Blundell Park & Why Call It The Pontoon
The capacity, layout and brief history of Blundell Park with Pontoon Pat letting young Mariners know where the name of the home end comes from.
Blundell Park The Tale of The Tape
Pontoon Capacity 1807
Main Stand 2038 (+ 88 Disabled
Findus Lower 826
Away 2200 (1900 with segregation
Grimsby, or Grimsby Pelham may not have been the first club formed in a pub but it must have been a particularly lively post nets session for the fellows of the Worsley Cricket Club to set up a football team that would go on to become the heart and soul of the fishing industry.
So it came to pass after a particularly lively session at the Wellington Arms public house in Freeman Street in 1878 that the Cricketers devised a winter warmer after the cricket season had finished. The name Pelham incidentally came from the family name of the Earl of Yarborough, the big local landowner.
The name was changed in 1879 to Grimsby Town and then in 1880 land was purchased on Clee Park, a field the club would use until 1889 when 'The Town` traipsed over to Abbey Park.
The club would stay at Abbey Park until the turn of the century when the first of many local benefactors over the years, opened his cheque book in pursuit of a footballing dream. Thus in 1899 Peter Blundell purchased our present home.
We were frugal folk even in those days, with the club taking the two stands from Abbey Park. Allegedly man and beast were used to haul the things in sections although the players still had to get changed either side of a couple of swift pints and a filterless woodbine over at the Imperial Hotel.
A bank was built at the North end of the ground, which was greatly increased following the 1901-02 promotion to the mighty first division. Christened The Pontoon after the Grimsby pontoon at the fish docks where so many of the Mariners worked for five and a half days a week it was the home from home.
The Pontoon really did have a fishy aroma as those standing on the popular end would leave the docks pop for a pint or two, meeting their young Mariners at the pub ready for the game. It was probably the only quality time father and son had alone as Sundays were taken up with Church Sunday school, a bit of a lay in to work on some future mariners and of course the big hearty family meal.
Here are two Pics of the Grimsby docks Pontoon Click Here and Here from 1906. Many thanks to Francisfrith.com and you can buy these images or more of our Great Town from them if you wish. Grimsby (along with Hull) were the only two professional teams which had to be given official permission to play league football on Christmas Day due to the demands of the fish trade lest we take fellows from their place of work.
In 1901 a new wooden Main Stand was built on the Harrington St side of the pitch although it is not certain this completely curtailed a prematch bevy and a Capstan full strength gasper. The good old Main Stand is regarded as the oldest stand still in use in Football (we will change that back to League this time next year) with more pillars than the valley of the kings.
The next improvement came in 1925, when a special grand committee undertook the task of replacing the Abbey Park Stand with the Barrett`s Stand. In 1939, the last relic of the old Abbey Park (the Hazel Grove Stand) was replaced by the Osmond Stand extending the Main stand around two sides of the ground. It became the home end for a short while but now houses up to 2,200 seats at the south end of the stadium.
In 1961 the current Pontoon Stand was constructed and following promotion in 1980 the Main Stand was made 'all seating' whilst the Barrett Stand made way for the Findus Family Stand. Initially the bottom tier was standing with the seats going in 1995.
The current capacity is 9,265 (all seating) although 500 additional seats can be put in if necessary.
The New Stadium
In January 2007, the Mariners were granted planning permission for a brand new stadium in Great Coates. Should a couple of promotions come our way with Mike Parker now on board who knows?