gradually turning in to be an impossible situation.

The new man Groves brings in Robert Taylor from Wolves, only on his home debut he was sent off for having a swipe at thin air through frustration after not winning a penalty. Enter a certain Mike Ryan and his handkerchief. That match I'm sure we would have won, and more points were dropped.

Then enter Mr Inconsistent referee Brandwood. One rule for the home team, a different rule for the away team. Noel-Williams onside, McDermott offside? Make your mind up, please! More points dropped. Also Taylor gets injured. Can we suffer any more bad luck?


Gallimore is sent off for a clumsy challenge, which would surely only warrant a yellow card if the referee took time to consult his linesman, something he didn't often do in that particular game, to Town's disadvantage.

And now we have had to endure even more bad luck in the form of Martin Pringle's injury. With him and Todd at the club things looked on the up and I for one, certainly believed that we were sorted with those two from Charlton. Enter Dave Challinor and referee Battenburg.

Now Todd is out for at least another week or so. So I ask you, what have we done to deserve all this? An unfit Campbell, an injured Livingstone, a stuck-in-the-middle-of-nowhere Rowan, an unhappy Jevons, a lacklustre Butterfield, a fits-and-starts Coldicott and a part-time Allen?

I have to be honest and admit that the managerial shake-up is a minute event in context as to what has happened over the course of the season, and how we are still in with a fighting chance of survival after enduring poor performances from Ryan, Brandwood and Battenburg, amazes me completely.

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