Home > Football, Previous clubs > My time at Scunthorpe United…Part 4.Massively misquoted by Loaded magazine.

My time at Scunthorpe United…Part 4.Massively misquoted by Loaded magazine.


So by this time we now have players who you really want in your team. Our captain Chris Hope was Mr Reliable. He never missed a game or even a training session and was one of the nicest people you could wish to meet.  Our midfield had a mix of legs, skill and goals  with Paul Harsley, Justin Walker and Spaniard Alex Calvo-Garcia. John Eyre brought some pace to the attack so by now we had half a decent team. 

The goals were going in at a regular rate which was great. I started the season in scoring fashion and confidence grew on a personal level. As a striker it is always nice to get off to a good start to a season. When this doesn’t happen you always feel like you are playing catch up. With this brought a bit more media attention than I’d had for quite some time. I was asked to do an interview with Loaded magazine. At that time Loaded was the magazine of the day and it was a real buzz for me to be in it. The interview turned out to be a nightmare though for all of the wrong reasons. During the interview I was asked the question :

So do you live in Scunthorpe then because it’s a bit of a shed isn’t it?

Now although I was only relatively young at this time I was fully aware of how the media sometimes had a different agenda when interviews were being conducted. My answer was:

‘I don’t live in Scunthorpe. I just drive in, train, and go home so I don’t see too much of it’

The article actually quoted me as saying that I had replied ‘yes’ to the question. It got worse too. A local supporter read the magazine and then wrote in to the local evening newspaper saying how appalled he was that I had disrespected his home town and that I was a disgrace. This then grew to becoming a major news story on Calender News, the regional ITV news station. They travelled to Scunthorpe and stopped people in the town centre to ask them if they thought Scunthorpe was a ‘shed’ and that it was me who had said that it was. The club then insisted that I make a formal public apology. I honestly didn’t say what they were quoting and I had to apologise. I was fuming. I was booed by a section of the home crowd at our next home match and I felt that my relationship was never the same after that with the Scunthorpe fans. In fact I have received  a horrible reception every time I have gone back with different teams. I finished my Scunthorpe career with a decent amount of goals to games and with a promotion thrown in I don’t think that this was too bad a return. Still, people are entitled to their opinions so I just have to live with it.

On the deadline day in March, Brian asked to see me in his office. Ian Atkins, Northampton manager offered £50k for me.  He wanted to know if I was staying beyond the end of the season. £50k was a decent sum considering  I was on a Bosman free transfer a few months later. I think that I could have taken the Northampton offer if I had wanted. I wasn’t really sure about Northampton though at that time. I had heard some negative things from other players about Ian Atkins and I was in a pretty strong position with a decent season behind me. I’d had contact from an English agent working in Holland with interest from Dutch Premier League side FC Utrecht as well as interest from Stockport County, Hull City, Rushden and Diamonds, who were the non-league big spenders. There was also interest from Peterborough and Leyton Orient although it seemed like their interest was not as keen as the others. Although there was no 100% offer by any of these teams I was confident enough to see out the season and see what panned out in the summer.

We comfortably made the play-offs in the 1998/99 season. Although we never really pushed for an automatic spot we were never in danger of missing out on a top 7 finish. With only three or four league matches left of the regular season we seemed to take our foot off the gas a little bit. Our last league match was at home to Darlington. We lost the match with a really poor performance. Going in to the play-offs you could do with being in that winning mode but that wasn’t really the case. Brian wasn’t too happy with how we finished up but the lads felt that it was not too important.  This tends to be the case in football. The players always seem less worried about certain situations compared to the management team. I can see it from both perspectives. Generally lower league players mentality is to ‘cruise’ if they can, this being an ideal example. The Darlington game was an opportunity to play in second or third gear and get away with it. Managers always want to see good habits and professionalism so this result and performance wrangled with the management quite a bit, probably because as a manager you feel like you are less in control.

  1. scunnyfan
    October 26, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Us real fans still love you at Glanford Park!

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