Fixtures and results so far
Reserve team fixtures
Youth team fixtures
Al Wilkinson's poetry
The Meek that was
Stats and analysis
Man of the match awards
The season in pictures
Euro 2004 preview
What came before
Review previous campaigns covered by Cod Almighty
Cod psychology: Chesterfield
20 September 2003
Paul Groves' chocolate and blue army? To mark Town's 125th birthday Cod Almighty's Miles Moss looks back at some ill-advised early kits
"They're bloody horizontal!", my mate says, indignantly. "Horizontal!" he repeats, for effect. The club shop, it turns out, has a new stock of Mariners mugs emblazoned with – shock, horror – horizontal stripes. People are very touchy about the famous kit, but it's not quite as, well, black and white as it seems.
The mugs may be more appropriate than you think. Today's home match falls very nicely on 20 September – exactly 125 years since a bunch of local cricketers had a few beers and decided to form Grimsby Pelham FC. The clever marketing folk at Blundell Park are obviously selling a special centenary-and-a-quarter mug with the shirt design from the very first Grimsby team – blue and white hoops. Check your Mariners history books – it's all there in, er...black and white.
Town then wore chocolate and blue halves (later quarters) until 1904, when some bright spark decided salmon pink was the new black. Apt for the burgeoning fishing industry, perhaps, but utterly revolting. Let's hope there's no centenary edition pink strip next season, eh. After an all-white shirt with flouncy red trim, and two more seasons of choccy and blue, 1910 saw in the black and white vertical stripes, and we've never looked back. The 1993 pinstripes were just a blip, and the occasional suggestion nowadays that Town ditch the stripes altogether is only a bit of mischief.
And it's like being in an exclusive club. Like drivers of Beetles or Minis waving to each other, wearers of black and white stripes will often acknowledge each other. I frequently exchange a mumbled "all right" with a Notts County fan who lives down our road; though indifferent to Serie A, I secretly hope Juventus win; in Canada once I got talking to a Newcastle fan, just because I was wearing my Town top; and in the Lake District recently, I was compelled to watch Kendal FC simply because they play in the same strip as Town. You can be damn sure you don't get this affinity between wearers of boring blue or red kits. Long live the black and white stripes! I'll still have a couple of those Grimsby Pelham mugs though, please...