Result: Scunthorpe United 1-1 Oldham Athletic
Venue: Glanford Park (Saturday 27th February 2016, 3pm)
Continuing on my mini-quest to do grounds that are soon to be demolished/rebuilt, it was onto the northern part of Lincolnshire and, more specifically, Glanford Park the home of Scunthorpe United. After doing West Ham’ Boleyn & Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge in the not too distant past, it was the third part of this movement.
After meeting Richard, who was heading to the game and having the high life in the Glanford Park restaurant andt passing through Manchester relatively quickly, I was soon heading over to Scunthorpe on what should have been a direct train. Sadly, TransPennine decided that this wasn’t the case and terminated the service in Sheffield, meaning a speedy navigation of the station was needed in order to catch another quick service through.
After making it in the nick of time, I was no on a train that was seemingly more populated by Oldham fans, with a number displaying their colours in the ways of shirts and scarves. After an uneventful further journey through, it was into the drizzly Lincolnshire air and onwards into the town centre, with the first stop being the Honest Lawyer, as it was for most of the Oldham fans who’d also disembarked.
I was first in, luckily, and therefore had the choice of the bar. Well, I thought I did, but both my first and second choices of Staropramen and Magners were both off the table due to a “busy night last night”. Settling on a pint of Worthington’s , I settled in for the first period of West Ham vs Sunderland, as the Latics fans filled the small bar area.
Soon, I decided that I was fed up of the game and wanted to head further into the town and to the Wetherspoons, the Blue Bell. Unfortunately, this Spoons seemed to be an older pub that they’d bought and was pretty featureless for that reason. After a swift Punk IPA in here, I figured better times would be discovered around the corner in Class 6. No, no Johnson-themed things here, just a bar. Honest.
Arriving into Class 6, I found that it was a modern type of drinking hole with curved bench seats running round the back wall and TV’s showing the latter stages of the first half of the game from the Boleyn. Now joined in situ by a Desperado’s, I figured I could waste off a half-hour or so in here and then make my way to the ground early. After doing the first part of that statement, I almost gave myself a scare by leaving my bag behind for a brief moment, before rectifying my error and heading up the road and past the site of the Iron’s old home (now a Sainsbury’s). But then The Royal took my fancy.
The Royal is a hotel and as such I knew what to expect from the prices here. As was proven when I decided to try a Hooch and received the charge of £4.40. Needless to say, the Royal was a nice place to sit in for a short while, but with time now pressing on, it was time to head down the hill and to the main objective.
I eventually arrived at Glanford Park around 20 minutes later, after successfully negotiating the car park of the neighbouring shopping park (one reason, apparently, why the club is selling up the site they currently play on). After heading round to the terraced end, I paid my entrance fee of £18 before handing over a further £3 for the award-winning programme to a lady standing at a table. Very non-league!
Glanford Park is a strange ground to my eyes. It looks and is set out like a much older ground in my opinion and belies its relatively recent age. It has three all seater stands, with the Main Stand hosting the hospitality boxes and the away fans being situated at the end where the railway had taken me past the ground earlier in the day. This stand is complete with an old-style scoreboard too.
After the Scunny Bunny mascot had gone all evil and decided to take it upon himself to save kids’ penalties on the pitch, it was time for the main event. The visitors’ fans, whom I’d toyed with the idea of joining in with before noting the prices, were in good voice and seemed in optimistic mood, with their recent form providing hope. Scunthorpe, though, will not be giving Glanford Park a triumphant send off this season, sitting 14th, and here is the story of the Iron so far…
Scunthorpe United was formed in 1899, later merging with Lindsey United to become Scunthorpe & Lindsey Utd. They then joined the Midland League in 1912, which was won in 1927 and again in 1939. After an earlier application to join the Football League was rejected, the club went on to apply every year from 1945 until their eventual election in 1950.
The club won the Division 3 North in 1958 before being relegated in 1964. After a four year tenure, the club were relegated to the Fourth Division, before achieving promotion back to Division 3 four years later. Continuing a yo-yo existence, the Iron were relegated after a season and spent a decade in the fourth tier before achieving promotion again in 1983. After only a season (again) in the third tier, the club dropped back down and remained here until changing their home.
After leaving the Old Showground in 1988, the club arrived at Glanford Park. Being promoted over a decade later through the play-offs, the club were immediately relegated back to Division 3 in 2000. 2005 saw another promotion from the now-named League 2 to League 1, despite having almost lost League status the year before. After Brian Laws left the club, then-physio Nigel Atkins was given the job. They went on to win promotion to the Championship at the end of that season (2007). Again, their first season at a higher level was their only one, but they immediatey bounced back via the play-offs.
2011 saw another relegation back to League 1 suffered and since then, Scunthorpe haven’t troubled the upper-echelons of the table, usually ending up in a lower-mid table position, including last season’s finishing spot of 16th place.
The game got underway and nothing really happened until a good save from a free-kick by visiting ‘keeper Joel Coleman. Oldham returned fire with both Carl Winchester & Joe Mills going close but it was Scunthorpe who came closest, Iron striker Paddy Madden rattling the crossbar. The half the fizzled out through to half-time, where I had to settle for a Steak Pie (which I assumed from the pitch side hoardings was a Pukka) after my initial selection of a Lincolnshire hot dog had sold out (more first choice disappointments!).
The second half got underway and I was watching the trains pass by over the away end and hoping that they weren’t all ending up at Sheffield. The game improved during the second half with United still providing the better chances, but Oldham holding firm quite comfortably. Coleman pulled off another pair of pretty comfortable stops to ensure the Latics remained level and set up the big moment of the game to that point.
A quick attack from Oldham ended up with the ball finding Danny Lafferty at the back-post and the front man couldn’t miss as he fired past the home custodian to send the travelling support into jubilation and chants of “We are staying up!” soon followed. It looked as though they would be on for the three points, but with Scunthorpe now throwing all at them, could they hold on?
No. An advance down the left flank saw the ball in fly along the six-yard line. Both ‘keeper and defence failed to claim the ball and as such it fell to Kyle Wootton at the back post who had the simple task of finishing into the rather unguarded net, though the resulting cheer (or lack of) pretty much summed up how the home support felt about the game and the impending result.
Full-time soon followed without any real further action and I quickly exited the ground and headed back into the town. After thinking about and spurning the chance to have a further drink before the train home, I decided to head straight for the station, as the Hotel near the railway looked to be either shut or a bit Bates-y. Either way, it didn’t look to welcoming and I was more than happy to wile away the half-hour in the waiting room.
The journey back was rather uneventful, bar a few guys who’d been to Grimsby commenting on how welcoming the club was to the press, rather than some down in the southern areas who were “like the Gestappo” apparently. While I doubt they are quite that bad, you do wonder why some clubs are like that and, it seems, less like Grimsby. Too big for their boots, perhaps?
Anyway, that was pretty much that. As for the day as a whole, I did enjoy Scunthorpe and I did sort of like the ground too as it was a bit different and everyone seemed friendly enough. Now it’s on to Hallam next week…as long as this weather subsides….
Game: 5- Not a great game, but not awful.
Ground: 5- Looks older than what it is.
Fans: 6- Small vocal backing at the rear of the terrace was the main bit.
Programme: 8- Interesting articles and a good read overall.
Food: 6- Average Pukka.
Value For Money: 5- OK game, OK ground. Good town.