Posts Tagged ‘Scunthorpe United’

My weekend predictions for my previous clubs. Do you agree ?

November 19, 2010 1 comment





Fridays will now see my weekend predictions for all of the clubs which I have played for.

Would be great to have your thoughts and suggestions. Here goes……

Derby vs Scunthorpe Utd

A tough one for The Iron. Derby seem to freeze  in front of the expectant home crowd.

My prediction: 1-1


Hull City v Ipswich

4 points from the last 2 games will provide the momentum for a narrow home victory against Ipswich

My prediction: 1-0



Norwich v Leeds United

Norwich is always a tough place to go. Leeds Utd find themselves in a play off spot. A high scoring draw would be a good result for Leeds to maintain a good league position.

My prediction: 2-2




Brighton v Bristol Rovers

Top placed Brighton will be a very difficult match to come through with anything. A comfortable home victory for Brighton

My prediction: 2-0




Notts County v Tranmere

A huge match at the bottom of league 1. A hard fought point each will help neither team.

My prediction: 1-1




Walsall v Carlisle

Walsall will be bouyant following their FA Cup replay victory in midweek but a strong Carlisle side to take all 3 points.

My prediction: 1-2




Barnet v Northampton Town

recent good form to see The Cobblers gain all 3 points at lowly Barnet

My prediction: 0-2


 Shrewsbury v Southend United

Shrewsbury to stay in the top 3 with a convincing home victory

My prediction: 3-1




Lincoln City v Hereford

Lincoln to win back to back matches for the first time in a long time and to grind out 3 points in a close match

My prediction: 1-0




Grimsby Town v Barrow

Grimsby Town to secure all 3 points to be hovering on a play off spot

My prediction: 2-1




Hull City V Scunthorpe United

November 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Hull City V  Scunthorpe United

As another two of my former clubs play against each other  I thought I would post my pre-match thoughts on the match.

Hull City, surprisingly for me, have not managed to produce enough winning performances at The KC Stadium this season. The relegation from The Premier League has had an adverse effect both on and off the pitch there. I thought that The KC would be something of a fortress this season but that is not yet the case. During the match at Barnsley I thought Hull City showed signs of a change in form but as yet the results suggest that Scunthorpe United will be confident that they can gain all three points. Anything other than a victory at home to Scunthorpe United could see Hull City looking closer over their shoulders at the bottom three.

Scunthorpe United too are struggling to find their best form at home so far this season. Last seasons form at Glanford Park was a massive reason for The Iron’s survival. The recent away form has seen two great wins at Watford and Preston. Ian Baraclough has strung enough good results together recently to be four points away from the relegation zone. I’m sure if Scunthorpe United finished in this position come the summer then everybody connected to The Iron would be pleased.I have been impressed with how well he has taken to management. He talks very well and has a very good understanding of the players there which has allowed him to spot any weaknesses early on and act on it by bringing in the recent batch of loan players.  The influence of Steve Parkin can only help Scunthorpe United in their endeavours too. His knowledge of Hull City will provide an added benefit to the cause.

So the form guide would make Scunthorpe United slight favourites given their recent away form and Hull City’s home form. A derby match, at any level, always throws the form guide out of the window. I have played in this fixture for both teams and the atmosphere, wherever it was played, was always one to remember.

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

October 26, 2010 1 comment


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.

My time at Scunthorpe United…Part 2. Crisis meeting and a more direct approach

October 21, 2010 3 comments

Brian Laws had said that he wanted a promotion push for the next season and he said he wanted to do it by playing attractive football rather than ‘hoofing’ his way out of the basement division.

We played a 5-3-2 formation for the beginning of the next season.

I was fully expecting to start where I left off at the end of the previous season. I would probably say that I thought that it would be easy. I was not good enough to take my foot off the pedal though. The season didn’t go according to plan though for both myself and  the club. I only ended up with about 10 goals. I didn’t capture the form from the end of the previous season at all. Maybe because I arrived at Glanford Park the previous season in good form I believed that my form would naturally continue. The physical approach of other teams stifled me and I didn’t score enough goals for the season to be an individual success for me.  I went missing in a lot of matches. Again, we finished off outside the play-offs. We were perhaps playing too much football in the wrong areas of the pitch. Brian wanted to play  a passing game but we weren’t getting the results. In fact, we went on an unbelievable streak of about 10 straight defeats during that season. You would have thought that we would have spawned at least a draw or two in there somewhere even if we had not played well. Pressure was mounting on Brian Laws. Rumours were rife that he would lose his job if we didn’t get a win soon. After the tenth defeat though he did something that certainly saved his job at Scunthorpe and possibly allowed him to have the management career he has had to date. He called a meeting between the players and management. Now these meetings are not that rare. You could call them ‘crisis’ meetings actually. They are at a time when a win is desperately needed. In my experience they start out by managers saying that what is said during these meetings is a chance for players to have their say-to ‘get it all off their chest’. Players have opinions too,  whether it be tactical or any other part of how things are being done but they are seldom aired. I can see why too. The manager is the manager and therefore responsible for the day-to-day running of the club. It is his neck on the line so he does it his way. That is not just Brian Laws but that tends to be how the game works. This meeting started by Brian asking if us players had anything to contribute. How we could improve and what he was doing wrong? Most managers are too stubborn to put that out there to players. I can remember a long silence after him putting that out there. After what seemed like ages one of the senior pro’s spoke out and suggested something that could change. I don’t remember what it was but it opened the floodgates. After that everybody was having their say. How training should be conducted, how the manager was reacting to them in certain situations, how we were over playing…and on it went. It was all done in a respectful manner but he must have thought he was getting absolutely torn to shreds. He sat there with a pad and pen writing it all down and to his great credit he took everything on board and didn’t hold a grudge towards any of the players. Managers say that they don’t hold grudges, but 99% of them do. They might not think they do but if a player speaks out then they wait and wait until an opportunity arises where they can equal it out. In this case it worked though. Things changed immediately. He was much more positive towards players and because of that our performances and results picked up instantly. The biggest change was our style of play. We weren’t direct enough and that was a huge reason why we were not winning matches. The next match, Swansea at home, saw us playing direct to the extreme. We got the ball forwards much earlier, got the ball in their box and harried them all over the pitch. We won 2-0. From then on Brian’s philosophy was completely different. It’s OK saying that you want to play nice, attractive football but if your job is on the line you have to ditch your philosophy along with your pride because without a job you won’t be playing any football at all. We didn’t have time to succeed that season but that summer brought about a change in to my own personal outlook on things as well as a different type of player coming into our dressing room to enhance a more direct approach than the previous season.

%d bloggers like this: