With the Cod War as backdrop

We have already noticed a lot of interest from Iceland after our latest signing Jason Dadi Svanthorsson, where many Icelanders actually have been to Grimsby for work earlier, some prefered the pubs before the football, but still!
I have therefor bumbed up this story from the archive about The Mariners trip to Iceland for their preseason in 1986. Perhaps an idea for next summer?

Grimsby at Iceland: Neil Matthews (back to the left), Andy Moore (partly hidden), Dave Burgess (in frontseat), Gary Henshaw (sitting on the edge), Dave Felgate (at the back) and Gordon Hobson (with camera).

The 1986/87 season became a dark chapter in the history of Grimsby Town. Economical problems and a very bad spring season led to relegation to level three for Mike Lyons’ boys.

The Fishermen’s preseason were however of the exciting kind with a week on Iceland in August 1986.

The Mariners have through time been on abroad trips to Sweden, Denmark and Czechoslovakia, but the trip upon the Polar Circle must be said to be one of a kind!

The tour was a part in making reconciliation between Great Brittain and Iceland after the Cod War.

The man behind it all was Icelandic consul in Grimsby Jon Olgeirsson (pictured), that stood for the invitation on behalf for the little 3. division club Trotur (Þróttur Neskaupstað). A delegation of 28 persons included Grimsby Town, a journalist from Grimsby Evening Telegraph and parlament member Michael Brown was travelling up north.

Three matches were played and the visit got a lot of publicity in the local newspapers. It’s from here we have found the details to this story.

6.th August 1986
Akranes – Grimsby 2-5

Goals: 1-0 Peter Petursson 5′, 2-0 Valgeir Barðason 20′, 2-1 Bob Cumming 30′, 2-2 Gordon Hobson/Gary Henshaw 55′, 2-3 Gordon Hobson 57′, 2-4 Ian Walsh/Andy Peake 59′, 2-5 Mike Lyons 66′
(Newspaper reports had different goal scores on Grimsby’s second and fourth goal.)


The first game was against Cup Champions Íþróttabandalag Akraness, that the month later played in the European Cup against Sporting Lisbon at Akranesvöllur. One of Iceland’s biggest legends Pétur Pétursson made his comeback for IA in this game and scored already after five minutes. The striker had earlier been playing in Feyenoord, Anderlecht and Antwerpen.

Mike Lyons and Kevin Moore

9.th August 1986
Trotur – Grimsby 0-6

Goals: 0-1 Neil Horwood 10′, 0-2 Ian Walsh 55′, 0-3 Neil Horwood 60′, 0-4 Ian Walsh 70′, 0-5 Neil Robinson 80′, 0-6 Ian Walsh 85′.

Neil Horwood reaching tallest at the gravel pitch.

This must have been the first and last time Grimsby played a game on a gravel pitch! Incredible 600 spectators came to see the game between Grimsby and the 3. division team Trotur. An attendance record in the village with 1700 persons. When the players entered the gravel pitch they held themselves to their head and shouted «Jesus Chris» was reported in the paper.

After the game manager Mike Lyons was interviewed. «The tour to Iceland has been an adventure. The players can hardly describe the beautiful nature here, espescially what we saw on the sightseeing at the shore with Odin.»


11.th August 1986
IBV – Grimsby 1-2

Goals: 0-1 Ian Walsh 45′. 0-2 Gary Henshaw 75′, 1-2 Berg Ágústsson 89′

The saga of a tour came to an end against big club IBV. After the game were youngster Gisli Hjartarson invited to train with Grimsby as he anyhow should move to Grimsby.

Download the Match Program here

Pictures of the program can be found at my twitter here!

More pictures from the trip

The players got a three hour long sightseeing at the wild east coast of Iceland at the ship named Odinn.

Political backdrop was behind the visit.

A beginners guide for our new Icelandic supporters

We’ve already been in touch with proud people from Iceland and Mosfellsbær in particular, that are thrilled that their own «Jassi» has signed for Grimsby Town.

So here is the beginners guide about Grimsby.

First of all is it possible to watch most of our official matches on Mariners TV. You can buy our kit from the club shop online here!

If you plan to travel to Grimsby (and not in a fishing vessel) we got an airport nearby. Humberside Airport got a good connection to Europe with direct connection from Amsterdam with KLM.

If you want to travel low cost. Many will make their trip to Manchester and then a 3,5 hours train connection with a change.

History in short
Grimsby Town’s nickname is The Mariners. They were formed in 1878 as Grimsby Pelham in Wellington Arms, Freeman Street.

In 1898 we moved to our current stadium Blundell Park. The old Main Stand is actually from 1901 and is the oldest stand in the football league!

Our heights were in the 1930’s with a 5. th place in the top flight and two semi finals in the FA Cup as our highlights. At this time we also had some internationals with Pat Glover, Jackie Bestall and Harry Betmead.

After the war we started to struggle a bit, but were still innovative with a certain Bill Shankly as manager before he was followed by the first foreign manager in England in Hungarian Elemer Berkessy.

But with decline in the fishing industry it should become a bumpy ride before we got success under Alan Buckley in the late 80’s. In his stint we established our self as a good Championship side with some nice passing football. We flirted with the Play Offs several seasons and had some great players with the likes of Clive Mendonca, John McDermott and Paul Groves.

However with Grimsby still being Grimsby we are the most frequent yo-yo club in England having switched divions 32 times! However always dramatic, just as when manager Brian Laws threw a plate with chicken legs into the face of our Italian star player Ivano Bonetti that broke his cheek bone!

After our relegation in 1997 we sold two of our best players, but with Alan Buckley back in the club we built a new team and in the spring of 1998 we played two times at Wembley winning both the Auto Windscreen Shield as well as the Play Off final.

So more years in the Championship followed. With a new TV deal with ITV Digital a lot of money came into the game and we started to spend them getting in foreign players like Chinese international Zhang Enhua and the Danish Messiah David Nielsen. However ITV Digital went bust and the money income dissapered.

In came a new chairman in John Fenty that had become rich after selling his fish industry. He ran the club at low cost in two decades with the price of our football team getting worse and worse. So bad that we lost our league status from 2010 until 2016 and in 2021/22. A certain Paul Hurst brought us up twice, this season will be our third back in League Two.

Our Chairman John Fenty became «a bit» unpopular with his thight budget and ways of doing things. The fans demanded a change and with our current owners we have started to upgrade the club after years with decay.

The highlights in recent years was getting to the quarter final of the FA Cup in 2023 after beating both Luton and Southampton.

Last season was a struggle and we changed our manager from Paul Hurst to David Artell. Artell had success at Crewe with his playing style, but he inherited a team that was built for another style. After a romantic start playing some beautiful football it was clear that we struggled doing so. It became more pragmatic to safe ourselves from another relegation.

We are currenly into David Artell’s second transfer window and he has changed most of the players and the hope now is that we able to play the style of football Artell is know for.

Grimsby was Europes biggest fishing town back in the days, but with the cod war the town went into a big depression with the most talented youth travelling away for jobs. However there are some positivism with the offshore wind industry from recent years however the Town still struggle after little help from the politicans in London.

I spent a week in Grimsby a year ago and wrote a piece in Norwegian about the trip here!

Jassi er bekreftet!

Etter en drøy måneds romanse er det offisielt mellom Grimsby og Jason Daði Svanþórsson. Tirsdag kveld bekreftet Grimsby at islendingen har signert en kontrakt som binder han til Blundell Park frem til juni 2026.

Det gjenstår dog en del papirarbeid på et høyt nivå for å få han godkjent, men dette vil gå i orden. Klubben følte dem nærmest var tvunget til å gå ut med nyheten allerede nå. Jason vil ikke komme til å spille treningskamper før alt er i orden, men David Artell mener det kan være greit at Jason får en liten pause for å få et overskudd inn i det som blir en meget lang sesong for han. Han er uansett i kampform etter å ha spilt en halv sesong på Island.

Vi var spente på signeringsvideoen, skulle «Jassi» ankomme Humber i et vikingskip? Videoen starter med dronefoto av hjembyen Mosfellsbær før det kryssklippes med nærbilder av vår nye mann alt i takten av Viking-klappet som ble kjent da Island var med i 2016 EM.

Klubber over hele verden har jaktet på Svanþórsson i flere år og interessen har vært spesielt stor nå da kontrakten gikk ut i høst. At milleniumbarnet da velger Grimsby Town på nivå fire kan gi reaksjoner, men det har stort sett vært positive tilbakemeldinger på Island.

Barndomsklubben Afturelding er stolte over å ha skapt en ny proff og på instagram gir dem sine lykkeønskinger. «Gratulerer med overgangen Jason og all lykke i England.»

Den lokale månedsavisen Mosfellingur gratulerer med proffovergangen og linker til artikkelen som står i landets største avis Morgunbladid. Det var fotbolti.net som avslørte interessen først og dem referer til bekreftelsen fra Grimsby, så dette er skikkelig nasjonale nyheter på øya i Nord-Atlanteren.

Breidabliks uoffiselle nettside Blikar gir alt statistikk man behøver og påpeker at Jason var deres første spiller noensinne som scoret i europaligaens gruppespill. Videre er det flere lykkeønskninger på Breidabliks offisielle facebookside.

På Island sitter en stolt familie som endelig kan avsløre hemmeligheten de har sittet på de siste dagene. Nå blir det Mariners TV for alle penga for dem fremover!