The Thundercliffe Files: a team of the 2010s

Cod Almighty | Article

by Paul Thundercliffe

13 December 2019


Thundercliffe Files

At the start of 2010, Grimsby Town sat 91st in the Football League, smack bang in the middle of a 25-match winless run in front of dwindling attendances. A decade later and Town are three places and three points better off, in the grasp of a similar run of form with crowds at possibly even lower levels.

It has been 10 years that has seen the club relegated out of the Football League, become ensconced in that particular abyss, managed to scrape out and leave the club exactly where it started the 2010s. With a new scoreboard, disabled facilities and floodlights.

Town have had six permanent managers, three caretaker ones and an unfathomable amount of players in the building. I estimate about 250 different men have turned out in an assortment of black and white stripes, mostly anonymous and very few having made a difference.

My XI of the past ten years would be fairly easy to pick, being made up predominantly from the Wembley play-off win. That team had fight, verve and could score goals – although it was at times frustratingly pedestrian and frugal up front.

McKeown obviously starts in goal, one of only eight to have donned the gloves (Jon Hedge anyone?). Town in his heart, McKeown is still surprisingly error-prone and doesn’t always command his area but there’s no doubting his worth to the team this decade.

The full backs are Tait and Roberston. Intelligent and industrious, both helped Town achieve real balance in that promotion team. Pearson and Gowling pair up in defence, both as proud as lions and both able to put their bodies on the line for the club. Gowling having his shirt pulled at Braintree possibly changed that season.

I’d have two wingers. Arnold the shoo-in, not just for that goal but his remarkable ability to win games from nothing and his performance the game after his mother had died. I would have Max Wright on the other wide. Pace, tenacity and a heart full of Town.

Disley captains the team in midfield, a true Town man, joined by Hesenthaler. Jake’s my unsung Town hero from the past two years. Intelligent, busy and stoic. Just missing goals.

Bogle and Amond up front. We've had some prolific non-League men, but none as skilful and adept as Podge. Bogle was too good for us, that blistering start to the Football League season indicative of his talent.

Among several players who just miss out are Connor Townsend (never ours), Craig Clay (sometimes invisible) and Liam Hearn (injury prone). That’s my Town team of the decade.

Let’s hope in December 2029 things are looking a little different from both 2009 and 2019.

What is your team of the decade?