The Grimsby Town FC


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Then and now!
Then and now!

One Hundred Years Ago

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 31/05/2010

EXACTLY 100 years ago Grimsby were relegated from the Football League, although in those days there were only 2 divisions. The 1909-10 season was not dissimilar to the one just ended: a terrible start, FA cup humiliation to non-league Bristol Rovers, and a large squad of 34 players failing to gel.

In 1909-1910 Town were humiliated in the final of the Lincolnshire Cup to their deadliest rivals Lincoln City. The Mariners lost 4-0 away against a side who had hardly ever beaten them in the past. In those days the Lincolnshire Cup was a huge tournament for the top sides in the area and losing to the "Cits" was a bitter blow.

Grimsby improved in the second half of the campaign and they could have avoided relegation on the final day, but they only drew 1-1 at Gainsborough and their fate was sealed when they failed re-election, Huddersfield Town being the beneficiaries.

In the end Town won just 9 games in 1909-10, the same total they managed 100 years later (they played 38 games in those days, not 46 like now). Their goal difference was -23; 100 years later it was -26. Their final position was of course second bottom, exactly as it was today.

The following year in the Midland League Town were up against some strong sides, mainly the reserve sides of established league teams such as Sheffield Wednesday. Town started with a 1-0 win at Forest reserves, and then went on a tremendous run, eventually winning the championship on the final day of the season with a 4-0 victory over Rotherham at Blundell Park.

Town also went on a good cup run that season, drubbing Croydon Common twice (the first match was declared invalid), and thumping Crewe 5-1. They lost to the eventual winners Bradford City.

Even though Grimsby finished top they still had to secure election to the league. The club secretary Harry Hickson went and canvassed several league sides to try and secure their votes, travelling over 1800 miles to do so in an era before cars were used. The Mariners finally won election to the league after a rousing speech by Grimsby MP Sir George Doughty to the Football League! They won the ensuing vote by a margin of one!

Their re-instatement to the league was sweetest of all as it came at the expense of rivals Lincoln City, who were booted into the very Midland League from whence Town came.

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