Fixtures and results so far
Al Wilkinson's poems
Mystic Mick's predictions
The season in pictures
End of season awards
The Cod Almighty 2002-03 awards
The season is over. Town are down, complete with the Division One wooden spoon. And it's time to look back on the season that was, with the inaugural Cod Almighty end-of-season awards.
Most hyped game of the season on Radio Humberside
Forget Scunthorpe's visit by Leeds in the FA Cup. Hull's meaningless friendly against Sunderland/Middlesbrough/South Shields to open their great big shoe box of a stadium takes the honours. Radio Humberside built it up for weeks with a slew of over-produced trailers. You'd have thought it was like the Queen had decided to move to Hessle. And then, on the night, they covered it LIVE! Like a pop concert! Still, I guess the biggest team in Humberside had to do something for the rest of the season, as all they had to look forward to were several months of flapping around in mid-table third division mediocrity.
Most inflated Welsh ego
Only three contenders from Blundell Park are eligible through their Welshness - Danny Coyne, Darren Barnard, and John Oster. And only one of those has demonstrated a sense of self-worth that would put Jamie Oliver to shame. Step forward Mr John Oster. Oh, Johnny Boy - after much to-ing and fro-ing to make sure you had the same contractual terms at Blundell Park (where you'd actually play), you turned Town down to stay in the Reserves Of Light. In the process you ruined Grovesie's intricate deadline-day wheeling and dealing. Next thing, John'll be following Catherine Zeta Jones's lead and adopting that new Welsh tradition of suing a newspaper. Watch your backs Grimmo Telegraph boys. He's being twiddling his fingers doing naff all for the past few months. [Er, do you think he'd consider new media? - worried Ed.]
Team most deserving to thrash Town
Who can remember early on in the season? Was the twatting at Norwich just one of those freak results you get on the opening day of the season? 'Champions' Portsmouth came away from Blundell Park with a narrow victory, so cross them off the list. Wolves got revenge for Town ruining last season for them, although it took a debatably-won free kick to set them on their way. Burnley's emphatic cup victory was a shallow one as Groves fielded the young 'uns. As much as we don't want to admit it, a Trevor Francis team had 45 minutes of fun tearing Town apart as they gained revenge for their mauling in the corresponding fixture last season. In addition, Town can have no complaints about their defeat at Selhurst Park earlier in the season either. And I'm afraid that's who we'll plump for - Crystal Palace, after deservedly thrashing Town at BP. But cheer up, kids, it isn't all bad - they then sacked Francis the following week! Hoorah!
Tony Butcher's haircut of the season award
This award has to go to the photographer from the Hair Bear Bunch aka Mungo Jerry at the Watford game. The weather was fine.
Toilet talk of the season
Miles's choice: "I was woken up by a non-existent church organ." The utterer of which can now be revealed as Mr Richard Dawson. What strangeness in south Lincolnshire.
Most memorable pre-match warm-up
The panel of experts decided nothing could beat Reading (apart from Wolves, that is). Here's the live and exclusive match reportage that captures the beauty of the moment:
"Reading players warmed up with a routine right out of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Holding hands, they sashayed up the touchline, kicking left, then right, with the New Vaudeville Band as accompaniment. Now if only they'd worn feather boas they'd have topped it off nicely... As the Town players jogged about in green and orange bibs, Reading outdid them again, by playing that little game of two-touch passing with poles. Playing ski football, they slalomed up and down, the faint sound of cowbells ringing round the stadium."
The Terry Cooke trophy for lack of presence on the pitch despite fans calling for him
Well, it's a tight call. Despite being a contender for player of the season because of his seven goals, many of us struggled to locate Stuart Campbell on the pitch. Well, we saw him, but we're not quite sure what he was doing. But Terry Cooke, we don't know what match-winning brilliance people expected you to do but you barely got the chance to prove them wrong. And for that we can only applaud you. From the sidelines naturally.
Steward of the year
One nomination: the gentleman in the luminous orange coat who stood at the top of the Pontoon, behind the goal, for the Leicester game and failed to hear the most obvious racist comments dished out this - and probably any - season. The moron from whom, among other razor-sharp quips, "you're just a town full of Pakis" was emanating was sitting all of three feet away. The steward was too busy watching the game and only took action when someone decided to ask the abuser to stop blessing us with his insight. The action? By asking the sensible person to calm down, putting him right that comments are only deemed racist if they are addressed at an individual rather than a whole town, and asked our vexed correspondant to sit back down. Sometimes you wonder...
Worst goal conceded by Town
Where to start, eh? A quick straw poll shows that you only have to look back to early October to see the omens were not good as the ball cannoned off Alan Pouton's shin and lobbed Danny Coyne from 40 yards. After that - well, it was like a series of horror films that will no doubt get re-released together in some spunky DVD box set at some point in the future. We'll stick with the first, most shocking, and - like the films - best Omen here.
Best goal conceded by visitors to Blundell Park
There was little Preston could do about Darren Mansaram's deft flick and volley - a genuinely great goal. There's the three (THREE!) Ipswich conceded as Town romped to a form-busting win at home, getting George Burley the sack in the process. Ipswich rose up the table afterwards though, so that worked against us. Personally I'd pick out John Oster's unmarked header against Sheffield Wednesday just before Christmas. The shortest man on the pitch rose to glance home a free kick. With astute defending like that you can see why the Owls went down with us.
The Tears For Cheers award for most comedic supporter
We're going by people we've been sat near at games, and no-one comes close to the bloke who appeared at the end of our row ten minutes into the second half at Hillsbrough. Clearly distraught at the apparent lack of support for "the boys" (and possibly the sight of the queues for scran at half time) he hollered for the away fans to "get behind the boys, come on, shout! SHOUT! COME ON!" His voice didn't hold up for long, the words slowly becoming punctured with longer moments of silence. But, this didn't stop us starting to recite the rest of the lyrics to Tears For Fears' 'Shout'. At least the man was trying. In more ways than one. A bit like Town.
The 'Jesus Christ, did I just see that?' moment
Hereby known as The Izzet. Come off it. Seeing Livvo's horrific injury during the Derby game isn't something you need reminding of. Pouton's shin lob over Coyne is another forgettable moment - though his searing drive to give Town the lead at the City Ground had Town fans spilling tea all over their settees. And John Oster would have had to make do with the 'Mighty Midget' award for his collection of valuable headed goals (hereby withdrawn due to his ego). So we have to settle for Muzzy Izzet's winner when we played Leicester at home. It was unbelievable and gobsmackingly brilliant.
Most competent five minutes from Gallimore award
Yes, those moments when the left back berth wasn't a lacuna were far and few between this season. Darren Barnard filled in ably on several occasions, and - bless 'em - the young 'uns also had a little kick around; but life was never quite the same without Galli getting his weekly roasting. Some of our observers point out that the 30 minutes after he was sent off in the home game against Forest were among his finest. But - it's that game again! - the second half versus Palace at home gets the nod. Strange, as he didn't reappear for the second half...
Coulda been a contender
The evening Sheffield United and Leeds United played out some meaningless game (the FA Cup one, not the Worthington Cup one - or the one where seats didn't get ripped up), several of the Cod Almighty team listened to Five Live's 6-0-6 phone-in. Steve Kabba this, Steve Kabba that, Steve Kabba is a future England player, mark my words, isn't Neil Warnock a genius for finding him? I think you know what we're getting at...
The Rowson commiseration award
Well, admit it. Although you knew that the goalless draw at Hillsbrough was It, you felt a slight tinge of satisfaction that by denying the Wendys three points we were taking them with us. And hence denying a local Wendy-supporting journo the chance for any condescending "ooooh, isn't it nice in division one" remarks next season. In the darkest hours life can still have its sweet moments.
The 'bet you didn't think he'd be an England player by the end of the season' award
Back in October, Reading visited Blundell Park. Among their team was Arsenal's Matthew Upson, on loan and a linchpin in the back line. Unable to get past Pascal Cygan (something a number of players not commonly classed as 'fast' seemed able to do throughout the season) in the Arsenal ranks, Upson took the chance to stretch his legs regularly in Division One and was credited as a major factor in the Royals' early-season prominence in the league. After his loan expired, Steve Bruce paid £2 million for Upson to move to Birmingham. A few months later the player made his England debut as a late sub during the farcical game in South Africa and as I type this he's got a good chance to start England's European Championship qualifier against Slovakia. Now, be honest - did you see that coming when Reading tonked Town that chilly Saturday?
Ground we're most looking forward to visiting next season
Mentions from the Smoke include Colchester and Brentford. Dwellers in the dark north await the return of a close visit to Barnsley and, of course, the chance to visit Sheffield again. All round nods are drawn with the mention of Stockport though. We don't know why but we all like going there. It's a quaint little ground; if we're away there in August you can stand on the open terrace and take in the sun and gasp as aeroplanes fly low overhead as they come into land; and there are some lovely pubs in the town centre. Coincidentally, nobody wanted to go to Cardiff and some were considering not doing the home game as "Cleethorpes would get trashed by their nutcase supporters". Good job they got promoted then. Knowing our luck they'd have visited Stockport the week before us and totalled all those lovely ale houses I've just mentioned.
Ground we're looking forward to not having to visit now
One opinion expressed was: "any of the big clubs because they're all complete motherfucking fuckheads" - and it's difficult to find fault with that. Specific examples included Molineux (Wolves - need we say more?), Selhurst Park (both times Town could visit it), and Valley Parade (general consensus was the nice ales, pubs and curries in Bradford were ruined by the club itself). Let's hope a few of you don't decide to not visit Blundell Park next season. Think of it this way - we should have a better chance of winning games next season! Woo!
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