The Grimsby Reaper

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What goes "Yay Town! Swish, thunk"? Why, it's the Grimsby Reaper, metaphorically severing the heads of managers just after their teams have lost to the Mariners!

It was in the early 2000s when we first noticed this pattern. Town would win a game; the other team's chairman would decide nothing could be more humiliating than losing against Grimsby; the manager would pay with his job (or almost, as in Gerard Houllier's case, his life).

Here, then, we list the Reaper's victims in full, for the sake of posterity and to inform future generations about when Town used to be good (and to show off because we just used it to get GTFC into the Totalitarian League on the marvellous 606 With Danny Baker).

Kevin Betsy
8 October 2022: Grimsby 3 Crawley 0
9 October 2022: Betsy sacked by Crawley

Wayne Brown
17 September 2022: Colchester 0 Grimsby 1
18 September 2022: Brown sacked by Colchester

Warren Feeney
27 September 2016: Grimsby 1 Newport 0
28 September 2016: Feeney sacked by Newport

Brian Laws (Brian Laws!)
19 November 2013: Scunthorpe 1 Grimsby 2
20 November 2013: Laws sacked by Scunthorpe

Dave Hockaday
19 October 2013: Grimsby 3 Forest Green 1
21 October 2013: Hockaday leaves Forest Green "by mutual consent"

Steve King
3 April 2013: Macclesfield 1 Grimsby 3
3 April 2013: King sacked by Macclesfield (more or less right after the match)

Colin Todd
26 September 2009: Grimsby 1 Darlington 1
26 September 2009: Todd sacked by Darlington (again, less than an hour after the end of the match)

Terry Butcher
8 December 2007: Brentford 0 Grimsby 1
11 December 2007: Butcher sacked by Brentford

Jimmy Quinn
19 October 2004: Shrewsbury 1 Grimsby 1
22 October 2004: Quinn resigns from Shrewsbury

Trevor Francis
12 April 2003: Grimsby 1 Crystal Palace 4
18 April 2003: Francis sacked by Palace (we guess they expected to score at least six)

George Burley
8 October 2002: Grimsby 3 Ipswich 0
11 October 2002: Burley sacked by Ipswich

Gordon Strachan
8 September 2001: Coventry 0 Grimsby 1
10 September 2001: Strachan sacked by Coventry

Steve Bruce
14 October 2000: Grimsby 1 Huddersfield 0
16 October 2000: Bruce sacked by Huddersfield

Graeme Sharp
8 February 1997: Oldham 0 Grimsby 3
11 February 1997: Sharp sacked by Oldham

Jimmy Melia
15 October 1983: Grimsby 5 Brighton 0
19 October 1983: Melia resigns from Brighton (effectively forced out, as the club removed his responsibility for picking the team)

Bobby Murdoch
28 September 1982: Middlesbrough 1 Grimsby 4
29 September 1982: Murdoch sacked by Middlesbrough

We'll claim these as well

  • Town beat Southend 4-0 on the last day of the 1996-97 season and Ronnie Whelan was sacked during the summer
  • In December 1997 Town beat Preston 3-1; it only took one more game for Gary Peters to be sacked and replaced by David Moyes
  • Bristol City lost 2-1 at Blundell Park in October 1998 and John Ward resigned a week later – another manager had been brought in to work alongside him that he wasn't happy about, but we'll have it anyway
  • Most impressive of all, we won 2-1 away at Liverpool in the League Cup in October 2001 and four days later Gerard Houllier was rushed to hospital with heart problems
  • Sven Goran-Eriksson finally saw the light at Notts County after their over-waged mercenaries narrowly won at Blundell Park and the Munto house of cards finally tumbled to the floor
  • At the same time as Sven went, Stuart McCall took a pre-emptive dive by resigning from his post in the week before his failing Bradford team were due to play the Mariners. He knew what was coming
  • Craig Hignett lasted only one more game at Hartlepool after Town won 1-0 there in January 2017
  • Ian Dawes stood down as Tranmere Rovers' caretaker manager after they appointed Keith Hill on 21 November 2020, and after they had beaten Grimsby 5-0
  • Ian Burchnall resigned as Notts County manager, to join Forest Green Rovers, on 27 May 2022, four days after we beat them in a play-off eliminator (He'd have stayed on a few more days if we'd lost)
  • Michael Gove was the only minister sacked on 6 July 2022 during two days when over 50 resigned from Boris Johnson's government. Gove had been in Grimsby two days earlier (this one brought to you by a first past the post readers' poll so you have only yourself to blame if you don't like it) 

Our thanks to Neville Butt, John Oglesby and Ian Smith for some of the information here. Any more for any more? Send your questions, comments or additions to the death toll through theĀ Cod Almighty feedback form.