Team spirit can give Grimsby Town squad a chance, says Dave Worthington
THE strong team spirit of the current Grimsby Town squad can take them a long way this season – that's the view of former Mariner Dave Worthington.
And he should know – 'Worthy' was captain and an ever-present member of the fabled Town side that won promotion to the third division in the 1971/72 season.
Worthington, 67, said that the togetherness engendered amongst the '72 squad by boss Lawrie McMenemy gave them a feeling of invincibility.
And that helped them to finish champions of the division, three points clear of second-placed Southend United.
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Rob Scott and Paul Hurst have both spoken of the strong team spirit among the Mariners' current crop – evidenced this week when their players rallied round injured team-mate Liam Hearn.
And speaking to The Telegraph as he returned to Blundell Park, Worthington said that strong team morale can take them a long way this season.
He said: "Looking back at the promotion-winning team, I don't think we were that good at first, or at least we didn't think we were that good.
"But somehow the gaffer, Lawrie McMenemy, brought us together; his man-management skills were fantastic.
"He brought in players like myself and Dave Boylen who were enthusiastic, battlers, scrappers; whatever you want call us. And when you add that to players like Teesey (Matt Tees) and Bracey (Stuart Brace) scoring goals you've got a good team.
"It was funny how after a few weeks of not playing particularly well, this togetherness just hit us.
"It was a gradual thing, but once we got the feel of winning every week, we really clicked and all the way through the season I felt as though no-one could stop us."
Standing in the Main Stand, Worthington recalled the scenes he witnessed from the same vantage point almost 40 years ago on the night his side's promotion was sealed.
"It was an unbelievable night" he said.
"There were about 22,500 people there and when they rushed on the pitch, we couldn't get off!
"For me, as captain, it was fantastic; we all must have been on the pitch for half an hour after the full-time whistle.
"Then we went up to the director's box and were talking to the fans on the pitch, thanking them for their support.
"Being stood up there has brought it all back for me – It's great coming back and seeing the place again."
Worthington left the Mariners for Southend in 1973 and went onto have a brief spell in the United States with the Denver Dynamos before coming back to the UK to take up the role of player/manager at Cambridge City.
He now lives and works in Spain as an international scout for Premier League side Sunderland, having also worked extensively with West Ham boss Sam Allardyce in the past.
And he says it has been tough to watch Town's slide down the leagues from afar.
"I still look out for Town's results because the club was, and still is, very special to me" he added.
"It has been disappointing watching the team slip down the leagues because I've got such a strong feeling for the club
"But I'm sure they'll get themselves back up the leagues one day and hope they succeed."
Worthington's former team-mate Dave Boylen, added: "I know a lot of fans look at the '72 team as one of the club's famous sides.
"Hopefully, teams like the '72 squad can inspire the current squad to come together and do well this season. I think the managers know what they want and they've put together a good squad.
"Hopefully, they can do well because we all want to have the club buzzing again – it would be great for the town."