Tuesday, 9 August 2016

United have bid accepted for Wigan's Sam Morsy

Morsy in his Chesterfield days. - Photo credit: Scunthorpe Telegraph
The Iron have reportedly had a bid accepted for Wigan Athletic's Sam Morsy today, but the player is also rumoured to be being heavily tracked by League One rivals Sheffield United, too.

The first sniff of the Morsy to Scunthorpe rumour emerged when Sky Sports News journalist, Gemma Davies, tweeted this:
Since the original tweet, there have been two more credible journalists in Mike White and Sean Taylor, who have also confirmed their belief to the rumour being factually correct.

After signing a two-and-a-half-year deal in late January  this year to secure his exit from Chesterfield, Morsy featured 16 times for the Latics, scoring once, as he helped them on their way to the League One title.

Morsy had made over 100 appearances for the Spireites before his move away, and is described regularly as a player who 'runs the midfield' - promising.

With Morsy being a midfielder, and United having them in abundance at the moment, it has re-ignited a rumour that club Captain Stephen Dawson may be on his way to Charlton, but there may be no truth in that at all.

Skip to 1:07 in on the below YouTube clip to see Morsy scoring for Wigan in the second half of last season:
 


Away from potential transfer activity at the club, United face Notts County tonight at Glanford Park in the EFL Cup (League Cup) First Round. The match kicks off at 19:45, and successful passage through to the second round could lead to a potential match up with a Premier League side. Exciting!

UPDATE: Mike White is led to believe that despite Sheffield United fans believing that Morsy to the Blunts is done, there's nothing in it. You've got to laugh.

UPDATE #2: A few more Tweets since the article went live:



Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Scunthorpe United rumours thus far; It's been a slow one

Potential summer target Jim O'Brien celebrates his goal which clinched victory at the Den. Source: Coventry Telegraph
It's a month to the day since the heartache of missing out on the Play Offs on goal difference away at Sheffield United, and although the season ended on a high (A six-game winning streak high), things have been very slow on the transfer front.

This time last year then-manager Mark Robins had already introduced numerous new faces into the building, as he looked to rebuild his squad - but clearly Graham Alexander is clearly happy to take his time this summer, and add to a team that evidently have the credentials to do damage in the league when next season comes around - and the bookmaker Paddy Power seem to agree, awarding us odds of 13/2 for promotion.

There have been a few names mentioned in connection to the Iron so far, so let's take a quick look at them and rate the probability of something actually coming into fruition.

Josh Wright

Josh enjoyed two years with us back in the Championship days, and it's safe to say there were many United fans sad to see him leave in 2011. Wright's only goal for us was THAT screamer against Manchester United at Glanford Park, which gave the Iron the most unlikeliest of leads - sadly, it didn't last long. Anyway, a reputable source in Sky Sports released an article on June 2nd, stating that there were three clubs chasing Wright's signature - Ourselves, Huddersfield Town and Walsall. Since then there have been no follow up reports indicating that United are actually in for Wright, who is under contract at Gillingham for another year, and BBC Humberside have even tweeted stating that the club have confirmed they are not chasing the midfielder. So, judging by that you can assume he won't be making his return to GP, but you never know.
Jim O'Brien

Jim fast became an joy to watch during his loan spell with us, but injury cruelly cut that loan short just as we were getting to see him at his best. O'Brien was signed by Daws and Dawson when they were in charge, and Alexander arrived too late to see what the pacey winger had to offer. But with Daws and Dawson still at the club you'd expect them to have given Alexander a glowing report of O'Brien, who is now available on a free transfer following his release from Coventry City. At the end of the season I believe a lot of Iron fans would have liked to see O'Brien become a permanent figure in North Lincolnshire, and I'd say that still stands. Let's hope.

Wes Burns

Burns was on loan at Fleetwood Town last season and helped keep the club in League One, as they sent their local rivals Blackpool to the football league's basement. Burns has come through the youth ranks at Bristol City, and remains under contract at the Championship club,  but his goals return for that struggling Fleetwood side has reportedly alerted Alexander to his attention according to BBC Humberside and Bristol Post. It's unsure whether we are interested in a permanent or loan deal, or if we are even interested at all - but I believe this would be one of those 'marquee' signings we all crave from the summer transfer window. There's been no updates from any of the sources since the original tweet (see below), so whether there will be any movement remains to be seen. I'd be more than happy with his arrival, though.
Sadly, thus far that is as exciting as the summer transfer window has been for the Iron. Let's hope something happens soon to reignite the optimism that surrounded the club after the 2-0 defeat of Sheffield United.

UP THE IRON!



Monday, 25 April 2016

Roy’s Regiment – Who makes the plane for Euro 2016?

England Head Coach Roy Hodgson is expected to name his 23-man squad for the European Championships on Thursday 12th May, which is almost three weeks before the official UEFA deadline  - and even three days before Premier League season is completed on the following Sunday.

Only the man himself knows why he is choosing his army of combatants so early, but it is a clear indication that Hodgson has his squad already pencilled in – and that looks to be bad news for several players who are hoping to return from injury.

The tournament that begins from an England perspective against Russia on Saturday 11th June, and here we will look at Hodgson’s selection headaches in more detail.

Goalkeeper

Manchester City’s Joe Hart will travel to France as the undisputed first choice keeper in the England team. After the unfortunate injury to Stoke City’s Jack Butland against Germany back in March, Fraser Forster of Southampton is the likely deputy. Hodgson will not gamble on taking just two goalkeepers to the tournament, so his real decision lies between offering the third jersey to Ben Foster of West Bromwich Albion, or Burnley stopper, Tom Heaton.

Defence

The obvious names to focus upon are Manchester United’s Chris Smalling, Chelsea’s Gary Cahill and John Stones – who are likely to form the core of England’s defensive unit. Further experience will probably be provided from Stones’ Everton club-mate, Phil Jagielka. The full-back positions are a little more difficult to fathom. Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool has been a recent regular for Hodgson in recent matches, and Tottenham’s Danny Rose has made a late claim for inclusion after impressing against Germany.

The other names to consider are fellow Spurs man, Kyle Walker and Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand as Hodgson is likely to plump for youthful exuberance in the flank areas, which offers little hope for Leighton Baines. Manchester United pair, Phil Jones and Luke Shaw are on the comeback trail to fitness, but are unlikely to break in at this very late stage.

Midfield

After an incredible twelve months that has seen Tottenham’s Dele Alli rise from League 1 potential into England’s bright new star, the 19 year-old is a cast-iron selection for Hodgson this summer. Fellow Spurs man, Eric Dier must also be high on the list – not only for his excellent midfield performances for his club side, but also due to his versatility by being adept as a centre-back if required. Liverpool man, and thorough workhorse, James Milner is another certainty in Roy’s recruits in a utility role, along with Everton’s Ross Barkley, who has begun to show his undoubted attacking potential more regularly this season.

The central midfield waters become murkier for Hodgson, considering the merits of Jack Wilshere – who made his Arsenal comeback against Sunderland last Sunday and Liverpool Captain Jordan Henderson who was injured during their ultimately successful Europa Cup triumph over Borussia Dortmund – and this is before considering Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater, who has performed admirably this season under Claudio Ranieri.

Adam Lallana – also of Liverpool – is another strong candidate to book his place. His ability to perform in wide or central attacking roles will give Hodgson further options. Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling has recently returned from a groin injury, and is also likely to stake a strong claim. Arsenal winger, Theo Walcott could potentially be a casualty for the 23-man squad as the 27 year-old is struggling to hold down a regular place with his club side.

Attack

There has been much conjecture about England Captain Wayne Rooney after the fine recent international win over Germany with a youthful team – minus the 30 year-old Manchester United man. Rooney has since returned from injury and helped the Red Devils to their first FA Cup final appearance since 2007. Rooney still offers much for England and almost certainly will be the man to wear the armband against Russia. His likely strike partner is Tottenham’s Harry Kane, who is fast becoming one of the most feared strikers around. Kane has all the attributes required to be the focal point of England’s attack this summer.

Leicester’s Jamie Vardy will offer searing pace and an eye for goal that will almost certainly book him a place within Hodgson’s squad. The two Daniel’s – Welbeck and Sturridge of Arsenal and Liverpool respectively could be fighting for one squad place if the England coach decides to take only four strikers which would offer further options to other areas of the team.


Whoever he decides upon with his 23 players, England expects, and let’s hope that this time, England delivers!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Former-Iron defender Izzy Iriekpen given jail time

Iriekpen celebrates with Gary Hooper during his Scunny days
He was signed in 2007 as the Iron prepared to take on the dizzying heights of Championship football for the first time in over forty years, and even went on to score the vital equaliser on his debut at Charlton Athletic, sending thousands of United fans into raptures - but former-Iron Izzy Iriekpen has hit a low after being handed a three-year and three-month sentence for glassing a bouncer on a night out in 2014.

Iriekpen left 33-year-old martial arts expert Simon Williams needing surgery after he suffered two severed arteries in the clash with Iriekpen outside a pub in Notting Hill.

'Ezomo' appeared 33 times in the league for Scunny, but left on rather bad terms after being put on the transfer list half way through the 2008/09 season by then manager Nigel Adkins. He spoke of his departure at the time, saying:

"I am disappointed that my departure was not handled with the professionalism I expected, but am leaving with the confidence that I have made substantial contributions to the club and have a bright future ahead."

In the court hearing, Iriekpen had claimed he forgot he was holding the glass before he claims he lashed out in 'self defence'. The Old Bailey saw it as the 33-year-old had lost patience with Williams after the bouncer was said to have left Iriekpen feeling 'disrespected'.

Despite the shocking revelations, I will never forget the moment of being amongst this crowd as Iriekpen slammed home a thunder header.


EDIT: You will need to click on the YouTube button on this video to be able to watch it. It's worth it. Up the Iron!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

United appoint Graham Alexander as their new first team manager

Graham Alexander is our new manager
Former-Iron defender Graham Alexander has been just announced as the club's new first team manager in what has come as quite a shock to everyone, to be honest.

Alexander signs a three-and-a-half-year deal with United, and will be assisted by Nick Daws, with Andy Dawson continuing his role as coach. His first match in charge will be Good Friday's trip to Barnsley.

Alexander's last managerial appointment was with Fleetwood Town, where he took the club up and out of League Two for the first time in their history. But after a poor start to this season he found himself sacked by the Cod Army.

Our new gaffer spoke after signing his deal this afternoon:

“Just coming up the motorway there, the butterflies started coming as soon as I could see the floodlights coming into view. I realised it was 28 years since I made that first drive as a 16-year-old and I feel as excited as I did then. It’s fantastic to be back.

“I heard about the new stadium, which is in the pipeline, and I remember coming here to Glanford Park when it was brand new. It’s amazing; not just for the infrastructure of the club, but also where the team wants to go.

“I’m an ambitious guy, I want to win things. The guys in charge at the club are exactly the same and I’m sure we’ll do great things here.

“There are a lot of good players in this squad without a doubt. For whatever reason it hasn’t fulfilled its potential this season, but that’s my remit – to come and assess, and try to improve it.

“Any manager when he comes into a new club has to look at where he needs to put his stamp on things, and get the players to enjoy their football and play as well as they can.

“It’s been a whirlwind last couple of days. When any manager gets a new job they just want to get on the training pitch and be with the players. I’m really looking forward to meeting them on Wednesday, and the staff too ahead of that.

“We’re all in the same boat, we all want Scunthorpe to do well.”

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Iron Luer Hull City youngster

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Luer holds aloft the Iron flag after signing today
Today the Iron announced the one-month loan signing of 21-year-old striker Greg Luer from local rivals Hull City.

The youngster will no doubt bring some much needed competition for places up front, with United only having Paddy Madden, Tom Hopper and Kyle Wootton as options in that position before today, due to Kevin van Veen's loan move to SC Cambuur in his native Holland.
I saw some comments on Twitter stating the likes of "Why are we bringing in a young, untried player when we have van Veen out on loan." - Stop, please.

Right let's get this straight. Kev loves the Iron, and he loves the fans - there's no doubting that. We as fans have done a pretty grand job of making him fit in, and letting him know that we love him. But what has been happening (Or not happening, to be more specific) on the pitch have made him unsettled.

Mark Robins for some reason never utilised the talent that Kev clearly has - anyone that can't see how much talent this guy has is looking in the wrong places. Although Robins is now gone, the damage in terms of Kev's unsettledness had already been done.

For me, the loan was a good move for both the Iron and the Dutchman himself. He needed to go and get regular games, and when the opportunity comes along to play in the top league in your home country you have to take it.

Back to the topic, let's not judge Mr Luer before he has even kicked a ball for the club. These are the same kind of fans that judged other new signing Dom Vose too. This before either have had a chance to show us what they have got - Before they've even kicked a ball. They are the fans that give the club a bad reputation. It not only makes me cringe, it makes me embarrassed to be a fellow Iron - Sorry.

It was pretty annoying that the Donny match was postponed due to a 'waterlogged pitch' at the weekend - Did the ref not fancy getting his boots wet or something? That pitch was bloody fine.

So now we have Southend at home on Saturday, and it's a chance for a couple of the new arrivals to possibly strut their stuff - but also a big chance to continue the fine form the club have been in since Robins left, and to keep on marching up the table.

Up the Iron.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Carl Jenkinson the snooker star and other sporting crossover stars


The UK snooker Championship concludes this weekend in York with John Higgins looking to capture the title again having last done so in 2010.

As part of their sponsorship of the UK Snooker Championships which concludes this weekend, Betway recently invited footballers Andy Carrol and Carl Jenkinson to show off their snooker skills and pick up some new ones from baize stars Judd Trump and reigning world champion Stuart Bingham.

Hammers full back Jenkinson showed plenty of great potting ability on the baize against east London teammate Carroll, under the watchful eye of top 16 cueists Bingham and Trump, but he may need some more practise in order to compete with the big boys!

Nevertheless, the West Ham defender showed he has talents other than just on the football pitch, but which other athletes are jack-of-all-trades? Starting with our very own Ian Botham

Ian Botham – football

This legendary England all-rounder was a genuine cricket great, but off the crease, Botham was also an astute footballer and made several appearances in his country’s lower divisions, including spells at both Yeovil Town and Scunthorpe United.

Joe Hart - cricket 

Manchester City and England international stopper Hart may be busy thwarting Premier League strikers each week, but the goalkeeper also possessed a talent with a bat and could have easily gone down a path towards a cricket career instead.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Taekwondo

Known for his acrobatic goals, with the aforementioned Hart having been on the receiving end of one of his special strikes last year, Ibrahimovic holds a black belt in taekwondo as well as being one of the world’s best footballers. Zlatan is definitely not a player to be messed with on the pitch!

Roy Keane – boxing

Another footballing hard man, this time bearing from the Emerald Isle. Former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland midfielder Keane was a nightmare for opposition players, with his aggressive approach and all-round central abilities.

However, Keane actually started off as a talented boxer as a youngster, with his parents having helped push him towards football instead, because of the dangerous nature surrounding boxing. The Irishman clearly transferred some of his ring attributes onto the pitch during his playing career though, as Patrick Vieira will know all too well!

Michael Phelps – golf

As the world record holder for the most medals ever won at the Olympic Games in his illustrious career, it’s hard to imagine Phelps being any better at another sport outside of the pool.

Although, apparently the American can drive the ball off the tee like he can dive off a platform into the water, as he has been known to hit some incredible shots.

Katie Taylor – football

Having become one of Ireland’s most dominant amateur boxers, Taylor has stormed to prominence after incredibly capturing an Olympic Gold medal in the London 2012 games.

She is the current Irish, European, World and Olympic champion in the 60 kg division, but has also previously represented the Republic of Ireland Women’s football team at a younger age. A true all-round talent.

Holly Holm – boxing

Another emphatic female sports star, this time reigning UFC bantamweight champion Holm, who recently stopped Ronda Rousey in devastating fashion to claim her current crown.

Holm is one athlete who has actually already excelled at previous sports before entering the UFC, having become the first person ever to hold world titles in both boxing and MMA.

Gary Neville – cricket

Former Red Devils defender and football pundit Neville has recently made the headlines after taking up the head coach role at La Liga club Valencia, but before his football playing career, he was a promising cricketing talent.

Neville played for Lancashire’s Under-14 side as a youngster before making it as a footballer and also for Greenmount Cricket Club in the Bolton Cricket League.

Phil Neville – cricket

Clearly both football and cricket skills ran in the Neville family, with Gary’s younger brother Phil also having been a prospect in the latter sport.

The more youthful Neville captained the England Under-15s cricket side and also became the youngest player ever to represent Lancashire’s second XI at just 15.

Jenson Button – triathlon

Former Formula 1 world champion Button is still steering for McLaren-Honda on the professional calendar, but off the track, the Briton is also a dedicated triathlon competitor.

Button’s talents in this other sport were evident earlier this year, as he secured victory in a triathlon competition in California.​


Thursday, 5 November 2015

Tommy Rowe's loan extension could be catalyst to the Iron's success

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Rowe has had loan spell extended by two months
A few hours after we received the dire news that striker Tom Hopper will be missing for around 4-5 months, we were rewarded with a much needed lift in the form of a loan extension for a key performer.

Since signing on loan for the Iron from Wolves on October 2nd, Tommy Rowe has been a major part of an upturn in fortunes - and one that has seen us rise from 21st to 10th in just six games.

Five wins out of six with Tommy in the squad is not just pure coincidence, and more so a credit to the player himself bringing out the best of the players around him - and of course a lot of other players in the Iron ranks performing to their full potential.

A goal against Oldham just as United had gone 2-1 down came at a pivotal time, and helped us revive that game and come away with our first away win in months. But, that is the only goal he has scored so far, so why has a midfielder with just one goal in six games proved catalyst to our successes I hear you say?

Any Iron fans that have seen each of the matches Tommy has performed in will see why so. Even if you've seen half the of those six matches he's played in, you will know too.

From the defensive side of his game, to the tireless running and creativity going forward. Sometimes we've lacked that killer ball, the kind of cross-field ball that will open up even the best of teams in this league - Tommy has shown us he has that, more than once. He has that, and much more.

In the lead up to the penalty that was awarded in our 2-1 victory of Shrewsbury, Tommy did a Maradona turn into their box and then somehow managed to hold on to the ball, before it found its way to Bish - who was duly tripped. How many midfielders in the past five years have we had that can do that, or even have the balls to try it? He did similar on Saturday against Barnsley, a strong forward thinking run into the opposition's box that could have lead to a chance, but sadly this time it didn't end in a goal.

The news of a two month extension is huge, and gives us Tommy's influence in games over the busy Christmas period - a period that will define whether we are fancied for promotion. I say why the hell are we not good enough to really, really go for it?

As I briefly touched on earlier, of course for me to state Tommy as the sole purpose of our upturn in form would be ludicrous. The whole squad have now gelled, and are all performing at a much higher level.

Our full-back's Lairdy and Wisey have really found their feet now, and provide us with endless chances going forward from the back. Mirf has stamped his authority on why he should be in the squad every week, but the loss of Wallace (who was recalled from his loan spell by Huddersfield this week) is a blow. Bish has always been reliable, but even he has stepped it up in the last month.

A special mention to McSheffrey, who looks like he's turned back time and is playing like he did, and scoring like he did in his mid-20's. Paddy is the second highest scorer in the league, and for any team to have success - you need a goalscorer. Lucky us, we have super Pads.

Here's hoping that Hopper can recover from the operation he had on his shoulder this week sooner than reported - For Tommy Rowe to continue to influence this Iron team and take us forward - and for Mark Robins to win his duly deserved manager of the month award for October.

Up the Iron.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Three wins from three please

Kevin van Veen celebrates his spectacular solo goal against Oldham on Saturday
Isn't it crazy how much difference a couple of weeks can make? Our dreadful eight month losing streak away from home is over, and we have a home game up next with a chance to push into the top half of the table.

Okay, so we started the season pretty poorly - but we have been so close in some games to getting more than the points we have, and we've only been outclassed once, when we faced Wigan.

If Paddy puts away the penalty against Millwall, and we don't squander that two goal lead against Colchester - or even if we score two from the 23 shots we had against Blackpool, we'd be SEVEN points better off, and that would be enough to see us take Sheffield United's place in the play off positions - and that itself is pretty remarkable.

Any Iron fans that attended the three games above know that regardless of whether we played well or not, those are all games that the scenarios I created could have quite easily happened - and it shouts volumes to me of how important building on the last two games is.

Shrewsbury head to Glanford Park on Saturday on the exact same points as the Iron, and both clubs have won just two from their last five matches too.

The 1-0 defeat of Fleetwood in the last home match was far from glamorous, but what it did do was set the tone for a far better performance when we beat Oldham 4-2 last weekend at Boundary Park.

David Mirfin being back in at the heart of the defence looks to have brought steel back into the Iron back line, and has also brought the best out of Murray Wallace too. Whilst Jack King has moved into a CDM type role, and he too looks to be more comfortable there - something you'd hope to see more of in the coming weeks.

Possibly King playing as well as he did in his new role last Saturday was down to one of the best solo performances of an Iron player I can remember in recent times. Credit to Mark Robins and Peter Swann for this one, as the loan signing of Tommy Rowe before the Fleetwood match seems to have been a masterclass. It is no coincidence that United have earned six points from a possible six since his arrival, the lad is class - and just what we've needed since Luke Williams' injury.

Tom Hopper came back into the starting line up on Saturday to replace Joe Lolley. Hopper was superb against Oldham, he won everything I can remember - and battled heroically too. Had it not been for two superb saves from the Latics keeper, he'd of scored his first two goals of the season.

Kev's goal on Saturday was voted the football league's goal of the weekend, and there really was no competition for what was one of the greatest goals I've ever witnessed, and just to treat you all, here is how van Veen described the goal to me post match.

“I picked the ball up and wanted to sprint into the corner. I saw a little gap in between the two defenders, so I dinked it in between them a little bit. 

“Then I see the other defender with his legs open so I say “Yeah come on Kev, you can do this.” – So I did a nutmeg.

“Then I chose to do a dink at the keeper because I thought he was outstanding today. I was very happy with the goal.”


Here's hoping that we can continue on from where we left on Saturday and take down Shrewsbury, whilst hopefully moving into the top half of League One.

Up the Iron!