Back to the Future

Cod Almighty | Article

by Dan Humphrey

11 May 2006

As the 2005-06 season draws to a close, how will we remember it in the future? If you ask me, it's the one that ran parallel with the re-emergence of Noel Edmonds in Channel 4's Deal or No Deal, a show so big Slade was eyeing it up to play alongside Rob Jones and Ben Futcher. But you're not asking me. Fine.

The climax - or anti-climax - of the season is fresh in the mind. Appraisals are always due. How will this season really be remembered? Personally, I've witnessed how the 2005-06 campaign has contributed to the progression of the English language, at least the dialect found in North-East Lincolnshire.

Of course, temporal change is an inherent feature of a living language, which changes because society changes. The football club we support has changed over the past ten months, which has therefore affected the way we use words today.

Lump has undergone a process of amelioration; a word that once held negative connotations has now expanded into something much more positive and exciting. Conversely, League Two play-offs has undergone pejoration; once an ideal target that held hope and optimism, it now represents something else. Can you see what I'm getting at?

But what we do have are new terms to remember the season by - terms that are probably unique to Mariners addicts: disappointing, resilient, hard-working, unlucky, sort it... OK, maybe not all new terms. We've just rediscovered some. And other terms had their definitions expanded. The boundaries of fury were pushed as the players felt Slade's whiteboard vengeance at Sincil Bank. At the same time, the players joined the fans in a feeling of collective embarrassment and humiliation.

Some players will be remembered by their nicknames as conferred by various Cod Almighty and Grim Outlook contributors. Bolland and Reddy were simplified to the, er, typical simplicity of footballer nicknames with Bolly and Redds. Simple as simple does. But this season a glut of more imaginative efforts were born. Steve Mildenhall started with the predictable 'Milds', but a string of wonder saves drew hero worship from the fans. "Oh Lord Mildenhall" reverberated round the Pontoon from then on. The syllable content of conversations extend as fans purred about their goalie: "if it wasn't for those two saves from Oh Lord Mildenhall we'd not have taken those three points."

The Jones boys found themselves in for special treatment. Rob's stick like frame earned him the moniker Stick. Gary's more, er, lumpy figure fittingly drew admiring calls of "Lump!" If anyone had been called that they'd surely have been lamped. Someone (link to Tony) took it upon himself to liken him to a lumbersome Brazilian. There's magic in those feet of Lumpaldinho.

Marc Goodfellow was a late arrival to the squad, and with came the pseudonym of Freezer. Could it be that he looks like Ice Man in Top Gun? He is cold-hearted? A journeyman footballer by day, and a superhero by night? Or people can store their petite pois up his arse? We may never know. But is definitely the most enigmatic nickname of the season. Maybe one day we will discover its origins.

Some players do not have nicknames. They transcend nicknames; they are a philosophy, a religion, a belief; a community; a treasure. Or, if truth be told, they do not merit nicknames. The Pontoon kindly tells them to fuck off regularly, although it's difficult to talk about Parkinson without referring to him as the warm and cuddley sounding Parky. There's always an exception to the rule. Everybody doesn't love Parky.

Not to feel left out, club officials got in on the act. But in typically two left-handed fashion, they contorted Kamudimba Kalala Paul-John's name beyond sense and clarity. Even JPK's national team boss was confused, until he saw Town on the telly. Most Town fans were as equally confused as to why the man from the Democratic Republic of Congo didn't feature more for the first team.

It wasn't just the players and their names. There were other phrases that sprung from this season. Some will last as long as you read this piece. Some will live on in the memory for ever, be it as a heart-warmer or a psychological nightmare. Here us my choice.

African Nations Cup where Town fans saw more of their spiky midfield general on BBC3 than at Blundell Park

Barwick a squad player with no defined and specified role. "Owen Hargreaves is the Terry Barwick of the England team"

Boo Slade boo, sort it out Slade! the desire for immediate and instant results

Curtis/Woodhouse the realisation that you've dropped so far down your chosen career ladder that a change in occupation is needed before you end up playing Beazer Home League footie - " being deputy prime minister meant nothing with all my powers removed, so before I was shifted into the home office I decided to do a Woodhouse, becoming a boxing instructor to failed footballers"

FentyDome a mythical place we're striving to reach, but we don't know what it'll be like; replaces the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - as in, "well, every cloud has its FentyDome"

flipchart a device hitherto used almost exclusively in offices, and therefore indoors. First public open air outing was witnessed at Sincil Bank this season

Glen Downey pop up late in a game and score a glorious winner, the only thing you do right not only all day but all year

Lincoln to fail repeatedly at the same activity - "we were totally Lincoln when it came to winning our games in hand"

Mansfield someone who has a nasty or bitter approach, but the authorities don't do anything about it - like a cynical kid in the playground... also see Chester

Mendes useless; "Town are normally a bit Mendes when it comes to penalties"

Namibia mythical African country invented by the club's official site, but fooling no-one

Newey rollercoaster; unpredictable - "I wish the Premiership had been more Newey this season"

Newcastle tickets a sense of injustice claimed by fans who reckon themselves to be loyal; to have been left out when you felt you should've been included

penalty kick something Rodgers will be advised to take himself or bear the brunt of the dentists in the Main Stand

play-off final one-off end of season lottery game where it doesn't matter if you beat your opponents twice during the regular season

Spotland Duck Pond an area of outstanding natural bogginess, where hard work comes undone if you spend too much time observing Gallimore in his natural habitat (or playing Ben Futcher)

do him to sneakily smack one a bastard, as in "I just wanted to go out there and do him, because he did me"

Toner a scapegoat, the sacrifice after a massacre

Whittle experienced, gets the job done within its limitations, at best functional - "This season has been a bit Whittle; a lack of quality at times but good enough to get the job done. Well, nearly done"

work ethic something Slade put too much emphasis on, the whip-cracking bastard. Just who did he think he was making Lump run around?