When fans returned to Blundell Park for the initial top-flight game in September 1901, it coincided with the opening of a new 'Main Stand'. Based on the pavilion at Hull Town FC, this extended roughly two-thirds along the pitch towards the Cleethorpes End (the spaced posts today give an idea of its original length), the remainder being open terracing.
Its £1,500 cost was raised by the issue of £10 shares which entitled the holder to a reserved seat and reduced admission, while at the end of each season a ballot would be held to pay back a number of shareholders. However, just £800 was raised with directors covering the shortfall, although a Main Stand 'donation box' also brought contributions.
Opponents Derby County were also impressed by the new stand, manager Mr. Newbould declaring 'We have nothing to beat it on our ground'. The local press too, said it offered 'a very fine view of the game', but when the reporter in question tried his seat in the new Press Box, glue that had failed to dry tore away part of his trousers!
Town's aim among the elite was survival, and just three losses at Blundell Park were to contribute to a 15th place finish out of 18 clubs. Among the memories for home fans to savour was the games v Sheffield United and Portsmouth (F.A. Cup) being partly filmed, while in April 1902, Aston Villa were beaten 4-1 to ensure First Division status. When Bill Appleyard completed his hat-trick, supporters enjoyed the sight of England keeper Billy George running to shake 'Cockles' by the hand in congratulation!
Afterwards, a Villa director's claims that his team had been offered money to lose resulted in a Football League Committee meeting, and while GTFC were cleared of any blame, one unnamed individual was banned for life from Blundell Park.