Ryan Petterson looks at the second part of 2016.
Further departures this month included Aristote Nsiala, Nathan Arnold, Padraig Amond, and Richard Tait.
The only constants from last season were James McKeown, Shaun Pearson, Josh Gowling, Craig Disley, Omar Bogle, Harry Clifton, Josh Venney, and Andy Warrington.
Town signed Andrew Boyce, Ashley Chambers, Ben Davies, Dan Jones, Danny Andrew, James Berrett, Luke Summerfield, Rhys Browne, Sean McAllister, Tom Bolarinwa, and Zak Mills, as well as loaning Dominic Vose until the end of the season.
The new-look Town squad geared up for the club’s return to the Football League and began pre-season.
Striker Kayden Jackson signed on a season-long loan from Championship outfit Barnsley.
Town super-fan Graham Holness was diagnosed with bowel cancer and Operation Graham was launched, to help raise funds for him. He also led Town out in their first friendly against Cleethorpes Town as the Mariners won 3-0.
Hurst’s men then drew 0-0 with Hull City, lost 3-1 to Sheffield United, and beat Oldham Athletic 2-1 in their notable friendlies.
Former Shrewsbury centre-forward Scott Vernon signed a two-year deal with the Mariners just a week before the first game of the season.
Town fans got to meet their heroes and watch them train at Blundell Park at a family fun day.
Town got off to a flying start back in the Football League with a 2-0 home victory over Morecambe with Jackson and Davies on the scoresheet. Josh Gowling was sent off in the 71st minute.
But a run of four narrow defeats followed for Town, which was kicked off by a 1-0 loss away to Championship side Derby in the first round of the EFL Cup. Three league defeats then ensued as they lost 2-1 at Wycombe, 3-2 at Colchester, and 2-1 at home to Leyton Orient, with ex-Town striker Ollie Palmer scoring for the visitors and Vose scoring a consolation for the Mariners.
But Town got back on track the following Saturday at home to Stevenage. Bogle put them ahead on 15 minutes and Summerfield doubled the lead just five minutes before the break, before Fraser Franks got one back for the visitors on the stroke of half-time. But two quick-fire goals from Vose and Bogle in the 49th and 50th minute gave Stevenage a mountain to climb. Jobi McAnuff reduced Town’s lead to 4-2 with around 25 minutes to go but it wasn’t enough, and Bogle bagged his hat-trick to make it 5-2 with an excellent free-kick in the 94th minute.
Hurst’s men were then on the receiving end of a 5-2 defeat themselves as they lost to Walsall in the Checkatrade Trophy.
On Deadline Day, Town signed forward Shaun Tuton on loan until the end of the season from Barnsley, young goalkeeper Dean Henderson on loan until January 2017 from Manchester United, and midfielder Brandon Comley, also on loan until January, from QPR.
Town started the month with a trip to Notts County, where an outstanding 2,376 travelling supporters joined them. Shaun Pearson put Town in front in the 34th minute before Bogle gave them a two-goal cushion just over 20 minutes later. But County fought back with late goals from Jonathan Forte and Aaron Collins, and may have won it if Michael O’Connor converted his penalty in between them. The game finished 2-2.
The club announced it had signed a deal with Extreme Leisure to develop a new stadium at Peaks Parkway.
And another great away result came next as Bogle found the net either side of Glen Rea’s goal to aid Town in their 2-1 win over Luton at Kenilworth Road.
Hurst brought in ex-Sunderland and West Ham centre-half Danny Collins until January to strengthen his defence.
Young midfielder Harry Clifton joined Grantham Town on loan to get more playing time.
Town suffered their first defeat in four games the following weekend as they lost 2-0 at home to Crewe.
Mansfield away and Newport at home came next, and Town won both games 1-0 courtesy of two Bogle penalties which brought the striker’s tally for the season to nine league goals. The second win lifted Town into the play-off spots as they sat sixth in the table.
Hartlepool beat Town 3-0 at Blundell Park with former Mariners striker Amond scoring two goals for the visitors, before being applauded by the home supporters as he was subbed off.
Town suffered another defeat as they lost 1-0 at home to Leicester City U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy and were ultimately knocked out of the competition.
On the Saturday of the same week, they were held to a 0-0 draw away at Exeter City, who had lost every home game all season before that.
But with 1,131 travelling Town fans behind them, Hurst’s side managed a great win away at Cambridge United the following weekend with Berrett scoring the only goal of the game in the 26th minute.
Grimsby Town legend Neil Woods made a grand return to the club to take charge of the academy setup.
Town were narrowly beaten 1-0 at home to Cheltenham the following weekend but there was arguably a wider focus on off-the-field matters as rumours suggested Hurst would be leaving to take the vacant managerial post at Shrewsbury. And on the following Monday Hurst, alongside assistant manager Chris Doig, left for the League One club.
Dave Moore was appointed Town’s caretaker manager, with Andy Warrington and Stuart Watkiss giving him assistance.
Moore led Town to a 0-0 draw away at Yeovil.
Town travelled to League One side Bolton in the first round proper of the FA Cup on Bonfire Night and took 1,905 supporters with them. The players were resilient but Liam Trotter’s goal on 20 minutes was ultimately the difference as Town lost 1-0.
Two days later, the club appointed Marcus Bignot as their new manager, and Mickey Moore as his assistant. Bignot had a successful career as a right-back playing for clubs such as Crewe, Millwall, and QPR. He had previously managed Birmingham City Ladies and Solihull Moors, and led the Moors to the National League North title last season.
Town played their final game in the Checkatrade Trophy two days later as they lost 4-2 at home to Sheffield United.
Bignot’s first league game was an eventful one at home to Barnet. Bogle bagged a first-half brace and put Town 2-0 up at the break but the visitors were back on level terms within 10 minutes of the second-half via two John Akinde penalties. Alie Sesay was sent off for the Bees, and Bogle had the chance to earn Town all three points from the penalty spot in the 93rd minute but he lifted it over the bar and Bignot’s side were forced to settle for the 2-2 draw.
Up next came top-of-the-table Plymouth Argyle away, and Town overcame them. Collins scored a minute before half-time and Bogle bagged a second-half brace to hand Argyle their third defeat of the season.
The following game saw the Mariners host second-placed Carlisle and Bignot’s side showed their character again as they twice came back from behind, via a Bogle penalty on 50 minutes and a 78th minute Bolarinwa goal which was the winger’s first in Town colours, to draw 2-2.
Town suffered their first league defeat under Bignot next as they lost 3-2 at Crawley. Bogle’s brace, which brought his tally to 16 league goals and made him the top scorer, wasn’t enough to overcome the Red Devils.
Both sets of supporters observed a minute’s silence before the game in honour of late great Town legend Paul Futcher who lost his battle to cancer the same week. Crawley also displayed a photo of Futcher on their scoreboard as a mark of respect.
Town hosted Portsmouth after two weeks without a game and looked to have earned a point against one of the promotion favourites until Kal Naismith beat McKeown with a free-kick in the 86th minute to beat Bignot’s side 1-0.
Clifton extended his loan deal at Grantham Town until the end of the season, having scored three times in 21 appearances for the Gingerbreads.
Town made the short trip to Doncaster Rovers next, and a magnificent 4,012 supporters joined them at the last away game of an eventful 2016. Liam Mandeville’s free-kick in the third minute was the only goal of the game as Town lost 1-0 again.
Bignot took his side to the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in the week building up to Christmas to bring some festive cheer to the youngsters on the children’s ward and they also visited lifelong Town fan Graham Holness.
Town signed 18-year-old striker Ahkeem Rose on an 18-month contract, giving him his first ever professional deal after he was previously playing for Midland Football League Division One outfit Heather St John’s.
Bignot’s side got their first win home win since September on Boxing Day as they beat Accrington Stanley 2-0, with goals from Bolarinwa and Chambers. On-loan keeper Henderson made his debut for the club and received plenty of praise for his performance.
The Mariners followed that up with a nil-nil draw with Blackpool on New Year's Eve.
Get involved by using #GTFC2016 to share your favourite memories of Grimsby Town this year.
Grimsby Town Football Club wishes everyone a Happy New Year, and here’s to an even better 2017!