Chairman Peter Swann's programme notes for the home game against Cheltenham Town on Saturday.
Firstly, may I welcome all of the directors and representatives of Cheltenham Town FC and of course all of the fans who have travelled for today’s match.
This will be our first game at home since the departure of Paul and Chris, which was a disappointing action to have to take, but one I feel was in the best interests of the Iron. I can only echo previous statements and wish both of them all the luck going forward and thank them for their efforts over the last eight months or so.
We don’t really change too much, apart from a slightly different approach. However, the work we began on our relegation continues in earnest, as we try and develop our young players for the future. Our Under-23’s and youth set up will be asked to deliver players for the first team and we look towards a more youthful and exciting blueprint for our future - one I would like all of our fans to embrace with as much patience as possible.
It will not happen overnight and these players may develop quickly or need to work at various weaknesses in their game so they can become professional footballers and make a living at something they love to do. We will make this coaching available to them and not only do we want to ensure they reach this level, but they do it with the support and encouragement of the football club and its coaches in all aspects of becoming a professional footballer.
Even though some may think this is a step backwards I would challenge that and state what we are embarking on is a more difficult and challenging path than just buying the finished article. It’s a commitment to development and growth and one I have continued to strengthen - even though we have spent money to try and achieve our initial goal, of the Championship. This challenge to progress and compete is harder now than it has ever been and I look back at what we have achieved with pride and amazement at how we competed at the top end of League One against £10m-plus budgets.
Our focus must continue to be sustainability, as it has always been. Even with the disappointment of the Lakes Project, we have never given up trying to do exactly that. We continue to try and get our planning applications through the system and I will not be worn down with the negativity from certain areas in my quest to provide an income stream which would do exactly this.
After we find ourselves in this disappointing situation, I have asked the coaches, led by Russ, to get us through the coming games as we readjust and concentrate on the matters in hand, which is to ensure we win as many games as possible. I have also asked that we introduce and assess our young players in those games, as well as those new players added to the squad, so as to not only give them opportunities, but for us to have a good look at what they have to offer. It’s a fantastic opportunity for them and I have no doubt that all of them have what it takes. I just want them to take this chance with both feet!
We have an amazing group of players here at Scunthorpe and they all have talent and commitment. It will be up to our coaches to now bring that to the surface and move this club forward. It will be an exciting time for all of us, although I am certain those results may just take a little more time to flow, so please give them all the support you can in the meantime.
I want to also thank the senior players for their continued support and understanding throughout the last 12 months or so and know that they will support the young players coming into the squad. It’s never an easy time but their attitude and application has been superb, which has been mirrored in their 100 per cent commitment every time they put a Scunny shirt on.
There is no doubt we will continue this season with as much vigour and effort to finish as high up the league as we can and to try and entertain you, the fans, in that process.