D3D4 Scunthorpe United correspondent Bradley Mell looks back at the Iron’s 2017…
For Scunthorpe United, 2017 has been quite a consistent year. Rarely have the Iron found themselves outside of the playoffs across both seasons. Despite the fact they didn’t get promoted at the end of the 16/17 season, they did finish third, and with the way they have started the 17/18 campaign it looks likely that this too will end with a promotion attempt.
This one could quite easily go to Murray Wallace who, throughout the year, has proven himself to be one of the best defenders in League One. But I shall award best player to Funso Ojo. The Belgian signed from Dutch side Willem II in July and has proven to be a vital asset so far this season, filling the role left by Stephen Dawson and controlling the midfield with ease. In fact I believe he is far too good for this league and it won’t be long before Ojo gains interest from clubs higher up.
For worst player I’m going to give this one to Craig Davies. The Striker joined in January 2017 and stayed until the end of the season. At a time when the Iron had fallen from the top spot and weren’t guaranteed a playoff position, goals were desperately needed. However, Davies looked unfit, failed to score in any of his 19 appearances and soon found himself dropped to the bench. This was one that just didn’t work out.
The fact that Scunthorpe have started this season strongly and have managed to keep a playoff spot going into 2018. After missing out on promotion in May it would have been easy for the Iron not to bounce back this season, but bar a slight blip, the good form has continued into the winter months.
There’s a strong case for losing in the first leg of the playoffs to Millwall back in May and as a result missing out on both a trip to Wembley and our season aim of promotion. However, given the ability of our squad and the strength of the Championship, I think this was probably a blessing in disguise. Because of this I shall give our worst moment of the year to a recent off field incident. In October Chairman Peter Swann revealed that the proposed new stadium was likely not to happen. This could form an entire article in itself but it would appear that years of work, and however many millions spent, have all been wasted. Out of this came a war of words between the council and the club in which neither side came out in any dignified way. The whole situation has left an air of uncertainty as to what happens now.
Moving into 2018, a New Year’s Resolution for Scunthorpe has to be prioritising the signing of a new striker in January. With Lee Novak suffering a recent injury, Madden out of favour, Van Veen only recently coming into a bit of form and Hopper doing plenty of work but not finding the net often enough, a dependable goal-scorer is needed. Until the last few matches the Iron went 580 minutes of league football without a striker scoring; so this is something that desperately needs addressing.