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Dave Boylen
Dave Boylen

The Talent in Grimsby

By: Dave Boylen
Date: 12/04/2006

FOOTBALL has always been in my blood, and when I walked out of Grimsby Town which is twenty years ago now, I joined Drewey Sports and Social club in the Lincs League which was owned by an ex-Grimsby Town Director Rolie Drewery.

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I formed a very good team indeed and we won the treble in the first season, which at that time was some achievement. The team consisted of players of the calibre of Stuart Gray (who played with me at Town with Laurie Mac), John Lakin, Bob Marshalsea, Owen Simpson - all proven hard ex-pros who knew the game inside out, coupled with also a good squad of young players. The ingredients were all there, unfortunately we were too successful too soon, and Rolie Drewery's plans to build a new ground fell on hollow ears and the team broke up. Which was a great shame because it opened my eyes as to how many good players had slipped through the net for one reason or other. Football is always about opinions and in my eyes Town had missed out on a awful lot of good talent that had been allowed to pass them by.

I played for at least twenty years in the local level of football, Saturday and Sunday football, and really enjoyed it, playing against Town supporters who had cheered me on and maybe booed me has well. It was really a good experience for me, and I felt that I was giving something back to local football. I was always available to give some young kid a bit of advice on or off the football field because I believed football is for sharing not for hiding and also with me being a qualified part-time Youth Worker I believed in those ethics.

One of the teams that I played for was the Famous Tartan Forties which was formed by a ex-Town Legend Jimmy Bloomer. Although Jimmy had long retired from Tartan Forties it was being run by a guy who I have the utmost respect for, Billy Callender. Billy was the life and soul of Tartan Forties and, believe it or not, we actually won a championship and I was nearly forty-five, and I might add every bit forty-five.

The old spirit was there along with some really good players John Lakin, Mike Czursman, Roy Gladwell, Brian Bloomer (Jimmy`s son who was a Grimsby Town ex-Footballer) who made a few appearances in the first team, and whose son Mathew went on to play for Town. The two years I had at Tartans are included with my time at Town as some of the best times I have ever had in Football. It was like playing in Manchester Football again, every team we played against all wanted to beat us.

What we used to do was let the opposition have the ball for the first twenty minutes, and then when they got tired we would get the ball and run rings around them. It was called experience, something you could not buy, but after the games the opposition were always friendly and were proud that they had played against the famous Tartan Forties and usually got beat. I have to say this: it really disappointed me that all the time I played in local football, which was in the region of twenty years, not once did anybody at Town ever ask my opinion about any local footballers, and remember I played for Town for over thirteen years, and if anybody had a right to give a honest opinion about a player it was me.

Town need the backing of local football, out there on the Nunsthorpe estate is another Tony Ford; on the Willows is another Kev Drinkell; towards Westward Ho there will be a family of Moores, who all served the Mariners magnificently; in Scartho also there will be a Paul Wilkinson. The point I am making is that there is talent in this town, just look at all the kids that are playing all over it.

Sorry I don't go with the opinion that there is no talent in the is town of ours. It was not an accident that in one year all those young Grimsby lads came through and there are a lot of other players I could mention, Terry Donovan, for instance. The talent is there, it is finding it is the problem.

Dave Boylen

Thanks to Dave Boylen for taking the time to answer these questions, and to Jake Olley for organising this article.

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