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GTFC 140: Grimsby Town 1948 - 1929

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.

17 September 2018

Grimsby Town v Wolves in FA Cup semi-final 1939

In the eighth of our countdown series celebrating Grimsby Town's 140th anniversary as a club, we focus on the major talking points in 1948 - 1929.

We focus on two decades, as opposed to one, in this particular article due to competitive football being stopped in England during World War II - so there's not as much to have a look at during that time.

Charlie Spencer’s side finished bottom-place (22 out of 22) in Division One in 1947-48 – 14 points from safety.

Town lost 28 games, scored 45 goals, and conceded 111 as they joined Blackburn Rovers in relegation to Division Two.

The Mariners lost six of their last seven league games, including an 8-0 final-day defeat to champions Arsenal at Highbury, as they fell back into the second tier of English football.

All competitive football in England was stopped between 1939 and 1946 due to World War II so the Mariners didn’t play a game between their 3-0 Division One win over Everton in May, 1939, and their 3-1 FA Cup defeat to Sunderland in January, 1946.

Spencer’s men reached the FA Cup semi-finals in 1939 as Town helped set the record attendance for Old Trafford (76,962), which still stands today, in the 5-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The Mariners had beaten Tranmere Rovers, Millwall, Sheffield United, and Chelsea on their way to the final before a disappointing defeat to Wolves.

Harry Betmead, Fred Howe, Jack Hodgson, and George Tweedy were in the Town squad which came agonisingly close to bringing the FA Cup to Blundell Park – although goalkeeper Tweedy missed the semi-final due to injury.

And that was Town’s second FA Cup semi-final in four seasons – Frank Womack’s men also reached the last four of the competition in 1935-36 before being knocked out by a 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Gillow also led Town to their highest-ever league position as they finished fifth in Division One in 1934-35 – only behind Manchester City, Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland, and champions Arsenal.

And the Gunners also inflicted Town’s biggest-ever league defeat, which still stands today, as they beat the Mariners 9-1 at Highbury in January, 1931.

The Mariners had ended up in Division One after Wilf Gillow’s side finished second in Division Two in 1929.

The next article in our series will look at the club between 1928 and 1919.

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