Rumours circulated at the time that there was a big drinking culture around Blundell Park, but Linwood’s interview confirms the lengths that players and management would go to for a cold beer.
He continued: “We had loads of days and nights out, and we were turning it round. He had a falling out upstairs after one of the games, and he got the sack. The Youth Team manager (Neil Woods) took over. Now the Youth Team manager saw the older-ish lads there, and he just hated it. We all had a drink anyway, and Newelly used to join us – he was always with us, him and his assistant (Brian Stein). He used to ring on a Tuesday and go “where are you?”
“Nowhere gaffer, we’re just in Costa.” “I know you’re in the pub, I’m coming!” It was good under Newelly, and the Youth Team manager came in and just hated all that. But it’s the worst thing he could have done because the players just rebelled against him, and there were a lot of big characters in that dressing room he couldn’t handle.
Relegation and release
After inheriting a squad that was seemingly more concerned about the pub than the pitch, Neil Woods tried in vain to keep the Mariners in the Football League.
Linwood said: “We got relegated. I signed three years, and did one season, but literally it was getting to a stage where all the wives and girlfriends never moved up. Because we were doing badly in the league, the wives and girlfriends were like “well we’ll stay at home, see how the season pans out. We might move up at Christmas, we might move at the end of the season.
“We were all within a two-mile radius of each other in massive houses. For about £500 a month, we had mansions. You’d finish training, Adam Proudlock on the Whatsapp group would say “lads, I’m just having a pint at the Laceby Arms”, and the whole squad would be in there. 15 pints, easy.
“It was the only pub we could get away with it. It was in a tiny little village, and we were dead inconspicuous – we used to go in our kits!”