John McAtee thanks Town fans after playing final game for ‘special club’
John McAtee has moved to thank the Grimsby Town fans after it was confirmed last night he’s played his final game for the club.
Town manager Paul Hurst told BBC Radio Humberside after the victory over Crewe Alexandra that the on-loan forward has picked up an injury that will rule him out of the last couple of games of the season.
McAtee became an instant hit with the Mariners fans after arriving at Blundell Park from local rivals Scunthorpe United two years ago, scoring some huge goals in the club’s promotion back to the Football League last season.
The 23-year-old’s impressive form saw him earn a move to Championship outfit Luton Town last summer before returning to Grimsby on a season-long loan deal.
“I wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone at this special club, from all of the staff to my teammates and most importantly the fans!” McAtee posted on Twitter.
“Two years full of the biggest highs and a couple of lows both on and off the field, but all in all, two of the best years of my life.
“Promotion back to the EFL (in fashion) and quarter-finalists of the FA Cup are just a couple of the many memories I will keep forever! Once a mariner… you know the rest. Thank you @officialgtfc.”
Speaking about the injury that’s ruled McAtee out for the final two games against Stevenage and AFC Wimbledon, Hurst confirmed that will be his time at the club “coming to an end”.
“That’s disappointing in a way of course,” he added. “But we know we’ve got to move on from that – he’s not our player anymore.”
After teaming up with Hurst for the third time in his career following spells at Shrewsbury Town and Scunthorpe, the attacker scored 16 goals in 39 games for the Mariners in their promotion-winning campaign, including crucial strikes against Wrexham and Solihull Moors in the playoffs.
He was ruled out for the first three months of this season after picking up an injury on the opening day at Leyton Orient before going on to register four goals and four assists since returning to action last November.
Reflecting on McAtee’s time in North East Lincolnshire, Hurst said: “He’s been great, and I think we’ve been great for him. He’s got character. He’s needed managing at times – he’ll accept that and knows that.
“But I think myself and Chris (Doig) have not only here, but also at Shrewsbury and Scunthorpe, put a lot of trust, time and effort into him because we believed in him. Last season, in particular, I guess he repaid some of that.”
After securing a move to the Championship on the back of that excellent National League campaign, the Town manager said he hopes McAtee can go on to either “prove himself at Luton or certainly higher up than he’s played today”.
“He’s got the ability,” added Hurst. “He’s got to show that dedication, work extremely hard, and not take anything for granted and be too disappointed or down when things aren’t quite going his way.
“I really hope I get to see him perform at a better level than he has so far.”