Salop v Scunthorpe Build Up

As part of day 2 of our Scunthorpe Build Up, Alex took time to speak to Scunthorpe fan Max Bell.

After a couple of annoying weeks trying to get fans from other clubs to take part in this blog, Max has been a great sport and very quick in replying. So we thank Max in being such a good help. So here is what he has to say.

Name: Max Bell

Age: 19
First Game I Watched:
A 3-0 home friendly defeat to Nottingham Forest with my Dad when I was 4. Even then I knew I was irretrievably hooked!
Best Ever Game I Watched:
Oh god, there’s been so many wonderful games, we’ve been so lucky. For sheer drama and importance – beating Millwall at Wembley in the League One Play-Off Final tops them all. But for the sheer magic of the night – beating Newcastle at home in the Championship is something I’ll never likely see again. Can I have them both please? They bring tears of joy to my eyes just thinking about them!
Favorite Player: 
Up until the past couple of seasons, Scunthorpe United have been blessed with an absolute abundance of glorious strikers throughout one of our greatest historical purple patches, and the memories of the players in particular will live long in the memory. There’s so many to choose from. But if I had to choose one above the rest – it’d be Alex Calvo-Garcia. An absolute genius if ever there were one, and was voted the Club’s Greatest Ever Cult Figure, and a hatful of other awards, with an absolute landslide of popular support. He came to the club from the Spanish semi-professional leagues
Football and Match Related Questions: 
What do you expect from Scunthorpe United this Season? 
Relegation. The management doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing, the board are slashing the budget to their heart’s content, we can’t stop conceding goals and are desperately short of attacking oomph, creativity and all-round confidence. We can’t even hold on to a lead against 9 men. It’s going to be an extremely long, hard and painful season for us sadly.
Do you believe that Alan Knill is the right man in charge? 
No, I’m afraid not. I’m as patient as the next fan – if not more so: but I and the vast majority of Scunthorpe United fans have come to the conclusion that it is sadly time for Knill to go. One never takes pleasure in admitting this, because it is an acceptance of failure – but his man-management has been absolutely woeful, as have the replacement of key figures.
He can’t inspire confidence or just plain organisational and battling qualities in the team he’s crafted. The distribution of resources has been maddening to boot. We have 6 central midfielders but 1 Right-Back. Not good enough.
What do you think of your signings thus far? 
Some of them in principle, have the potential to be half-decent. The likes of Josh Walker, Christian Ribeiro, David Mirfin and Mike Grella – all signed permanently in the summer on free transfers: should have enough about them, with the right man in charge, to be good players in this division. But not only does that not build the spine of a side – let alone the squad, and Knill doesn’t seem able to get the best out of his players. Some of them, like Tom Newey (who couldn’t get a game for Rotherham last season and is currently playing out of position at LB), have been absolutely desperate. Having lost close to a dozen of our squad’s spine in the Summer – the numbers, let alone quality, just hasn’t come in the building in response. It’s desperate, absolutely desperate.
What do you think of your season thus far? 
As I’ve touched on above, horrific. We’re conceded at least 2 goals a game against any side with 11 men – and with respect: none of the sides we’ve played thus far have exactly been brilliant. It’s just that we’ve managed to plumb the very depths of desperation. 2 decent performances against Norwich & Derby in the cup have been very brief lights against our plights. We’ve deserved to be bottom of the table with the worst goal difference. Not exactly brilliant to say the very least…..Do you think you’ll be in the same position come May? 

Without drastic changes throughout the club and team from top to bottom, yes. Fans are absolutely sick and tired of the excuses growing thinner and thinner and they are voting with their feet and voices at games. Without a new manager, a different approach to what we expect our defense to do with the ball, and a new-found confidence – we’ve got no chance… But we can all dream eh? The above will require the cash and backbone from the board and invisible freeloading glorified hacks in charge. We’ve got no chance…
Is there any position you need to add in the loan market? 
We’ve got Leon Clarke on loan, and have signed Karl Hawley as a free agent, till January – which are welcome, purely because without them we only had 2 strikers with a pittance of league goals between them. Even the latter (Hawley) has 5 goals in his last 90 league games – so he’s hardly prolific… We’ve also signed David Prutton on loan, who adds welcome experience: but in the wrong position. A plethora of defenders, (and maybe even a manager?), on loan or free transfer is what we need. And badly.How would you describe the last few years following Scunthorpe? 

Well, to be honest – the last 10 years have been an absolute rollercoaster ride beyond all beliefs and expectations. We’ve gone from being 2 goals away from relegation to the Conference, to survival in the Championship – which for a club the size of Scunthorpe, is something we’re only likely to see once in our lifetime. Since 2003/4 – only 1 season has involved neither a promotion or fight against relegation.
It’s certainly not been good for our hearts, and whilst I’d dig up grandmothers’ remains (metaphorically!) for a safe mid-table slot this season – you can’t exactly say we’ve been short of emotional moments. We are a mid-table League 2 club when it comes to history, infrastructure, wages, ambition and attendances. So to have been far removed from that for the last 8 years has been wonderful – it’s just a shame it has come to an end so suddenly. Indeed, less than 18 months ago we were thrashing QPR in the Championship. look where both clubs are now…..
What is your Favorite Chant Sung by Scunthorpe Fans? – It’s a comparatively rare one sadly, but it’s certainly my favourite. It’s a bit fast and being an oldies classic not everyone knows the words – but it’s one of them rare chants at this level that’s not descript and pilfered from another club. “Any Old Iron” is certainly that, and especially when altered to suit the Iron – is a real classic. I just wish we’d sing it a little more often!

How would you describe the Iron’s away following? 

Having been at every single Scunthorpe United away game in 17 and a half months, even our pre-season tour of the Republic of Ireland, I certainly know the Iron’s away end and all its characters well. The dynamic can often shift from game to game like any set of fans you should in an enclosed area – and I’ve been lucky enough to meet some wonderful people and great friends in the Scunthorpe away end. When we’re all pulling in the same direction – they’re wonderful, even if comparatively small in number. That said – when divisive, it breaks my hearts. And what with the current situation the club finds itself in: divisiveness is inevitable to an extent. I just hope that we don’t reach the point of no return.

Come to think of it, Shrewsbury will be the first competitive away game of the Iron’s I’ll have missed since April Fool’s Day in 2010. Watch our away end completely re-invent itself in my absence!
Match Prediction: 
Shrewsbury 2-0 Scunthorpe
Where do I believe both teams will finish? 
Rather disappointingly for the fans of both clubs, I fully expect the fans of both clubs to be re-united twice more in the 2013/2014 as the clubs play each other in League 2. My apologies.
We’d like to thank Max for taking part and if you would like to follow Max then just search for @UseTheLeftWing
If you have any comments then you can get in touch in the usual way,
Twitter : @Salopsbluearmy

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