Football has always been a funny old business. One minute a club can be doing incredibly well and fighting for places in the top divisions, but within a few years, is left languishing a few tiers down the pyramid. This has unfortunately been the case for Scunthorpe United. It’s fair to say we have had a torrid time in the last five years and are now in dire straits.
When Peter Swann took over the club in 2013, he had a dream of bringing it back to its heyday in England’s second tier. However, in the eight years since Swann took the reins, there’s been no Championship football, no new stadium as promised; in fact, fortunes have gone even further south than one might have initially expected. The club now has ever-spiralling debts and has, in the space of three years, gone from League One football to knocking on the door of the National League.
Instead of following the buy-low-sell-high metric exclusively for strikers that has worked in the past for the likes of Billy Sharp and Gary Hooper, it could be argued that the Iron need to take a more rounded approach in the transfer market, and it might be worth strengthening in both defence and attack. In taking a look at the statistics for the 2020/21 season, Scunthorpe have been one of the lowest scorers in the league as well as one of the leakiest defensively.
What this clearly points to is the fact that Scunthorpe could do with a higher quality set of centre-halves and a striker, considering that current No. 9 Ryan Loft only has nine goals to his name. Whilst this may account for a quarter of the team’s entire return this season, a free-scoring forward would be likely to give the Iron a strong platform.
The idea of a rebuilding job isn’t something specific to a club based in the lower ends of League Two. Going into a new season with the aim of improving on the previous season should be the aim of every club. This is arguably the case with those clubs who get promoted from the Championship to the Premier League, as this is undoubtedly one of the largest league jumps within British football. What’s more, in analysing the Championship betting and odds for the EFL playoffs, it becomes possible to glean those clubs that may need a rebuilding job of some stature – and could offer inspiration to Scunthorpe if they pull it off.
The likes of Norwich who have gone up automatically may need to learn lessons from their last tenure in the top division and add a little bit more quality. In the case of the Playoff teams, Brentford currently stand as the odds-on favourites at 13/8 and in this instance, may need a defensive rebuild, as is most common for clubs who get promoted from the second flight to the top. They’ve already got a capable striker in former Posh forward Ivan Toney who has amassed 30 goals this season to equal a record for the Championship, and if previous Brentford strikers are anything to go by, with the likes of Ollie Watkins being a former Bees player, then Brentford may just get into the top flight.
If Neil Cox can get it right in the transfer market and bring in a capable striker and stronger defence for the division, then there’s no reason why Scunthorpe couldn’t finish in a higher place than they have within the last few years. A decent-sized rebuilding job over the summer whilst cultivating some good pre-season momentum will be key in giving the team the confidence and belief to realise that they’re better than National League material.