A slow news Wednesday

Cod Almighty | Article

by Andy Freeman

13 December 2017

Andy recalls hazy memories of a sleepy school staff room...

Scene: some years ago in a school staff room somewhere in Grimsby in those halcyon pre-Ofsted days.

"The Mariners have just signed a new player. He's local."

"Ah, back to the days of Betmead and Buck. The Moore brothers. Those Wintringham lads. Gary Lund. Who is it?"

"Bradley Wood!"

"Perhaps it's a new 'sign local' policy? Right, a 'local' team..."

And 15 pleasant, jocular minutes later the team sheet was ready.

"So it's Ross Castle in goal. Back four of Bradley Wood, Isaac Hill, Sidney Park and Victor Street..." and seven more 'local' lads worthy to grace the Blundell Park turf. Perhaps the rather posh-sounding Havelock Academy and Franklin College were a little tenuous. Dean Skate certainly was.

The team was emailed to the Telegraph. It must have been another slow news Wednesday because it was published that evening.

"Following the signing of young Bradley Wood it's full marks to the management of GTFC for adopting a new 'local' policy when building a team for the future. Wouldn't it be wonderful to see a team containing the following players run out at Blundell Park? Ross Castle, Bradley Wood, Isaac Hill..."

Another day ticked off on the journey to retirement.

Years later the cutting from the Telegraph surfaced and a new 2017 'local' team was proposed. Of course some of the old stalwarts remained. Who could possibly think of dropping Buck Beck or midfield dynamo Victor Street? But backroom staff had been added and in these more inclusive times women were now eligible.

The team lined up as follows...

Goalkeeper: Ross Castle
Defence: Bradley Wood, Isaac Hill, Sidney Park, Buck Beck
Midfield: the Street triplets – Victor, Algernon and Eleanor Street – and Clarence Close
Up front: Pete Parkway and Dudley Place

On the bench: Cleveland Bridge, Bradley Crossroads, Dean Skate and Chester Walk.

Team doctor: who else but Doc Tower?

The biggest surprise of all however, was the identity of the new manager. After years of tough, hard-swearing masculine managers – the likes of Bill Shankly, Lawrie Mac, John Newman, Sir Alan and countless others – it was a delight to see the fragrant Honeysuckle Mews being announced as the Mariners' first female 'local' manager.

Another slow news Wednesday?

A final distant memory. The silence of that sleeping staff room was broken a week later, all those years ago, after that GTFC selection meeting.

The head of drama burst in, dramatically. "Right, we've got Falstaff in goal, nothing will get past him. It's Richard the Third and Lady Macbeth up front, both deadly in the box. Young Romeo Capulet on the wing, free transfer from Verona... Othello and Coriolanus as centre-backs... Shylock, a mean left-back..."

The staff room had quietly emptied by the time his manager, Peter Quince, was announced.

Our local legends side would have played that motley troupe of thespians off the park. 5-0 probably: Close (3), Parkway and E Street (pen) the scorers. But wouldn't it have been fun to see those "Quince out!" banners being unfurled in the Osmond stand?

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