Welcome to supporters and staff of Maidenhead United and, of course, our own passionate and proud Iron fans.
Alan Devonshire has done a brilliant job at Maidenhead. A part-time team that are the perennial overachievers. I fondly remember Alan's playing days. Famously he had a great moustache and flowing dark locks in his West Ham days in the 1980s alongside another Hammers legend Trevor Brooking. A fantastic football player and excellent manager.
It's great to see Mark Lillis back at the club today as our guest of honour. I’ve known Mark for years! Him and I go way back to 1987 when I signed for Aston Villa, “Bhuna” had an excellent career, played at the highest level and always gave 100 per cent. His performances and playing record with the Iron towards the end of his playing days was outstanding, scoring almost one in every two games. His son Josh was also a great character here with the Iron during our “golden years”. I’m delighted to see Mark, wife Jean and his pals from Scotter here today in the restaurant and remember his playing and coaching days with us here at GP. He was the best assistant manager I played under as captain here at Scunny, indeed I felt and actually pushed for Mark to be manager at one point back in the mid 1990s. His part in our successes as a club In the past deserve recognition, indeed even returning to help out Neil Cox during difficult times a couple of years back. We owe Mark a great reception. Take a bow, Bhuna!
The Chesterfield games won’t define our season, but this month will. The three home games will be pivitol, however in my opinion our performance levels have been good. There’s an excellent spirit and attitude from the lads, they’re buying into Nelse’s methods and results will come!
The outstanding away support at Chesterfield on New Year's Day was as always much appreciated. You never stopped singing and getting behind the boys all game, so thank you.
There are a number of issues in relation to Some of the players' contract positions. We have asked and are awaiting National League permission to potentially extend deals, both permanent and loans. Each case is based on an individual submission which we are trying to convince the league to allow us to trade albeit under restriction.
Nelse is definitely getting a tune out the squad, building a togetherness and resilience which I’m convinced will get the rewards performances deserve. There is no substitute for hard work and endeavour. Sometimes you earn your luck and we have to continue to put a shift in every game.
We welcome Sheffield United Women again on Sunday 8th January, with a 1pm kick-off. They play Nottingham Forest, so please come down and have a watch. The last two games have been really entertaining.
I hope we can all get some clarity regarding the club's current position, and finally get a resolution in order for us to move forward on and off the pitch.
Since I have been back at the club, we have lost nearly a dozen staff members with those positions filled and mainly covered internally which has stretched our employees to the maximum. Staff go over and above at this football club, often taking on multiple roles or working with reduced numbers - certainly nowhere near the staffing levels of years gone by. They are proud people and need support from me and you. We can only control what we can control, there’s always a tipping point and the potential for change in any walk of life, and football is no different.
The industry is top heavy with cash at the elite level and perhaps a fairer approach to help lower league clubs should be implemented. That said, we need a model of sustainability moving forward. A strategic plan to try and build in the next three years with a “whole” club mentality invested in development on and off the pitch with an identity revolving around player pathways, a footballing culture, with a robust recruitment strategy supported by commitment and cohesion. Stakeholders need to be established and cemented into our community cohesive identity.
I speak to numerous local successful business professionals - people who want to help and who have a passion, like us all, for Scunthorpe United. If we can address those areas of concern quickly and energetically we can save this season and try to grow. No-one has ever been relegated in January! There are 60 odd points to play for! By having a vision for this club with a positive footprint throughout North Lincolnshire we can rebuild.
Right now, we need to focus on the 90 minutes against Maidenhead. Your support is invaluable and this group of players will be galvanised by your voices, look at the performance levels of Fin, Cam and Pughy. They're all ex-Academy lads that thrive on your support. Look at the kids in the squad like scholars Harrison Poulter, Tyrell Sellars-Fleming, our 17 year old goalkeeper Fozzy, Dan Gallimore, who has been with the club since he was eight-years-old like Harry Lewis. Tony, Rob, Smudge and Butts do a fantastic job coaching the players of the future up at the academy, what they lack in facilities they make up for in their endeavours to improve young players.
Keep the faith, keep believing.
Up the Iron!