I don’t normally write a blog for Re-Visits but I felt like I simply had to for this blog after what was possible the best groundhopping experience I’ve been a part of. I look to explain this throughout this blog.
I do love a Friday night game, its the best way to start a weekend. But having a fixture such as Forest Green Rovers vs. Grimsby Town is simply ridiculous. For those who don’t know, Forest Green is located in a very small town near Stroud in Gloucester whilst Grimsby lies 216 miles above them in the UK. A rough estimate of timings, Grimsby fans had a near 4 hour trip to get there excluding traffic, stops, and parking time. Once all this had taken place, they were probably looking at a 5 hour journey – all on a Friday. I think its often forgotten that Football is a Working Class sport… so what about all these fans that have work on this day? How could they possibly get to the game? They can’t, it would require a large amount of fans taking the day/afternoon off work or school. This was a key point made by the Grimsby Town fans at half-time during the game which was live on BT sport – the reason as to why the game was played at this time. “Football Is Not A TV Show” – read it and understand it.
My first point about my experience at Forest Green is extremely important to me as it nearly forced me to miss the game and I imagine it did force a couple of Grimsby fans to miss the game. To start with I’d like to cast my mind back to the summer when I came to the Forest Green Rovers vs. Cardiff City and ordered my ticket online, picked it up and gained entry to the ground. No problem. So I assumed that after buying my ticket online again and selecting the ‘Collect from ticket office’ I would be able to collect from the ground – correct? No. The Forest Green ticket office staff “Couldn’t do anything to help” and “its out of my hands” to my shock when they told me I couldn’t collect my ticket from here and I’d need to quickly pop to Grimsby to collect the ticket… I was fully aware that there were no purchase options at this game and it was ticket only, fine, but simply printing a ticket off? And then telling me “that I may just need to go home” is by no means okay. This was a similar case to a number of other Grimsby fans who were in a similar predicament. So, looks like I’m off home. No bloody chance. My next step was to speak the Police and the Stewards – I’m not sure if these are Grimsby/Forest Green or external companies but I couldn’t fault them. They simply checked my receipt which I had a screenshot of & let me in without a problem. So what was the big issue with FGR staff? Simply a bunch of people who know the square route of Jack s**t about football not actually using their initiative to make a decision. Rant over!
Once I’d entered the ground (finally) it was time to try and find a fellow groundhopper friend, Dave Pringle who was the person who recommended that I go in with the Grimsby Town fans… have I thanked you for this Dave? If not, Thanks!! This it where my first opinion of the Grimsby fans was formed, it was about 30 minutes before kick off, the away stand was already full & the fans were all singing, dancing and throwing inflatable objects around!? I’ve never seen this before, normally fans are more concerned at getting drunk in the pub down the road and coming in as the opening whistle goes off. This seriously set the stalls to what was to happen throughout the game. This is no exaggeration, they sung from the time fans were aloud in the ground all the way until they reached the train station at the end of the game.
The often hear the chants from away fans “is this a library”. Non were more true than a chant at this game. As mentioned before, Grimsby Town’s fans were incredible and sung throughout with the help of their 3 drummers (I saw 3, there may have been more!) whilst the noise from the Forest Green was, well… you literally would have been able to hear a pin drop. I honestly think that this noise would of spurred the Town players onto the really try for the victory and they did.
The game was fairly scrappy, a typical Vanarama National League game in which all players are all fighting for the three points. This is exactly what Grimsby did, in the opening half there were very limited chances and very limited openings. The only real chance I can think of was a long distance strike from Town which was well saved by the FGR goalkeeper. It was the second half which is where Grimsby really looked the more dangerous side I felt. They were extremely dangerous on the counter attack, and this was important as Forest Green were exploring the defence with their corners which was also dangerous but Town continuously managed to keep them at bay. This then lead to the only goal of the game, a counter attack and another dangerous attack down the left hand side and a really good, looping ball by Monkhouse which was terrifically met by the Grimsby
Town skipper Craig Disley to send us Town fans into delirium. The goal can be viewed here.
I honestly felt that once this goal had gone in, that would be it, the atmosphere and the way the boys were playing there would be no way they would let it slip and they would be heading back home with the three points in the bag and that is exactly how it ended.
I made a point after the game to show my appreciation to the Grimsby Town fans, players and the club itself which, as a groundhopper, really impressed me. My hobby is going to a different ground every week, watching new teams all the time. This is the full truth, and I’m sorry to those fans I’ve had good experiences with over the last year but Grimsby Town have the best fans I have seen thus far. Over 300 fans, travelling 450 miles on a Friday night and singing throughout to see their team take home the 3 points back up North. Thank you very much to all those Town fans that made my evening so thoroughly enjoyable and I will try and see you again at Cheltenham next month! Good luck for the season and I am routing for promotion back to the Football League because as stated last night, “How we get there I don’t know, how we get there I don’t care”.
If you want to check out the remainder of my photos from last night then head to this link – https://www.flickr.com/photos/139315362@N05/albums/72157665099021515
What Were The Statistics?
Forest Green Rovers 0-1 Grimsby Town
Attendance – 2242 (360 away fans)
Price of ticket – £7.50 (18-21)
Programme – Didn’t buy one
Car Parking – Free
Miles Travelled – 50
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