Grimsby Town: Club history

Before 2004, as far as we know the paths of Grimsby Town and The Glovers had not crossed in any way, shape or form. All this writer knew was that they were nicknamed The Mariners, and their fans were to be seen waving blow-up fish about some seasons previously. Harry the Haddock? Each to their own. Then of course we got Phil Jevons from them… which was nice.

Formed as Grimsby Pelham FC in 1878 the name was changed to Grimsby Town the following year. They were founder members of Division Two when the Football League expanded to a second tier in 1892. By then they had moved from their first home, Clee Park, to Abbey Park. In 1899 they shifted to Blundell Park, where they have remained ever since. Though there has been talk off and on for years of a new ground the necessary sorts of money required have never been available.

Division Two status was comfortably maintained until 1900-01 when the Mariners became Champions. They struggled near the foot of Division One for two seasons before relegation. In 1908 they had to put themselves up for re-election for the first time, topping the poll by some margin. In 1910 they were not so lucky, voted out (though finishing second from bottom rather than last) and were replaced by Huddersfield Town. For the 1910-11 season they took over their Reserves spot in the Midland League, finishing as Champions. In the subsequent election they swapped places with Lincoln City, only voted into the Football League two years earlier.

There they stayed until football was suspended for the First World War. In the first season after hostilities had ceased, 1919-20, they finished bottom of Division Two and were voted out again (along with yo-yo club Lincoln City, ejected for the third time). However Football League status was saved as a Third Division was being formed. Although that year composed entirely of clubs with a Southern League background Cardiff City had been voted straight through into the Second Division, and Grimsby got allocated the spare space in Division Three. They must have racked up the miles in the 1920-21 campaign, with huge journeys to every away game, but managed to finish midtable. The following season saw further expansion, and splitting of the Third tier regionally. In the process Grimsby Town were sensibly moved into Division Three North.

1925-26 saw another Division Winners title, and after some midtable seasons in Division Two they were runners-up to Middlesbrough in 1928-29 and achieved their second spell in the top flight. On this occasion they lasted three seasons before relegation.

In 1933-34 they took the title and promotion, and the next season finished fifth in Division One. This was to be Grimsby’s highest ever finish, but they remained in Division One through to 1947-48 when a disastrous campaign saw them leak 111 goals and finish ten points adrift. Steep decline set in, and could not initially be halted. In 1950-51 it was the foot of the table and down to Division Three North. At this point the Mariners appointed Bill Shankly, after he’d left Carlisle United but failed the interview to become manager at Liverpool. Shankly got them to second in his first season in charge but with only one promotion place that wasn’t enough.  Always ambitious, Shankly wanted to push on, but felt starved of finances and resigned in January 1954, publicly citing a lack of support from the board as the reason.

By the end of that season the Mariners were seeking re-election again – and again successfully. This was the midst of the many decades when no one ever got voted out of the Football League. They then bounced back as Champions the following season. After three years in Division Two they were relegated again. Three more years in the Third and then they won promotion as runners-up back into the Second for 1962-63. But each time was becoming more of a struggle, and there were two poor seasons ending in relegation. Drifting down through Division Three, relegation to Division Four (which had been created in another restructuring of the Football League in 1958)) caught up with them at the end of 1967-68. The following season they collapsed down the table and again relied on re-election. Towards the end of this 1968-69 season some crowds fell below 2,000.

The arrival of Lawrie McMenemy saw an upsurge, with the title and promotion in his first season. However they could only hold on to him for two seasons before he headed to Southampton, and Grimsby gradually drifted down the table each season until relegated back to Division Four in 1976-77. Another surge took place at the end of the Seventies. Up to Division Three as runners-up, then Champions the next year and back to Division Two. During this time they won the League Group Cup in 1982 – an early version of the Football League Trophy – which they also later won as the Auto Windscreens Shield in 1998.

The better times lasted until the mid-Eighties, when began another of their slides, with two successive relegations. Two seasons in the basement and then they were heading up again, promoted back to back up to the Second Division. By the time of their next relegation in 1996-97 it was of course from a renamed Division One after the arrival of the Premier League. This time they bounced back at the first time of asking, and clung on in the lower reaches until 2002-03. Then it was two successive relegations yet again. That, on the back of the ITV Digital fiasco of 2002, set off serious financial problems for the club – at one point they had debts of two million pounds, with around three-quarters of a million owed to HMRC. They seemed stuck at fourth tier level.

Things however were going to get worse. By the 2008-09 season, gravity was pulling them even further down. They finished one place above the trap door that campaign; but the next, 2009-10, it opened and they dropped into Non-League football for the first time since 1910-11.

Time to mention John Fenty, a director since the late Nineties and then becoming chairman in 2004. Fenty had a – how shall we put it? – love/hate relationship with Grimsby fans. That is many of them hated him; and some perhaps loved, or at least tolerated, him. He supposedly resigned “with immediate effect” in September 2011 after the disastrous appointment of Neil Wood as manager and the 2010 relegation, followed by a court case with Boston United over ‘poaching’ their managerial team in March 2011 to replace the sacked Wood,  which he eventually was to lose in 2012, had the haters in the fanbase in the majority. Oddly no one else actually took the position of chairman, and Fenty was to carry on exactly as before in that role, just without the title, for another ten years. We will be coming back to him later.

Like many such clubs, despite their history they struggled to get back up again, finishing in mid-table for their first two seasons before three failed attempts in the play-offs, coming closest in the third when losing to Bristol Rovers at Wembley in a penalty shoot out. Fourth time lucky it was, with a 3-1 win over Forest Green Rovers seeing them through, under a side managed by Paul Hurst. They also went to Wembley twice during this spell in Non-League in the FA Trophy, but lost both times: first to Wrexham in a penalty shoot out; and then to FC Halifax Town in the season the Mariners were promoted, thus missing out on the double.

The Osmond Stand – where the away supporters are housed.

Back in the Football League for the 2016-17 season, they suffered a blow early on when Hurst was lured away by Shrewsbury Town in League One after just three months. His replacement Marcus Bignot lasted only five months before being fired. At this point they turned to a familiar face. Back when Yeovil Town played Grimsby during 2004-05, the man in charge was Russell Slade. He left Blundell Park in 2006 to join a certain club in Somerset, straight after Grimsby lost in a League Two Play-Off Final to Cheltenham Town. Just over a decade later, in April 2017, he was to be reunited with that long standing club shareholder Fenty.

It’s said, never go back – though we’ll except Gary Johnson from that – and this was very true for Slade. His second spell with the Mariners lasted ten months before he was sacked after a 12 match spell of 4 draws and 8 losses, leaving them when in 17th. Slade’s replacement, Michael Jolley, didn’t have much impact. They finished that season in 18th and the next in 17th. He departed ‘by mutual consent’.

At this point Grimsby had one of those spasms of lunacy out of the blue that clubs sometimes do, and no one can predict; in December 2019 The Ian Holloway Show began. Holloway arrived as not only manager but as an investor, with a seat on the board for an input of £100,000. Players came, players went, with little seeming rhyme or reason; there was a Twitter spat with one of them; Holloway had public disagreements with Fenty. The club let it be known to the press that no £100,000 had been forthcoming. Holloway responded he had more important things to do than sit in a boardroom anyway. On 17th December 2020 he informed the Grimsby fans he wasn’t going anywhere. Six days later, at 9.20 a.m. on the 23rd, with the club in 20th place,  Holloway resigned – we can be that exact with the timing because the resignation was made via Twitter… and is still there.

As a knock on effect from this shambles Fenty’s stock with most Grimsby supporters fell even lower, if that was possible, and the pressure grew for him to sell up. There had already been negotiations going on with a consortium and on 29th December he agreed to do so. The deal wasn’t finally signed and sealed until March 2021 at which point Fenty’s 42.86% shareholding passed to local businessmen Jason Stockwood and Andrew Pettit, with Stockwood taking the position of chairman. In the meantime Paul Hurst had returned for a second spell as manager but couldn’t keep the club up and it was relegated back to the National League.


Grimsby Town: Club Information

Address :

Blundell Park
Cleethorpes
Lincolnshire
DN35 7PY
(Click for map)

Telephone Number : 01472 605050
Email: enquiries@gtfc.co.uk

Chairman : Jason Stockwood
Press Officer : Dale Ladson
Club Secretary : Rae Walker
Manager : Paul Hurst

Capacity : 9,031
Seated : All seated
Covered Terrace : N/A

Record Attendance : 31,657 v Wolverhampton Wanderers, F.A. Cup 5th Round, 1937

Colours : shirt – black and white stripes; shorts – black; socks – black
Nickname : The Mariners

Ticket Prices: advance ticket prices for 2021-22 season visit are as follows:

Adults: £20.00

Concessions: (proof of status may be required – Aged 65+ and 18-22, plus NUS Students & Unemployed) £13.00.

Unaccompanied Aged 12-17: £7.00.

Accompanied Aged 3-17: £5.00.

Under 3 years of age (presumably accompanied!): FREE.

Registered disabled (see below for eligibility): £20.00 + a carer FREE.

For Grimsby Town’s on-line ticket portal for away fans click on the link HERE.

NOTE: there is a matchday surcharge of £2.00 for all ticket categories, except for the Under 17 rates, if you choose to purchase at the ground on the day of the match.

The Osmond Stand is the area reserved for away fans. The total capacity of this area is 1,884; but for smaller followings (and let’s face it that’s going to be us) a corner section of 580 unreserved seats is allocated. Built in 1939, it’s an old edifice with pillars so judicious selection of a seat for the best sight lines can be in order. Entry to the stand is in Harrington Street (the side of the stadium facing the sea).

Disabled Info :
Ambulant and Wheelchair disabled supporters are charged £20.00 with an assistant going free of charge. You need to be on the High or Enhanced rate of Living Allowance. There are 20 wheelchair spaces in the away area. These must be booked in advance. If needing to make a booking, or more information on facilities, or further assistance, Amanda Stephenson is the club’s Disability Liaison Officer – call 01472 605050 or e-mail safety@gtfc.co.uk. Disabled supporters enter the ground via Harrington Street (the sea facing side of the stadium). There is a fully accessible toilet within the away end.

Official Away Travel

The Green & White Supporters’ Club is running away travel to Grimsby Town on Saturday, October 23.

Details are as follows:

Members: Adults £34, Concessions £34
Non-Members: Adults £36, Concessions £34
Coach departs Huish Park: 7 a.m.

To book, call Paul Hadlow on 07736 044570 or email him on paulhadlow@outlook.com.

If you are getting in touch by email, please make it clear which match you are booking for and that you give your full name, the names of people that are travelling and a contact telephone number.

You may be asked to pay a £5 deposit to reserve your seat.

 


Web Sites

Cod Almighty
A wholly independent fans website based on its own simple mainly text-based format, that has been running for oodles of years (2002), and provides a mix of sometimes irreverent news coverage and occasionally sarcastic musings on their club. Hell, we could almost be country cousins! Why are there not more sites like Cod Almighty out there?

Grimsby Town Football Club
Grimsby Town’s Official Website, still under the EFL Digital format.

Message Boards and Social Media
The Fishy
Forum – open for all to read but only members can post or reply.

Grimsby Town F.C.
The club’s official Twitter account.

Local Press

Grimsby Telegraph
Dedicated online section of the Grimsby Telegraph covering Grimsby Town news on a pretty much daily basis. Part of the renamed in 2018 Reach PLC (formerly Trinity Mirror) network of national and local newspapers, which means we’d advise refusing all their “options” when first opening in your browser unless liking auto-play videos and adverts as you struggle to read the actual article you’d intended to get near.


Grimsby Town: We’ve Met Before

Previous Results for Yeovil Town First Team vs Grimsby Town

11/12/2004 Home CCL2 W 2-1 5733 Johnson 43, Tarachulski 47
26/02/2005 Away CCL2 L 1-2 4414 Davies 11
17/07/2009 Away SWCC L 2-3 239 Tomlin 62, S Williams 75
29/10/2016 Home EFL2 D 0-0 3733
22/04/2017 Away EFL2 L 2-4 4061 Lawless 47, Zoko 75
16/09/2017 Away EFL2 L 1-2 3945 Zoko 21
30/01/2018 Home EFL2 W 3-0 2330 Wing 14, Browne 71, Gray 76
23/10/2021 Away NLP L 0-2 6470

Results Summary For Yeovil Town First Team vs Grimsby Town

Home Away Overall
W D L F A W D L F A W D L F A
2 1 0 5 1 0 0 5 6 13 2 1 5 11 14

Grimsby Town : Club Statistics

RECENT RESULTS
CURRENT SEASON SEQUENCE STATISTICS

21/08/2021  Dagenham & Redbridge Home NLP L 1-3 5,265 Rooney
28/08/2021 Weymouth Home NLP W 1-0 5034 McAtee 74
31/08/2021 Stockport County Away NLP D 0-0 6452
04/09/2021 Barnet Home NLP W 4-3 5030 McAtee 5, 65, Taylor 75, Hunt 90
11/09/2021 Torquay United Away NLP W 3-1 2364 Efete 24, Coke 33, Clifton 90
14/09/2021 Wrexham Home NLP W 3-1 6663 Taylor 27, Waterfall 34, Wright 90
18/09/2021 Eastleigh Home  NLP W 3-0 6051 Efete 45, Fox 74
25/09/2021 Maidenhead United Away NLP D 1-1 1976 Sousa 73
28/09/2021 Bromley Away NLP L 1-3 1927 McAtee 43
02/10/2021 Dover Athletic Home NLP W 6-0 5913 Waterfall 26, 70 McAtee 31, Taylor 33, 45 Bapaga 45
05/10/2021 Altrincham Away NLP W 3-2 2882 Bapaga 27, Taylor 48, Clifton 55
09/10/2021 Woking Away NLP W 1-0 4478 Clifton 87
16/10/2021 Bromsgrove Sporting Away FACQR4 W 5-0 3216 Revan 18, 28, Longe-King 26, John-Lewis 82, Bapaga 90


CLUB GOALSCORERS

Name LGE FAC FAT LGC CC Total
Rooney 1 0 0 0 0 1
McAtee 5 0 0 0 0 5
Taylor 5 0 0 0 0 5
Hunt 1 0 0 0 0 1
Efete 2 0 0 0 0 2
Coke 1 0 0 0 0 1
Clifton 3 0 0 0 0 3
Waterfall 3 0 0 0 0 3
Wright 1 0 0 0 0 1
Fox 1 0 0 0 0 1
Sousa 1 0 0 0 0 1
Bapaga 2 1 0 0 0 3
Revan 0 2 0 0 0 2
Longe-King 0 1 0 0 0 1
John-Lewis 0 1 0 0 0 1

ATTENDANCE STATISTICS

Highest League Attendance: 6663

Lowest League Attendance: 5030

Average League Attendance: 5738

CURRENT LEAGUE SEQUENCE STATISTICS

Games Without A Win: 0 Games Without A Home Win: 0
Games Without An Away Win: 0 Games Without Defeat: 4
Games Without A Home Defeat: 5 Games Without An Away Defeat: 4
Games Without A Draw: 5 Games Without A Score Draw: 5
Games Without A No-Score Draw: 10 Games Without Scoring: 0
Games Without Conceding: 2 Home Results Sequence: LWWWWW
Away Results Sequence: DWDLWWW Overall Results Sequence: LWDWWWWDLWWWW

 


Grimsby Town: Directions To The Ground

General:

The main thing to note is that Grimsby’s ground, Blundell Park, isn’t in Grimsby at all, but in Cleethorpes. Technically the area is North East Lincolnshire. Er, you what? You’ll have noticed that Gloverscast has given no credence to this pile of cack. Likewise we wouldn’t have given house room to that monstrosity of local government boundary fiddling “Humberside”, which Grimsby/Cleethorpes was allegedly in before. Thankfully that lasted the twinkling of an eye before someone pulled the plug on it. The English shires go back a thousand years, and no pen-pushing bureaucrat is going to change our view on these matters. It’s Lincolnshire, pure, simple, flat, and very very dull. They’ll be telling us Barf isn’t in Somerset next. Oh, hang on. Some changes can be for the good…

By Road:

It’s a long old haul driving to Grimsby Cleethorpes from Yeovil – c. 280 miles – so resign yourself to around five hours. The most obvious route, once reaching the M5, does have the advantage of being motorway the vast majority of the way. Those who have been to Glandford Park will be familiar with the majority of the journey: M5 (exit J4A); M42 (eventually become the A42), joining M1 at J23A. Exit M1 at J32 on to M18; and exit M18 into M180 at J5. Sail past Scunthorpe (who wouldn’t) and when the M180 runs out (about 15 miles short of the destination) just keep following the A180.At the roundabout with the A16 ignore the signs to Grimsby (unless really wanting to see it) and stay on the A180 (which soon becomes called Cleethorpe (no ‘s’) Road and then  Grimsby Road), signed Cleethorpes. Blundell Park is a mile and a half further on, on your left.

Parking:

Blundell Park itself has no parking of its own for fans. However, on-street, increasingly unusually this days, can be found around the ground. The ground is surrounded on three sides (the other is the North Sea) by closely packed streets of terraced housing mostly in a grid pattern. The club itself advises finding on-street parking though does vaguely warn that some restrictions have started to appear on some match-days. If you can’t find anything on-street the nearest car park is half a mile (ten minutes walk) west of the stadium at Sidney Park. This 24 hour and free, but at 66 spaces in total may well be filled by the park users. After that it’s down towards the centre of Cleethorpes, with the nearest to the stadium being the pay and display spaces that stretch all along the sea front of North Promenade, with the closest parking bays 0.7 miles (15 minutes walk) from the ground.

By Rail:

Have we mentioned Blundell Park is in Cleethorpes?

The two stations closest to the ground are New Clee (0.7 miles – c.13 minutes walk) and Cleethorpes (1.2 miles – c.25 minutes walk). Grimsby Town Station is 2.3 miles from Blundell Park. However New Clee is a tiny unmanned request Halt (requiring a word with the conductor or driver if wishing to alight and flagging down the train if wishing to board). Services are only about once every two hours and, as far as can tell, only East Midlands Railway’s trains (and possibly a couple by Northern Rail, though they seem very vague as to whether they currently do or don’t) stop there.

Therefore Cleethorpes Station is the most practical option. Leaving from Pen Mill the 07.29 – changing at Castle Cary, Paddington, Kings Cross and Doncaster – is the only service out of Pen Mill that will get you there ahead of kick-off, arriving Cleethorpes 13.51. One can’t see the game and do the same return route on the same day however. The obviously simpler route would normally be from Yeovil Junction via Waterloo – except that on October 23rd there are planned engineering works and the dreaded bus replacement service between Andover and Basingstoke. This will add 30 to 40minutes onto the usual Yeovil-Waterloo travel time. Kings Cross is the London station for Cleethorpes. It can still be done there and back on the day; though one will need to leave the ground sharpish at final whistle and leg it – the last train out of Cleethorpes (change at Doncaster) that gets into Kings Cross with time to get across to Waterloo for the last train to Yeovil Junction is the 17.26.

For London and South-East Glovers it’s much simpler: get to Kings Cross (for LNER services) and change at Doncaster (onto TransPennine services) – journey times out and return between 3.03 and 3.22 hours depending on the wait at Donny. Can’t miss one’s destination, Cleethorpes is where the line terminates.

By Bus:

The Nos. 3, 5, 9 and 10  all run along the A180 from Cleethorpes up past the ground  towards Grimsby. The Cross Street bus stops in the centre of Cleethorpes may be the best place to pick one up as all these stop there. The closest stop to Blundell Park to ask for is Imperial Avenue.

By Taxi:

A selection of Cleethorpes taxi companies can be found at Taxis in Cleethorpes.


Grimsby Town : Food & Drink

General:

Given Blundell Park is from the era of stadiums in residential areas, not shoved out of town on an industrial estate like many newer ones, one might expect it to have plenty of pubs nearby. It doesn’t. The only one left is Blundell Park Hotel, just over 100 yards from the front of the ground and about 5 minutes walk around to the away turnstiles at the back. Unless there’s been a very recent change of policy it does not accept away fans. Should you sneak in (presumably without any colours) you will find it is mainstream keg only; the other thing you’ll find is how incredibly cheap beer is in the area compared with what we are used to down South (outside of Spoons). It’s Facebook page currently lists Carling and Coors Light at £2.70, Caffrey’s and Worthington at £2.60. The next nearest pub is the Rutland Arms (see below), 0.6 of a mile (so around 12 minutes walk) north-west of the stadium. This accepts away fans, except for “high profile games”. Don’t think we need delude ourselves our visit is one of those. After that there’s nothing nearer than pubs south of the stadium down in the centre of Cleethorpes, so a bit over a mile away (20 – 25 minutes walk, or see the bus/taxi information above).

Everywhere in Britain even vaguely by the sea claims to have the best fish & chips. Cleethorpes might actually be the place that does. 90% of the dietary needs of the area seem to be met by Fish & Chip Shops. There are five close and reasonably close to the stadium itself; and a further dozen in the centre of town. We do recommend that you pick one – we did, and it was some of the best fish we’d ever eaten outside of a top fish restaurant at ten times the price. Should you not like fish & chips (are there such people?) there’s a McDonalds right outside the ground.

The most local breweries are Docks Beers (the trading name of Axholme Brewing Company Ltd.) which has its own Taproom (see below) in Grimsby; and Willy’s (see below), a longstanding brewpub that pre-dates the earliest days of the craft brewing revolution by at least a decade on the seafront in Cleethorpes.

Club Bar:

The provision for away supporters inside the away section so not available until turnstiles open (at around 1.30 p.m. for a 3.00 p.m. kick-off). Run by the Mariners Trust it’s called Scotties. They’ve decked it out in scarves, flags and shirts from as many away clubs as they can find/have had donated to give it a neutral flavour. In the away guide section on Grimsby Town’s official website it doesn’t mention it serves beer, let alone what those choices of beers might be. However a Grimsby fan source tells us there’s a Worthington’s bitter (would tend to assume it’ll be the Creamflow) and Carling lager on draught keg, plus some bottled beer options.

There’s a selection of hot and cold soft drinks available. Food options include: Pukka Pies (Steak, Chicken Balti ,Cheese & Onion and Pasties); Jumbo Sausage Rolls; Burgers/Cheeseburgers; Hot Dogs.

New this season is a pre-match external ‘Fanzone‘ (around the other side of the ground from the away end, off the Grimsby, A180, Road) that welcomes visiting as well as home fans. According to the locals the food and drink provision here is far superior to what awaits away supporters once inside the Osmond Stand.

Local Pubs:

Coliseum Picture Theatre: The Spoons in Cleethorpes, and as the name suggests was once a cinema. Has a (non-smoking) roof garden. Marston’s Doom Bar and Greene King’s Abbot and Ruddles Best Bitter the cask ‘house’ beers, with up to six changing guests on handpump. Real cider available, most likely Weston’s; though if lucky one does occasionally come across offerings from Thistly Cross or Gwynt y Ddraig in Wetherspoon. Opens from 8.00 a.m. every day, to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 1.00 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Food served all day until 11.00 p.m. 1.2 miles (25 minutes walk) from the ground.

Docks Beers Taproom – one of few things in this guide that is in Grimsby.

The Coliseum Picture Theatre, 26–28 High Street, Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, DN35 8JN. Tel: 01472 694724. Map: Coliseum Picture Theatre.

Docks Beers: While not expecting many of the readership to be heading towards central Grimsby given the stadium is in Cleethorpes, should you find yourself there by accident or design we thought one outlet worth a mention: the Taproom of Docks Beers. Up to four real ales on handpull (range will depend on what they have been brewing) plus a wide selection of keg, cans and bottles (both their own output and from other small independent breweries). At weekends a pop-up (varies) street food stall/van can be expected on site. Opening hours are given as from 12.00 noon every day, until 9.00 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 11.00 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 6.00 p.m. Sunday on both their website and Facebook page (though note the local CAMRA branch – last updated August 2021 – disagrees with much of this, though at least is in agreement about the weekend timings). 1.8 miles from the ground.

Docks Beers, The Church, King Edward Street, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, DN31 3JD. Tel: 01472 289795 Map: Docks Beers.

Message In A Bottle: Billing itself as a ‘Specialist Bottle Shop & Weekend Bar’ the bar part is open 4.00 p.m.-8.00 p.m. Friday, noon – 8.00 p.m. Saturday and noon – 5.00 p.m. Sunday. Generally has either one or two cask beers on – may be Docks Beers but not always, the wonderful Broken Dream by Siren being on in early October; a keg tap or two; and what it claims to be the widest selection of British, Belgian, German and American bottled and canned beers in town. Inside and outside drinking areas. Also stocks local ‘craft’ gins and rums. In the wrong direction for the ground from the station – but two of the other more interesting pubs in town (see both Nottingham House and Willy’s – below) are also close by that way so could be worth a little circuit. 1.4 miles to the ground (so bit under half an hour walk or see bus/taxi information above).

Message in a Bottle, 91-97 Cambridge Street, Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, DN35 8HD. Tel: 01472 453131 Map: Message in a Bottle.

No. 1 pub at Cleethorpes station.

No. 1 Pub: There are not one but two pubs at Cleethorpes Railway Station (see No.2 immediately below). This one has a Facebook page but no website we can find. There’s evidence does some food on Monday, Thursday and Friday early evenings and on Sunday lunchtime; but not it appears on a Saturday. Opening hours given are an incomprehensible mess: for example on a Friday it states opening time is only 1.00 p.m. – 5.00 p.m. yet also claims it’s doing ‘Fish & Chip Night’ from 5.00 p.m. – 7.30 p.m. Anyway, whatever, their claim to open at noon on Saturday seems to to be supported independently elsewhere. When closes is anyone’s guess. (Don’t we just love internet presences that expect their visitors to be a Hercule Poirot to work out what is going on!) Has BT Sports; and live music sessions at weekends. The regular real ales seem to be Bateman’s XXXB and Bass (these days contract brewed by Marston’s) plus up to six changing guests. Also does some unspecified real cider. 1.2 miles (25 minutes walk) from the ground.

No. 1 Pub, Railway Station, Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, DN35 8AX. Tel: 01472 696221. Map: No.1 Pub.

No. 2 pub, also at Cleethorpes station.

No.2 Refreshment Rooms: The second pub on Cleethorpes Railway Station (see No.1 immediately above). This also has a Facebook page – the website they link appears to have been deactivated – that is even less informative than No. 1’s. Opening times? Why would anyone want to put those up on their page?! Does up to six real ales. Gleaning info from a few photos Sharp’s Atlantic and Sea Fury (a Molson Coors subsidiary these days) seem to be the regulars, the others changing. On the keg side perhaps four taps can be seen; but not what they are. Real cider seems to be stocked. The local CAMRA branch suggests it opens from 8.00 a.m. (9.00 a.m. on Sunday) with flexible closing times depending on trade. No food. Might have BT Sports… or might not. Might be cash only… or might not. Both referred to months ago, but no update since. There’s a fenced off covered area on the station concourse for smokers. 1.2 miles (25 minutes walk) from the ground.

No.2 Refreshment Rooms, Station Approach, Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, DN35 8AX. Tel: 01472 691707 Map: No.2 Refreshment Rooms.

[Going to indulge in a small rant at this point: the above two outlets are: 1) on a railway station; 2) in a seaside day tripper/holiday resort. Pubs are (rightly) bemoaning the awful trading time they’ve had for 18+ months. One might just, JUST, think they would be looking to glean every scrap of business possible from travellers and visitors. The messages am getting from both these Facebook pages is that they can’t be bothered to provide basic up to date accurate information: so if I’m not a local (who already knows all this stuff) just walk on by matey, we’re not interested in your custom.]

Nottingham House: And here’s one that makes an effort to keep its Facebook page information up to date and relevant – it can be done. Three roomed pub with a bar, lounge and snug. Sports TV. Opening hours are: 12.00 noon – 11.00 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11.30 a.m. – 12.00 midnight Friday and Saturday; 11.30 a.m. – 11.00 p.m. Sunday. Food served (pub grub style, with children’s options) lunchtimes noon – 3.00 p.m. (4.00 p.m. on Sunday) – and early evening – 6.00 p.m. – 9.00 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday. Up to seven real ales with things like Theakston’s Old Peculier, Titanic’s Plum Porter, Oakham’s Citra and Timothy Taylor’s Landlord appearing regularly. Ciders by Weston’s and Thatcher’s. Four minutes walk from Message in a Bottle (above) and 1.5 miles (c. half hour walk or see bus/taxi information, above) from Blundell Park.

The Nottingham House, 7 Seaview Street, Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, DN35 8EU. Tel: 01472 597181 Map: Nottingham House.

Rutland Arms: This the closest pub that normally accepts away fans (see Food & Drink General section, above) to the stadium at 0.6 of a mile, so about 12 minutes walk. Probably only the immediate locals know exactly where the boundary lies, but seems to be regarded as being just in Grimsby rather than Cleethorpes. CAMRA claims it is owned by Old Mill Brewery and a sign on the pub appeared to confirm that. However that’s mostly likely out of date, as the brewery does not include it on the website list of sixteen pubs it currently owns and the sign looks to have been changed. That’s as maybe. It appears usually to have a beer from them still on one of its handpumps; with the remaining five occupied by other small independent breweries from Lincolnshire/Yorkshire and a cider. Recent real ciders have been from Rich’s Cider Farm and Lilley’s Cider, both based in Somerset so could make you feel at home. Wet only pub (no food mentioned). Keg is a mixture of Heineken, with likes of its Maltsmiths, John Smith’s and Foster’s brands, and Molson Coors with its Worthington’s Creamflow and Carling Lager. Has Sky Sports TV, an outside paved area, pool table and some parking. Gets VERY busy with home fans on match-days. You may spot a bouncer or two but we’ve seen no reports of any issues. Opening hours are pretty simple: from 12.00 noon every day to 11.00 p.m. except Friday and Saturday when closes half an hour later and Sunday when closes half an hour earlier. On-line presence is a Facebook page here.

Willy’s, a longstanding brew pub.

Rutland Arms, 26 Rutland Street, Grimsby, Lincolnshire, DN31 3AF. Tel: 01472 357362 Map: Rutland Arms.

Willy’s Pub and Brewery: The brewing area can be seen from the bar – as can the sea. A brew pub ( Facebook page ) that started up in 1989 long before the ‘craft’ beer scene took off in the UK, recall their own beers being incredibly cheap when we visited back in 2005 at £1.00 a pint. Confident they will not be that now, but still may well be giving Spoons prices a run for their money. As well as their own beer(s) the other of the four handpumps are occupied by nano-breweries from both locally and more widely round the country; and there are keg options. Also does several real ciders, with changing lines that may include options from Moles, Gwynt y Ddraig, Weston’s and the like. On a Saturday food (in British pub fare style, but has vegetarian and vegan options) is only served 12.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. Outside covered smoking area to rear. Opening hours are 11.00 a.m. every day, to 11.00 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 12.30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Just a couple of minutes walk from Nottingham House and c. five minutes from Message in a Bottle (both above) it’s 1.6 miles to the ground (so around half an hour walk or see bus/taxi options above).

Willy’s Pub and Brewery, 17 High Cliff, Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, DN35 8RQ. Tel: 01472 602145 Map: Willy’s.

Likelihood the Natives Will Understand You: Grimsby is in that curious area that isn’t quite the East Anglian burr that would give us a chance given it’s almost West Country in tone; and the North-East accent that rapidly becomes Geordie. They’re fairly remote from the rest of the country and, let’s face it, probably want to talk about (lack of) fish 95% of the time… so basically you’re on your own with this one.

Top-Tip: Wrap up warm. Blundell Park is two feet above sea level; and the North Sea wind blowing off the coastline about 100 yards away whips right through the stadium, so that even a warm day feels like Siberia. Brrrrrrr!

Grimsby Cleethorpes: Local Amenities
Thinking of making a long weekend of it? Some places to stay – we’d recommend Cleethorpes over Grimsby – and things to do (it’s the end of October so the latter may be in short supply) can be found here.

Other Points Of Interest: At one time Grimsby could claim to be the biggest fishing port in the World. Unless you are interested in commercial fishing – stick with Cleethorpes. Cleethorpes has the Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway running for two miles along the er,(approximately) coast. Voted (North East) Lincolnshire’s top tourist attraction for the last five years apparently – they’re presumably happy with simple pleasures in (North East) Lincolnshire. The Signal Box Inn (not listed above, as being at the far end of the Light Railway it’s 2.7 miles from the stadium) is supposedly the smallest pub in existence. We say “supposedly” as there are about as many claims to smallest pub as there are to oldest pub; however at 8ft x 8ft square and seating a maximum of four people inside this one actually might be.

[No responsibility is taken for any inaccuracies. This page is entirely the product of bias and prejudice.]