What Became Of The Likely Lads? #1: Glen Downey

Welcome to the first in a new regular series looking back at some of the more obscure names who have represented The Mariners over the years.

Our first entry into the series looks at a player so obscure, there isn’t even a photo of him on Google image search.

Sometimes football throws up it’s own JFK moment, ask any Manchester United fan and they’ll be able to tell you where they were when United won the Champions League in 1999 just in the same way that Arsenal supporters can tell you their exact location when Michael Thomas netted his winning goal at Anfield in 1989.

For a handful of Town supporters, December 31st 2005 is one of many memorable dates as this was the day the invisible man momentarily stepped out of the shadows and headed home a dramatic winning goal. Hands up now, who can actually say they were there when Glen Downey scored for Grimsby Town?

Downey, a centre-half by trade, had started his career in 1997 with Hartlepool United but had failed to make a senior appearance in his time with the club and spent prolonged periods of time on loan with non-league clubs local to the North East, notably Bishop Auckland and Gateshead.

After a spell in Ireland with Shelbourne and Newry City, Downey returned to the North East of England, turning out for Spennymoor United in the 2002-2003 season.

Following his time at Spennymoor, Downey found himself signing for Scarborough under the stewardship of Russell Slade but found first team appearances limited as he struggled to make an impact.

After Slade made the move down the coast to Cleethorpes, many were surprised when Downey followed Grimsby’s new manager. Rumours began to abound that Slade was a family friend of Downey’s parents with further whispers claiming that Downey’s father was making a substantial contribution to his wages.

The centre-half would spend his time with The Mariners mainly as a squad player, acting as cover for first team regulars Simon Ramsden, Rob Jones, Tony Crane and veteran Justin Whittle. A rare first team appearance came on the final day of the 2004/2005 campaign in a 4-1 away win at Kidderminster Harriers.

Downey was rewarded with a new contract for the 2005-2006 season and struggled to see any first team action until New Year’s Eve of 2005 when an injury crisis took hold.

Already blighted by absentees and a goal down, Rob Jones went off injured and was replaced by Martin Gritton whilst Simon Ramsden, himself making a rare appearance, also succumbed to an early second half injury and was replaced by Downey as Russell Slade had to think on his feet and shuffle his defensive pack.

As time ticked on, Town were looking to improve on their position after Michael Reddy had dragged them level in riposte to Mark Jones’ first half goal for the home side.

With six minutes to go, Tom Newey launched a free kick into the penalty area. The ball was headed goalwards by none other than Downey and nestled in the back of the Wrexham net. The unlikeliest of unlikely heroes had been born, Glen Downey had scored the winning goal to keep Town’s promotion push alive.

Unfortunately, that would be it as far as high spots in Downey’s Grimsby Town career, at the end of the 05-06 campaign following the Play-Off Final defeat to Cheltenham Town, Downey was released from the club at the end of his contract.

Downey found himself at Worksop Town at the beginning of the 2006-2007 season but only made a handful of appearances, after his time at Worksop came to an end he never played competitive football again.

After his career had ended, Downey moved back to his native North East and found himself in a spot of bother after he was accused of money laundering and running a brothel in Sunderland.

After he was cleared of the charges in 2009, Downey went into business with his brother and now runs a chain of successful fish and chip shops along the Wearside coast with his brother Gareth, also a former non-league footballer.

This was literally the only photo containing Glen Downey I could find on Google image search.

I hope you have enjoyed our brief look back at one of the many obscure Mariners from down the years. Who is your favourite forgotten Town player? Let us know on Twitter where we can be found @writteninBaW.

Until next time Mariners fans, take care.

A New Viking Invasion?

By Jostein Jensen, 06/08/2018

It’s time for something a little bit different now as Norwegian Mariner Jostein Jensen explores tbe link between Grimsby and the Scandinavian countries. In addition to this we also take a look at some of the Scandinavian players who have graced the Blundell Park pitch in the famous black and white.

There wouldn’t be a town called ‘Grimsby’ without the Danes and indeed you may not have existed if the Vikings hadn’t paid a ‘visit’ in the 9th century.

Scandinavia with tbeir Vikings for sure have had a long history in Grimsby. It’s now time for a history lesson on ‘Written In Black And White’.

While most Grimbarians think that the Danes were Danish people, it isn’t that easy. The myths tell of ‘Havelock the Dane’ who was saved by a fisherman named ‘Grim’ but the term ‘Dane’ is a wide notion. Archaeology professor Dagfinn Skre from the University in Oslo, Norway, explains it like this.

The concept of Danes come from a long time before we can speak about stable Scandinavian countries. We don’t know which parts of Scandinavia they came from. Even though they’re being spoken about as Danes it must be understood as a common term for Scandinavians. They are most likely to have been from the South and West of Scandinavia’

It is not easy to divide nationalities between the Vikings in England and Ireland. That is due to the fact that the first nationalities didn’t exist before the 900s, until then we identify more by names of regions. Secondly do all English sources refer to Vikings as Danes regardless of where they are from. For example, do they refer to the settlers who landed at Portland in Dorset in 788 as Danes despite the fact they landed from Hordeland in Norway. This is a common phenomenon, Englishmen knew about Danes from a time before the Vikings. When others came across the North Sea and behaved and talked in a similar manner there was no use in giving them a new designation.’

You can safely count on the fact that the largest armies were composed from several places but where the army that founded Grimsby came from is something that nobody knows.’

Nobody knows says Mr. Professor but as the founder of GTFC’s Norwegian fan website I can add some random name stats.

There are 122 people in Norway with the name Grim.

1572 people have the surname Grimstad in Norway.

116 people actually have Grimsby as their surname in Norway.

I know about several places in Norway that are named Grimsby or something similar, check out http://grimsbynorge.com/?p=5202

(By the way, you will not find anything like this in Denmark, not one single person has the surname Grimsby)

So whilst the Vikings may have been brutal, maybe a slightly more peaceful Scandinavian invasion will take place soon. Michael Jolley is believed to be bringing in at least one player from the Swedish league.

Jolley himself admitted this during a conversation with some visiting Scandinavian fans in the boardroom following the win over Chesterfield last season. The only problem is that the Swedish season goes from Spring to Autumn meaning that his targets will only be out of contract during the January transfer window.

Former Scandi Links

There is a history of other Scandinavian players previously playing for the club, let’s take a walk down memory lane and look at former ‘Danes’ in Grimsby.

The first was Denmark’s Edvin Hansen during the 1946/47 season. Hansen, formerly of Køge played six matches for Grimsby Town and became the club’s third foreign signing (behind German Max Seeburg and Kansas-born Billy Andrews).

The Danish federation allowed Hansen to play as an amateur in some games for Grimsby and made the journey over on 30th November 1946 along with Køge manager Alf Young. During his six week stay, Edvin played in six games with five coming in the reserve team, scoring one goal.

As he had retained his amateur status, Edvin was still allowed to represent his country during the 1948 Olympic Games where he helped Denmark win the Bronze Medal, defeating Great Britain 5-3 in London.

Edvin Hansen passed away in 1990, aged 70 years old.

To get to our next example, we take a giant leap to the advent of the ITV Digital era as several foreigners came to the club under Lennie Lawrence’s management, between a Dutch villain and a Chinese cult hero we got David Nielsen from Denmark and Norwegian Knut Anders Fostervold. Later, under Paul Groves’ stewardship we also managed to get Swede Martin Pringle in as well.

David Jean Nielsen was the first, coming from FC Kobenhavn who were managed by Roy Hodgson at the time, a friend of Mariners boss Lennie Lawrence.

The powerful striker had previously been a regular for the Danish giants but wasn’t playing regularly under Hodgson.

A loan deal with Grimsby Town was sorted but Nielsen thought he could have played for a better club. In his 2008 autobiography ‘Sorte Svin’ he wrote;

It was a bit down the ladder from what I expected but at the same time it was a small club where I was promised a lot plqying time’.

Nielsen got off to a great start, netting seven goals in his first eight appearances and earning the nickname ‘Messiah’ from the Blundell Park faithful.

However, the forward had a lot of gambling debt that he had got Kobenhavn to cover up but by now the club had decided they wanted their one million Danish krone back.

Pleased with his start for the club, Grimsby wanted to sign Nielsen and wanted to organise a 2.2 million DKK deal (roughly £200,000).

An agent came over from Denmark to sort out the details but it became clear that Kobenhavn wanted one million DKK from Nielsen’s signing on fee to recover his gambling debt.

Grimsby offered Nielsen 40,000 DKK a week, which at the time was the equivalent of around £3200 a week in addition to bonuses and a 1.5 million DKK signing on fee (around £120,000). The total package would have made him one of the club’s most expensive players ever.

Negotiations carried on for weeks with Kobenhavn wanting a split deal to help repay Nielsen’s debt. 500,000 DKK from the transfer along with the same amount from the signing on fee would have been taken by the club but Nielsen said no to the proposal and travelled back to Denmark.

The Danish media had the time of their lives and wrote page after page about the story, Never has there been so many stories about Grimsby Town in the Danish press.

Following a vacation to Portugal, a deal was arranged to take Nielsen to Wimbledon.

(Whilst he was playing for Grimsby, Nielsen’s wife stayed at home as she was pregnant with their son Noah Jean Holm who is now very talented and playing for German side RB Leipzig.)

Knut Anders Fostervold wasn’t the player Lennie Lawrence had in mind when he travelled to Bergen for the match between Brann and Molde on October 22nd 2000. He wFossias looking for a striker, although as Brann’s frontmen Azar Karadaz and Thorstein Helstad both scored twice it became clear that those two players would be a bit expensive. Molde strikers Andre Schei Lindbaek and Bernd Hulsker may have also been on the shopping list but it was Molde’s left-back Fostervold that impressed.

Fossi was 29 at the time and had been mentioned as a candidate for the Norwegian World Cup squad in 1998 but by now his knees were starting to feel it. Perhaps extending a long Norwegian season with a loan wasn’t the smartest idea, but the money was good.

Norwegian channel TV2 was the first to break the news, possibly due to Knut Anders’ sister Guro being a well known sports host at the channel.

Grimsby wanted to sign the Norwegian straight away but Molde demanded five million Norwegian krone (£375,000), the board felt the price was a bit too high and started off with a loan deal while negotiations continued.

Fostervold played ten games for the club and despite Grimsby’s hope of making a permanent transfer, a fee was never agreed on.

Knut Anders is probably now best remembered for this theatrical dive in 1999

After his football career ended, he made a radical career change, participating in the UCI Road Cycling World Championship in 2006 and 2007 in the individual time trial.

Swede Martin Pringle joined Town on loan in 2002 but would only play two matches for the club before Stockport’s Dave Challinor ended his career with a horror challenge that broke his foot in two places.

It was unlucky for Pringle as he had been impressive in his short time at the club alongside fellow Charlton Athletic loanee Andy Todd.

Earlier in his career, Martin had also played for Benfica, competing for the main striker role with Brian Deane, Nuno Gomes and joao Pinto, in addition to this he also earned two caps for Sweden.

Nowadays, Pringle works in coaching and is currently manager of Eskilaminne in Swedish women’s football and previously assistant to Roland Nilsson at FC Kobenhavn in 2011.

Pringle will always be a hero for Grimsby, it was just so sad that a fantastic career ended in an unfortunate manner.

A big thank you to Jostein for this article, I hope you found it as interesting as I did.

Head on over to @writteninBaW on Twitter to find out how you can take part in our new prediction league as well as keeping in touch for new content from the site.

Until next time, Mariners fans, take care.

Saturday Afternoon

By Dan Barker, 03/08/2018

Inspired by the rousing poem ‘Let Us Be One’ by Gordon Wilson, who we hope will one day contribute to Written In Black And White, our Editor and head writer Dan has let his creative juices flow and written some poetry of his own.

As we anticipate the beginning of the new season, Dan’s first effort encapsulates the feelings and emotion attached to passing through the Blundell Park gates and watching Town in action.

‘Have you got your ticket?’ Mum shouts as I bolt out through the door

It’s Saturday afternoon, of course I have, thrills lay ahead in store

As I make the short trip down Grimsby Road, I think of the Blundell roar

I just can’t wait to hear the sound that greets us every time we score

Sing when we’re fishing, we sing proud and true

Up The Mariners, this town knows, we dream black and white for you

As three approaches we await the gladiators to emerge

Nervous defenders glance at attackers, soon to be their scourge

It’s here, we’re underway, at last the game is on

‘We’ll hammer these’ I loudly say ‘They’ll be lucky to get one’

As the game goes on, we’re in control, bossing all the play

Until disaster, oh no! and much to our dismay

Our optimism evaporates, it appears all hope is gone

Catastrophe, we’re losing, we’re down by nil to one

At half time we conduct our inquest, as the smell of Bovril fills the air

‘They’re cheating and the ref’s against us, it really is unfair’

As play recommences, to score a goal we must

Restore our hope, give back our faith just please repay our trust

The noise begins to waiver, as heads begin to fall

Whack! It’s a goal, we’re equal

The score is now one all

We’re on our way to glory now, of this I am so sure

Nothing now will stop us, I know we’re going to score

We’re on the up, in the ascendancy, we’re really on a roll

As Town become relentless in their hunt for a winning goal

A cross comes in and for an age the ball hangs in the air

Our centre forward meets it, it’s in, bloody well get in there!

The relief is palpable, feels like we’ve won the cup

Three points are safely in the bag, the only way is up

In the pub we toast our victory as a friend hands me a glass

We pore over the action, that tackle, that cross, that pass

We hear results of rivals, to which we turn the other cheek

There’s no substitute for this feeling, I’ll definietly be back next week

Thank you for taking the time to read our poetic interlude, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Enjoy tomorrow’s game and hopefully we’ll be toasting a victory this time tomorrow.

Remember that contributions are more than welcome, if you would like to write for the page then drop us a DM on Twitter and we’ll get something organised. We can be found @writteninBaW

Until next time, Mariners fans, take care.

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!!

By Ben Curry, 01/08/2018

It’s finally here!! After an (almost) glorious World Cup and a long, hot Summer, the time has come once again for Grimsby Town to start their assault on League Two glory. To whet your appetite for the new campaign just a little bit more, please enjoy Ben Curry’s preview of Saturday’s 2018-19 curtain raiser against Forest Green Rovers.

Well it’s starting to feel like Christmas Eve to me as the excitement of the impending season is getting too much to bear! After the disappointment (to put it mildly!) of most of last season I, along with many Town supporters, go into this season with, dare I say it, hope thanks to Michael Jolley re-igniting the passion and love for the club over the last few months. After some promising signings and encouraging performances in pre-season, I’m sure that I am not alone in saying Up The Mariners!

That isn’t to say that I’m expecting promotion as we have a young squad and this being Jolley’s first full season as manager, I just want to see a damn sight more football being played on the ground and players that look like they want to play for the club, if we achieve this then I would be happy sitting in mid-table at the end of the season.

So to the first match of the season and Forest Green Rovers. The veggies are coming to town and will be hoping for an improved season like us. To do this they will need to keep hold of main striker Christian Doidge who has attracted plenty of interest from Championship clubs as well as sides from the Scottish Premier League. Whilst I’m doubtful they’ll be playing league football next season, that doesn’t mean they’ll be an easy three points, let’s hope for a repeat of the final day of last season.

In Demand: Forest Green striker Christian Doidge has attracted plenty of higher level interest this Summer.

As for Town, I think we’ll play in the same 3-5-2 formation as seen below. During pre-season it has been noted how we have liked to play out from the back and I’ve been impressed with John Welsh, who could quite easily still be playing in the Championship. He loves a tackle and likes to play simple passes to get us moving forward when he receives the ball in midfield.

Jake Hessenthaler has brought some much needed energy into the midfield as a true box-to-box player, like many I was looking forward to seeing how he links up with Elliot Whitehouse, but the former Lincoln man will be lucky to play any part of this campaign following his serious knee ligament damage suffered in pre-season.

I’m hoping that the first game will give Charles Vernam the opportunity to hit the ground running and get on the scoresheet, personally I’m looking forward to seeing the striker play for us again after his promising loan spell was cut short by a knee injury.

Back In Black (And White): Striker Charles Vernam will be eager to get on the scoresheet for Town following his return to the club from Derby County.

I hope to see between 5 and 6,000 Town fans turn out for Saturday’s game all in good voice, getting behind the team to give us the perfect start. When BP is rocking there is no place like it, the fans really know how to get behind a team that reflects the local community and it’s values which is something Michael Jolley has brought back to the club.

#UTM

Thanks for taking the time to read our preview for Saturday’s game, hopefully Michael and the boys can dothe job and get three points on the board. If you would like to submit a review of the game or anything you would like to say on the topic of Grimsby Town then please get in touch. The best way to do so is on our Twitter page, which can be found @writteninBaW.

Until next time, Mariners fans, take care.

Welcome To Written In Black And White

By Dan Barker, 30/07/2018

Hello and welcome to Written In Black And White, a new platform for Grimsby Town fans to air their views and opinions on all things Mariners related.

This is very much YOUR site so if you have anything you would like to say on the current squad, match previews and reviews, an ode to your favourite player or cult hero, a piece on your favourite kit from the past, memories of your first game or a trip back in time to relive your favourite Mariners victory then please get in touch, contributions are always welcome.

The best way to get in touch with the site is by following our Twitter account, which can be found @writteninBaW. Send us a DM with any ideas for contributions and we’ll get back to you to arrange your piece getting published on the site.

Hopefully plenty of you can get behind the site and we look forward to receiving and publishing your contributions.

Most importantly, let’s get behind Michael and the boys this season.

#UTM