One of the oldest professional football clubs in England, Grimsby Town were founded back in 1878 and they have a very proud history. The Mariners have spent the bulk of their time between the Division One (Championship) and Division Two (League One), even finishing as high as fifth in the old First Division (Premier League) back in 1934/35.
Fans of EFL clubs love a trip to the east coast to take on the Mariners, a proper away day. The coast, the sheer number of pubs and of course the famous Grimsby fish & chips. Grimsby Town are a proper Football League club but their supporters' faith has been tested to ridiculous levels over the last 16 years.
At the start of the millennium, the Mariners were absolutely loving life. A double Wembley winning season in 1997/98 in the Third Division play-offs and LDV Vans trophy was something that dreams were really made of. Paul Groves, Wayne Burnett, Kevin Donovan and the evergreen John McDermott were all key cogs in that success, ensuring that they returned to the second tier after just one year.
Five years were spent in Division One (Championship) and on 1st September 2001, a day remembered by many fans allover England as the day when the Three Lions beat Germany 5-1, Grimsby were top of the league ahead of the likes of Manchester City, Wolves and Crystal Palace.
But then in 2002, things started to turn. Player-manager Paul Groves was dealt an unbelievably difficult hand after the collapse of ITV Digital which threatened to destroy several EFL clubs financially. And unfortunately, Grimsby were one of those to suffer. The collapse coincided with back-to-back relegations, meaning that just 2 years later they found themselves in the basement of the Football League for the first time since 1990.
Suddenly the highs of leading Division One and that double Wembley winning season seemed a million miles away and things got even worse. In 2010, the Mariners lost their EFL status for the first and only time, something that was absolutely unthinkable a decade ago. A gutless display on the final day of the season resulted in a crushing 3-0 defeat against Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium, condemning them to relegation on what was and still is, the darkest day in the clubs proud history.
But sometimes you need darkness, despair & heartache to inspire a turnaround and after what felt like an eternity in the National League (6 seasons), they bounced back in 2016 by winning the play-offs. They're now set to begin their fourth campaign back in the fourth tier and after finishes of 14th, 18th & 17th, anxiety is growing that they could once again get sucked into non-league. But with a young manager at the helm and one of the divisions best fan bases - could they surprise everyone and put their relegation worries behind them?