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Paul Wilkinson - It Was A Special Night - In More Ways Than One.

20 November 2016

ON the 32nd anniversary of that famous win at Everton in the League Cup, we chat with the goal-scoring hero that night, Paul Wilkinson. 

Wilko, who later went onto sign for the Toffees, is currently the assistant manager at League One side Northampton Town.   

Speaking to, He recalls: "We were probably the biggest underdogs in football history, it was a big treat for us just going there. 

"It was probably one of the most one-sided games in Town's history, I think we defended for our lives and I think Batchy (Nigel Batch) had an unbelievable game.  I think Kev Moore and Chris Nicholl kicked three or four off the line and I think it was one of those days where a lot of things went our way.  

"Then I got the opportunity with a few minutes to go to notch the winner. It was late but there was still time for Chris Nicholl to kick one off the line in injury time."

Paul says that the goal effectively finalised his move to The Toffees and the side he had just knocked out of the cup were to become his team-mates.   

He continued: "Phil Bonnyman put over a ball, on the left, a right-footed in-swinger, I beat Nev (Neville Southall). That's probably the only time I beat Nev in all the time I was there. He never let me forget that either. I didn't let him forget it either.

"To be fair, It was probably the making of my career to a degree. I know they had watched me once or twice before that, but they took a big interest in me after that. So it was a special night for me in more ways than one."

Paul started the game on the right wing for the Mariners and came up against Dutch hard man Pat Van Den Hauwe.  

"I actually played on the right-hand side, and I think we played with one up front (Drinkell). I played against Pat Van Den Hauwe, who was growling and snarling at me. He became a good friend of mine, we lived near each other in Southport. There was me, him, Graeme Sharp, Kevin Sheedy and Neil Pointon, we all used to share a car. We all used to share a car in from Southport and we became good pals. Pat is actually back over here now and is coaching in the academy at Everton."

Paul remembers the fantastic celebrations in front of 3000 Town fans after the game and the media attention he attracted. 

"It was fantastic after the game. It was non stop with the media wanting to speak to you, wanting to get to know you, wanting to know about the game and everything like that. For me, being a young lad from my home town club, scoring the goal at the one of the biggest clubs in the land at that time, it was just a fairy-tale really."

And Paul will always be grateful to former boss George Kerr for giving him his chance at such a young age.

He said: "My first game against Charlton stands out for me, when I came on and scored virtually after three or four minutes. I always thank George (Kerr) when I see him now, for giving me that opportunity, that early in my career. I also remember my diving header against Fulham, a year or two later. Grimsby was a special time in my career - it's not very often you get to play for your own town club. They were special moments."

Paul says that he will always follow the Mariners' fortunes and he was delighted to see his first club return to the Football League.

He said: "I'm delighted, really chuffed. It's a great opportunity for the club and it's deserved. Over the last three or four years you've been so close. To actually get back into the league is a fantastic achievement. That's full testimony to the way the club has been run.  

"When I was there there might of been seven or eight of the squad who had come through the youth system. The likes of Fordy (Tony Ford, myself, Drinky, Lundy, who had come through the ranks and it was a very special time really. It was important for the town as well, everybody knew everybody. 

"It's massively important to bring players through and the club have just made one of their biggest signings in Neil Woods. He knows the club and when I was there he was excellent as youth coach. He's done well at Walsall and bringing someone back who knows the club is excellent."

Key Facts from Goodison Park:

Corners:  Everton 19 GTFC 0
Wilko had scored six goals in the previous 12 matches
Kev Moore, Chris Nicholl and Chris Seagraves all made goal-line clearances when Nigel Batch was beaten.
This was the second time Town had beaten Everton in five years in the League Cup.
Players who played in both the 1979 and 1984 games for Town were: Nigel Batch, Dean Crombie, Kev Moore, Kev Drinkell, and Tony Ford
GTFC's record against Everton (League) is
Grimsby have won EVERY game played against Everton in the last 68 years.  (That's played 2, won 2!!!)

A piece of Grimsby Town history on canvas. 

Paul Wilkinson's Hand Signed Canvas is currently going under the hammer on our Official Ebay site (ends Sunday at 11.30). 

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