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🔎 The Opposition: Grimsby Town (A)

Jed Penberthy takes a look at Saturday's opponents

18 February 2021

Exeter City return to St James Park this Saturday, to play bottom-of-the-league Grimsby in a 1pm kick-off.

Ahead of the match, Jed Penberthy looks in depth at our out of form visitors from the North East…

  • Founded: 1878
  • Nicknames: The Mariners
  • Honours: Division 2 (1900/01, 1933/34), Sivision 3 (1979/80), Division 3 North (1925/26, 1955/56), Division 4 (1971/72), Football League Trophy (1998).
  • Home Kit: ERREA Black and White striped shirt with red trim, black shorts, black and white socks.
  • Away Kit: ERREA Blue shirt with light blue sleeves, blue shorts, blue socks.
  • Form: LLLDL (24th in League Two)

Grimsby Pelham FC as they were originally known, came into being at a meeting at the local Wellington Arms in 1878. Pelham is the family name of the landowners in the area, the Earls of Yarborough. After a year, the club changed its name to Grimsby Town.

The Royal Dockyard is famous for its fishing and maritime history. The Youngs Seafood Company and long-time sponsor of Grimsby Town distribute 40% of the fish eaten in Britain today. During the Second World War, Grimsby dock was the largest base for minesweepers in the North Sea. Local trawlermen from Grimsby were inscribed through national service to work in the Patrol Service.

The Football Club have had an affluent past but have failed to make hay in recent years. In 1892, Grimsby were elected as an Original Member of Division 2. By the turn of the 20th Century Grimsby had won their first Division 2 title and were promoted to the First.

After several relegations, the Mariners were promoted to Division 1 again in both 1929 and 1934. In the post-war period, Grimsby were relegated out of the top tier for the last time. After brief spells in the Second tier in 1992-97, and 2003-04, Grimsby began their slide down the football pyramid until their relegation to the Conference in 2010. Upon promotion in 2016 the Mariners have yet to finish in the top half of the League Two table and ended last year in 15th.   

The Manager

Paul Hurst

Returning for his second spell at Blundell Park, Hurst had been touted with the Bradford job, before settling back in Lincolnshire.

The Rotherham legend played over 430 games for the Millers between 1993 and 2008. After fifteen years at the club, the decision to release him led Paul into management initially at Ilkeston Town. Alongside Rob Scott, the pair earned promotion at their first two clubs before moving to Grimsby for the first time in 2011. Scott’s departure in 2013 left Hurst in sole charge and at the fifth attempt in 2016, Grimsby finally returned to the Football League beating Forest Green at Wembley.

After an impressive start to his Football League management career, he was snapped up by Shrewsbury. Four-and-a-half years down the line, Hurst is back at Blundell Park after Ian Holloway’s resignation with the mammoth task, as the Mariners sit rock bottom of League Two

The Stadium

  • Name: Blundell Park
  • Capacity: 9,052
  • Year opened: 1899
  • Address: Blundell Park, Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, DN35 7PY
  • Record Attendance: 31,651 (vs Wolves FA Cup 1937)

Blundell Park.JPG

Actually in Cleethorpes, not Grimsby, Blundell Park has been home to Town since 1899. Before then, the Mariners played at Clee Park (1880) and Abbey Park (1899). Situated in the heart of a residential area and just a stones throw from the Cleethorpes seawall Blundell Park is the UK’s Lowest football stadium at just 2 feet above sea level.

The all-seater stadium has had a plethora of renovations in its time, though the Main stand has stood since 1901, claimed as the oldest in the Football League. Only the central part dates back though, as the rest has been modified for obvious safety reasons.

As costs of renovations continue to rise in the last 30 years, Grimsby have hoped to move to a brand-new stadium. After the appointment of Ian Holloway in December 2019, a new stadium in the Freeman Street area was announced as the “top of the wish list” for the Council.  

One To Watch

Matt Pollock

A frustrating season so far for Grimsby going forward, highlight by the fact their top scorer is a centre-back. Son of Jamie, the 19-year-old has four goals in all competitions (three in League Two). He represented Leeds at youth level before moving to Lincolnshire in 2018.

Matthew Pollock.jpg

He made his professional debut at St James Park in Grimsby’s 2-1 victory over Exeter in 2018, coming on as a 52nd minute substitute. His first senior goal came this season against Carlisle and has since pitched in the most strikes for Town this campaign.

Head to Head

Tuesday will be the 39th fixture between Exeter City and Grimsby Town. Out of the nine draws shared, five of them have finished 0-0. There have been 104 goals distributed but only nine in the last five games.

City are unbeaten in their last five visits to Blundell Park stretching back to 1991, stretching that run with a 4-1 victory earlier on this season.

  • Exeter wins: 15
  • Draws: 9
  • Grimsby wins: 15

Recent encounters

Grimsby 1-4 Exeter City | December 1, 2020

Matt Jay stood out with two goals in a ruthless away victory, whilst Randell Williams and Ryan Bowman also found the target.

Grimsby Town 0-1 Exeter City | January 18, 2020

Nicky Law scored the all-important goal in the Grecians last visit to Cleethorpes.

Exeter City 1-3 Grimsby Town | September 19, 2019

Ryan Bowman’s 94th minute goal was little consolation as Grimsby humbled City in the only home defeat of the 2019/20 season.

Exeter City 1-2 Grimsby Town | December 29, 2018

Mitch Rose’s 80th minute penalty was enough for the visitors just two minutes after Jayden Stockley’s headed equaliser. 

And Finally…

Whilst writing and producing the spy comedy “Grimsby”, Sacha Baron Cohen visited the town in October 2014, watching Grimsby Town play Cambridge United at Blundell Park and touring the fish market as well as pubs including Cottees Bar on Freeman Street and the Corporation Arms.

Hollywood screenwriter Phil Johnston also made the trip north, taking in Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Hull and Newcastle in a 10-day tour.

In the film, ‘Nobby’ played by Cohen supports the fictional Grimsby United.

How to Watch

Whilst we would love you to be there, showing your passionate support for the Grecians, you can get the next best thing by purchasing a match pass at the cost of just £10 in the UK. The stream includes the live BBC Radio Devon commentary, score overlay and replays.

To purchase a match pass please click here.
 
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