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Graham 'Basil' Rathbone: your memories
10 January 2012
With the loss of Graham Rathbone we lose another link with Lawrie McMenemy's fabled fourth division title-winning side of 1972. Here, Cod Almighty readers reminisce about a player who made 233 league appearances for the Mariners, winning many admirers for his uncompromising style in the heart of the backline.
Important part of history
Sad news certainly that Graham Rathbone has died. He played in the early years of my Mariners memories and was a no-nonsense centre-half who took 'no prisoners', as it were. A corner to Town in front of the Pontoon would ring out with: "Basil, Basil, Basil". Being with the club during the McMenemy era makes him an important part of our history.
I remember Graham (Basil) Rathbone as a no-nonsense hard-as-nails centre-half. An earlier version of Mark Lever. As a teenager I was at my granny's in London the weekend that Basil's suspension was announced. Eight games, a record at the time. I went to watch QPR v Swindon, 3-0 I think, and Rod Marsh scored. The talking point during the game was the suspension and how unfair it was on Little Old Grimsby. Seems that the football gurus have always been against us, well, at least in my lifetime. RIP Graham.
Dave the Engineer
I do remember being stood in a very cold Main Stand. Watching a poor Grimsby team. Basil got a knock on the head and was laid on the turf when George Higgins arrived. He had no hesitation in producing a very wet, cold sponge from an even colder bucket of water and putting the sponge on Basil's head. This would be about '67-68, the team was struggling; maybe about 2,000 fans. There was a regular in the Main Stand. Flat cap, long black, maybe blue coat. Seemed old to me; I was about 13, 14. "He’s not the only bugger with a headache," he shouted at the top of his voice. Every week that fan made us laugh. Anyone remember him?
A wonderful servant
Indeed it is sad to hear about the death of Graham Rathbone, who was a wonderful servant and formed a solid backbone for McMenemy's championship team (with Wiggington and/or Gray). A ban for 'fighting with a Scunthorpe player' is a bit of an exaggeration, at least from my memory. I can still see him 'knocking out' Don Welbourne with the flick of his wrist to the opponent's chin. It looked like a friendly clip from my corner of the ground. The Scunthorpe protagonist left the field on a stretcher, which is where he received his marching orders. So 'robust' would be fair.
Teammates' memories in the Grimsby Telegraph
Newport County fans share their thoughts
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