With Euro 2020 fever likely to set in with supporters ahead of England’s Round of 16 clash with Germany on Tuesday, the Scunthorpe United hierarchy may have their fingers crossed that England progress deep into the tournament in order to further distract Iron fans from the summer activity at the Sands Venue Stadium, writes CambsIron.
Official social media channels are peppering supporters with updates regarding Ticket Office and Club Shop opening hours. However, when taking into account the dour summer to date and performances on the pitch for the past three seasons, the incentive for the casual fan to part with their hard earned cash on Season Tickets and new shirts is currently very limited.
Insightful communication with the wider fan base is limited via official channels and usual media outlets such as Radio Humberside. We have perhaps reached a point where we need a formal Chairman or Manager update ahead of pre-season to stimulate a largely downbeat fan base. Why not let the fanbase know how many Season Tickets have been sold or how many the club need to sell to further boost the playing budget? This may empower fans to spend their cash and support the club when it matters. Regardless, it is hard to understand how adopting such an approach would harm the efforts to boost sales.
Whilst a policy U-Turn, the abolishment of the Under-23 setup was understandable given the need to focus resources on the first team. However, there has been no cast iron ‘new vision’ published or communicated in a clear or concise manner by the club. Given the negativity amongst the fanbase at the end of last season and the change in policy, this summer signals an opportune moment to map out the seasons ahead and inspire fans – or at least breed confidence in them. In the mid to late 1990’s, with attendances stagnating and the football going nowhere fast the club published a five-year plan. Whilst it was somewhat whimsical in content and met with scepticism at the time, it did aid communication and delivered a degree of positivity – by 1999 there were gates of 4,000 and a promotion at Wembley!
Turning to matters on the pitch, after the Chairman’s tongue in cheek claim that the new squad would be in place by the end of May the club have made one new signing to replace the 18 player departures announced on the 13th of May. Any knowledgeable supporter would recognise that such a claim was ladened with spin and enthusiasm, but an unrealistic prospect. The arrival of Alex Kenyon alone, has not fulfilled these loose claims or eased the concerns of the fan base.
Sadly, it is currently hard to predict anything other than a relegation or a relegation battle for next season. The squad is evidently light in terms of a No.1 Goalkeeper, defensive cover (across all positions), wingers and a goal scorer. In the last three seasons the club has lent upon poor a pre-season and late signings to partially explain why the club has not performed well on the pitch. From the outside looking in, it can only be concluded that the club are well on the road to starting the season on the back foot again.
With an apathetic and concerned fanbase, communication and PR from the club needs to be improved and coupled with new player arrivals. Whilst the latter is no doubt being worked upon and more difficult to achieve, the former is a rather more straightforward and cheaper exercise. If the club communicates and gives fans a bit more; they may in return engage and support the club through not only spending their money but also through general positivity in the community and fanbase. The return of fans to stadiums is a big opportunity for the club to seize upon, the next month is crucial to ensure that the squad and supporters are ready.
Up the Iron