It’s Grimsby Town calling on Saturday, as Exeter City face a lengthy trip to the North-East looking to make it ten games unbeaten in Sky Bet League Two.
Here’s all you need to know on Saturday’s opponents…
- Founded: 1878 as Grimsby Pelham
- Nickname: The Mariners
- Honours: Division Two Champions (1900-01, 1933-34), Division Three Champions (1979-80), Division Four Champions (1971-72), National League Champions (2015-16), EFL Trophy Champions (1997-98).
Grimsby Town are the most successful of the three professional league clubs in Lincolnshire and are the only one to have ever played in the top flight of English Football.
The club were formed in 1878 as Grimsby Pelham and a year later became Grimsby Town, before joining the Football League in 1902.
Their most successful period in their history came after the resumption of the league following World War I, eventually reaching the First Division in 1929, where aside from a two season exile after relegation, they stayed until 1948.
1997-98 saw the Mariners reach Wembley twice, winning the EFL Trophy after beating Bournemouth thanks to Wayne Burnett’s golden goal, and again faced Northampton Town in the Division Two play-off. Kevin Donovan’s goal gave the club promotion back to Division One.
The club were relegated to the National League in 2010, but returned to the fourth tier in 2016, winning the play-off final at Wembley against Forest Green Rovers.
Proud Bristolian Ian Holloway has had an illustrious managerial and playing career, playing the bulk of his career for Bristol Rovers in three separate spells where he accumulated almost 400 appearances, scoring 41 times. He also played for West Country rivals Torquay United, as well as Wimbledon, Brentford and QPR.
His managerial break came in 1996 at Bristol Rovers, with the club deep in financial trouble. As player-manager he guided the club to the Division Two play-offs, but they were beaten by Northampton in the semi-final stage. Midway through the 2000-01 season Holloway was appointed at QPR, where he was tasked with, but subsequently failed, keeping the club in Division One. He steadied the ship in West London, eventually regaining promotion three years later and he finished 11th in his first full season in the Championship.
After being suspended and placed on gardening leave in February 2006, Holloway joined Argyle in the June, but left after just over a year in charge to take the helm at Leicester City. He became the first Foxes boss in 50 years to win their first game in charge but things would go awry as City were relegated to the third tier for the first time in their history and Holloway and the club parted company. His best spell as a manager undoubtedly came at Blackpool, who appointed him just 34 days after leaving Leicester. After less than a year in the dugout at Bloomfield Road, Holloway guided the club to the Premier League after beating Cardiff City in the play-off final at Wembley, before they won 4-0 away at Wigan in their first ever Premier League fixture. Despite relegation after just a season, he guided them once again to the play-off final, but this time West Ham beat them.
He then joined Crystal Palace left by mutual consent less than a year in, and was sacked for the first time in career when Millwall let him go the following year with the club second bottom in the Championship. He was appointed at QPR for the second time in November 2016, but left in May 2018. Just after Christmas, Holloway was handed the job at Grimsby, gaining four points from his first two games in charge.
- Name: Blundell Park
- Capacity: 9,052
- Year opened: 1899
- Address: Blundell Park, Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, DN35 7PY
Blundell Park is Grimsby’s fourth ground after Clee Park, Lovett Street and Abbey Park and opened in 1899 with a Second Division match against Luton Town which finished 3-3.
The record attendance for a game stands at 31,651 for an FA Cup clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1937, a club from who Grimsby purchased floodlights from in 1958 at a cost of £9,000.
In 2015, Grimsby received a £19,000 grant from the Football Stadia Improvement Fund which allowed the club to carry out repairs to the ground, which included maintenance to the historic floodlights.
One To Watch
James Hanson (5 goals, 5 assists)
James Hanson has been out injured since before Christmas, but is expected to make a return for the Mariners this weekend. Seasoned striker Hanson made a name for himself at Bradford City, where he featured 283 times and scored 77 goals.
Hanson was an instrumental part of the Bantams side that made it to the final of the League Cup in 2012-13, where they were beaten 5-0 by Swansea City, scoring against Aston Villa in the second leg of the semi-final. He also scored in the play-off final of that year, helping City to promotion to League One. There was more Bradford cup joy for Hanson in 2014-15 when he was part of the side that shocked Chelsea by winning 4-2 at Stamford Bridge.
Hanson joined Championship side Sheffield United in January 2017, scoring on his debut ina 4-0 win over AFC Wimbledon. A year later he was loaned to Bury before joining Wimbledon on a permanent basis in the June of that year. He signed for Grimsby in the summer and was awarded the League Two Player of the Month for January.
Season So Far
Exeter City 1 Grimsby Town 3 | September 29 2019 – Sky Bet League Two
Ryan Bowman’s consolation wasn’t enough as City suffered a rare home defeat.
Exeter City 1 Grimsby Town 2 | December 29 2018 – Sky Bet League Two
Martyn Woolford and Michael Rose scored as City ended 2018 with a loss.
Grimsby Town 0 Exeter City 0 | October 20 2018 – Sky Bet League Two
Stalemate in the North as City and the Mariners share the points.
Head To Head
- Exeter City wins: 13
- Draws: 9
- Grimsby Town wins: 15
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