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The Mariners are quite a historic English side but they were never the ones to splash the cash big on incredible signings and superstar players. And even if they did at times before in the years gone by, that certainly hasn’t really been the case in their more modern history.
Maybe the best proof of that lies in the fact that Grimsby Town are still to break their transfer record that was set back in 1997/98 when they acquired the services of Kevin Donovan from West Bromwich Albion for £405,000.
The midfielder’s arrival would eclipse the former record holder in Tommy Widdrington who was signed from Southampton a year prior to that, in 1996/97, for a reported sum of £302,000. Now, however, Widdrington sits in third place and has since been surpassed by Phil Jevons with the £338,000 price tag it took for Mariners to snatch him away from Everton in 2001/02.
And interestingly enough, their most expensive departures all happened around the same period too. Their top dog in that department, John Oster, left the club in 1997/98 to join Everton for a big chunk of money, £1.3m. Even now, more than 20 years into the future, that is still the biggest piece of business they’ve ever done.
In second place, we have Gary Croft with the same price tag as Oster but he joined Blackburn Rovers a couple of years earlier, in 1995/96. Clive Mendoca is third with his £789,000 sum the Mariners received for his services from Charlton Athletic.
It’s pretty safe to say that the transfer of Mendoca was quite a big thing for the Mariners back in 1996/97. The forward has been a great servant to the badge and his departure was naturally a sad occasion for the club and the fans as well.
Of course, they would sell another star a couple of years after that with the departure of Oyster to Everton, and that one is still in the books as their biggest one yet. Alongside Croft, of course. When it comes to arrivals, however, there are also a couple of big ones.
Donovan, their record signing to this day, has turned out to be quite a success as well and so has Paul Groves, who arrived at the club from West Brom, just like two other signings in the top six, and is their fifth most expensive signing ever.