Hall of Fame No. 21

Defender from a footballing family enters our Hall of Fame

John Cockerill (Defender, 1981 - 83)

Some argue that John Cockerill was the best footballer ever to play for our club.

A high-class defender who always looked assured on the ball, he often seemed a class above other players on the pitch during his time with the Poachers.

"Cocker" also had a rifle of a shot and the goals he scored were usually absolute belters.

Born in Cleethorpes, his dad Ron and brother Glenn were also both professional footballers.

Whereas Ron was a Grimsby Town legend in the 1950s and 60s and Glenn played for several seasons in the top flight for Southampton, John's early career faltered. He initially failed to make the grade at Lincoln City and joined the RAF. It was at the point that Bob Don-Duncan snapped him up to play non-league football.

It was soon clear that a player of his quality was destined to move up to a higher level - and so it proved. In 1988 he was signed by Grimsby from Stafford Rangers for £21,500.

John enjoyed some highs with the Mariners, not least scoring the two goals against Exeter City in the last game of the 1990-91 season which secured promotion. But his career came to a sad end when he broke his leg the following season against Bristol City.

Since retiring, he's acted as caretaker manager for the Mariners but has never been given the job permanently.


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