Heading into this summer’s World Cup, no fewer than 21 players making the journey to Brazil have come up against the men in claret and blue.Of those 21, six are English, while at least fifteen of them have graced the turf at Glanford Park. Most of the opposition come from the Iron’s Championship days along with bumper cup competition draws, while some have been in lower leagues as the players rise to the top.
One who falls into the latter category is Manchester City shotstopper Joe Hart. While United may have faced the blue side of Manchester on three occasions throughout his footballing career, the Iron never came up against him in those matches. Instead it was he who oversaw Scunthorpe United’s promotion to League One following a goalless draw, with him keeping a clean sheet for Shrewsbury Town. The young goalkeeper was tipped for a successful future, with City paying £600,000 for his services 12 months later, before loan spells and successful England call-ups followed. He is now regularly the first name on the teamsheet at the Etihad Stadium.
Lining up in the England defence are Leighton Baines, Chris Smalling and Glen Johnson who faced the Iron in cup matches for Everton, Manchester United and Chelsea respectively, with the former player netted a goal for the Toffee’s in their 5-1 win. Smalling also netted for the Red Devils at Glanford Park in their 5-2 victory, while Johnson’s performance at Stamford Bridge aided them to a 3-1 scoreline over Scunthorpe.
Also in the England squad is Rickie Lambert, who has rose through the divisions to oppose the Iron with three different clubs. The end of his trainee career with Blackpool saw him drop down to Division Three with Macclesfield Town, first locking horns with United in February 2002. He journeyed with the Silkmen to Glanford Park, returning to Moss Rose with a point following a 1-1 draw. The following season he was snapped up by Stockport before returning to the Football League’s basement division with Rochdale in 2005. That move was in time to face United in another stalemate – this time a goalless encounter at Spotland.
Relegation from the Championship saw Lambert face Scunthorpe for the third time in League One with Bristol Rovers in 2008. While the Iron won that game, Lambert netted to restore parity to the fixture following Grant McCann’s earlier strike. A seemingly sideways move from League One Bristol Rovers to League One Southampton for £1 million, he began to rise up the divisions and just missed a fourth encounter with Scunthorpe with Southampton’s promotion and the Iron’s relegation.
On the stand-by list for the Three Lions is Tom Cleverley, who was sent off when Watford travelled to Glanford Park in February 2010. He was dismissed for a rough challenge on Michael O’Connor (with the midfielder reacting and later getting a retrospective suspension) with seven minutes to go with the scores level at 1-1. The game would finish 2-2.
Representing other clubs and potentially locking horns with England sees ten further nationalities heading over to Brazil.
Of those nationalities, both Argentina and Holland will be favourites to come out of the group stages unscathed, with Mexico and Belgium holding reputable players to challenge for a place in the last sixteen.
Javier Hernandez of Mexico once featured for a Manchester United side at Glanford Park as his side progressed into the next round of the Carling Cup, while Argentinian Pablo Zabaleta, Belgian Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong (who now plays for AFC Milan) have also been on winning sides against United – this time for Manchester City.
Arguably Scunthorpe’s first big cup tie in their fortunate draws over the last ten years, a fixture at Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea also saw the Iron come up against some World Class players. Both Arjen Robben (Holland) and Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast) were on the winning side, although Matt Sparrow will always remember the day he out-turned the Ivorian. Fellow countryman Max Gradel marvels on a game against the side in claret and blue, scoring two goals in two games while playing for Leeds United. He netted in a 4-1 away victory at Glanford Park before repeating the feat in a 4-0 drubbing at Elland Road.
Scunthorpe’s last big cup tie saw Everton arriving in North Lincolnshire, with Marouane Fellaini and Tim Howard of Belgium and the United States both featuring in the matchday eleven which saw the Toffees win 5-1.
United have also faced two more World Cup goalkeepers in Asmir Begovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and Tim Krul (Holland). Krul faced the Iron with Newcastle, with his side just edging out Scunthorpe 2-1 after extra time in the cup, while Begovic conceded twice in a 2-0 defeat with Yeovil. Izzy Iriekpen and a Terrell Forbes own goal were enough to beat him on that day.
Of the four other players to face the Iron, two are Australian, with all coming in lower league encounters. Bailey Wright and Massimo Luongo will both line up for the Aussies, with them both having previous history with games against Scunthorpe. Wright enjoyed a 3-0 victory with Preston, while Luongo endured a final day 3-1 defeat with Swindon – the day in which Scunthorpe were relegated to League Two.
The final two players boarding the plane to Brazil are Albert Adomah and Madjid Bougherra, who play for Ghana and Algeria respectively. Adomah faced the Iron for Championship side Bristol City, grabbing a goal in one of the two 2-0 wins in that season, while Bougherra encountered the Iron in his Charlton days.
STAND BY Tom Cleverley – Watford sent off
Joe Hart – Shrewsbury Town
Leighton Baines – Everton
Glen Johnson – Chelsea
Chris Smalling – Manchester United
Rickie Lambert – Macclesfield Town, Rochdale, Bristol Rovers, Southampton
Javier Hernandez (Mexico) Manchester United
Tim Krul (Holland) Newcastle United
Nigel de Jong (Holland) AC Milan currently, formerly Manchester City
Arjen Robben (Holland) Chelsea
Bailey Wright (Australia) Preston North End
Massimo Luongo (Australia) Swindon Town
Max Gradel (Ivory Coast)
Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast)
Asmir Begovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Yeovil Town
Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina) Manchester City
Albert Adomah (Ghana) Bristol City
Tim Howard (USA) Everton
Marouane Fellaini (Belgium) Everton
Vincent Kompany (Belgium) Man City
Madjid Bougherra (Algeria) Charlton