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Blundell Park
Grimsby Town v Torquay United
Saturday 17th April 2010, 3pm
League Two
By Mark Horler

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

With Torquay United back in the football league, it was no surprise that as we were half way through April, the Gulls league status was still not secure. Today was quite simple, if we won at Grimsby, we stayed up...and they were as good as doomed.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Another long journey from Devon and another 7am start. Just 3 of us made the journey this time in our car. The journey was relatively straight forward considering it was from the South West to the North East. As we approached Grimsby it was no doubt the hottest day of the year and the town was packed with day trippers braving the North Sea. The seaside can be easily walked to from the ground and with traditional floodlights it would have been easy to spot, even without a sat nav to guide us.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

We went to Cleethorpes seafront. The town had quite a hostile atmosphere, possibly due to the importance of the match, lots of quite nasty comments, lots of bad language, but at 1pm we were having lunch in McDonalds (right by the ground) and only had friendly comments from the home support eating there.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

A very 4th division style ground, more 1970's cladding, than glass, large gates and 1970's style offices are what you would expect. Ensure you pop around the back of the ground (ask for where the away team coach arrives) to experience what is basically a wooden shack as an entrance, probably much loved for historical reasons, but blimey it brings you back to the 1970's. Here is where we met several Grimsby Town "anoraks" good true football people, the ones who wait for hours to get some 4th division left back's autograph and the sort who can tell you more about your team and where they have played than you can!

The away fans were situated at one end of the ground behind the goal. There were only around 300 Torquay fans there, so no one had an obstructed view, which is quite possible at the back of the seated enclosure. The ground is old with little recent investment, the main stand is especially high for a 4th division ground and this dominates the stadium. One point to remember is that to get concession tickets you need to buy them from the club shop before the there was my lad in a bright yellow shirt stood in a queue of black and white Grimsby fans...blimey did he stand out! 

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

Torquay were playing well and confidence was high. Grimsby had also picked up form and their fans were quite surprisingly un-supportive in the circumstances, constantly moaning and shouting at every mistake....this was more noticeable at this ground than any other club I have been to this season. Our fans sang, their fans stood and watched. Half Time 0-0 nothing happened in a very tense 45 minutes. The 2nd half started well and continued with a show of attacking football from the Torquay United team resulting in a deserved 3-0 victory. We sang "ooooarrrr its a massacre" and their fans got annoyed.....very annoyed.

At the final whistle a 100 to 150 chavs ran across the pitch at the Torquay fans and were probably disappointed that the Gulls fans could only respond by waving their walking sticks in response! The stewards were fantastic throughout, even forming a cordon across the pitch to protect the Gulls fans...the police, as is often the case at football, were nothing short of useless, just filming and talking together....I even saw several laughing. Not one Grimsby fan was you can imagine how we felt when we saw similar pictures on telly last week as Barnet fans were given the same treatment.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Obviously with the problems inside the ground, it was shirts off, west country accents muted....but how can you possibly change from looking like a farmer to looking like a chav! or an ASBO. Several Torquay fans were obviously quite concerned and as we came down the side road to join the main street....the police were of course totally absent! We just ignored the threats and got in the car and all was well.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A brilliant day and a really important 3rd away win of the season. It was even better that our old friends from Bristol City had lost 3.0 at Scunthorpe on the same day, so the journey back was a happy one! Grimsby is in all honesty an unfriendly place to go. It is a deprived area, so just be careful when out and about in the town....would I return...absolutely.



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