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Cheltenham v Grimsby Preview
By: Alex Green
ONCE Upon A Time men and some women woke up in early August not filled with optimism and hope but in fact did nothing much more than sow the fields and die of smallpox.
Alas my fair maiden’s times have changed and now fields are sown by Polish immigrants and we have something to entertain ourselves as the nights draw in and that annoying bloke at work is already telling us how many weeks are left to Christmas. Yes it’s finally here introducing the new improved Coca Cola League Two 2009-2010 football season! Ok so it’s not improved but it’s back thank god!
So here it is, the summer was as long as the season prior but we made it through, we all survived a summer of no World Cup, no Euro Championships and a summer completely devoid of sun. The season starts like the last successful one ended against Cheltenham. Yes they were promoted as baldy slap head negotiated his contract for Yeovil from the sidelines of the Millennium Stadium while in front of him Town failed to perform and were sunk 1-0 in front of the emptiest stadium since Scunny played at home (I do hope that satisfied our Scunny attendance obsessed brethrens.) Nevertheless Cheltenham have returned to thwart our new optimism as they too hope to get out of this league at the quickest opportunity.
Founded in 1887 by Albert Close White, when Location, Location, Location, Location, Location wasn't around it gave the people of this attractive town something to do before they could show Kirsty and Phil around their houses. According to the always reliable Wikipedia they were the first team to use 3 officials though no details on whether or not this actually improved the quality of decision making. The club bobbed around the non league before their promotion to the big boys table in 1999 where they have been ever since.
A disaster relegation is always a disaster unless your Birmingham which means just a year left till you're promoted again. In total The Robins used 51 players throughout the entire season, once all at the same time and they still lost to Crewe 3-0! They conceded over 100 goals in all competitions and their fate was sealed on the penultimate day of the season with a 3-0 defeat against those lovely Scunny people.
Surely it has to be an immediate return to League One. The Robins have had a revolving door at Whaddon Road this year no less than 14 players have left the club while just 8 have come into replace them. Even with the smaller squad and last year still playing on his mind Martin "don't call me mad dog" Allen is confident of the clubs chances this season.
"We've lost a lot of players and there was a lot of doom and gloom after relegation, but now I've got a really good bunch of young players and we're really looking forward to it and we're ready."
Neil Grayson, born in York in 1964. Grayson was snapped up by Cheltenham for £15,000 from Hereford in 1998. Grayson spearheaded Cheltenham’s football league promotion in 1999 been named the Conference Player of the Year as a result in 162 games Grayson clocked up some 48 goals including a spectacular 30 yard volley against Plymouth. Such was the admiration for Grayson in Cheltenham that he was awarded cult hero in both the Football Focus competition and FourFourTwo magazine. He currently plays for non league Glapwell just outside Chesterfield.
Small and very League Twoesque, Whaddon Road or to give its official title The Abbey Business Stadium holds 7,066 just over half of which is seated. The small compact ground is nestled near the Cotswold Hills and is over two miles from the town train station. It won't be the greatest ground we visit this year but it won't be the worst either. It has good leg room ok views and a very loud PA system.
All that comes to mind is Cardiff, I remember the large support considering the distance but the rest of the day is misted in booze and partying I'm afraid. I've never been to Grimsby but I saw the club play here twice and we were out played both times. With your problems last year I'm sure you will come back fighting I just hope you wait a week first.
Steady. Like most clubs down here Cheltenham’s first duty is to survive average attendances for the last 3 years have jumped around the low 4,000 and the high 3,000 and though the club has the town of around 100,000 to itself and the county of Gloucester to itself. The south west is predominantly oval ball territory and with Gloucester Rugby Club one of the biggest in the country on its doorstep it would be hard for the club to branch out and that’s before you discuss the matter that both Bristol and Birmingham are around an hour away in each direction.
Notable players include the annoying jock Andy Gray, Steven Gillespie and former manager once shortlisted for the Town job Steve Cotterill.
It’s the start of the season so who knows who will be anyone’s big game player but if we go from last season and the fact I like his name it’s got to be ELVIS HAMMOND. The Ghanaian international with 1 cap scored 5 in 17 starts last season and that in a squad haemorrhaging goals and struggling in the league it’s an impressive tally. The 28 year old started at Fulham as a trainee before moving on loan to Bristol Rovers in 2001 then again on loan to Norwich as well as overseas his final loan spell was in Leicester where he impressed enough to warrant nearly a quarter of a million been spent on him after making just 1 start and 5 from the bench. Elvis managed 59 appearances spanning 3 years in the east midlands before moving on a free last summer to Cheltenham.
Head to Head
Town have a good recent record against the Robins, they have only lost once, but of course it was the most important game.
P 5 W3D1L1F 8A 4
Cheltenham 1 Grimsby 0 (Sun 28th May 2006)
We all know what happened!
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