These eleven ex-Mariners were also on track at Crewe Alexandra during their careers. We take a closer look at the connections between Grimsby Town and the Railwaymen.
Goalkeeper Gary Montgomery came through the ranks at Coventry City and spent time on loan at Crewe in 2002, without making a senior appearance. He made loan appearances for Kidderminster and ended with eight Coventry outings in his four seasons with the Sky Blues. Later with Rotherham, he moved to Blundell Park in 2007 and spent eighteen months as Phil Barnes’ understudy, playing five league games. He switched sports to cricket in 2010 and made appearances for Lancashire, as well as turning out in non-league for Boston United.
Right-back Paul Bignot spent an injury-hit two seasons with the Mariners, following a transfer from Blackpool in 2013. Brother of former Crewe star Marcus, Paul began his career with the Railwaymen back in 2004, making 21 league appearances. He has since turned out for Kidderminster, Newport and Plymouth and started last season in Iceland with Keflavik. Returning to England to play under brother Marcus at Solihull, Paul went back on the books of Newport for his third spell with the Exiles, before moving to AFC Telford United.
A popular loan signing at Blundell Park, Marlon wrote his name into the history books with the first in the famous League Cup win at Liverpool in 2001. His switch from Blackburn was a short one and he went onto play for Sheffield Wednesday, Preston, Stocke and Blackpool, before two loan spells with Crewe in 2009, making 19 league appearances. He finished his playing career with stints at Tranmere, Clitheroe and Altrincham.
Former Mariners’ assistant boss Stuart Watkiss played three league games for Crewe in 1986, having made the switch from Gresley Rovers. The former Wolves youngster spent several seasons out of the game before a comeback with Rushall in the early-90s. That paved the way for moves to Walsall, Hereford and Mansfield, where he became youth team boss and later manager. After a spell as youth team boss at Barnsley and in charge of Kidderminster, Stuart became Mariners’ assistant in 2006, having two caretaker spells in charge of the club. He was also on the backroom staff at Hull and later had a spell at the helm of the youth team at Blundell Park. He is now Head Coach of the Bangladeshi national side
Defender Gregor Robertson joined the Mariners in January 2015 from Northampton, spending 18 months with the club and playing 38 times as they won promotion back to the Football League. On the books of Hearts and Nottingham Forest as a youngster, Gregor played for Rotherham and Chesterfield, before spending two seasons with Crewe between 2012 and 2014, where he made a further 32 league appearances. Gregor is now a respected football journalist.
A league and European Cup winner with Aston Villa in the 80s, Kenny Swain was the Mariners’ caretaker boss in 1996/97 but could not help the club beat the drop to Division Two. Swain finished his playing career with Crewe between 1988 and 1992, scoring once in 126 games, having shown versatility throughout spells with Wycombe, Chelsea, Nottingham Forest, Portsmouth and West Brom.
A winger of the 50s and 60s, Jimmy Pennington began his playing career with Manchester City, for whom he made one league appearance. Joining Crewe in 1960, Jimmy turned out 34 times in three seasons for the Railwaymen, scoring twice. A move to Blundell Park followed and he caught the eye with eight goals during 89 outings between 1963 and 1965. Spells with Oldham and Rochdale, before the Golborne-born player finished his playing career with Northwich Victoria.
Another player that played for Manchester City, Crewe and Grimsby during the 50s and 60s, Billy Haydock was similarly a winger. He scored once in his three outings for Manchester City during 1959/60 and then joined Crewe, where he impressed with 30 goals in just 142 games. Billy spent the 1964/65 season at Blundell Park, scoring four times in his 21 outings. He played over 260 league games for Stockport between 1965 and 1971 and then finished his playing career with Southport in 1972.
Brother of famed Football League goalscorer Marco Gabbiadini, Ricardo netted once in three games on loan from Sunderland for the Mariners in 1989. He had followed his brother from York to Roker Park and then later went on loan to Crewe, playing twice. After leaving Sunderland he had short spells with Hartlepool and Scarborough, before scoring three times in 24 games for Carlisle. He ended his playing career in 1994, helping Sligo win the FAI Cup, League of Ireland First Division and League of Ireland First Division Shield.
Well-travelled striker Anthony Elding made his name as a youngster with Boston, Stevenage, Kettering and Stockport. In 2008, he joined Leeds for a short spell and then moved onto Crewe later that year. He netted ten times in just 26 outings for Alex but moved abroad with Ferencvaros. Joining Rochdale in 2010, Elding joined the Mariners in 2011 and scored 18 times in 59 league games for Grimsby. He has since gone onto play for Sligo, Cork, Balllinamallard, Derry City and Manulla FC. The forward has since embarked upon his UEFA Coaching Badges, and is set to start working towards his UEFA Pro Licence this month.
A September 2004 signing from Shrewsbury, Colin Cramb scored twice in his eleven outings for the Mariners. A journeyman striker that listed 17 clubs throughout his career, Colin played for Crewe between 1999 and 2001, scoring ten times in 50 league appearances. He moved back to Scotland in 2005 with first club Hamilton and went onto star for Stenhousemuir, Stirling Albion and East Stirlingshire.