Cod Almighty | Article
by Chris Mills
6 August 2007
Nick (Nicholas to his mother) Fenton has two claims to fame. Well, three if you include the somewhat mundane fact that he plays professional football for Grimsby Town, but I doubt he shouts about that with his pals. I wouldn't.
Firstly, on 5 May this year the 5'10'' centre-half became the last ever footballer to score a goal at Shrewsbury's Gay Meadow ground, equalising for Town in the last minute with a scrappy effort from inside the box. Of course, no-one managed to score in the play-off semi a week after our Fenners, and Shrewsbury have since moved to a new ground, presumably. Either that or they just can't be bothered with all this football malarky any more and have given up.
Secondly, and a slightly more noteworthy achievement, Nick represented England at under-18 level on three separate occasions alongside the likes of Alan Smith and Jonathan Woodgate in 1998.
However, the reason he has washed up on our shores nearly ten years on, and not that of the Premiership and the England seniors, would explain what happened next. Tipped as the 'next Keith Curle' (metaphorically speaking of course) and emerging through the Man City ranks just as they were promoted from the old Division One, he found his first-team chances few and far between. He therefore decided to join Notts County in 2000 for a fee of £150,000. Nick played 145 times for the Magpies but was not given another shot at the big time and joined Doncaster on a free in 2004. After only a season he was made surplus to requirements again and was signed by Rodger in 2006 on the same day fellow centre-half Ben Futcher departed for Peterborough. So, as a replacement, one would guess.
And quite a replacement he promised and still promises to be. Nick made 37 appearances at the heart of Town's defence last term, chipping in with four goals, and costing four yellow cards and one red. As his CV would suggest, he looked quite decent too. Bar the odd lapse of concentration (which cost us dear against Peterborough at home), his tall, bow-legged frame was a dominant force in both boxes, heading confidently and playing his way out of trouble on occasions.
At only 27 he is still approaching his peak and with obvious pedigree and experience to boast. I imagine Buckley is a fan and ready to mould out the next Handyside or Lever. Possibly. Alan Smith, however, now earns tens of thousands of pounds a week at Newcastle, has a Premiership winner's medal to his name, and is a regular in Steve McClaren's England squad. I doubt that Nick's pals are reminded of that too often.