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GTFC 140: Grimsby Town 1988 - 1979

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

14 September 2018

Kevin Drinkell

In the fourth of our countdown series celebrating Grimsby Town's 140th anniversary as a club, we focus on the major talking points in the decade 1988 - 1979.

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Grimsby Town finished 22nd in Division Three, now League One, in 1987-88 under Bobby Roberts and were relegated for a second-successive season.

Marc North scored 11 goals for the Mariners that season, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Town – who ended the season with a final-day 1-1 home draw with Aldershot – from going down.

And the Mariners had also suffered relegation the season before as they finished 21st in, what is now, the Championship in 1986-87 under Mick Lyons.

Town ended the season with a 10-game winless run, scoring just four goals in that time – and shipping 20.

Members of that Mariners squad included Nigel Batch, Gary Henshaw, and the Moore brothers – Andy, Kevin, and now-Town physio Dave.

But Town had a decent cup run two years earlier. Dave Booth’s men – who finished 10th in Division Two in 1984-85 – reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup.

Town beat Barnsley, Rotherham United, and Everton before losing 1-0 to eventual-winners Norwich City at Blundell Park in the quarters.

Kevin Drinkell earnt the top-scorer award, along with Paul Wilkinson, in the 1984-85 season with 14 goals, marking his third-straight campaign as the Mariners’ leading goalscorer.

And Town won the Division Three title, now League One, under George Kerr in 1979-80 as the Mariners secured back-to-back promotions for the first time in the club’s history – which was also the last time Town were crowned champions of a division.

Kerr’s side, which included players such as Drinkell – who finished as top-scorer with 16 goals, Mike Brolly, Bobby Cumming, Tony Ford, and Joe Waters, signed the season off in fine form as they went 15 games without defeat at the end of the campaign to win the league.

Town also gained promotion – through goal difference – the previous season in 1979 as they finished second in Division Four, with Tony Ford scoring 16 goals for the Mariners.

The next article in our series will look at the club between 1978 and 1969.

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