Former Grimsby Town defender Paul Linwood has sensationally lifted the lid on the rampant drinking culture that plagued the Blundell Park squad during the relegation season of 2009/10.
Linwood, speaking on the I Had Trials Once podcast, spoke candidly about several astonishing facts of the antics of Grimsby Town players and their manager Mike Newell.
- Regular drinking sessions after training that would stretch to 15 pints
- Newell spraying the squad with a fire extinguisher after a heavy defeat on a Saturday
- Drinking cans of lager on the way to training
- How the squad didn’t take to Grimsby
- How the squad had a lack of respect for Newell’s replacement, Neil Woods
[Disclaimer: The quotes included from the podcast in this article are reproduced in their entirety, we apologise for any foul language that is used.]
Linwood, a centre-half that came through the ranks at Tranmere Rovers, suffered relegation to the Conference with Chester City in 2009. The Birkenhead-born defender then moved to Blundell Park on 3 July 2009, signing a three-year contract.
Manager Mike Newell had put together an expensively-assembled squad, with many familiar names from the Football League scenes, including strikers Adam Proudlock and Barry Conlon, but Linwood admits that the entire side was less than enamoured with their new North East Lincolnshire home.
He said: “Have you seen the scene in Star Wars in the bar? It’s just like a weird bar – that’s every bar in Grimsby. I just didn’t take to it at all. We had all the money problems at Chester, I was owed loads of money, I was lending money left, right and centre. I had to tap into Jon Walters who was on a few quid at the time!
“I signed a three-year deal at Grimsby. Mike Newell signed me – he was my old reserve team manager. It was just a team full of alcoholics – people talk about a drinking culture, but this was ridiculous.”
Newell’s fire extinguished
The Mariners started the 2009/10 season in miserable form, regularly being trounced by teams such as Crewe, Tranmere and Port Vale. The writing would soon be on the wall for Newell’s disastrous reign in charge of the club.
“The reason it went wrong is because Newelly got the sack early doors, and we all loved Newelly,” said Linwood.
“We weren’t doing too great, but everyone had that respect for him and we’d just turned it round – we had loads of injuries. Newelly was the type of manager who would give you just enough rope to hang yourself, and we were just clawing it back.
“One day, we got smashed by someone, and the Monday morning he came in. We’re all sat in the changing room, and Newelly’s coming down the corridor. “Everyone in the fucking changing room now! Get in!””
“Everyone’s like ‘fucking hell’. The captain Matty Haywood stands up and just goes “listen lads, he’s good to us. If he goes off on one, no-one answers back, just take it.”
“Anyway, he comes in with a fire extinguisher and starts squirting the fuck out of everyone!”