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Town on the box: Tottenham (h), 20 September 2005
7 December 2006
When thinking about what was the best Grimsby Town match I've ever watched on television there can be only one answer: the 1-0 win over Tottenham in the League Cup second round last year. Superb! Reasons? Many a-number. The game was a brilliant clash, and the sensational climax as Jean-Paul Kambiwhatshisface Kalala smashed the ball home past Paul 'England's Number One' Robinson.
For me, though, it was simply a case of being able to stick two fingers up at the locals. Supporting the Mariners in Essex is probably not the greatest experience to grow up with. Your father has bestowed upon you instant humiliation as the rest of your peers go around crowing about how good their team is, and how much better they are than the humble Mariners. Most kids at my school supported either Ipswich or West Ham. After that it was the other London teams that ruled the roost, with Tottenham outnumbering the rest.
The Spurs supporters in my life seem to come and go, but in the last couple of years I've found myself surrounded by them, quite literally. At work the desk in front of mine was occupied by a Spurs fan; there was another sat behind me, and a third over to the right of my desk. I was stuck in a triangle of people barking on about Teddy Sherringham, Glenn Hoddle and Martin Jol. Even my flatmate at the time, Karen, once had a bit of a thing for Spurs and I do believe she said she had a crush on Gary Lineker, although there could have been some alcohol drunk at the time.
Alcohol was a certainty as I made my way to the local with my workmate James to watch the game LIVE! ON SKY SPORTS! (it can, and only should be said in an exaggerated way). His reason for accompanying me was simple: "I want to be able to sit and give you grief at work tomorrow." What kind people I work with. However, who was to have the last laugh?
Not that I really remember much of the game, to be honest. In between the pints of Guinness I was trying to size up which of the pub full of Spurs fans was most likely to knock my block off for sitting at the bar wearing a Grimsby Town shirt and with the scarf draped over my shoulders.
Early in the game there were some moments of Andy Parkinson running at the defence and having a go, and the Stick looking impressive, but it was all becoming a bit of a all-over black and white haze as I sunk more pints. I got thinking: "Yeah, how the hell is Andy Reid a professional footballer? I'm in better shape than him and I spend most of my day sat on my arse."
These were the highlights of the match before, in one desperate final thrust, Grimsby win a corner. I sit on the edge of my bar stool with the whole pub focused on the big screen. The mob of Spurs fans are looking on, nervous as me. The ball comes in. It falls to Kalala. GOAL! I'm off my stool! I'm running around the bar like a madman, jumping, screaming, shouting before I drop to my knees in front of the big screen, arms raised up in praise of the mighty Mariners.
"Get the fuck up," said James as he dragged me to my bar stool. I looked round. It was as if I was the soon-to-be-dead sheriff in a western, who had made the mistake of entering the wrong saloon. Thankfully the tension eased and my mate James was gracious enough in defeat to take a picture of me lording it up.
I stumbled home, and fired off an email to the Diary, attaching the picture taken on my phone. To this day I still worry over my confidence to operate machinery while in a drunken state. The next day I should have staggered into work due to the alcohol I had drunk the night before, but I swaggered in, and laid it down. "Now you know who Grimsby are!" The email and the picture can be seen on the Diary back in September 2005, the month when Russell Slade was a god and our band of men in black and white stripes had become superheroes.
And let's not forget the orange juice, either.
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