Yesterday the official club website posed the question – is Michael Reddy the club’s greatest striker, before showcasing a video of some of the forward’s best ever goals. The answer, obviously, is no. I liked Reddy and it says a lot that it’s taken such a long time to get another player of his style (Liam Hearn). The video is well worth a watch if you haven’t already seen it. The third goal in the clip sums up exactly what Michael Reddy was all about (when fit) – running 70 yards, outpacing everyone and finishing well.
There are plenty of great goals in the video, but it showcases the style of football that we perhaps didn’t appreciate under Russell Slade. The goal at Port Vale, for instance, is a fantastic crossfield (long) ball that splits the defence. Many of the other goals are created by direct passes down the channels which exploited the high-line defences played against us. Several goals are very similar – passes down the flank which Reddy simply outpaces everyone before finishing well. If he had stayed fit and not been forced to retire early from the game, there’s no doubt Reddy would have played a lot higher than he did.
But for all those great goals, he’s not the best striker we’ve had. Not by a long shot. If you measure greatness by goals then, in recent years alone, Gary Jones, Liam Hearn, Alan Connell and Kevin Donovan have all done better. Going back, Clive Mendonca remains one of my (and many others) favourite ever Grimsby Town stars, while Paul Wilkinson and Kevin Drinkall had great careers even after leaving the club. I also saw a few shouts on Twitter last night for Steve Livingstone and Tony Rees.
Way, way before my time, but surely the greatest ever striker honour has to go to Pat Glover? He remains the club’s top scorer of all time with 180 – something never likely to be broken. His 42 strikes in one season will almost certainly remain forever too. He also collected more international caps while at the club than any other player. It’s just a shame us ‘young uns’ can’t flick through YouTube videos of all those goals…