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Grimsby Town - The Nightmare Continues
By: Chris Smith
WORDS don’t normally fail me but they did in parts today. This is one of the few times I’ve seen the first home game of the season as I’m normally on holiday somewhere. At this rate, I could end up reversing to type. As we often said last year, the highlight of the day was having a roast dinner at my mum’s and then the day went downhill from there.
I came over on the rail replacement bus last night and that was the first niggle-being charged a full rail fare to travel on a less than executive coach. It was strange arriving at Town station at what used to be closing time on a Friday night and finding the area very quiet. When I was a young drinker, the place would be heaving, as would those who had over-imbibed. If we had a big away following expected, there would be a few laddoes hanging around to see if there were any early arrivals (presumably to give advice about the best B&Bs, buy them a few beers and introduce their sisters) and half of Humberside Police trying to keep the spill-outs from the various Old Market pubs apart. Happy daysh, shorry offisher, only kidding.
I’d arranged to meet Simon and pick up some programmes I’d bought off The Fishy the other week in what was a good start to the day. I made a quick visit to Top Town and then went to a pub for a companionable drink with my youngest brother who is probably dying to get back to the Persian Gulf after the latest showing. After listening to what passed for intellectual conversation there ("effing smackhead effing this effing that") it was time for the aforementioned roast dinner and a downhill curve for the rest of the afternoon.
The bus dropped us off on Grimsby Road and we wandered up to the ground full of optimism (only kidding). I had fairly high hopes before the season started but must admit the Tranmere defeat had left me thinking we might be vulnerable again this year. Whilst Crewe have had a poor couple of seasons, they have built up a reputation for playing good stuff and I just wondered...
My programme had been saved in the club shop although I haven’t mustered up the will to read it yet. It’ll probably take another hour for the wounds to heal a bit more. I was surprised to have to queue to get into the Upper Findus (I have a season ticket, don’t they know how important I am?) but there was no danger of missing kick off and I was at the front of the upper tier with ten minutes to spare. It’s always nice to bump into old friends, evaluate the size of the away support, tut, take the p*ss and then go to our reserved seats which are remarkably guano free this year. I’ve actually thought about selling phosphate rights up here before now. I’m also thinking of personalising my seat so that instead of saying "Reserved", it reads "Maaaaaaappppiiiiiittttt". I suppose it would be a tight fit as per the "Arkwright’s Tertertertreacle tertertoffee" proposal in Open All Hours but as I have a fellow muppet, Gary, sat next to me, we could spread it over the two seats. Gary and I constantly blame each other as to whose idea it was to renew our season tickets and he normally ends up bitterly mimicking himself being pulled on strings like a puppet and saying "Oh okay Chris, I’ll get a seaso" whilst putting on a falsetto voice. I managed to pull this stunt today as he renewed before me. I just wish I wasn’t so gullible.
Little Rich was telling me he’d seen some locals cheering on H*ll in their televised game in a pub, the chuffing traitors. There is no hope when Meggies and Grimbos flit from one Premiership team to another. I made a suitably disgusted huff, rolled my eyes, berated the kids of today and made my way to my seat and prepared to be entertained. (I made that last bit up)
Despite a decent sized crowd, there seemed to be a bit of a nervy atmosphere and I can’t say that I was my normal raucous self. The Pontoon were having a go, and to be fair, I could hear them for once, but congregating at one end of the stand just seems to weaken the effect. I think the open corners don’t help, and given there was a gale blowing, hopefully the noise generated blew over the Humber and disturbed the post burger and chips Saturday afternoon kip of the mudrats. Oh, and the mourning of the 21,000 or so tahger-come-latelies. The Upper Findus tried the slow tempo "Oh when the Town" and a few bursts of "Mariners" but it was fairly quiet apart from the hum of the crowd. I don’t mean the smell, oh you know what I mean. Talking of which, the pathetic numbers of Crewe fans gave it the hugely original "You’re **** and you stink of fish" to which the home fans retaliated with "We p*ss on your fish, yes we do."
I love this chant, there is just no answer to it and the rotundity of several fans at the front meant they couldn’t deny our produce being a major factor in their diet. It took me a bit of time to realise they were singing as I thought it had just been an annoying wasp buzzing ( no bad loser here). To be quite honest, they had more to cheer about as the game wore on but had it not been for yet another poxy drum, the poor following wouldn’t have been heard. I noticed billy-no-mates sat on his own near the front that didn’t even move when Crewe scored. It reminded me of a couple of near neighbours we once had in this ground which also determined us to move to the far right of the stand and laugh at the away fans as we romped to victory every game. Laugh, laugh? I thought I’d never start, and still haven’t.
As for the game, we produced you know what all again, and the first Crewe goal wasn’t a surprise. It was a nightmare for our loan keeper all the way through. I wondered if he was the secret love child of Anthony "Coco" Williams, you know the bloke whose car you could recognise by the side doors lying on the car park. However, he didn’t have size 20 boots and a flower in his buttonhole, so we gave him the benefit of the doubt. To his credit, he’s travelled a long way to be with us, and given the way the defence was playing (or not), you couldn’t have blamed him for taking his ball and going home. Sorry about the analogy but I was never allowed to be Bobby Charlton as a kid and it must still hurt. Mind you, I have his hairstyle now...
It was no surprise to see the lead extended and at half time, it was game over. I’d’ve personally settled for being a goal down then. The team were booed off, and whilst it is something I rarely care for, it had been a spineless first half and I understood the fans’ frustration. As has frequently happened at poor games (at least from our perspective), we end up watching the shipping on the Humber and our Jere pointed out that a timber ship was heading for the North Bank, carrying, quite appropriately, planks. This led me to also notice that the river was particularly brown looking which made me speculate that perhaps a ritual mass bathing had occurred over there. Don’t have a go at me, I have to make my own entertainment just lately. The last five years or so in fact.
In scenes eerily reminiscent of last year, we conceded straightaway in the second half and it was pretty much one way traffic. I think we made the Crewe goalie save a shot at about half past four. They could have had seven or eight to be quiet honest, and a well taken fourth got warmly applauded by a number of Town fans, including myself. Cue much booing at full time.
They can’t have been surprised by it. The goalkeeper had a game he’d rather forget but then so did the rest of the team. Old one I know, but if we ever start executing people in this country, the guilty would ask Boshell to be in charge of the firing squad as his shooting was terrible. Mind you, we like to cover our bets by encouraging players to shoot before shouting "You greedy b******" when they miss. We also have a habit of shouting "Big Issue!" in a very un-politically correct attempt to put off unkempt players but only singled one out today before we realised it was the impressively maned Josh Fuller who had a difficult game. Hopefully it will be a learning experience for Josh (the game not the outburst) as he had an impressive pre-season game at Bridlington.
I have to say I’m a bit worried as we do need that first win and a vastly improved performance will be needed on Tuesday night. Whilst it is early days, we have had two four nil canings in a few days and we don’t want it becoming a habit. I’ll tell you what though, I’m not going away next week after today’s offering. No way. "What’s that Gary?" Cue falsetto voice and puppet miming:
"Oh okay Gary, I’ll go to Bury."
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