Opinion: Is the Iron Free Transfer Policy Potentially Harmful?

We would all love to see Scunthorpe Football Club splash out big money on players who have the potential to take us to League One. However, we understand that we would pay for the indulgence in the long run because the Iron doesn’t have a bottomless pit of cash. In that respect, it’s easy to see why there have been so many free transfers this summer.

With a small budget, they represent excellent value for money, both in terms of transfer fees and wages. But there have been a couple of issues that have caused concern for fans. After all, the strategy isn’t guaranteed to work if the club is doing the following.

Missing Out On Quality Players

It’s not often that the Iron can compete with Championship and Premier League teams. So, when you noticed that former Scunny defender Jacob Bedeau had moved to Burnley earlier this month, you probably weren’t surprised. That will change when you realise that the club decided against taking up the year option in his contract.

The management has the authority to run the side as they see fit, yet you must question the fact that a 21-year-old with bags of potential has moved directly to a Premiership side. Burnley FC isn’t Manchester City or Liverpool, but the club has proven it can mix it with the big boys. Next year is no different since the Premier League betting odds quote the Clarets as 5/2 fifth-favourites to be relegated. Bedeau may easily be part of a small squad that manages to stay up for another year.

In that case, the supporters will surely wonder why he was allowed to leave without a fight, especially when we had the option of securing his contract for another 12 months.

Strengthening Our Rivals

Another weird aspect of the free transfer policy is that the Iron seems to be allowing some of our best players to move to rival teams. Okay, we’re not selling them directly, but that’s how a free works. The player gets the option to choose the most suitable fit. In one particular case, it’s Bradford City.

Alex Gilliead was one of the top performers last season in a disappointing campaign, to say the least. The winger showed an admirable combination of hard work and skill to help mitigate the damage. Thankfully, it was enough to avoid relegation, making his contributions even better.

Sadly for the fans, Bradford City, a side that finished 15th and could be a direct relegation rival, will be able to use his talents to their advantage. Strengthening a Premier League club that we aren’t competing against is one thing, but doing it to a League Two rival is short-sighted.

Will the Tactic Work?

The flip side of the argument is simple – we’ve let players go and used the wage bill to sign more guys to bolster the squad. For example, Harry Davis, Alex Kenyon, and Harry Bunn will be members of the rebuilding effort. Hopefully, coach Neil Cox can bring in more faces to give the Iron a greater shot at remaining in the division and hopefully pushing improving significantly on the 2020-21 season.

Whether it will be the case is anyone’s guess. One thing’s for sure, though – we’ll all be there for the ride!