OPINION: Déjà vu

With a few days to go until the start of pre-season, there is a sense of Déjà vu setting in at Scunthorpe United once more writes, @alex_scunny.

With a few days to go until the start of pre-season, there is a sense of Déjà vu setting in at Scunthorpe United once more writes, @alex_scunny.

It’s all too familiar, isn’t it? The summer months at Scunthorpe United involve limited communication unless it involves advertising season tickets or club shop discounts for out-of-date kit.

Rather impressively the club recently announced 1100+ season tickets have been shifted so far so it is about time those who chose to part with their hard earned cash and the droves who are waiting for the club to show their hand in the transfer market before committing were given something to look forward to ahead the season opener on August 6th.

Another similarity is this summer’s slow player recruitment. The Iron have completed just one signing so far with the return of defender Andrew Boyce following his departure from fellow National League club Eastleigh. On paper, this is a solid signing with Boyce arriving having amassed 207 appearances in all competitions across his five years there. Crucially, he arrives with National League experience which will be vital for the Iron as we get to grips with the division.

A lowly playing budget has been a running theme in the post-COVID windows and on what little evidence we have so far, that looks set to continue. When quizzed by Matt Dean of BBC Radio Humberside regarding this season’s budget, Hill’s response “it would be unfair for me to say not great”, did little to quash speculation that the Iron will struggle to compete with some of the National League’s bigger hitters.

Hill also confirmed he had missed out on at least three players who have all chosen to remain in the Football League, perhaps further highlighting the issues the club will face in this window.

When looking at the current squad it is hard not to feel terrified. There are just eight senior professionals contracted to the club who have made 10 or more professional appearances and only one of the eight have ever experienced National League football. The approach of playing young players is admirable and the door shouldn’t be closed on their pathway into the first team, however there must be a fine balance and gradually introducing them into a side guided by experienced pros would be a sensible approach. As we saw at the end of last season, too many in the side at once can have a serious impact on the individuals and team development.

Ownership talk rumbling in the background is perhaps being used as a sideshow for the mess of a squad we see currently on paper. The phrase due diligence keeps being floated around but it is becoming apparent to me that no one is waiting in the wings for an imminent take over.

Sadly, this all culminates in my belief that we are facing another relegation battle this year. The squad is desperately lacking in both senior players and knowhow of the National League, and as history tells us the league disregards a club’s standing and an undercooked Iron line up will likely get bullied off the pitch.

Up the Iron

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