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Cod Head of the Week: Andrew Doherty

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 13/09/2004

THIS site is written by fans for fans and the latest installment of the new series of Cod Head of the Week is Andrew Doherty.

Home > Features > Cod Heads > Andrew Doherty

We regularly need new Cod Heads, so would appreciate contributions from lifelong supporters of the Mariners. This week's Cod Head is Andrew Doherty.

Andrew Doherty

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

Walsall on 2nd September 1967. We won 3-0. I only know the date because I borrowed my son Merlin’s football stats book. My dad took me and we went in the Barratt’s stand. Our shirts had thin black stripes and Walsall wore white shirts with red shorts. If I remember rightly, and I stand to be corrected, the line-up was Wainman - Worthington - Taylor - Ross - Rathbone (or Jobling) - Cockerill - Collins (?) - Wilson - Moore - Rudd - Martin. What I remember about that season was a succession of 0-1 home defeats, finishing up with relegation on goal average from Division 3. This didn’t curb my enthusiasm. I was hooked. Funny how I can recall 1967, but can’t remember something I was told 5 minutes ago. Perhaps that’s because it’s more important.

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

They’re all heros, even the ones who seemed to have difficulties standing up (Gary Liddell comes to mind here for some reason). If pushed, I’d have to say Clive Mendonca. Flair, skill, work rate, goals - Clive had everything. Seeing Clive’s name on the team sheet was cause for anticipation and excitement. The man should be knighted.

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

I’ve always liked night matches, and a 3-1 win vs Notts County in the League Cup in the 1979/80 season comes to mind. A superlative performance against a side in the division above us, and a springboard for a good season in this competition and the league.

What are your favourite and least favourite away grounds?

Favourite - The Valley (Charlton Athletic). Although I’ve seen Town lose there, Town have normally done well when I’ve been to the Valley. I remember watching a 3-3 draw in 1984 with my wife-to-be who spent the who spent the whole game looking at her engagement ring which I’d spent a fortune for that morning. She missed a cracking game, and our last minute equalizer. Then there was the Mendonca goal in 1996, when we won 3-1. Even Charlton supporters I know remember the goal. The Valley is a nice ground, and, for me, easy to get to. It all helps.
Least Favourite - Madejski Stadium, Reading. In spite of being the nearest to where I now live, it’s difficult to get to. Reading has hostile, aggressive supporters, miserable stewards and car park attendants, cramped conditions in the bar and toilet areas, and it’s difficult to get out of the place afterwards. Depressing and oppressive.

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

1998 apart, the best for me has to be 1971/2 when we won the 4th Division championship under Lawrie McMenemy with his squad of 12 players. I remember running onto the pitch with my cousin Roger and thousands of others after we beat Exeter 3-0 in a replayed game (the first match having been called off after 17 minutes due to fog with the score 0-0). By contrast, the mid 70s was awful. This was what my mate Gary called ‘The Idiot Era’ (referring to the managers of the time). Dreadful, mediocre stuff languishing in the bottom half of the 3rd division. 2002/3 was bad too, because relegation seemed inevitable from the start.

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

On the morning of the day we lost 5-3 away to Nottingham Forest, some optically challenged individual decided to drive straight into the side of my parked car, knocking a hole in the wing. Got to the game though after a visit to Brierley Hill Police station to report the accident, only to see us concede a farcical own goal early on, followed by a superb but fruitless fightback.

Who is the greatest ever GTFC manager?

John Newman and Lawrie McMenemy are up there, as is LM’s predecessor Bobby Kennedy who deserved more credit than he got for pulling the team round after the experience of re-election. The best of all though has to be Alan Buckley for the style of play and success we enjoyed.

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?

Nowadays I get to between 5 and 15 matches per season. Living in Basingstoke, working shifts and not having unlimited money doesn't help. Also, my son Merlin supports Swindon Town. There was a stage for a while where I was seeing more Swindon than Grimsby games. Recognising that this is a dreadful state of affairs, I have done something about it. I came to realise clearly where my loyalties lie in 1999 after taking Merlin to watch Swindon ignominiously lose 0-6 at home to Ipswich - I just didn’t care and remember thinking ‘at least it wasn't Grimsby’. I also cut down on watching Swindon because of the prices and the yobs who go to their games. I’ve been committed to the Mighty Mariners for 37 years, and must have been to well over 500 games. That’s not counting the times I’ve sat biting my nails glued to Ceefax, Final Score etc. looking out for the results and checking the tables.

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



Manager: Alan Buckley

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

The simple answer is ‘no’, and my wife Sam doesn't either, but they do come to games occasionally and are very supportive of the team and my addiction. Sam remembers the era of Tony Ford, Phil Bonny(wo)man etc and used to come regularly, although she herself is from Swindon. My eldest son Deej (14) used to support Chelsea, but preferred the merchandise to the football (typical Chelsea supporter, then) and now openly admits that he doesn't like football. He prefers computers, music and building things. He knows what he wants and I respect that. My other son Merlin (11) is more like me and is happy to stand in arctic conditions at places like Basingstoke Town and anywhere where’s a game of football. If pushed, he'd probably say that Town are his third favourite team behind Swindon and Wolves, where he was born. My daughter Revis has started to come along and enjoys the day out and the occasion. I would never try to press gang my children into supporting the Mariners. It’s up to them, but there are signs of them becoming curious .... you never know.

Andrew Doherty

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

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