The times I enjoy, as Chairman of the football club, gladly outweigh the disappointing ones, but the hardest decision I ever seem to make is the change in management.
Believe me when I say I do not take it lightly and I think very carefully before I act, analysing the facts and details of why it is happening and how the club needs to move forward.
Can I firstly say it was an honour to work closely with Graham over the past couple of years. We may not have agreed on everything, but we approached our relationship with respect and professionalism throughout that time. Graham has become one of our best managers here at Scunthorpe United and will forever be remembered for a fantastic effort last season and a good start to this season in keeping us in the top six of League One.
Unfortunately, the form from January has not been good and only collecting 10 points out of a possible 39 in our last 13 matches, and five points in our last eight games, has left us very close to moving out of the play-off positions. Our home form has been poor, especially when you consider our recent run of a year unbeaten at home being fresh in the memory. These are facts you cant hide away and ones I needed to consider during my decision making.
We now face a very important time in our history and another opportunity to grasp a play-off place on our road to the Championship, led by Nick and Andy. They steadied the ship and created a good atmosphere around the club the last time they took the helm and I am excited about that prospect again as I hope you are? All I ask is you give them and the players a huge lift at the Plymouth game so we can give ourselves a chance of turning this terrible run around and getting back on track.
Being a Chairman can often be thankless and this is when I sometimes question myself to why I am in this business, but I love this job and feel very honoured to represent Scunny. I do it with enthusiasm and enjoy the challenges put in front of me. I had to do what I thought was the best for the club at this moment in time and I would like to think you the fans can trust my decision, as you have in the past. When I appointed Russ I had the same obstacle to overcome, replacing your long-term favourite Brian and I understood that, but felt it was the right thing to do as he wasn’t one of my appointments and I felt it was right. At the end of the season, even though we probably should have won the league, we were promoted and Russ began as our manager in League One. He did his best but results and being bottom of the league meant another change needed to be made, and after he himself had broken records for the club as a first time manager. We needed stability, which came in Mark, and he did what I asked of him, he kept us up and we got within six points of the play-offs at one time, a great job from bottom of the table. The next season started not so well but we had a great run in the cup, going to Chelsea and we gave them a good game and what a wonderful day out for the fans, although we were robbed of that penalty!! Sadly the form was dipping and Mark was replaced by Nick and Andy, who won their first four games in charge. Nick went on to manage another seven games with Andy as assistant until I appointed Graham and the rest is history. The timings of those changes were questioned by 50% of the fans at the time, and we now find ourselves in a similar position. However, I ask that you trust my decision as being correct and I suppose only the future will tell us that, but the past shows I pretty much got it right and I stand by my decision now, as I did with those then.
I have answered every question and have not hidden from my decision, you know that is what I am about and the majority have backed me through it all and I will continue to remain decisive and honest in my approach to this role. This has been difficult, Graham and I talked for hours in the last month or so, understanding the potential outcomes, but understanding we must remain honest to each other in whatever decision was made.
We now move on and try to finish the season as high in the league as we can, if that means play-offs - fantastic, if it doesn’t, we start again and build for the next season. Whatever happens, your support is so important to us. I want you to start to enjoy the football at GP again and have something to cheer about over these last seven league games of the season. Nick and Andy will do their best to lift the team and the players will respond, I know they will because they are professional footballers and I trust them to resurrect our season for Scunthorpe United and for themselves, it’s the least we expect.
You can now see the accounts online and I am sure some of you will have questions to ask, so I have pleasure in announcing the next fans' forum date as Tuesday 17th April, here at the football ground, where you can discuss this and any football questions you may have. A time will follow and also details of where you can send questions if you can’t attend the evening.