It has been a busy off-season here at the Iron and I am pleased with the progress made by Paul and his management team, although we will endeavour to keep on improving the squad where we can and within the financial parameters of League Two.
Lee Turnbull and the recruitment guys have worked closely with Paul to identify those players that will hopefully drive us forward and create a hungry and competitive squad.
This will be a challenging first six games or so for Paul, as we continue to find the best starting line-up and integrate the changes in personnel. As always, like with all my managers, Paul and his team will have my full support.
I hope that you, the fans, can create an atmosphere and give ourselves a good platform, both on and off the pitch, for the coming season and that we can all enjoy the journey.
As with any season the financial difficulties are only too apparent with our fellow clubs and it is always a challenge to balance the books, but I am delighted that we are able to continue that financial support here at Scunthorpe United.
The financial restraints in League Two are very different to League One and we have had to negotiate a few hurdles, but remain confident and happy in our investment. So much so that we decided to sponsor the stadium by supporting our Blackpool hotel project, which remains on target for a December 2019 completion, with an April 2020 opening to the public.
The hotel is another project that will give something special to the community in Blackpool and will house a spa, conference facilities, three restaurants including the Wild West Diner, a gym and an amazing museum on the first floor. What better way to promote the hotel, than through my love of football and Scunthorpe United! I know most fans will still call it GP and that’s fine. It's only a name and I suppose losing the Old Show Ground had more effect than this name change.
I would probably see it as “The Sands Venue Stadium at GP” rather than just the SVS, but I am sure you will have your own ideas and that’s fair enough, however the financial support and backing from this sponsorship really does help us going forward and has enabled us to buy those new players to make our club competitive under this new financial system.
We were delighted to finally have our planning for the stadium confirmed, although this was some 35 weeks after it should have been completed and 48 weeks into the process which has now been judged as being unsatisfactory and we have received all our planning fees back.
This has now been put into the hands of our solicitors and forwarded onto the Secretary of State and the planning ombudsman for assessment. This is totally unacceptable, along with the current outline planning for the apartments, which looks like it will be 50 weeks since application. It proves there needs to be a full enquiry, not only into our planning here at GP, but into the whole Lakes debacle!
The fact there has been a figure of in excess of £30m spent on the Lakes Project, plus the flood defence works at £13m, which should be linked to house building, gives us over £43m of government public money on this project. I wonder, in my opinion, where £43m might have been better used? British Steel maybe? Only Mr Waltham can answer that and I will continue to pursue these answers for as long as it takes.
So we now reach the first game of the season and I would like to wish Paul, his staff, the team and all who work here at the football club, all the best and of course most importantly to you, the fans, in your support of the club, both home and away.
Peter Swann, the family members and Directors of Scunthorpe United FC