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|Full name||Scunthorpe United Football Club|
|2017–18||League One, 5th of 24|
Scunthorpe United Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, England. The team play in League One, the third tier of the English football league system.
The team is nicknamed The Iron, and has played in a home strip of claret and blue for most of its history. It plays its home games at Glanford Park, having moved from the Old Showground in 1988. Grimsby Town, Hull City, Doncaster Rovers, Lincoln City and York City are its main rivals, although of these clubs only Doncaster Rovers currently play in the same division as Scunthorpe.
The club was formed in 1899, turned professional in 1912 and joined the Football League in 1950. It achieved promotion to Division Two in 1958, where it stayed until 1964, but has spent most of its time as a Football League club in the basement tier. The club has had more success recently, however: it was promoted from the Football League Two in 2005, and then spent three out of four seasons from 2007 in the Football League Championship. The Iron were relegated to Football League One in 2011, having finished bottom of the Championship. The club then suffered a further blow, being relegated to Football League Two in 2013, however it was fortunate enough to immediately bounce back, winning promotion back to the third tier at the end of the 2013–14 season.
In recent years, the club has developed a reputation for developing promising young strikers, having sold Billy Sharp, Martin Paterson and Gary Hooper on for seven-figure sums. The club was also considered one of the most financially prudent in English football, being one of only three in the top four divisions to be debt-free. This status has recently changed after it was announced that a £2 million loan from the outgoing chairman Steve Wharton was on the accounts to help the club maintain some sense of financial stability.
Scunthorpe United was also the first club in England to build a cantilever stand after their old East stand burnt down in 1959, four years before Sheffield Wednesday constructed its cantilever stand at Hillsborough.
Scunthorpe United was formed in 1899. In 1910 they merged with local rivals North Lindsey United to become Scunthorpe & Lindsey United, and joined the Midland Football League in 1912. After an unsuccessful application to join the Football League in 1921, Scunthorpe & Lindsey won the Midland League in 1926–27 and in 1938–39. When the 1939–40 season came to an abrupt end, due to the outbreak of the Second World War, Scunthorpe & Lindsey finished as runners-up in the second emergency competition, losing 3–2 to Peterborough United in an unofficial play-off game.
After the end of the war, in 1945, Scunthorpe & Lindsey United would re-apply to join the Football League at every opportunity. The club finished as runners-up in the Midland League in 1947–48, and in 1950 was accepted into the Football League, ahead of Workington and Wigan Athletic when the league structure was expanded. The club's first game in Football League Division Three North was against fellow new entrants Shrewsbury Town.
After an unremarkable few years in the Football League, which included the club's first ever third and fourth round FA Cup ties (against Tottenham Hotspur and Portsmouth respectively), the "& Lindsey" was dropped from the club's name in 1958.
In 1958 Scunthorpe United won promotion to Football League Division Two as champions of the old Division Three (North) under the guidance of manager Ron Suart. The Iron then began a steady rise through the Second Division over the next four years under a variety of managers, improving its league position each season until reaching fourth place at the close of the 1961–1962 season, the club's highest league position to date. This was despite the sale of its leading marksman Barrie Thomas to Newcastle United for a reported £40,000.
The year 1962 proved to be a turning point in the fortunes of the club, as only two years later it finished the season at the very bottom of the Second Division, being relegated back to the now un-regionalised Football League Division Three. At the same time Scunthorpe United stalwart Jack Brownsword played his last game for the Iron after 597 Football League appearances for the club, and Freddie Goodwin replaced Dick Duckworth as the club's manager.
After relegation from Division Two, the Iron spent the next four years bouncing around in the Third Division. Freddie Goodwin left the club during the 1967–68 season, however his replacement Ron Ashman was unable to save the club from relegation to Division Four at the end of the season. A slight resurgence occurred in the very early 70s, with the Iron first defeating top-flight Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup during January 1970, and then gaining promotion back to the Third Division in 1972. It was during this short period that a young Kevin Keegan was discovered and developed by Ashman before being sold to Liverpool in 1971 for £35,000, having racked up 124 appearances and 18 goals for Scunthorpe.
The Iron were unable to cement a place in the Third Division, and relegation back to the Fourth Division followed immediately in 1973. At the same time Ron Ashman departed to manage local rivals Grimsby Town, only to return during 1976. The period between his two tenures saw several management changes and a disastrous league campaign which saw the Iron finish rock bottom of the Football League in 1975. The next five years saw United stagnate in the bottom-half of Division Four, with the club finishing second-bottom at the end of the 1981–82 campaign. Promotion to Division Three was achieved under the guidance of manager John Duncan in 1983, but immediate relegation was to follow under his successor Allan Clarke in 1984, with United then entering a further period of stagnation in the middle of the Fourth DIvision table.
In 1988 Scunthorpe United became the first English football club in the modern era to move to a new, purpose-built stadium, Glanford Park.
When it became apparent that the Old Showground needed significant investment to maintain its fabric and to make it comply with new regulations introduced in the wake of the Bradford City stadium fire (which the club was unable to make due to financial difficulties) the decision was made to relocate, and this was announced during 1987. The ground was sold to the former supermarket chain Safeway (now Sainsbury's) and the search was started for a new location.
Land was secured at an out of town site in what was then the administrative area of Glanford meaning that the new ground was outside the boundaries of Scunthorpe (although this changed with the re-organisation of local government in 1996 as both Scunthorpe Borough Council and Glanford Borough Council merged to become North Lincolnshire Council).
At this time there were no grants available and the development had to funded with the cash from the sale of the Old Show Ground, sponsorship, directors' loans and bank loans. This lack of outsider cash means that Glanford Park was built in a rather simplistic, box-like style, with a significantly smaller capacity than the Old Show Ground.
The ground was so named because it was sponsored by the Glanford Borough Council. The site of the former ground is now home to a Sainsbury's store and can be found at the junction of Doncaster Road and Henderson Avenue. When the store was opened a plaque was laid marking the location of the centre-spot, just in front of the delicatessen counter; the plaque has since been removed, however a carved stone commemorating the site's previous use was incorporated into the exterior wall of a 2011 extension, beside the cash points.
Whilst preparations for the new ground were underway, the club's final season at the Old Showground very nearly yielded success. Under the management of Mick Buxton, United qualified for the Division Four play-offs. Ultimately this was not to be, with the Iron losing 2–3 on aggregate to Torquay United in the semi-final. The second leg of this semi-final was to be the last ever game played at the Old Showground, with Steve Lister being the last ever player to score at the ground.
The club's first season at Glanford Park ended in another play-off semi-final heartbreak, this time losing out 1–5 on aggregate to Wrexham. Further play-off failure occurred in 1991 as the Iron lost out to Blackpool 2–3 (on aggregate) in the semi-final under Buxton's replacement Bill Green. Finally, in 1992 the club made it to the Fourth Division play-off final at Wembley, losing out eventually on a penalty shootout to Blackpool by 4 goals to 3 (see here). This was the club's first ever appearance at Wembley.
The following four seasons saw United sit consistently in the middle of the now Third Division table under a succession of managers, namely Richard Money and Dave Moore. Mick Buxton made a surprise return to the club as manager following Moore's sacking in 1996.
In February 1997, following the end of Mick Buxton's second spell in charge of Scunthorpe United, Brian Laws, one of Buxton's signings to the club as a player, was appointed manager, with Mark Lillis (another Buxton signing) as his assistant. In 1997–98, his first full season in charge, the Iron finished one point outside the play-offs. The following season, the club finished fourth in Division Three. This ensured qualification to the play-offs, which they won after a 3–2 aggregate win in the semi-finals over Swansea City and a 1–0 win over Leyton Orient in the final at Wembley with an early goal from Alex Calvo-Garcia. They were unable to maintain their Division Two status the following season however, and were relegated after finishing in 23rd place.
Laws guided the Iron to their second play-off position finish under his management during the 2002–03 season, with the club finishing in 5th place. Scunthorpe were ultimately denied by their county rivals Lincoln City however, losing the semi-finals 6–3 on aggregate.
On 25 March 2004, following a 2–3 home defeat to Carlisle United two days previously, Laws was sacked from his position as Scunthorpe United manager after a poor run of results saw the Iron sitting just 6 points above the Division Three relegation zone. Assistant manager Russ Wilcox was given the job of caretaker manager, with his first game in charge being a 1–1 draw at home to Leyton Orient. Exactly three weeks later on 15 April 2004, it was announced that Laws had been reinstated as the manager of the Iron after a boardroom shake-up. With only four games of the season left, Laws was tasked with preventing the Iron's relegation from the Football League. Despite three of these four games ending in defeat, results elsewhere swung in the Iron's favour, with the club eventually avoiding the drop to the Conference National by a mere 4 points, finishing in 22nd place.
Laws remained with the Iron for the 2004–05 season, which Scunthorpe started in the newly rebranded Football League Two. This gamble ultimately paid off, with the Iron gaining promotion to Football League One as runners up. This was the first time that a Scunthorpe side had obtained automatic promotion in 22 years. Another highlight of this season came with the Iron leading Chelsea, the Premiership champions, 0–1, in the FA Cup 3rd round at Stamford Bridge thanks to an 8th minute Paul Hayes goal. Scunthorpe were ultimately denied, eventually going down 3–1.
In the 2005–06 season, the club secured a mid-table League One finish, marking the first time that the Iron had managed to avoid immediate relegation following a promotion since 1958. Young strikers Billy Sharp and Andy Keogh established themselves as the first-choice strike partnership, and scored 38 goals between them. Again the club led away in the FA Cup 3rd round at a Premier League club – this time, Manchester City – before eventually losing 3–1.
Following Laws' departure, Physiotherapist Nigel Adkins was put in temporary charge; after obtaining good results his role was made permanent. Fans responded with the chant, "[W]ho needs Mourinho, we've got our physio." Despite selling Keogh to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the January transfer window, the club went on to win League One and with it promotion to the Championship that season, in the process setting a club record 16-match unbeaten run and accumulating 91 points. Billy Sharp was the leading goalscorer in the top four divisions, netting 30.
Billy Sharp was sold to Sheffield United before the start of the following season for a then-club record £2 million. Despite his ostensible replacement, Martin Paterson, scoring 13 league goals, Scunthorpe were unable to cement their place in the second tier of English football, and were relegated in 23rd place. Paterson was sold to Burnley at the end of the season for a £1,600,000.
The 2008–09 season saw Scunthorpe reach Wembley twice. The Iron qualified for the Football League Trophy final, but were beaten 3–2 after extra time by Luton Town. The club then qualified for the League One play-offs through an 88th-minute equaliser by club captain Cliff Byrne against promotion rivals Tranmere Rovers on the last day of the regular season. Scunthorpe beat MK Dons on penalties after a 1–1 aggregate draw in the semi-finals, before beating Millwall in the Wembley final 3–2, with two goals from Matt Sparrow and one from Martyn Woolford, to achieve promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking.
In 2009–10, the Iron managed to retain their second-tier status, a feat no Scunthorpe side had achieved since 1963. The campaign included a 2–1 home win over eventual champions, Newcastle United, Scunthorpe's first appearance on UK terrestrial television in the FA Cup third-round 4–2 home defeat to Manchester City, and Gary Hooper as the club's top scorer (and the Championship's third-highest) with 19 goals; he was sold to Scottish club Celtic at the end of the season for £2.4 million.
Seven games into the 2010–11 season, Nigel Adkins left his post as Scunthorpe manager to take over at Southampton. Coach and former player Ian Baraclough was appointed as his replacement, but he was sacked half a year later after a slide into the relegation zone. Former Scunthorpe defender Alan Knill was appointed from Bury with eight games of the season remaining, but was unable to prevent the Iron from finishing bottom and returning to League One.
Although Scunthorpe had been hopeful of immediate promotion back to the Championship, the club endured a difficult first half of the 2011–12 season, finding themselves just above the relegation zone at New Year and knocked out in the first round of the FA Cup by League Two's A.F.C. Wimbledon (although they did take Premiership Newcastle United to extra time in the League Cup). They fared somewhat better in the second half of the season, embarking on a ten-match unbeaten run and in mid-table with four games to go. They finished the 2011–12 season in 18th place with a total of 52 points.
The 2012–13 season started poorly for Scunthorpe, however a pleasing start in the first round of the League Cup saw the game finish, Derby County 5–5 Scunthorpe, with Scunthorpe winning 7–6 on penalties. But as of 27 October they had only seen two league wins, one away, Shrewsbury 0–1 Scunthorpe, and one at home, Scunthorpe 1–0 Colchester United. On 29 October 2012 Alan Knill was sacked as Scunthorpe United manager, after a 3–0 defeat to MK Dons, leaving the club sat 22nd in League One. On the same day it was confirmed that ex-united boss Brian Laws would return after a 6-year absence from the club, along with former assistant manager Russ Wilcox. Laws' first game in charge was a 4–0 defeat to Gillingham in the FA Cup, but this was followed by consecutive away wins against Walsall and Coventry City in the league. Ultimately, however, Laws was unable to stop the club's slide back into the basement division, with relegation being confirmed on the last day of the season despite a 3–1 home victory over Swindon Town.
The start of the 2013–14 season saw Scunthorpe return to action in League Two following their relegation. On 20 November 2013, following a 2–1 home defeat to local rivals Grimsby Town in the FA Cup, Brian Laws was sacked after a run of 5 games without a win.
Russ Wilcox took over as manager around halfway through the season, and after a 28-game unbeaten run, ending in a 2–0 defeat to Exeter City, which broke the all-time football league record, Scunthorpe achieved instant promotion back to League One. Russ Wilcox was presented with the LMA League Two Manager of the Season whilst forward Sam Winnall picked up the Golden Boot with an impressive 23 goals. Wilcox also picked up a special merit award from Sir Alex Ferguson for his unbeaten start as manager.
Despite these accolades, Wilcox could not sustain momentum into the following season and was sacked on 8 October 2014, with the club 23rd in League One, to be replaced by Mark Robins on 13 October. The change proved successful with the club finishing 16th, 6 points clear of relegation. The 2014–15 season also saw the Iron involved in an, at the time record-breaking penalty shootout against non-league Worcester City in the FA Cup 2nd round replay, with no fewer than 32 penalties being taken. Despite getting through to the 3rd round of the tournament in dramatic style, the club would go on to bow out in a disappointing fashion, going down 0–2 to Chesterfield in the 3rd round replay.
Although Robins had saved the club from relegation during the 2014–15 season, the club's performances during the first half of the 2015–16 season were viewed as disappointing and inconsistent by many. On 18 January 2016, Robins was sacked after a 5–0 away defeat to Blackpool. Nick Daws and Andy Dawson were placed in temporary charge of the club, with their first game (a 3–0 home win over Colchester United) coming on 23 January. A spell of positive results followed, and on 22 February it was announced that Nick Daws had been installed as the Iron's manager until the end of the season, with Dawson being appointed his assistant.
Just over a month after the appointment of Daws and Dawson, Graham Alexander was appointed as the club's new manager in a shock announcement on 22 March 2016. Alexander's first game in charge was a 0–0 draw away to Barnsley on 25 March, followed by an emphatic 6–0 home victory over Swindon Town a week later. Alexander's appointment continued the revival of Scunthorpe's season which had originated with Robins' departure. The club were to mount a late charge towards the League One play-off positions, only narrowly missing out to Barnsley on goal difference alone. The Iron finished the season in seventh place with 74 points, 5 points clear of eighth-placed Coventry City.
Under Alexander the 2016–17 season started at a canter, with the Iron with the Iron winning six of their first ten games. This run of form saw United catapulted to the top of the League One table, a position which was maintained from 17 September after a 0–1 away win at Shrewsbury Town, up until 31 December, where a 2–1 away defeat to Bolton Wanderers saw the Iron slump into third place. This run also resulted in United seeing out a whole calendar year unbeaten at home after a 3–0 victory over Millwall on 17 December 2016, with the Iron's last home defeat coming on 19 December 2015 at the hands of Sheffield United. Despite managing to climb back up to the top of the table throughout January, a dramatic slump in form saw Scunthorpe go through February without recording a single win which resulted in the club slipping to fifth in the table by 11 March 2017. An upturn in the club's home form did occur again however, much to the relief of its fans, with a 2–1 victory over Rochdale on 14 March thanks to a last minute Matt Crooks strike. Although the Iron's home form had drastically improved, it took until 14 April for the club to record its first away victory since January with a 0–1 win over MK Dons. The club won its last five games of the regular season, which was enough for the Iron to finish in third with 82 points, having never been outside the top six in the table for the duration of the season. As a result of the third-place finish, the Iron were drawn against sixth-placed Millwall in the play-off semi-final. The first leg ended in a 0–0 stalemate, however the Iron lost out on a trip to Wembley after succumbing to a 2–3 home defeat in the second leg, despite having first taken the lead.
The 2017–18 season started at a slower pace than the previous season, with the Iron recording their first league victory coming three games into the regular season with a 1–0 over Oxford United . United climbed into the top 6 of League One with a 0–4 away victory over Plymouth Argyle on 26 August 2017 . The club remained in a play-off spot for the majority of the season, however a disastrous run of form throughout February and March threw the Iron's play-off hopes into jeopardy. On 24 March 2018, following a 1–1 home draw against Rochdale, Graham Alexander was removed from his position as manager, leaving the club 5th in League One, but without a victory in 8 games . The duo of Nick Daws and Andy Dawson regained their positions of Caretaker Manager and Assistant Caretaker Manager respectively, as they had done in 2016 prior to Alexander's appointment. The Iron slipped down to 9th in the League One standings as Daws and Dawson failed to record victories in their first two games in charge, however a 0–1 away victory over fellow play-off hopefuls Charlton Athletic was sufficient to propel Scunthorpe back up to 6th place . Three consecutive wins followed, with United securing their play-off position on 1 May 2018 with the final of these three victories (a 2–0 home win over Plymouth Argyle). Scunthorpe finished the season in 5th place meaning that the Iron were drawn against Rotherham United in the play-off semi-final. Despite holding the millers to a 2–2 draw in the first leg at Glanford Park, Scunthorpe were once again denied a trip to Wembley with a 2–0 away loss in the second leg .
|Hull City||L 1 – 5||2010–11|
|Grimsby Town||W 2 – 1||2017–18|
|Lincoln City||W 4 – 3||2006–07|
|Doncaster Rovers||L 1 – 2||2017–18|
|York City||D 2 – 2||2013–14|
|Barnsley||D 2 – 2||2018–19|
|Sheffield United||D 1 – 1||2016–17|
|Sheffield Wednesday||L 1 – 3||2011–12|
Scunthorpe's geographical region pits them against several professional clubs. Grimsby Town have traditionally been viewed as Scunthorpe's main rivals; however, due to a contrast in fortunes, the two clubs have not met in the league since 2005. Other rival clubs geographically consist of Hull City and Doncaster Rovers. Doncaster is the nearest geographically to Glanford Park. Games with Grimsby are referred to as Lincolnshire derbies. Another rival from the traditional county of Lincolnshire is Lincoln City.
With Scunthorpe's rise to the second and third tiers of English football in recent years, rivalries with such clubs as Barnsley, Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday emerged, although none of these clubs particularly see Scunthorpe as a local rival. Other clubs in Lincolnshire such as Boston United and Gainsborough Trinity are in the club's region but have not played in the same league as Scunthorpe for years. There are a number of smaller non-league clubs in the Scunthorpe area such as Brigg Town, Bottesford Town, Appleby Frodingham and Winterton Rangers; games with these clubs however are normally contested in pre-season and are not viewed as genuine rivalries.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Assistant Manager:||Kenny Black||Scottish|
|First Team Coach:||Andy Dawson||English|
|Goalkeeping Coach:||Paul Musselwhite||English|
|Head of Medical Services:||Michael McBride||Scottish|
|Assistant Physiotherapist:||Ben Palmer||English|
|Head of Performance Analysis:||Harry Jamieson||English|
|Head of Physical Performance:||Adam Kerr||English|
|GPS Analyst:||Perry Nosek||Polish|
|First Team Performance Analyst:||Ryan Simpson||English|
|Head of Recruitment:||Lee Turnbull||English|
|Scouting Co-Ordinator:||Will Swann||English|
|Kit Manager:||Nathan Stanton||English|
|Academy Manager:||Tony Daws||English|
|Head of Academy Coaching:||Nev Burbeary||English|
Players whose careers progressed in the professional game, or gained international honours have included:
A number of former United players have become managers including:
More recently successful players include:
|Period||Kit Sponsor||Shirt Sponsor|
|1975–76||Admiral||No shirt sponsor|
|1985–87||Hobott||No shirt sponsor|
|1992–94||Alan Ward Sports|
|2001–04||TFG Sports||HL Mercedes Benz|
|2015–16||Avec||Prostate Cancer UK|
|2016–17||Carbrini Sportswear||British Steel|
Second Tier: 1958–1964, 2007–2008, 2009–2011
Third Tier: 1950–1958, 1964–1968, 1972–1973, 1983–1984, 1999–2000, 2005–2007, 2008–2009, 2011–2013, 2014–present
Fourth Tier: 1968–1972, 1973–1983, 1984–1999, 2000–2005, 2013–2014
Record attendance (Old Showground)
Record attendance (Glanford Park)
Highest fees paid
Highest fees received