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Should I stay or should I go?

19 February 2017

This perils of leaving early figure large in your letters, whether it's from a cup tie with Fulham, an abandoned match at Swindon or the club leaving Blundell Park.


Following my letter about a great Town comeback against Manchester City in 1951 I got to thinking of other games and immediately remembered one in April 1967 when the roles were reversed.

The Mariners' opponents were Swindon Town and there were about twenty minutes left and, with Town 3-1 up, quite a number of the crowd had left, confident that the win was pretty much assured. Swindon's star, left winger Don Rogers, suddenly decided to turn it on and, using an astonishing turn of speed, proceeded to rip the defence apart and turned a 3-1 deficit into a winning 4-3 triumph, leaving everyone totally stunned. On the evidence of that display many people must have wondered why Don never appeared for England.

Incidentally, Town had ex-Busby Babe Bobby Smith, signed from Scunthorpe United, at right-half and it was thought the Mariners had pulled off a great coup because his performances for the Iron had attracted great interest from other clubs. However, he seldom reproduced the outstanding performances of his time with Scunthorpe and sadly moved away, all too prematurely.


from Harry Buck

Missing Miss Guest Diary

I just wanted to say a big "Thank you" to Miss Guest Diary for her entertaining and forthright diaries over the years. I hope that we haven't read the last of her.

from Martyn Wyburn

Forward-thinking Fenty

I have to say, reading the article in the Telegraph about how this January overhaul of our team gives the boys time to gel and start next season with a settled squad fills me with joy. I applaud John Fenty for having the foresight to see what a good idea this is and to support Marcus Bignot in his endeavours to build his own team.

After season upon season of summer reactionary signings it is fantastic to see forward thinking and planning come to the fore.

from Steve McKatt

Town v Fulham: FA Cup, 3rd round, 1954

This encounter 63 years ago was certainly the most dramatic finish I ever witnessed.

Fulham had a young Johnny Haynes in the side that day. He later went on to captain England and was to become the first player to be paid £100 a week under chairman Tommy Trinder. Town were in the old Third Division (North) and their visitors a top half Second Division outfit.

An end-to-end first half ended with the score at 3-3 with a red-haired inside forward called Taylor being the star for the visitors. The end-to-end stuff continued in the second period. Fulham went ahead again but Town were gifted an own goal by the visiting centre-half with little time left. Then Jimmy Hill administered what appeared to be the coup-de-grace in the dying seconds and we all thought that was that.

Town's centre-forward Jimmy Bloomer had other ideas! He placed the ball on the centre spot and swept it out to Jimmy Maddison on the left wing. He took it up to right-back John Chenhall went round him for the umpteenth time and pumped it head high into the Fulham penalty area. The diagonal cross was then glanced into the net from Jimmy Bloomer's head after he had borne down on the Fulham goal from the kick-off. No Fulham player had touched the ball from it being fished out of Town's net to it hitting the other net. Never have I seen a crowd of people so stirred before or since.

Town lost the replay at Craven Cottage but nothing could take away the memory of that wonderful day when two teams shared 10 goals! The magic of the FA Cup? You bet!

from Harry Buck

Leaving early

I had a nightmare day at Bristol City in the 90's. I got delayed in traffic on the M4 and arrived 10 minutes late. Town were already one down, soon to be two, as I took my seat. We were four down at half time. A thoroughly miserable day. The second half was pretty uneventful. It was one of the two times I've left early, and just as I got out ground, I heard a little celebration, having missed Grovesie scoring.

The other time? That was at Swindon, though everyone else did also. The players could hardly keep balance in the pre-game 'warm up'; the pitch was frozen solid. They kicked off but abandoned the match around 10 minutes in. Though Swindon kindly gave away the dog burgers they had already prepared.

from Jase Ives

Letters Ed responds: If that Swindon game is the one I think, in that 10 minutes we had Graham Rodger sent off and had just conceded a goal when the ref called time. Safe to say the Mariners players were less reluctant to call it a day than the Swindon ones.

Is there an alternative?

Your diary on the proposed new ground was interesting, but in my opinion lacked an alternative view by yourselves as to "what if" should we not take that direction.

If staying at Blundell Park, with all its in-built nasties and parking problems, is your alternative (and I don't know that this is the case) what would your ideas be to improve the ancient ground without spending a few millions of pounds - that we have not got - on adjoining property clearance for new stands etc. It would have been interesting for your article to have debated the cost of staying and how much extra would have to be raised in gate monies - ie extra bums on seats or higher admission - to pay for the needed improvements. Of course the street parking and summer congestion would still continue to the annoyance of the locals.

Therefore it would be my opinion that, which ever way the club goes, its going to cost millions. Peaks Parkway may be the most expensive decision, but at least it will be a shared one and one that grabs the imagination of the majority.

He who dares wins (Gulp)

from John Montford

Letters Ed responds: Good questions, but bear in mind this whole debate has been conducted on the basis of back of an envelope figures, and assumptions and assertions where there should be a costed business case. To single us out for lack of data seems a bit harsh. We very much agree we want a shared decision, but that can only follow a properly informed debate

Thanks to Harry, Martyn, Steve, Jase and John for writing. Please send letters to Cod Almighty using our feedback page