After a weekend of bated breath and expectant silence Scunthorpe United finally have their man, former Grimsby premier, Paul Hurst.
The Iron officially announced the arrival of the short-lived Ipswich Town boss Hurst early on Monday evening after an extended period of negotiation. Hurst brings with him his right-hand man, Chris Doig who slots into the assistant manager role.
After a season of dismal displays, characterised by errant organisation and lacklustre performances, the Iron will be keen to inject some discipline and much needed graft into a poorly instructed and often insipid starting 11. Hurst’s usual modus operandi tows this line of football closely, and we should expect the same as he looks to rebuild a squad with shattered confidence and questionable character, for what is the Iron’s most important season in a decade.
Hurst has a positive portfolio, forged most recently in League 1 and 2. Iron fans will know this well, as he masterminded the turnaround in fortunes of a poor Shrewsbury team, from relegation flirters to automatic promotion challengers, though he will regret that he never finished the job. The same grit and bloody determination will be essential if Hurst wants to be successful in his campaign to turn an out-of-sorts Scunthorpe side from relegation sufferers, to promotion contenders.
Hurst and Doig at Ipswich
Many Iron fans will rightly point to his time at Ipswich, which is certainly a blemish on a managerial record that sits just a few percentage points away from the magic 50%-win ratio. The man will most definitely have a point to prove after he struggled to get a dreadful Ipswich side, stricken with a lack of quality out of first gear in the Championship.
To mount his promotion challenge next season, Hurst can expect to be backed heavily by Swann, who will want no repeat of last term’s disaster of an off-season. Which saw Nick Daws bring his squad to the first game of the season unfit, and undrilled, despite an opening day win at Coventry. He was dismissed soon after.
Realistically Hurst will expect patience from the chairman, after signing a two-year deal, and in return Peter Swann will expect a ‘fit and hard-working team’ of ‘players who sign for Scunthorpe because they want to play for Scunthorpe’. A statement that will be shy to the echoes of ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’, reverberating around the Doncaster Road End, during the Bradford capitulation.
There is plenty to be done in the summer, and realistically if Hurst is to have any chance of success, he will need the cast-iron backing of the chairman, and the scope and freedom to be able to restructure the squad as he sees fit. This will certainly involve paying off some or a large swathe of the senior players, who so dismally failed the club and her fans last season, and undoubtedly the appointment of a new club captain, one who is proud, and more importantly, fit to wear the shirt.
Iron fans can look forward to a positive and frenetic summer, as Hurst takes this squad by the scruff of the neck and moulds it into shape. Expect no prisoners as the squad is rebuilt, we simply cannot afford any this time around.