Crushed by the wheels of industry

Cod Almighty | Match Report

by Tony Butcher

27 September 2019

Chelsea 7 Grimsby Town 1

The events depicted took place in London in 2019. At the request of the survivors, the names have not been changed. Out of respect for the career dead, the rest has been told inexactly as it occurred.

Woke up, it was the Chelsea morning, and the first thing that we knew, there was milk and toast and honey and a bowl of oranges, too. That’s fancy hotels in That London for you, Ben. Kerry Dixon, Colin Lee, Pat Nevin, Mickey Droy, in days long gone your boys took a hell of a beating from the likes of Grimsby. We used to be contenders, we used to be somebody, now we get to look up from the gutter at the stars of the satellite screens.

Of course, nowadays we're ever so humble to be in the presence of Frankie Lampie's Jet-skis.

Town lined up in the infallible 5-3-2 formation as follows: McKeown, Hewitt, Hendrie, Pollock, Davis, Gibson, Whitehouse, Hessenthaler, Clifton, Green and Hanson. The substitutes were Russell, Robson, Cook, Vernam, Wright, Rose and Ogbu. Well, there's always hope that something will turn up, isn't there?

And the vast emptiness beyond our little corner of Grimsby in this foreign field suddenly filled with blue.
But ye playboys of the Westway behold the invading northern hordes: some drive tankers, some are bankers, some are workers, some are not. It is time for a party!

First half: Looking through Billy Gilmour's eyes

Town kicked off towards the massed ranks of Marinerdom and there's danger on the edge of Town's penalty area. And they put their shooting boots on. And Barkley took a pace away from Little Harry and walked on down the hall. And he came to the flaw in Town's plans and looked inside the penalty area on the vacant left. Harry, I'm going to dribble past you. Macca, I'm going to...


Wallop, that's what. Inside the near post before Jamie Mack could shake his shoes.

Three-minute heroes, that's what we've been in an incessant rain of blue. Prodding, probing, rocking, rolling, pacy-pacy thunderbolts and lightning breaks. Very, very frightening. Town's centre and left Tobleroned by jinking James. A cross, a block and Batshuayi turned to passy-stroke across Jamie Mack from the centre of the centre, whilst Davis lay down with his hips swinging round, stuck in the mud.

Oh look, a straw! Whitehouse pffted an underpowdered wig to Caballero.

Town desperately in need of some stranger's hand in a desperate land, especially the left. Oh whither the left! Gibson, Gibson where art thou? Little Harry overwhelmed by Barkley, the soufflé centre, the overrun middle, the still lives and distant voices of the attack. Oh how soft these fields of green, whisper these tales of gore. They are our overlords, we wince in the light, but our roars rise with every sinking moment.

Twisty-turny Barkleyness and McKeown plunged low and right to swimper and shovel. Alonso coiled a free kick over land and sea and Yorkshire as the blue waves crashed over and over and over and over and over. And over. Swamped, sunk, drowning. Metaphors, metaphors what is it good for? Say it again. Huh!

And then…


A hump, a hassle, a hustle and Hewitt sneaked down the right. Big Jim arose in the centre and nodded back, but alack, alas, widely wide. A chink of light as The Jet-skis stopped racing around Chelsea Harbour and began to move at our kind of pace: 5mph; after all there are children present.

Big balls, Chelsea falls, momentary moments squinting at fallibility. Jamie Mack long wellied high, high and straight down the middle. Blue shirts duveted Big Jim and the ball grazed his psychic aura on the way past. And on it bounced behind, beyond as Green bounded across, took one touch and dip-volleyed a smacker over the fey Caballero and in off the underside of the bar.

And the Town corner went wild, went wild, went wild in the country.

Into them, up and at 'em, as Chelsea collywobbled. Slinking and jinking on the left, a high cross half grazed away to the corner by Alonso. Hewitt retrieved, ladled back and Hanson leant back and swiped ooohh, much wider than the folk songs will retell, much higher than the poets will shell.

C'mon, if we can get to half time.

Roused by the approaching Mariner menace, Barkley masterminded moments of infinite jest to test. Green was booked for playing Tiggy Hospital with a passing blueman out on their right. Of course they attacked on their right, for we have only barrage balloons on our left. They have sophisticated radar in these parts.

Ah yes, the free kick, coiled lowly, Batman stooped and steered wide. Blocks from Town socks as the tide returned to lap against our shores. Left and right, right and left, twisty turny, this way and thatly. Hendrie slashed and burned and Clifton's ungainly dredge swiped away for a corner.

C'mon, one last big head away. If we just get to half time.

The ref stood on the edge of the area staring at Green and Zouma. The ball sailed way above and beyond these two brothers in arms as Green admired Zouma's tailoring, right in front of the referee. Pedro caressed low and right as McKeown ached left.

Well that's that then, the dream is over, we may as well walk on by as we're broken by Blues. Oh hang on, we're a second half team, two goals deficit against a bunch of reserves, easy-peasy.

Three minutes were added for reasons beyond the understanding of we little people.

Mmm, Chelsea are every quick. Town aren't. We've never seen the likes of this before, single figures is doable. At least we're winning the decibel wars.

Second half: Bridge of Sighs

Neither team made any changes at half time.

Slick, quick and flick-flick-flick, Town a-fearing the blitz stood back and watched the chess game from afar. Batman bantered wide. Pressure, corners, corners, pressure, infiltrations and deliberations as these panicking Premiershippers resorted to some Spanish Practices. Yes you Mr Alonso, there really was no need for that clap-trapping right in front of us.

Ah Mr Pulisic. We've noticed you. We'll have our fun where and when we please.

It's hard to believe that there are some Chelsea fans out there. Town are going under at the Bridge and there's no sound in the City but us.

As Max Wright awaited on the touchline Clifton missed with a leg up but Pulisic still managed to fall into Gibson 25 yards out to the left. Barkley feigned to shoot but passed out wide, James dinked a drifting looper across the face of goal. Davis decided to shoo the ball away, forgetting that Zouma was stood next to him. A great long lankly leg stretched out and poked in from a few yards out as Davis dithered.

And finally, at four, the locals made a slight noise, perhaps feeling secure.

How many do they want to score?

Little Harry was immediately replaced by Max Wright who had his moments, being the only Townite with any pace or directness. Pollock did bop to stop, Whitehouse diverted a blockbuster, Barkley danced hither and Gilmour waltzed thither, our flanks a wretched emptiness, the centre imploding. Pulisic dragged wide once, dragged wide twice and Hudson-Odoi started to tickle his fancy.

Green was replaced by the immensely irrelevant Ogbu, and Cook came on for Gibson. These are simply recordings of facts, the facts in the ground did not change. Wave upon wave carving through the visibly wilting Town. One by one each player lost power, lost the pace they never had, and Chelsea swept through with gay abandon, who may have been one of the substitutes.

Anjorin strolled through many weary legs and was blocked by the least weary, probably Pollock. Batman swept wide, Pulisic slapped wider, as minute by minute the chances came. McKeown stood alone on the burning bridge forcing Anjorin wide and Pollock marvellously ploughed away from the open goal. Hudson-Odoi plundered and Jamie Mack thundered out.

In, out, in, out, shaken all about, Town punch drunk on the ropes. Whitehouse dillied and dallied allowing blue to bumble inside the area. Hess's pokey clearance was a pass to James who carefully shuffled across the face of the D and curled lowly around a hedge into the bottom left corner.

Who are we? All Town are we. You come at us with a goal, we'll come back with a louder roar.

Holes. Blue. James McKeown. David passed to Blue, Hudson-Odoi was sent through again, and Captain Courageous flew out to save lowly and left. A miss left, a miss right, a block, a head, a swipe. Alonso, Batman, possibly David Speedie, who knows, who cares?

I close my lids across my eyes and wish to see no more. Can we end this now please?

Tick-tock, tick-tock, Town merely inflatable bollards and Batshuayi, using a foot, put the ball in the net from somewhere near goal with enervated Townites nowhere nearby.

Cook and Hanson moved the ball goalwards forcing Caballero to touch the ball. Passing moments of passing, ruined by Cook and Whitehouse's unwillingness to use their left foot, for time is not on their side.
We're lost in Roman's wilderness of pain, this is the end, surely. Please.

And they're back, Hudson-Odoi twisted Hewitt into a limp lettuce and blasted inside the near post.

The ref took pity and added just two mins.

And it ended with a miss as Hanson glanced wide a Hess free kick.

The way I see it, everyone takes a beating some of the time, so better in the irrelevant Cup than against some mundane bunch of cloggers in the fourth. Small team loses heavily to Galacticos? Chip wrapper news.
Town tried hard, they did their best, they didn't give in. Their bodies did, but what can you do when you are up against superior athletic beings? Cleverness only helps if you're up against dummies.

Nothing remains around the decay of this colossal wreck. Town fully sunk, a shattered visage, a testament to the folly of unfettered finance in football. Avarice and greed are gonna drive it over the endless sea. They will leave it drifting in the shallows or drowning in the oceans of history. Football is a ship of fools.

We 'ad 'em for at least the first nine seconds though, deffo.