Grimsby Town to release their own sticker book

10694277_833360330048820_9213709793468234295_oThe biggest news of the week? FA Cup draw? Nah. Scott brown injured? Nah. Lenny’s goalscoring heroics? Nope. Grimsby Town set to immortalise their playing staff in the form of a sticker book? Absolutely!

Fresh from the success of Panini’s World Cup stickers this summer, the Mariners have announced they’re doing a version of their own. I blogged in the summer about my minor addiction to collecting football stickers, as men in their 30s recreated their childhoods by buying fistfuls of Panini packets. It’s something I even wrote about three years ago. In short, it’s a great idea – what else could be better than having 14 Shaun Pearsons and a desperate need for a Paul Walker to finish your collection?!

“The initial idea to develop a sticker book came out a meeting with our new programme printers Wyndeham Gait,” according to the club’s commercial assistant Jack Johnson. “We were kicking around ideas and, because of the huge success of Panini’s 2014 World Cup sticker book, we thought a Grimsby Town one would go down well with supporters. It’s been something I’ve always thought would be a really cool thing to do. As soon as Wyndeham Gait said they would be able to do it, I jumped at the chance.”

Jack, a seasoned collector himself (“I remember getting a bit giddy whenever I got a Town player in a pack; even if he was someone I’d already got. I’m pretty sure I had about a dozen Jamie Forresters at one point! I didn’t mind though!”), admitted Town’s playing staff were already getting ‘stuck in’. “Put it this way, last week I took about 20 copies of the album down to the training ground and I didn’t have to take any back with me!”

The bad news, however, is the Grimsby Town sticker book won’t feature any ‘shinys’. “This was something I was very keen on when the initially discussions began but it quickly became apparent that shiny foils weren’t an option; which was disappointing. However, sticker number one in the album is the equivalent of a shiny. You’ll just have to wait to see what it is!”

The club has already seen a fantastic reaction on social media and officials are hoping people will bring their swaps to Blundell Park on a matchday. They’ve also started the hashtag #gotgotneedGTFC to be used on Twitter. “The idea is for fans to tweet which players they have to swap, include that hashtag, and we’ll make sure we retweet it to all of our 12,000 followers. That way supporters from Humberston to Helsinki can trade GTFC stickers.”

So how can grown men pick one up and pretend it’s for their children? The album is available on a one-for-one basis from the club shop with a voucher in the Grimsby Telegraph. Supporters who live outside of the North East Lincolnshire area can ‘order’ their copy online at the end of the week. They won’t be charged for the album but there will be a small postage and packing fee to pay.

“In total there are 60 stickers to collect,” Jack added. “Initially you’ll receive four with your album as a kind of starter pack. Then, starting in Saturday’s programme for the Dartford game, four new stickers will be included in every edition of The Mariner for the rest of the season. So, if you buy a copy of the programme each home game, you’ll fill up the whole album for free! If you don’t want to complete your book like that we will be selling packs of five stickers for £1 from this weekend. That way you will be able to get a few ‘swapsies’ and trade them with your mates – If you want to be proper authentic!”

Match report: Grimsby Town 3 Guiseley 0

FullSizeRenderYou can’t really win in games such as this – fail to despatch a lower league side at home and it’s seen as a disappointment, demolish the opposition and it’s something cast aside as the minimum expectation. I guess, at the end of the day, all that matters is that Grimsby Town are in the hat for the First Round of the FA Cup and have chalked up another win. Including the Lincoln win that’s now four in a row, six matches unbeaten and only one defeat in the last 10. It’s a far cry from the despondency around the ground after the Southport defeat.

Town lined up in a 4-4-2, changing from the 4-3-3 that had served them so well in the last couple of away games. Enforced changes due to Parslow returning to York on loan and Scott Brown’s injury gave Craig Clay and Ross Hannah recalls. The Mariners, however, started as they have done in most home matches this season – lethargically. One-paced and plodding, Guiseley were the better side for the first 30 minutes without actually having a shot on goal. They were quicker to close Town down, harried and hassled and got in the Mariners’ faces. Several Grimsby players just weren’t at the races and they desperately missed Scott Brown’s energy in midfield. The two wide players, Neilson and Mackreth, were far too deep and I can’t remember a single occasion where Mackreth took on his man and even tried to get to the by-line. It was poor. That said, Town could have found themselves three or four goals up with John-Lewis guilty of missing two headers, Hannah wasting a couple of free kicks and also shooting wide when he should have hit the target at least.

I tweeted at half-time the game needed the pace and guile of Arnold and Pittman and the former was brought in for Scott Neilson. Neilson was no worse than anyone else, but he was certainly off colour. The substitution changed the game – Arnold showed a cleverness and ability which had otherwise been missing and he went on to score and set up two more to finish Guiseley off. Paul Hurst had clearly told Town to up the tempo and to play higher up the pitch and the first time Mackreth tried to beat his man, he knocked in a cross which Arnold headed home. The on-loan Cambridge winger than set up John-Lewis to bravely head home, before his cross/shot was knocked in by the same player. That’s four goals in two games for The Shop and nine for the season. It’s amazing what a bit of confidence can do.

Guiseley were the type of team the mainstream media would describe as ‘plucky’ – they were determined and put a real shift in, but rarely threatened and didn’t look like they would contain Town for 90 minutes. The Mariners were lazy and slow for 45 minutes and it’s a bit concerning this is still the case as it’s been an issue in most home games this season. Still, a win is a win and Town are starting to build a bit of momentum.

Home and away – a grim(sby) tale of drawing home games and losing too many away

photoYesterday I blogged about Grimsby town’s record in 2014. If you missed it, you can read it here. It’s a grim tale of inconsistency and disappointment, but then we’re used to it all by now. The blog received a decent reaction on social media, with even some of the more pro-Hurst supporters not realising just how poor the record has been over such a sustained period of time. I’ll re-iterate what I said yesterday though, I’m not anti-Paul Hurst. I’m just fed up of the poor run we’ve been on and the consistent inconsistencies we’ve seen since New Year’s Day. I want to see us play well and win, regardless of who is the manager. Despite what I suspect Paul Hurst thinks (based on his post-match reaction on Saturday), I don’t think the sane and rational Town fans are using this as a personal witchhunt against him. The buck stops with him and we need someone to stand up and be counted, to take responsibility, that’s all. Continue reading

Promotion form? Grimsby Town have won just 16 of their last 44 matches

photo 3Since Dartford took the lead on Saturday, social media and Grimsby Town forums have been abuzz with statements and suggestions that Paul Hurst’s tenure as manager should come to an end. Hurst has had his critics for some time now, although it should be argued I think the majority have backed him until now. Although John-Lewis rescued a point for the Mariners, there’s certainly been a change in the general view. For the first time, it appears, the majority are getting restless. Paul Hurst and Rob Scott have faced calls for the sack on several occasions – just after Wembley in 2013 and then again at the end of last season. But this time it’s more vociferous than ever.
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Match report: Grimsby Town 0 Southport 1

IMG_6505Two mediocre teams huffed and puffed until Dick Dastardly popped up and blew the Mariners’ house in. Let’s face it, Richard Brodie’s late winner was inevitable by half time. Town were beaten by a side that hadn’t scored in four matches and hadn’t won away from home in over 400 days. Worryingly, they were beaten by a team that simply wanted it more than we did. Southport were no great shakes, they simply worked hard, got in our faces and the men in black and white, bar Magnay and McKeown, simply couldn’t deal with it. Richard Brodie was arguably the best player on the pitch – he made more effort than several of Town’s attacking players combined. Richard Brodie wanted it more than our players did.

I’m not going to prattle on about what happened because it was a match to forget. Too many black and white shirts played as if they’d met in the car park before the game, strangers who seemed confused at their role and what their team mate might do next. The front two hovered and loitered but never moved far, Mackreth looked too scared to take on his man (until the last 15 minutes when, shock horror, he realised he was quicker than their full back) and Craig Clay played the game three minutes behind everyone else. I like Clay, he’s been great so far and proved every doubter wrong, but last night he was cumbersome and reckless with the ball. He typified Town’s lack of tempo and plodding style. I don’t want to single him out, he’s not to blame. They were all off colour last night, for whatever reason.

The Mariners have become frustratingly inconsistent, good points picked up on the road (Kidderminster, Halifax) mixed in with dismal home performances (Torquay, Dover, Southport, Nuneaton). At times we looked shapeless, like the players didn’t really know what the gameplan was. Was it a hoof down the middle (how many headers would Ross Hannah win against Clayton MacDonald, really?), was Scott Neilson left wing or in the hole, why did Jack Mackreth play so deep? We’re 13 games in, sat in mid-table and I’m beginning to lose confidence that we can match the teams at the top who, don’t get me wrong, will slip up at some point. Everyone beats everyone in this league, some people will say. And yes, they will. But if we lose 2 or 3 more games this season the likelihood is we can’t win the league (based on historical evidence). 2 or 3 more defeats and we’d concede the title in OCTOBER.

There were glaring tactical holes at the end of last season (the golden 20 goal a season striker being one) that haven’t been addressed. Town simply are not clinical enough. They need 10 chances to score once or twice (Chester should have been 6 or 7 nil really), or once in a blue moon there’s a hot streak where everything they hit goes in (Gateshead, Alfreton). Pittman and Arnold’s injuries are unfortunate and who knows where we’d be with them fit. But they’re not. And we lack serious options for a plan B as last night showed.

I left Blundell Park last night seriously wondering whether we have the fight and desire to be champions. Do we have the leaders, the men even, to grind out results in games like last night? Luton didn’t play well in every game last season, but they still managed to pick up points. They didn’t throw games away like we seem to do. On paper, we have a good team. We’ve made some good signings and we have good individual players. But it’s not coming together. October is a HUGE month with some big games. People will be playing or managing for their futures over the course of the next 31 days, that’s for sure.