Awayday preview : Scunthorpe Utd, Saturday 24 February
How to get there
Glandford Park is stuck out by the motorway, and as such it is illegal to travel there by any mode of transport other than car or bus. If you attempt to reach the ground by train, you go past the factory that appears to produce steam and nothing else and then past the ground. Then you travel through the gently undulating North Lincolnshire countryside for an hour or so, until you’re able to alight at Scunthorpe station. Where you get shot by the transport police.
The first of the modern era new grounds, replacing the Old Show Ground in 1987, it’s now showing it’s age. It set a trend for out-of-town stadia, since embraced by Bolton, Chester and Coventry among others. Rather simplistic in comparison to the previous home, which boasted the country’s first cantilever stand. It’s now a Sainsburys, and even the plaque originally laid to mark the former centre spot has been removed (it’s now a dump-bin promoting the new strawberry and vanilla jammy dodgers). It’s a looong walk from the station and there are no decent pubs in the vicinity.
The Iron. Thought to originate from the committee meeting at which Scunthorpe and Lindsey United were formed in 1899. A huge argument broke out concerning which moniker – Scunthorpe or Lindsey – should come first and it ended with the Mayor of Lindsey being struck with an iron, brandished by the wife of the Mayor of Scunthorpe who had strong feelings on the matter. Fortunately she forgot the old proverb of “striking when the iron’s hot”, and the cold iron did little lasting damage, other than prompting a short term memory loss. The committee then convinced the Mayor of Lindsey that he had agreed to the name Scunthorpe and Lindsey Utd, and the nickname of The Iron stuck with it. Nothing to do with Scunthorpe’s steel producing heritage. Not at all.
Normandy Hall Country Park – 300 acres of landscaped gardens and an award winning Victorian Walled Garden. Also boasts a Farting Museum, portraying rural life in North Lincolnshire. Actually that might be a typo on the North Lincolnshire tourism website.
The North Lincolnshire Museum – stunning pots and artefacts from as far afield as Brigg and Gainsborough, and a stunning taxidermy exhibition showcasing the region’s wildlife, including rats, chickens and a one-eared cat called Flounders who used to live behind the away end at The Old Show Ground
Where to Drink
Not the hotel near the ground. Not the unspeakably hideous American theme pub by the station. The Blue Bell on Oswald Road is probably the best bet…
Friendly but currently so wildly excited at the lofty position at the head of League One that they are prone to pissing their pants with glee if anyone tries to engage them in conversation. The home terrace has become so urine streaked that the local authorities have ruled that should it ever be converted to an all-seater stand, the supporters will be forced to sit on crappers.
Scunthorpe Hate Figures
Can’t really think of any. Kevin Keegan? Ian Botham? Is their keeper Josh Lillis related to Jason?
- Ian Botham starring in a relegation bound Iron defence as they defeated clueless Gillingham 2-0 in 1983
- Grim Boxing Days two years running in the early 90s, including a hurtful 2-2 draw in 1992 when a stupidly harsh injury time penalty denied us a victory after Paul Stephenson had given us a late lead with a floaty free-kick. Even Andy Arnott scored that day
- Floodlight failure at Priestfield (legend Kelvin Morton decided to play on, despite it being an evening game and the lights given off as much luminescence as four gloworms), and at Glanford Park in our promotion year when, after a significant delay we strolled to a 4-1 victory and half of Gills’ travelling army went on to get bladdered and throw up on cheap vodka at Sheffield University Union
- A Tuesday night fixture during a rail strike, with a handful of Gillingham fans travelling with misplaced optimism due to our league position of fourth after three games. We got stuffed 3-0
- The 1-1 draw in the monsoon last season, which featured Hess’s final goal for the club and Darren Byfield getting sent off. I didn’t bother taking a coat (it was August, after all) and subsequantly froze to the extent I thought was only possible at Springfield Park in January
A humbling 2-0 defeat, with goals mid-way through the first and second half. Utterly dull. Dean McDonald falls asleep by the corner flag while an injury is treated at the other end.
The Morty Vicker