THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

23 March ~ When Burnley finally decided to "release" Brian Laws from his contract in December, many Scunthorpe United fans began to fear the worst. It wasn't long before he was turning up at Glanford Park for games, sitting below the directors' box, quite possibly with a neon arrow attached to his back.

The strange thing about Scunthorpe United is that we are not a sacking club. Laws had nearly ten years as manager before moving on to "greater" things and Nigel Adkins did superbly for the next four years before, again, moving on to "greater" things a league below. Ian Baraclough must have felt fairly confident of a lengthy spell in charge.

Unfortunately the seeds of relegation had been sown in the summer with the sale of Gary Hooper to Celtic and, more seriously, allowing striker Paul Hayes to walk away. The loss of midfielders Grant McCann and Matt Sparrow (to Peterborough and Brighton respectively) was also a blow. That these players were never adequately replaced was, perhaps, a major factor in Adkins leaving – Scunthorpe United cannot, and will not, spend big money on players. Baraclough was left with, at best, a League One team and it was plain to all that this is exactly where we were heading.

This realisation manifested itself in dwindling crowds rather than booing and protesting – there doesn't seem any point – at the lack of skill and creativity on show, from both the Iron and visiting teams. The Championship really is so poor this season that it is doubly depressing that we cannot even string one win together.

So, no booing, not much pressure on the manager from the crowd – why, then, the sack for Baraclough? It came after a pathetic 3-0 defeat to bottom-of-the league Preston, our game in hand which, if won, would have taken us to within one point of Crystal Palace who were a place outside the relegation zone. The crowds reaction to the performance was extraordinary – cheering the opposition, laughing at our own ineptitude, celebrating throw-ins and corners as if they were promotions. You can boo and jeer all you like but, it seems, the way to make a board of directors bristle is to take the piss.

So if Laws, who, it is rumoured, is to "help" chairman and great friend Steve Wharton in the selection process for the next manager, does manage to get his feet under the table again he had better be prepared for quite a lot of piss-taking. Mik Henry

Comments (5)
Comment by Sean of the Shed 2011-03-23 16:01:25

So having conceded that the current side is not good enough to play in the division, you find it funny that the crowd went on to humiliate and belittle the very players that are attempting to stay up despite their failings. Good old Scunny fans, they put the cunt in Scunthorpe.

Comment by theodore 2011-03-23 17:13:21

It is funny. You pays your money....etc. The performances, tactics and spirit were pathetic so they get what they deserve. Maybe some loud singing and happy clapping would have changed all that - or sullen silence. I know which I prefer.

Comment by Janik 2011-03-23 23:56:30

"The performances, tactics and spirit were pathetic so they get what they deserve."

It's never fundamental lack of talent, is it? Despite when it probably is, as the author of the article basically accepts is the case with the current Scunthorpe squad.
It's very hard to lambast someone who isn't up to the job they have been asked to do. But when it's going wrong supporters seem to feel the need to lash out, so they chose to blame the players inadequate performances on a lack of spirit, because lack of spirit is a personal failing that people can be blamed for. So often, this is just horseshit.

Comment by Max Payne 2011-03-24 04:40:01

Yeah. And I had an ex-girlfriend from my college days from Scunthorpe. The bitch. Get down in the lower leagues where you belong!

Comment by Paul Rowland 2011-03-24 14:26:02

A few years back, Alan Curbishley had a pop at us Charlton fans for getting on the players' backs, and claimed that booing and jeering the players was bang out of order. He really didn't like that sort of thing. He even went as far as to offer himself up as a sacrificial lamb - he said "Lay off the players. If you want to have a go at somebody - have a go at me."

So we did. Turns out Curbs didn't like that much either, and promptly left us. The rest is of course history.

Did we learn our lesson? No. Who do we boo now? Everybody - players, managers, directors, stewards, hot-dog sellers, rival supporters, fellow supporters, innocent by-standers - EVERYBODY. And what does all this booing achieve? Well, our current form is seven defeats and two draws out of nine. Maybe that answers the question.

(Mind you, you could argue... without all the booing, it might have been nine straight thumpings eh?)

;-)

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