Grimsby Town Change

Grimsby Town John McDermott



I was interested in football at a very young age probably about the age of 7. I used to watch midweek special on the black and white tv we had. My first game that I ever went to was Middlesbrough v Liverpool at Ayresome Park. Liverpool won 2 - 0 and Kenny Dalglish scored both goals. It was packed and I had to stand on the wall at the top of the boys end stand holding on to a flag post.My Uncle Tommy took me and I went to a few games, even went to Chelsea away. Dalglish had made his debut and all you could hear was Dalglish Dalglish from the Liverpool fans, they were every were. That's when I thought I would love people to sing my name like that, that is probably when I first thought I want to be a player. He had taken my hero's place, Kevin Keegan. I loved Keegan when he played for England. But my Boro heroes were David (SPIKE ) Armstrong and David Mills. Class.

I signed professional forms for Grimsby Town after originally being released. It was Mike Lyons who changed his mind. I had gone from playing 3 youth games to play all youth games, most reserves games, to play 13 championship games, which the league is called now. I got young player of the year that year, not bad considering I was released the season before and not good enough to play for the youth side.

My league debut was against Bradford City away who had Stuart MC Call, etc. Mick had told me the night before and I was bricking it for sure. I never slept a wink, but was excited at the same time. I will always remember The Great Kevin Moore, our skipper, coming up to me and saying " you just do what you do with your mates in the reserves, nothing else, that will be enough ok " and I did because I thought that's what got me there. Great feeling that when he came out of his way to see me on my own. LEGEND.

WE had big cup games, Villa, Tottenham, Coventry back then, Newcastle, Liverpool and Middlesbrough even. But there is always one game that will always stand out and that is Wembley against Bournemouth. I got man of the match and nearly scored two. The second was in the 89 th minute which would have topped my career of all the boyhood dreams would have been reached. What could top that off?

Mark Lever was the biggest joker in the club the funniest lad I've met. We
had a great bunch in 1989 through to the 90s. Everyone got on great. Paul
Reece, Kevin Jobling, Chris Hargreaves them four were nutters but a scream. Always playing jokes on people none stop. I loved Anfield, playing in front of the cop, Villa Park was amazing, Main Road was good also but nothing is better than the old Wembley to walk out behind the goal, the flags waving, fans singing MARINERS MARINERS, Miles better than the new stadium, because of the history it holds.

The best players for me were Tony Rees, Gary Childs, Dave Gilbert, Kevin Donovan, they made us tick they were the flair players our system went through them. You look back now at clips on you tube etc, we had an amazing tempo, it was electric, quicker than now. Teams now wouldn't get the ball off us, they would have to throw another one on so they they could have a kick!

I didn't like going to Bolton or Norwich, both were difficult places to play. Bolton's pitch was always heavy and muddy which didn't suit our play. Always a tough game. Norwich had some good players with pace, Darren Edie was a quick clever sharp player who also didn't mind a tackle. He was the hardest player to play against .

I had the pleasure to play for a lot of good managers, I always respected all of them even caretaker ones. I didn't always agree with their style of play but still respected them as a manager. Russell Slade was always bubbly and positive which rubbed off on players, he gave you respect. Lennie Lawrence I learned a lot from the sports science side of the game. But Alan Buckley topped them all he got the best out of players. Playing quality high tempo football which will never be matched again. What he did was get players drilled into a style of flowing football to feet never in the air with clever movement. Like i said have a look at some clips from 1990- to the Wembley ones, different players, same football, nothing off the cuff, same style. That takes some doing considering players came from different sides to play for us. What Alan was good at was seeking out a player that suited us not the other way round. The BEST.

John McDermott
Football Development Centre - Head Coach - Grimsby


When John McDermott received the annual PFA Merit Award, he joined an elite group of footballers made up of the likes of Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Stanley Matthews, Pele and George Best. McDermott was added to the distinguished list of recipients in recognition of his record-breaking career at Grimsby Town. He holds the club's all-time appearance record, having played an incredible 754 games overall for the Mariners and is one of only 17 players in the history of English football to play more than 600 Football League matches for a single club.

John has written about his record braking career at Blundell Park in a new book called It's not all Black and White


The Alzheimer's Society recently launched a national initiative called Dementia Friends which is giving people an understanding of dementia and the small things people can do that make a difference to people living with dementia. Alzheimer's Society want to create a network of a million Dementia Friends across England by 2015 - for more information visit

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