The Postbag

Cod Almighty | Postbag

For one night only

12 September 2019

We write. You write about what we write. Now and again we write about what you write about what we write.

The best in the continent, until half-time

Very interesting. When Wolves ignored the FA's directive, played and won in Europe and were very highly rated, they met Grimsby in the FA Cup. When 2-0 up, we thought we must be the best in Europe, and lost concentration. Result: Wolves 4 Grimsby 2. Nothing changes!

from John Darnell

Buckley: player and man

You asked about our memories of Alan Buckley.

In the FA Cup return bout at Walsall, into extra time 1975, when Alan scored two almost identical goals: taking the ball on his chest, back to goal, turned and rifled the ball past Alex Stepney who barely moved. Magic talent. We won 3-2. Later in the dressing room Tommy Docherty, Man United's manager, was purported to have said "If you guys played like that every week you would be top of the first division". Great memory.

I later met Alan a few times in the dressing room and what a nice, modest man he was.

from William Harrison

Letters Ed responds: Thanks also to Anthony Russell who wrote simply that Buckley was "the best player and best manager we ever had at Walsall FC". We're proud to be able to say half as much at Grimsby.


I've pondered the issue of Town's gates, pretty much for the last 60 years.

May I add a few thoughts to your article?

Our time in the first division in the 1930s saw us averaging - in league games - between 11,496 (1935-36) and 14,724 (1929-30). Not a lot perhaps, but the major industry meant that men (and it was very much a man's entertainment) were away from the town. That is borne out by the fact that almost always the Good Friday home game (when more trawlers were in port) threw up the largest attendance. Where a second game followed at BP the next day, invariably the attendance plummeted, sometimes by about 10,000!

WWII, as in so many other things, influenced people in the post war years with most clubs seeing rapid rises in gates. Town's record average occurred in the 1949-50 season at 18,238 in Division Two, and even at the end of the 1950s, when gates across football were in decline, we could still pull in averages of 13-15,000. Looking back, that was brilliant.

Since then, our gates have declined to between 4,000 and 7,500. And seem stuck there.

There are however, two very significant blips. The two seasons 1971-73, and the two seasons 1979-81, which had remarkably similar average figures of 10,600 to 11,100. Now why was that? I'll give you my theory, for what it's worth, in two names: McMenemy and Kerr. Both could sell ice to the eskimos. They each sold every game as though it was the World Cup final, even if it was against Barrow or Workington (no offence to those two clubs). The thought that we do our talking on the pitch could not be more wrong. We sell each game whilst the opposition are still at home with their feet up!

from John Kirk

Coping with our insanity

Nice piece. It certainly triggered my existential horror of a football-less universe, having given up on God a long time ago (I don't mean the Matt Tees version).

This raises several uncomfortable questions about the (largely male) psyche, in that the phrase "religion is just something that we use to cope with our insanity" is also apposite when coming to considering football. The Bury farce is indeed bothersome, and I do feel for the fuckers, even though Gigg Lane was the only place I ever suffered violence as a Town fan.

Nowadays, exiled in Spain, I fear more for Tony Butcher's health than for mine, in the sense that if he popped his clogs, my weekends would be darker. Every time he talks about eating pies, I really want to help him with his nutrition. Grimsby has been blessed by his genius for several years, and Cod Almighty is my default locale for any empty moment. Butcher deserves the Nobel Prize for literature, but is unlikely to receive it. I'm working on his behalf and will illustrate some of his brilliance this month in the equally noble When Saturday Comes. I feel that his unique prose-poetry over the years needs some national recognition.

Whatever - we might be shite, but we have the best website in the five divisions. Keep up the good work, and remember - we cannot move on from football. It simply doesn't go away.

from Phil Ball

Thanks to John, William, Anthony, John and Phil. Use our feedback page to write to Cod Almighty