A look at the newly promoted Mariners...
(National League – promoted via play-offs)thLast Season’s Finish: 4
Nickname: The Mariners
Ground: Blundell Park
Last Season – Summary:
The Mariners ended their six year exile from the Football League last term. A strong start to the season saw the side fall to just three defeats in the first half of the campaign. One win in six throughout March and April meant that they had to settle for a place in the play-offs. A 1-0 first leg defeat at home to Braintree Town was followed by a 2-0 victory in the away leg after extra time to set up a final with Forest Green Rovers. Having been beaten at Wembley a year earlier, this time Grimsby were victorious and ran out 3-1 winners in the showpiece game.
Manager: Paul Hurst
The former left-back made 438 appearances for Rotherham United from 1993 to 2008, with a brief loan spell at Burton Albion in his last year as a player the only time that he spent away from the club. Joint managerial spells at Ilkeston Town and Boston United followed, before he and Rob Scott took over at Blundell Park in 2011. He became sole manager in 2013, and signed an improved deal at the start of 2014.
Key Man: Padraig Amond
The Irish striker notched up 31 goals in the National League and 37 in all competitions last term, nearly doubling the tally of the second highest scoring player in the side. It was form that has sealed him a move to Hartlepool United a few weeks ago.
Press View: James Findlater – Grimsby Telegraph
Last season – summary…
There’s not a lot that can compare with the feeling that came from the club securing their long-awaited return to the Football League.
It’s something the fans have been desperate for ever since dropping out of the 92 back in 2010, and manager Paul Hurst has done superbly in finally achieving promotion.
It’s may have taken a bit longer than some supporters would have liked, and at times last season their patience was tested by some frustrating results – but there can be no denying that the manager proved why the club has so much faith in him.
The Play-Off Final victory over Forest Green Rovers will go down as one of the greatest in the club’s history, and was the least Hurst and his players deserved for their efforts.
Star man of the side…
Town will obviously miss the goals of Padraig Amond – as any club would – but in Omar Bogle, the club have a potential superstar in the making.
The striker spent much of the season finding his way in the team, and had to put a lot of work in to develop his game after spending three years in the league below.
There were glimpses of the improvements he’d made in the last few games of the regular season, but it was during the Play-Offs that everything came together for him.
He was superb in both the semi-final at Braintree, where he scored the winner, and carried his brilliant form to Wembley to score the two goals that essentially took Town back into the big time.
It will be interesting to see if he can kick on again this season as he makes his second consecutive step up the leagues – but if he can pick up where he left off, it could be a huge campaign for him.
Prediction for next season…
Most fans will probably be happy to just be back in League Two and would likely take a nice, safe mid-table finish, but there’s potential for even more.
There will be a certain degree of uncertainty with Paul Hurst having to pretty much put together an entirely new side from last season, but he has generally done well with his permanent signings in the past.
And, following the example of Bristol Rovers, the manager will be confident they can challenge the division’s top sides.
Mid-table is probably a safe bet, but don’t be surprised if they’re pushing for the Play-Offs again.