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GTFC 140: Grimsby Town 1918 - 1909

With Grimsby Town's 140th anniversary looming on Thursday (September 20, 2018), we take a look back at the club's key events in each decade back to 1878.

19 September 2018

Grimsby Town 1910-11

In the tenth of our countdown series celebrating Grimsby Town's 140th anniversary as a club, we focus on the major talking points in 1918 - 1909.

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GTFC 140: Grimsby Town 1928 - 1919

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GTFC 140: Grimsby Town 1948 - 1929

17 September 2018
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GTFC 140: Grimsby Town 1958 - 1949

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By 1908, Town found themselves a middling Division 2 side as the Edwardian era brought a somewhat dapper look to many of the players in their chocolate and blue quartered shirts. The stand-out player was Walter ‘Buns’ Scott in goal.

He developed a reputation for saving penalties – over the Christmas period he saved four penalties in three games. But on February 13, 1909, he did even better – saving three penalties out of the four that Burnley were awarded.

It was a record number of penalties to be awarded to one team in a match, the record number of penalties saved - ever - and the most penalties missed in a game!

By the end of the season, Scott had saved 14 of the 17 penalties awarded. His name lives on in all Town's history books – but it’s never mentioned who was giving away all these spot-kicks!

Little wonder that the following season ‘Buns’ was sold to Everton for a club record £750. That following season ended in disaster. Town had finished second bottom in 1909-10, but were confident of re-election.

They were shocked to discover that Huddersfield received 14 more votes than Town did, and the Mariners were out of the Football League.

The Midland League became "home," but for just one season as Town stormed to being Champions, and in the re-election polling they gained one more vote than local rivals Lincoln City.

Town had changed to black and white stripes as they started their one and only campaign in the Midland League – a kit they have worn ever since, with the exception of a few seasons at the end of the 1950s and beginning of the 1960s.

Four more seasons followed before the Great War to End All Wars interrupted football. The 1914-15 season carried on - remember that this war would be "over by Christmas!"

When it wasn't, war leagues and cups were started because so many footballers had joined up, that it was impossible to continue the normal league season.

Chalmers, Gregson, Kenny, Martin, Wheelhouse, Thompson, Summers, Springthorpe and McKenna all joined regiments, especially the Middlesex Footballers Regiment.

In November, the SS Mercian was attacked in the Mediterranean by a German submarine using its deck gun (not a torpedo as some reports suggest).

It was carrying the Lincolnshire Yeomanry and in this action Harry Springthorpe lost his life. Later, in 1916, both Thompson and Sidney Wheelhouse were killed in action.

Football continued with guests, and on at least two occasions only one signed Town player was in the team – the others being from other clubs, reserves of the home club, and almost anyone who could kick a ball!

Football resumed again, but Lincolnshire provided the bottom two clubs, and both Lincoln City and Town were voted out in 1920!

A lifeline came in the form of the initial season of Division 3, which was formed by Southern League clubs. Town were back in the League by the skin of their teeth!

The next article in our series will look at the club between 1908 and 1899. 

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