For a lot of Grimsby Town fans, the concession of Saturday’s late equaliser at Kidderminster wasn’t entirely unpredictable – if not for the fact that we did it at inconvenient times last season, then for the fact that we’ve established a strong pattern of drawing many of our season’s openers (a sequence that fellow GTFC blogger Too Good To Go Down brought to our attention last week).
I spend a lot of time looking for things. If it’s not my car keys, or the sunglasses that are already on my head, then it’s sequences in football. Statistics, innit. Football, and sport in general, go mental for them these days. Former England cricket coach Peter Moores was infatuated with them. One of my favourite statistics of all time is this one, from The Naked Gun:
“Doctors say that Nordberg has a 50/50 chance of living. And there’s only a 10% chance of that.”
It sort of captures a sense of the absurdity of living in a world where only statistics exist. You become so fixated with the numbers that you stop looking at humans on an emotional level – the very thing that has a direct impact on performance.
But that’s probably an argument for another day, because I’m now going to completely undermine myself and say that there’s something deeply satisfying about scrutinising data and lifting something from it that others haven’t seen. And then professing, in your most know-it-all tone, ‘Did you know…’
Well (know-it-all face initiated) did you know just how remarkable the Mariners’ away form is? I didn’t, until I had a sudden urge to check.
We’ve lost just one of our last 22 away games.
Let me just clarify that this includes the play-off semi-final victory at Eastleigh, and the play-off final at Wembley, which, for the purposes of this analysis, I have claimed as a draw.
Since the 3-2 defeat at Lincoln City on Tuesday 9th September 2014, Grimsby have only lost once away in the league. That was on Saturday 7th February 2015 at Forest Green, when that steward acted like a complete dick to one of our fans and managed to avoid punishment.
The sequence looks like this:
D W D W W W D D W W W L W W D W W W D W D D
That’s 13 wins, eight draws, one defeat, 34 goals scored and 18 conceded.
Now, I grew up at a time when Town were absolute dogger on their travels. We’d get beaten 3-0 at Barnsley, 4-0 at Charlton and then magic up a bizarre 1-0 win at somewhere like Fulham – just enough to complement the decent home form that used to keep us in the first division, or whatever you want to call it.
I think it’s fair to say that you travelled to watch the Mariners more in hope than expectation back then. Now it’s the other way round. We’ve fallen a fair way through the leagues, granted, but it’s actually a pleasure to follow the Mariners around the country these days.
I think that’s why our army of followers has swelled in the past year or so. I think it’s why we took just shy of 1,700 to Kidderminster a few days ago. They will follow a team that is successful – and we’re now pretty successful in our away games.
Those 22 games fall just one short of a full season of away matches. And at 47 points it’s enough to win you the title if you can muster a similar record at home. For almost a year now we’ve been playing like champions across the country; now we need to play like champions at Blundell Park.
Tonight’s match at Barrow would be an excellent start.