As we reach our fixtures over the Christmas period it gives us a little time to reflect on the year behind us, but also we can hopefully look forward to 2020 with hope, rather than trepidation.
It hasn’t been the ideal year for us and if I had the time again I certainly would have made different decisions, knowing what I do now, however we don’t really get a chance to see the future and we have had to take our medicine. Relegation can spell the end for some clubs and it is pretty clear that other clubs are struggling to survive just the day-to-day difficulties provided by a competitive and unforgiving football league and we must not get drawn into that.
I was determined to start the under 23’s, so as to create a base for the younger players coming through the club and to provide a platform for injured players to regain match fitness and that will come into its own over the next few years as we settle into a rhythm with it. This, going forward, will hopefully provide the club with affordable players and also enable our own youth players an opportunity to achieve professional status a little earlier and a chance to play with senior players in an adult arena, something that has proved hard to do in previous years.
So instead of just licking our wounds and cutting back we have decided to invest in youth and potential, which we hope will reward us in the future.
We of course will continue to compete, as we always have, but certainly we need to reign back our spending and start to create a more affordable budget.
Paul has had a bit of a torrid time early on in the season as he got to grips with the squad and they themselves struggled to adapt to League Two early on, which meant we lost a lot of ground in the first 10 games or so. With a lot of hard work and patience, Paul and his coaching team have managed to get their message over to the players and we are now starting to see a better quality of performance which has been rewarded with the points haul, that pulls us further up the table and hopefully onto the heels of the play-off places in the coming months. There will be some twists and turns but if the players maintain this progress we can look forward to the second half of the season as we try and redeem ourselves.
Our first match of the festive period has pitted us against our local rivals and I do not need to write anything on here about how important this fixture is to the fans, in fact I have been very aware of this since I acquired the club! All I ask is that all of the fans from both sides enjoy the match for what it is, a great local derby and let’s talk about football after the game and nothing more, so please be safe.
A quick update on the ground:
We will be starting work on the Clugston Stand in the early part of next year although we still await outline on the apartments!! This must be one of the longest outline applications in history and the council’s approach to this is embarrassing to say the least. Not only have we not been awarded our outline planning application but we now find ourselves 72 weeks beyond the application date and 59 weeks beyond the guidelines of 13 weeks provided by government to local planning authorities. We will be pursuing this and substantial costs through the courts and the ombudsman, as we believe we are being treated not only unfairly, but it is quite clear we are being delayed on purpose. Add this to the continued delay in the Lakes and the proof that this project was never going to be started on time let alone completed, the delay in any highways or lakes works, delays regards the new commercial park, where the stadium was going to be built and the continued cover up over the whole project and its impact on the area and most importantly the football club. If I hadn’t supported the club the council's lack of due diligence and the continued denial of the facts would have threatened the future of the football club and there seems to be a complete lack of care for the football club and its existence by the leader and his council.
I proved, live on air, that the leader did not tell the truth over the introduction of KMG to Scunthorpe United FC and myself, but this seems to be a continuing trend of untruths and misleading information over the Lakes project and I demand we have the truth exposed and will continue to ask for a public enquiry into the matter.
I could have been looking out at a superb new stadium and health facility and instead we now find ourselves fighting to survive and build the same here at GP. Our project here, is very exciting and I will be able to offer the space and facilities we desperately need as a football club and community for both football and health. Our health service is in turmoil and we as a club offer to help and ease that situation by wanting to build a facility that not only will ease waiting lists, but also takes some of the pressure off our local nurses and doctors. We can provide so many services with this project which will help the community, it would be a shame if this private investment in the town is ignored.
My continued support of various cancer charities throughout the country had my wife and I attending the Ronan Keating Emeralds and Ivy Ball (Cancer Research UK and The Marie Keating Foundation) in London last week, something we have done for many years. Over those years we have given as much as we can to help in the early diagnosis of many cancers and with the continued support of Cancer Research UK, we are delighted to announce that we have committed further funds in the battle against Breast Cancer, something that has been so close to Ronan and his family's heart. Last year they raised over £1-million pounds on the evening and yet again that figure was achieved, an unbelievable result and I am so proud we can contribute toward that.
Scunthorpe United will give £1,000 for every point we win, over the remaining 25 league games of this season, to boost that figure beyond the £1-million and to help with the continued battle against cancer.
We would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all here at Scunthorpe United FC,