Grimsby Town, a club with a proud history side-by-side with Wrexham, escaped the whirlpool that is the National League in 2016, but have since submerged back into the non-league system.
After being five points off safety, Grimsby found themselves at the foot of League 2 on 43 points. In comparison to the penultimate season, they gained four less points in nine more games, causing them to slide adrift of safety and back into the minefield of the Vanarama National League.
Name: Grimsby Town FC
Nickname: The Mariners
Stadium: Blundell Park
Manager: Paul Hurst
2020/21 League Two position: 24th
First Division: 5th
Champions of Division Two, Three and Four.
Conference National Play-Off Winners 2015/16
Grimsby vs Wrexham Fixtures 2021/22 Season: Tuesday September 14th at Grimsby and Tuesday January 25th at Wrexham.
The Story of Grimsby’s 2020/21 League Campaign
After five years back in the football league, Grimsby Town met the drop back into the National League. Ten wins, 13 draws and 23 defeats saw Grimsby finish 24th with a negative goal difference of 32. Draws and loses by a single goal were the story of the Mariners’ campaign. Two barren spells of nine and then seven games without a win, saw Grimsby well off the push for safety mid-way through the 2020/21 season. Mustering up only 37 goals and having their top scorers only netting four goals each, Grimsby found themselves struggling to break sides down last year. Conceding 69 goals capped them off as the second worst defence in the league, ultimately alluding to their downfall.
Ones to Watch
Sebastian Revan: Earlier this summer, Grimsby announced the signing of highly rated Aston Villa defender Sebastian Revan. The full-back signed his first professional contract in 2021, after impressing at U23 level. The loanee would be looking to gain some experience in professional football before heading back to Aston Villa and playing for promotion chasers Grismby wouldn’t be a bad start.
Joel Grant: Any promotion chasing side would need an experienced goal threat up front and Joel Grant is incumbent of this. The 33-year-old has played all over the lower league system, after starting his career with Watford. The striker’s penultimate club was Plymouth Argyle where he netted 14 times in 32 starts, and so he will be hoping to replicate this kind of form in the National League for the Mariners.
Max Crocombe: Grimsby announced the signing of Max Crocombe this summer on a one-year deal from Australian side Melbourne Victory. The 27-year-old keeper helped secure the National League North title and then promotion to the EFL the following season for Salford City. In a press conference with Grimsby Town, he talked of his experience in what it takes to win promotion back into the football league system and how he felt the Grimsby squad were determined to make the immediate rise back-up to League Two.
Paul Hurst: Rotherham’s answer to Francesco Totti took charge of the Mariners again in 2020, after having a five-year spell at the club last decade. Hurst oversaw Grimsby’s loss on penalties, as Wrexham claimed the FA Trophy on a glorious day at Wembley in 2013. However, Hurst returned to Wembley in 2016, where his side emerged 3-1 winners in the National League play-off Final and thus won promotion into the Football League. Hurst will be hoping that his successful history with the club can be replicated in the upcoming season.
The most prominent meeting between Wrexham and Grimsby is of course the FA Trophy Final in 2013 were Wrexham emerged victorious. The Mariners took a late lead that day, when Andy Cook scored in the 71st minute. However, one Kevin Thornton penalty later, and Wrexham were on level terms by the end of the 90 minutes. Extra time petered out and the dramatic affair went to penalties were Wrexham held firm for a 4-1 victory. The previous six league meetings saw Grimsby claim four victories, with three of them coming at a goal to nil, so Wrexham will be looking to turn the tide on the coastal team, five years on since their last game.
Blundell Park: The stadium in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire was first built in 1899 with a capacity of around 27,000 throughout the early 20th century. However, after being made an all-seater stadium in 1995, the capacity was reduced to 9,052. The stadium is Grimsby Town’s fourth ground and saw 32,000 people cram in for an FA Cup tie against Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1937. Wrexham last played a competitive match at Blundell Park in March 2016, where they lost 1-0 and so will be hoping to put that score right in mid-September this season.
Image: Grimsby Town