The goals to choose from
The goals that got away
Goals 50 to 34
Goals 33 to 21
Goals 20 to 11
10: Brolly v Everton
9: Macca v Rushden
8: Oster v Sheff Weds
7: Cockerill v Huddersfield
6: Bonetti v WBA
5: Wilkinson v Everton
4: JPK v Spurs
3: Dobbin v Newcastle
2: Burnett v Bournemouth
1: Jevons v Liverpool
30 October 1979: Mike Brolly, v Everton
Brolly swivels and shoots to put Everton out of the League Cup
Seasons don't come much better than 1979-80. It had all the right ingredients: the championship secured on the final day by thrashing Sheffield United at Blundell Park, an FA Cup game against Liverpool with 14,000 Town fans inside Anfield and many more locked out, and a great League Cup run. Most importantly, the team – a mixture of genuine local talent and low-profile signings – played excellent flowing football and were as proud to wear the black and white shirts as we were to support them.
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The League Cup run was the catalyst to the success of the season. Town had seen off Scunthorpe, Huddersfield and Notts County in earlier rounds, the latter two comprehensively, when a plum draw in round four saw Everton visiting Blundell Park.
Queues formed in the streets when the tickets went on sale and the game was quickly sold out. Over 22,000 Town fans packed into Blundell Park and the atmosphere inside was electric. This would be the last great night of the old ground which had remained unchanged during the whole of the 1970s. The soon-to-be-demolished wooden Barrett stand was creaking under the weight of so many Grimbarian bodies. In typical 'pin anything on the scousers' fashion, rumours circulated the Pontoon that Everton fans had raided various jewellers in Grimsby town centre during the day.
Everton had finished fourth in Division One the previous season and arrived at Blundell Park having just held Liverpool and Manchester United to draws. Not a bad side, then, despite Mike Lyons playing at centre-half. The Toffees had more perms than a Littlewoods coupon, showing simple Grimsby folk what top-flight hair fashion style was all about. Little did they know it that the next day's sports pages would be plastered with photos of a bald bloke with a beard.
Town entered the game buoyant, having thrashed Sheffield Wednesday 4-1 on the preceding weekend. A feature of the season was the consistency of George Kerr's team selection and Town had a full-strength side out. Joe Waters, an inspirational Irishman, captained the side from midfield and the team he led were quality players committed to the cause. Bobby Cumming, a Scotsman quiet as a mouse off the field, was a monster on it. Dean Crombie and Clive Wigginton were solid at the back in front of Nigel Batch, who made more appearances for Town than any other post-war keeper. The much misunderstood Bobby Mitchell partnered Waters in midfield.
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The local lads of Kevin Drinkell, Tony Ford and Kevin Moore were the best crop of talent ever produced in one spell by the Town youth policy and were a legacy of Kerr's predecessors Tom Casey and John Newman. The star that night, though, would be another quiet Scotsman – winger Mike Brolly.
Things didn't start off too well for Town as Brian Kidd's perm gave Everton the lead at the Pontoon end. Town fought back and, in a seven-minute spell near to the end of the half, the game was turned around.
I cannot remember much about the build-up to the first goal but I remember Brolly, on the edge of the box, smacking the ball with his left foot through a crowd of players. I was right at the back of the Pontoon and my head hit the roof as the place erupted.
The Grimsby Evening Telegraph had a great picture the following day, showing the Everton defence staring in disbelief at the ball lying in George Wood's net while behind them the Town players celebrated. A few years later the same shocked look would appear on Mike Lyons' face on a regular basis as he became accustomed to staring at the ball in the Osmond net, but that is a different story.
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The second goal came just seven minutes later when Brolly, from his usual left wing position, beat both right-back John Bailey and keeper George Wood from the narrowest of angles to seal one of Blundell Park's greatest ever nights.
Town went on to to meet Wolves in the quarter-final and took them to a second replay at Derby's Baseball Ground. Dalglish and co stuck five past us a few weeks later in the FA Cup, but the greatest prize was the championship and Division Two football.
Mike Brolly enjoyed a couple of further seasons with Town before signing for Derby, then Scunthorpe. He left football and went into teaching, becoming head of science at St Mary's school in Grimsby. I met him once while he was still playing and he was the most unassuming person you could meet. Generations of kids will know him simply as their science teacher, but for those of us who grew up watching Town in 1970s, he will always be the hero of one of Blundell Park's greatest ever nights.