Grimsby Town Football Club

Grimsby Town Football ClubIntroductionEarly YearsS

A Football Report
Grimsby Town Football Club

Grimsby Town Football Club


Grimsby Town, otherwise known as the Mariners, was formed in 1878. The club is based in North East Lincolnshire, their main rivals being Scunthorpe United, Hull City and Lincoln City. The club currently plays its home games at Blundell Park, although planning permission has now been given for a move to a new stadium at nearby Great Coates.


Early years

Grimsby Town Football Club, or Grimsby Pelham FC as they were first known, was founded after a meeting held at the Wellington Arms in September 1878. Pelham was added to the team name, as it was the family name of the big landowners in the area. The club then changed its name to Grimsby Town a year later.

Grimsby were founder members of the Football Alliance in 1889, and home games were also played at Abbey Park. The club became founder members of the Football League Division Two in 1892, before leaving Abbey Park for Blundell Park in 1899.

The Mariners were crowned Division Two Champions in the 1900/01 season, earning the club promotion to Division One. H.N. Hickson then became Secretary-Manager at Blundell Park in 1902. The club lasted a mere two seasons in Division One, before facing relegation in 1903.

Season in the Midland League

Grimsby’s form dramatically declined over the next few seasons, and the club was forced to apply for re-election to Division Two following the 19th place finish in the 1909/10 campaign. The club failed to be re-elected, and were forced to join the Midland League.

Grimsby were crowned Midland League Champions at the first attempt, and were subsequently re-elected to Division Two at the expense of their rivals Lincoln City. Although the team achieved a respectable ninth place finish in the 1911/12 season, the team once again slid down the league table, until the outbreak of World War One prevented the 1915/16 league programme from getting under way.

The Mariners’ poor form continued when football resumed in 1919. This led to Grimsby’s inevitable relegation at the end of the 1919/20 campaign. H.N. Dickson left the club immediately after the relegation, and was briefly replaced by Haydn Price. This appointment only lasted a matter of months, before George Frasier became the club’s full-time manager in 1921.

Good form in the FA Cup

The club chose to transfer from Division Three South to North in 1921, before going on to win the Division Three North title in 1926. The club’s rise up the league ladder did not end there, as the Mariners finished as Division Two Runners-up in the 1928/29 season, earning promotion to Division One.

Grimsby were eventually relegated to Division Two in 1932, before regaining their Division One status in 1934 after Pat Glover fired the Mariners to the Division Two Championship. The legendary Welsh international striker hit a record-breaking 42 goals during the season, a record which still stands today. The following season saw Grimsby record their highest ever league finish, ending the 1934/35 campaign in fifth place.

The club reached the Semi-final of the FA Cup in 1936, before being knocked out 1-0 by Arsenal. Grimsby reached the same stage of the FA Cup three seasons later, after a run which saw the Mariners defeat the likes of Millwall, Sheffield United and Chelsea. However, the club was comprehensively beaten 5-0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Semi-final.

The 1939/40 league programme was abandoned after only three games due to the outbreak of World War Two.

Post World War Two

Grimsby performed poorly after football resumed in 1946. A 16th place finish in the 1946/47 campaign was followed by relegation to Division Two the following season. Another miserable run of form saw the club relegated to the Division Three North in 1951.

Bill Shankly was installed as the latest manager at Blundell Park, and he enjoyed instant success with the club. Grimsby finished as runners-up in the 1951/52 season, before later being crowned Division Three North Champions in 1956. However, the Mariners struggled to find form in Division Two, and this culminated in their relegation to the Division Three North in 1959.

Striker Ralph Hunt embarked on a remarkable scoring run the following season, scoring in each of Grimsby’s first ten matches. Despite missing seven games during the season, Hunt still finished as the club’s top scorer with 33 goals.

Slide down the league ladder

Although Grimsby won promotion back to Division Two in 1962, this proved to be a brief highlight in an otherwise dismal decade for the Lincolnshire club. Relegation to Division Three in 1964 was soon followed by relegation to Division Four in 1968, capping an awful few seasons at Blundell Park.

The problems at Grimsby were further emphasised, as the team finished in a lowly 23rd position in their first season in Division Four. The team were unable to improve on this position significantly in the seasons that followed, prompting the Grimsby board to bring in Lawrie McMenemy as the club’s new manager in 1971.

McMenemy guided the Mariners to the Division Four Championship in the 1971/72 season, before leaving the club in 1973. A young Tony Ford MBE made his debut for Grimsby in October 1975, and became the youngest ever player to pull on the Mariners’ black and white shirt.

Ford also went on to play 931 matches in the English league, which is a record which still stands to this day. To the fans’ disappointment, the team was unable to climb the league ladder further, and Grimsby were relegated back to Division Four in 1977.

Further promotions and relegations

Hopes were rekindled on the Lincolnshire coast in the late 1970’s when the Mariners achieved back-to-back promotions against all odds. Promotion was achieved in the 1978/79 season, as Grimsby finished as league runners-up. This success was immediately followed by promotion to Division Two, as the Mariners won the Division Three title in 1980.

The club looked to consolidate in Division Two for a number of years following their promotion. However, after years of cementing their position in English football’s second tier, Grimsby suffered successive relegations in 1986/87 and 1987/88.

It took the club two seasons to gain promotion back to Division Three, after finishing as league runners-up in the 1989/90 campaign. In a remarkable turn around, the Mariners achieved promotion to Division Two the following season on goal difference.

Success in the Play-offs

Division Two was then re-designated as Division One after the formation of the Premier League in 1992. The team largely struggled in Division One, and were eventually relegated after the 1996/97 campaign.

The 1997/98 season saw Grimsby qualify for the Play-offs after finishing third in the league. After beating Fulham 2-1 in the Semi-final, the Mariners beat Northampton Town 1-0 in the Final at Wembley to reach Division One.

The team found life hard in Division One, and regularly finished the season in the bottom half of the table. The 2002/03 season proved to be one relegation battle too many, and Grimsby slipped into Division Two. The club suffered a second successive relegation the following season, before Division Three was re-designated as League Two in 2004. Grimsby faced financial crisis in 2005 when ITV Digital collapsed.

The club was left stranded with £2,000,000 worth of debt, and the board struggled to find new revenue streams to help with the repayments. An agreement was eventually settled with the Inland Revenue, whereby the money could be paid back in a series of payments, thus securing the long-term future of Grimsby Town Football Club.

Recent times

The team reached the League Two Play-off Final in the 2005/06 campaign. The Mariners beat local rivals Lincoln City 3-1 on aggregate in the Semi-final, before ultimately losing 1-0 to Cheltenham Town in the Final at the Millennium Stadium. During the season, long-serving full-back, Terry McDermott, made his 500th league appearance for Grimsby in the 1-0 victory over Peterborough United. McDermott also went on to play his 700th league and cup game in September in the 3-0 win against Torquay United.

Club Honours

  • Football League Division One (best season): 5th, 1934/35
  • Football League Division Two Champions: 1900/01, 1933/34
  • Football League Division Two Runners-up: 1928/29
  • Promoted from Division Two (via the Play-offs): 1997/98
  • Football League Division Three North Champions: 1925/26, 1955/56
  • Football League Division Three North Runners-up: 1951/52
  • Football League Division Three Champions: 1979/80
  • Football League Division Three Runners-up: 1961/62
  • Football League Division Four Champions: 1971/72
  • Football League Division Four Runners-up: 1978/79, 1989/90
  • FA Cup Semi-finals: 1936, 1939
  • Football League Cup (best season): 5th rd, 1980, 1985
  • Football League Group Cup Winners: 1982
  • Auto Windscreens Shield Winners: 1998

Club Records

  • Record League Victory: 9-2 v Darwen, Division Two, 15 April 1899
  • Record Cup Victory: 8-0 v Darlington, FA Cup 2nd rd, 21 November 1885
  • Record Defeat: 1-9 v Arsenal, Division One, 28 January 1931
  • Most League Goals: 103, Division Two, 1933/34
  • Highest League Scorer in Season: Pat Glover, 42, Division Two, 1933/34
  • Most League Goals in Total Aggregate: Pat Glover, 180, 1930-1939
  • Most League Goals in One Match: 6, Tommy McCairns v Leicester Fosse, Division Two, 11 April 1896
  • Most Capped Player: Pat Glover, 7, Wales
  • Youngest League Player: Tony Ford, 16 years 143 days v Walsall, 4 October 1975
  • Record Transfer Fee Received: £1,500,000 from Everton for John Oster, July 1997
  • Record Transfer Fee Paid: £500,000 to Preston North End for Lee Ashcroft, August 1998

Longest Sequences

  • Longest Sequence of League Wins: 11, 19/1/1952-29/3/1952
  • Longest Sequence of League Defeats: 9, 30/11/1907-18/1/1908
  • Longest Sequence of League Draws: 5, 6/2/1965- 6/3/1965
  • Longest Sequence of Unbeaten League Matches: 19, 16/2/1980-30/8/1980
  • Longest Sequence Without a League Win: 18, 10/10/1981-16/3/1982
  • Successive Scoring Run: 33 from 6/10/1928
  • Successive Non-Scoring Run: 6 from 11/3/2000

Contact and Ticket Information

For club enquiries and tickets contact:

Blundell Park,
North East Lincolnshire,
DN35 7PY
Main Reception (tel): 01472 605 050 Ticket Office (tel): 01472 605 050

For ticket information online see the Club Website

Travel Information

By road

The ground is located on the edge of the neighbouring town of Cleethorpes. Follow the signs for Grimsby on the M180, and continue along this road when it becomes the A180. This road runs right past the ground, and a McDonalds is directly adjacent to Blundell Park.

By rail

Cleethorpes Railway Station is about a mile from the ground, and takes roughly 15-20 minutes to walk. Exit the station and turn right, then turn left onto Station Road. At the end of Station Road, turn right onto the High Street. Follow this road down to the roundabout, where you turn right onto the Grimsby road (A180). Continue straight for approximately half a mile, and you will see the floodlights of the ground on your right. Turn right into Neville Street, and then left into Harrington Street. The entrance to the Osmond Stand for away fans is on the left.