On Tuesday 29 August, Grimsby Town host Doncaster Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy, but a large number of supporters won’t be there. Instead, they’ll be three miles down the road, on a pitch of their own, in opposition to each other, but also in opposition to the Football League.
Last summer the League’s decided to ‘spice up’ the Football League Trophy – the tournament for sides in the League’s third and fourth tiers – by introducing the development sides of clubs from the Championship and arse end of the Premier League, on the vague whim of improving the fortunes of the national team. An unproven and unfounded notion that also insults fans of third and fourth tier teams by inferring that the competitions their clubs feature in are right for experiment, and that it should be they who cede ground, not the Premier League clubs who’ve spent years stockpiling young footballers as if wayward twenty-year old left backs will be the chosen global currency of a post-apocalyptic society.
So during 2016-17’s iteration of the Checkatrade Trophy supporters boycotted the tournament in huge numbers. The Football League failed to take note, and have decided to run with their experiment again this season, making many lower league fans wary that Premier League B teams in the Football League may follow. So, this season the supporters of Grimsby Town has chosen to step up the protests in an effort to make more people sit up and take notice.
On 29 August, whilst the real Mariners and Rovers meet at Blundell Park, the Internet Mariners supporters’ football team, and their IFA counterparts the Donny R’sonists will play each other at Lucarly’s Sports Ground in Humberston.
‘We don’t like to stay away from our club’s games, but we are boycotting the competition, not our clubs, in order to send a message to the EFL.’
Iain Biglin, Internet Mariners
The aim is to attract as many people as possible to the game at Humberston in an effort to try and match, or hopefully better, the crowd at the Checkatrade Trophy game, whilst also raising money for charity; Inspire TCI, Grimsby Town Disabled Supporters Club and Doncaster’s Bluebell Wood Childrens Hospice.
Can this game attract greater numbers than the official fixture? Only with your help, so spread the word and help boost the crowd to send a real statement to those who supposedly run the game for the interest of their clubs.