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Grimsby Town are surely a historic club in English football but they were never the ones to spend big money on superstar arrivals. Of course, things were a bit different in the glory days in the years gone by, but even so, they certainly started spending less in recent times.
Perhaps the best proof of that can be seen in their record transfers – the Mariners are yet to surpass the figure that was set back in 1997/98 when they bought Kevin Donovan from West Bromwich Albion for £405,000.
His signing would actually eclipse the former record-holder, Tommy Widdrington, as the midfielder was acquired from Southampton a year before that, in 1996/97, for a reported fee of £302,000. Currently, though, Widdrington is in third place and has since been surpassed by Phil Jevons, who arrived for £338,000 as it took Grimsby Town quite a bit of money to lure him away from Everton in 2001/02.
But even more interesting is the fact that their most expensive departures all happened in the same time span too. Their biggest exit, John Oster, left the club in 1997/98 to join the Toffees for a big sum of £1.3m. Even more than 20 years into the future he is still on top of the mountain as the biggest business the club has ever conducted.
The second place belongs to Gary Croft who left for the same price tag as Oster but to join Blackburn Rovers a couple of years before that, in 1995/96. Clive Mendoca is in third with his £789,000 figure the Mariners got for his services from Charlton Athletic.
Needless to say, Mendoca’s exit was quite a big thing for the Mariners back in 1996/97. The forward has been an incredible player overall and his exit was of course a pretty big hit for the club and the fandom alike.
Still, they would lose another star a couple of years following Mendoca’s departure with the transfer of Oyster to Everton, and that one is still on the books as their biggest exit ever, tied with Croft, of course. When it comes to big and famous signings, though, there are also a couple of big names to mention.
Donovan, their record signing to date, has become quite a success as well and the same can be said for Paul Groves, who arrived at the club from West Bromwich Albion and is still their fifth most expensive signing in the history of the club.