Cod Almighty | Postbag
Postbag: Is the football pyamid bottomless?
1 June 2010
The postbag, not dead, only sleeping the sleep of the just, as your letters editor wrestles with a new job by day and the hangover of building work by evening.
Your thoughts on Neil Woods, Chapman's Pond, and whether you can take the youngest generation to Blundell Park, post-Barnet and Burton follow, and a rather brilliant suggestion for broadening the Mariners songbook in time for the new season. Read on, and write in.
Our relegation to non league football has not changed my mind as to who should be manager next season. Neil Woods is the man for me.
I stood in silence at the final whistle after the Burton game but the same pain I was feeling could also be seen on Neil Woods` face. He cares, he wants to see this club successful and I reckon there`s no better option. Alistair Wilkinson`s comments summed it up admirably.
I`ll be back at Blundell Park come what may in August. I hope Woody is too.
Letters Ed responds: Since Al's article, and this response, the answer to the question posed has been provided in practice, but a voice in support is always welcome.
Chapman's Pond close to definitivity
I have been told that a chap called Avanel Berry drowned in Chapman's Pond on 19 January 1905 after falling through the ice. Do you happen to know if this is true?
from Frances Hainsworth
More pond life
Further to my earlier enquiries and also to the information very kindly provided by Mr Antony Chapman about the eponymous pond, I have the (very nearly) definitive answers regarding our local bottomless pit. A few days ago the Cleethorpes Chronicle printed an article about the history of the pond, effectively answering months of questions that I've had. So for those of you who are interested, it goes something like this... It was opened as a brick pit in 1881. It was originally excavated as two separate pits although it was eventually merged into one large pit. In 1904 the workmen accidentally hit a freshwater spring and were unable to stem the flow of water. A steam engine pump was brought in to lower the water level. The pit remained in service until 1915, during which time it gradually continued to fill with water and required constant pumping. It was closed down because of fears that light from the fires of the clay kilns in the pit would attract the attention of German Zeppelins.
The story about the pond being bottomless has passed into local folklore for some reason. Ask anyone (well anyone Grimbarian that is) what they know about Chapman's Pond and usually the first thing they remark about is the fact that it's very deep. In 1985, an investigation was carried out by the Grimsby College of Technology. The maximum depth is about 35 to 40 feet, not quite the fathomless abyss we may have originally thought but certainly deeper than a house. Quite a bit deeper actually. People have fished in the pond over the years so presumably fish were deliberately introduced into the waters. I don't think this tradition continues anymore, considering that it isn't actually possible to get to the pond. It's sealed off from Bennett Road on one side and separated from the promenade on the other side by the railway line. And you can't fail to notice the signs bearing the warning PRIVATE PROPERTY, DEEP WATER, KEEP OUT!
So there you have it. Mystery solved. Well almost... Exactly how the water tower (which used to be taller than it currently is) relates to the pond is still open to speculation. And then there is the story about the horse and cart falling in and sinking without trace...
from Joe Briggs-Ritchie
Town: fit for children?
Wise words (in Alan Richardson's letter to the Diary of 12 May) about not wanting to take kids to the footy. I feel exactly the same.
I have 2 kids, one 8 years old and the other 5 next month but there's no way I would take them to any football match, not just Grimsby games (although our supporters home and away can be quite appalling in their language, threats of violence, drunken behaviour and racism, it's not just our club, I think it's football in general).
It's a real shame. I'd love the them to follow Town but can't.
Where does the game go from here? Is it happy that this is the situation? Is the lowest common denominator okay so long as it pays the bills?
Oh well, onwards and upwards next season heh?
from Rich Mills
Letters Ed responds: Serious issues here, so let me trivialise them. When I took my son to his first game, I bought a DVD of the match to preserve the occasion. When I played it for the benefit of his Grandfather and uncles, I was somewhat embarrassed when at one point the crowd chanted their belief that the referee practiced solitary sexual practices, and so relieved when my son pointed out "They are calling the referee a whacker".
Yeah I was there! Yes we played nervously well, and all that, but.....well...........?
When my sons were much younger, and as a cool dad, you never knew how embarrassed they were about you/your car etc. Then years later, when they grow up, have a few beers around the annual BBQ with their girlfriends, it all come out. "do you remember when...." etc. What a laugh. ha ha ho ho.
Of course I WAS embarrassed by MY parents because they were OLD, I as a parent was, well, cool. It was different wasn't it?? Well it was!
Why do I mention this? Well, at half time I broached the subject of my eldest (4 yrs) granddaughter attending her first football match. (Strange that I cannot get used to my son being a dad, its as strange as my parents having sex. My generation invented it, surely?)
Anyway he quizzed me: "What about the loos?" Easy one that. "Drink?" No problem that one. "What if she's bored?" Watch the ships, etc. "What happens if she's frightened?" Frightened, nothing ever happens at Blunders. We then scored the Second. Well it's "OK" for 13 year olds invading the pitch, they don't have that self control us matures do, but fat, balding, tanked up 40 year old's ... What's that all about? Did I say invade? Does waddling fat balding, beer gutted old men with fat wives/girlfriends in tow conjure up an invasion? Its like saying walrus's sprint! They eventually got to the circle, and stop. Yes the youngsters are all jumping around, but "who ate all the pies?" dare not/cannot as his gut will hit the ground, so he turns on the away fans and gives them his best; one finger, two fingers, full arms salutes. That will show them, and you wait until we get to Burton. Yeah !!!
The only cheering bit was the horse bit. Did you see it? A big dump onto the Osmond penalty area. I wish I could have written that the ball landed on it, or that their forward broke through after some trickery only to be foiled by slipping on it, or that our goalie had to dive and slid through it...but no it sort just sat there steaming, lifeless, inanimate. Just like some of our players this and last, and the one before season.
I've not broached the granddaughter subject since our away supporters have made the headlines, so I'm hoping a few months of quiet will make it easier for me at the start of next season. Then I can say that the Conference (sorry Premier-Blue Square) league does not have away supporters (do they?) That Histon fans don't smash town centres up (Where is Histon?) and that the average attendance is 1000 so there is a lots of loo space for my granddaughter.
There's hope yet.
from Jan Przeniczny
Letters Ed responds: Perhaps if the "fans" had hit the shit. Hope your granddaughter get the chance to learn to love the joys and frustrations of following Town. It makes (most of us) better people.
... but someone will miss us
As a supporter from another land, I am very sad to see the demise of Grimsby Town Football Club and your relegation from division two.
I am sure ythat this has been coming, especially over the last few years, but who would have believed it? With great supporters like you have, you deserve better.
Drink your ten pints of Stella, accept that muppets will take the mick, but you all need to regroup. Watch England disappoint in another world cup, Offload the dross players you have and get some better quality in. Get Jim Harvey as manager (He knows the conference) and get your asses out of there and back in the place you belong!
from A real football (lower league) fan
Letters Ed responds: Not a Burton fan, perhaps, but thank you.
An optimistic view of the World Cup
Mariners' fans underwhelmed by the lack of points and passion over the past season will undoubtedly be looking forward to the forthcoming World Cup extravaganza (unless of course they originate from the wrong side of Hadrian's Wall). I'm sure one or two of us will be left scratching our heads, or other hairy parts of our anatomy, wondering whether the game being played by Rooney and Messi is really the same one being served up to us week-in and week- out by Messrs Wright, Proudlock & co. Cue the 10 key differences between the regular menu on offer at "Fortress BP" and those available in sunnier climes this summer. 1. Proper goalkeepers. Town fans will be shocked to see goalkeepers moving to try to stop free kicks going into the goal, catching the ball and actually giving some confidence to their defences 2. Not just talking a good game. We will be amazed to witness the passion and promise displayed during pre-match interviews actually coming to fruition in the game itself rather than just disappear when the players cross the white line 3. Real centre forwards. Supporting a centre forward who actually threatens the opposition defence and looks like scoring will be a novel experience for us all. 4. Squad sizes. The paucity of squads available to the finest managers in the world will be real shock to us Mariners addicts. Wouldn't it be better for everyone to have 40-odd players to choose from, even if some prefer to do their warming up (and down) at the boozer 5. Formations. Any. Rather than a jellyfish type mess that we have experienced all too often 6. Pre-match optimism. (I even had to look that up, it's so long since I wrote it.) 7. Tackling. Watch and learn Joe. 8. Managers who look the part. I know our Neil shed tears when we went down, and really cares, but even a year with Max Clifford and Simon Cowell's people couldn't make him look like a proper football manager. 9. Proper media coverage. Instead of having to rely on the Grimsby Propagandagraph and Radio Numptyside. 10. Leadership. The lack of an erudite chairman offering his bank balance and his wisdom to the fans on regular occasions. How much better would England be with Fenty in their camp?
Bring on the Histon.
from David Martin
Letters Ed responds: You wrote this before the Japan game, didn't you?
A song for Grimsby
Dear Mr Bag,
I recently forced myself to watch the football league play-offs. I don't know why. I watched one homeless bankrupt club and three tiny clubs that have recently escaped the conference duke it out for the right to escape the basement level in the correct direction. Oh Town, why for must thou be shite?
But that isn't the point here. What really irritates me (yes, yes, I lead an empty, shallow existence) is the limited Little Club Songbook that is seemingly passed around from club to club. We all know those particular ditties, and so it seems does every other fan of a football league club.
Surely, when a team scores at least one of them can be serenaded with something else than the often tuneless, wordless mess we hear. I would type it for you, but I've tried and I can't. I put this point to one's old man once and he reckoned that Back int day like, Town fans sang old trawlerman songs. I love that idea. Grimsby, a town built on an industry, recognising and paying homage to that history at the same time as it backs its football team. Something to set us apart from everyone else. Does anyone know any of these songs any more? If they do, can they teach them to the rest of us and force everyone to sing them. Even Grimsby players (a bog standard breed in recent years) react to the backing of a crowd.
from James Parrott
Letters Ed responds: I would say that I regard this as the letter of the season, except that my suggesting what people might write letters about is often the kiss of death. Let me risk it: while the memory of pig ignorant columnists welcoming our relegation after a few idiots besmeared our names in a way worse than any relegation is still rankling, there must be more than a few of us who can recall when the Town support took pride in its warmth- often critical, usually sarcastic, but undercut with humanity. Lets fin
We await your suggestions.