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MATCH PREVIEW: Grimsby Town vs Swindon Town

The lowdown on our next League Two opponents…

23 September 2022

Swindon Town go in search of a third straight victory in League Two this weekend as they travel to Grimsby Town.

With just three places between the two sides in the standings, we look ahead to another important clash with a bit of background on The Mariners.

A brief history…

Grimsby are the most successful team of the three professional clubs in Lincolnshire, being the only one to play top-flight English football.

The Mariners are also the only one of the three to reach an FA Cup semi-final, doing so on two occasions during the 1930s.

They’ve also spent more time in the English game’s first and second tiers than any other club from the county.

Notable former managers include Bill Shankly, who went on to guide Liverpool to three league titles, two FA Cups and a UEFA Cup triumph, and Lawrie McMenemy, who, after securing promotion to the then Third Division in 1972, moved to Southampton where he won the FA Cup in 1976.

Alan Buckley is the club’s most successful manager with three spells at Blundell Park between 1988 and 2008, guiding them to three promotions and two Wembley appearances during the 1997/98 season, winning both the Football League Trophy and the Second Division Play-off Final.

In 2008, Buckley took Grimsby to the capital again, but lost out to MK Dons in the final of the Football League Trophy. The Mariners had also reached the League Two Play-off Final in 2006 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, but lost the match 1-0 to Cheltenham Town.

Later trips to Wembley in 2013 and 2016 saw them defeated in the FA Trophy by Wrexham and FC Halifax Town respectively, having also lost at the venue in the 2015 National League Play-off Final to Bristol Rovers before finally gaining promotion by winning the 2016 final against Forest Green Rovers.

In 2022, The Mariners were promoted back to the Football League for a second time with victory over Solihull Moors at the London Stadium.

The clubs relegation in 2010 made them the sixth club to compete in all top five divisions of English football, after Wimbledon, Wigan Athletic, Carlisle United, Oxford United and Luton Town, and before Leyton Orient, Notts County and Oldham Athletic.

Grimsby’s 1939 FA Cup semi-final attendance of 76,962 versus Wolverhampton Wanderers is still a record at Old Trafford.

In 1954 they became the first English club to appoint a foreign manager in Hungarian Elemer Berkessy.

The club’s record appearance holder is John McDermott, who played 754 games between 1987 and 2007, while their leading goal scorer is Pat Glover, with 180 goals between 1930 and 1939.

The Stadium…

The Stadium was built in 1899, but only one of the original stands remains.

The current capacity of the ground in 9,052, after converting to an all-seater in the summer of 1995, reducing the number from around 27,000.

Several relegations in previous years has meant the expansion seating was also taken away, which minimised the capacity further from 12,000 to what it is now.

The stadium is Grimsby Town’s fourth ground in their history, having previously played at Clee Park, Lovett Street and Abbey Park in the club’s first twenty years of existence.

The record attendance at Blundell Park stands at 31,651 in an FA Cup tie against Wolverhampton Wanderers back in February 1937.

The two clubs also hold the record attendance at Manchester United’s Old Trafford Stadium when 76,962 people saw the two sides meet again in the 1939 FA Cup semi-final.

The last five previous meetings…

It’s pretty even between the two sides delving back to previous match-ups.

The last five meetings have all come in League two, stretching back to April 2018.

Town boast two straight wins in the most recent clashes, claiming a 3-1 victory at home back in February 2020 thanks to goals from Jerry Yates, Diallang Jaiyesimi and a Luke Hendrie own goal.

Earlier that campaign in December 2019, Town emerged victorious at Blundell Park recording a comfortable 3-0 win, courtesy of Eoin Doyle and a Jerry Yates brace.

In February the season before there was nothing to chose between the two sides as it finished 1-1, before Town were beaten earlier that campaign in the reverse, going down 2-1 in Lincolnshire.

Before that, Grimsby boasted bragging rights with two wins during the campaign before, winning twice in 2018, 2-1 at home and 1-0 away.

Grimsby Town this season…

Like Swindon, Grimsby head into the weekend off the back of two straight league wins, having beaten Mansfield Town and Colchester United in the past couple of weeks.

They currently sit eighth in the standings and are on track for an early season play-off place push.

Like us, they haven’t suffered a league defeat since the opening day, where they went down to a 2-0 defeat to current leaders Leyton Orient.

Incidentally, despite their impressive start to the new season, they’ve only scored eight league goals, the fewest among the top seventeen sides.

The manager…

Paul Hurst is in his third spell at Blundell Park, having been appointed as joint boss in 2011 alongside Rob Scott, before taking on the role solely for three years between 2013 and 2016.

Spells in charge of Shrewsbury, Ipswich and Scunthorpe followed, before taking the Town reigns again in December 2020.

He took Grimsby up last term from the Conference and has made an impressive start to life back in the Football League.

As a player, he only ever played for two clubs during his fifteen year career, making 438 league appearances for Rotherham United and seventeen while on loan at Burton Albion in 2008.

Summer and deadline day recruitment…

No fewer than thirteen new faces have been added to the squad by Paul Hurst this term, with the majority recruited during a busy off-season.

Among them were Danilo Orsi (Harrogate Town), Anthony Glennon (Burnley), Otis Khan (Leyton Orient) and Alex Hunt (Sheffield Wednesday).

Kieran Green has also been drafted in from Halifax Town while Bryn Morris has joined from Burton Albion.

There’s also been a few loan arrivals. Brendon Kiernan has signed a short term deal from Walsall, Andy Smith has come in from Hull City, while Canadian Aribim Pepple has opted for Blundell Park from Luton Town.

Burnley youngster Lewis Richardson and Birmingham City’ s Keyendrah Simmonds have also come in on loan.

Only three notable names have left the Lincolnshire club, with Ben Fox heading to Northampton Town, David Lange-King opting for Dagenham & Redbridge and John McAtee going to Luton Town, but remaining at Blundell Park until the end of the season.

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