THE Mariners have a long, long history of exceptional strikers. Names that resound down the years - some, like Tommy McCairns who once scored 6 goals in a match in the 1890s - so distant that not even the oldest Mariners fan can have seen them. A whole series of exceptional strikers followed in the inter-war years - Carmichael, Joe "Give it to Robbo" Robson, Tim Coleman, and then of course perhaps the most famous of all - Pat Glover!
Town's fortunes may have dipped after World War 2, but the ability to sign great strikers never waned, and even as they lost their First (Premier) Division status, there was Tommy Briggs starting his glittering career, and then his team-mate Billy Cairns. Here we must just pause to mention Fred Smith - 90 on 27th May, who knocked in 4 goals in seven minutes under Shankley's management.
By now we've arrived at those well within living memory. Ron Rafferty, the great Ron Rafferty who scored goals for fun over many seasons, and Ralph Hunt, - the pair scoring 57 league goals between them in 1959-60! To take over from Ron Rafferty, we signed Matt Tees, whose goal-scoring feats saw him snapped up and moved on, only to return to inspire Lawrie McMenemy's team in the early seventies. A plethora of local lads - Tony Ford, Terry Donovan, Kev Drinkell, Paul Wilkinson, and Gary Lund then took on the mantle.
And now, joining that fantastic list, we have Padraig "Podge" Amond! Like all those in this list, he can score from any angle, any distance, but his genius is surely that for many of his goals he has put himself in the right position at the right time and frequently just "dinks" the ball into the net past a stranded keeper who can only stand and stare as the quality of the finish passes the ball into the net, over, under, or round the custodian! Any striker who can do all of this has always been taken into the hearts of the Town's marvellous fans, and spoken about in almost reverential terms for decades - even centuries - afterwards! Podge was taken as someone very special at the start of the current season, and his legendary status has only built game after game as his goal tally, his assists, and his partnership with Omar has increased! Back "home" in Ireland, Podge is regarded with pride, but on the east coast, his exploits will be spoken of, his moniker taken as an internet user-name, articles written, and his prowess in front of goal celebrated whenever and wherever Town fans gather for decades to come!
Will we ever see his like again?