Scunthorpe United won't move out of their current home until mid-2018. Bad news? To some extent, but at least now the new ground is moving forward after numerous setbacks!
There was tangible disappointment in the air when Scunthorpe United fans first discovered that they would be watching their side compete at Glanford Park until at least March 2018. The project has been held up on numerous occasions but work is finally set to begin on the League One club's new home, which has now been given the green light following months of setbacks.
Glanford Park has been the home of Scunthorpe United since 1988, with the purpose-built stadium costing around £2.5 million to erect. The North Lincolnshire club had planned to re-develop the ground before opting to find a new location on which to build a 12,000 all-seater stadium. The £25 million scheme was first announced back in 2014, with fans being informed that their club would begin the 2017-18 season playing at the newly built ground.
However, there's under a month until the new campaign commences and work has yet to begin.The development was originally proposed to include offices, catering facilities and a training base for the squad. The plans have altered somewhat in the last 12 months with a cinema, hotel and outdoor bowling green all added to the original blueprint to incorporate the stadium as part of a newly built leisure complex. A designated train station will also be implemented to help make access for fans easier.
So why the hold up? The club entered negotiations with a Cyprus-based developer, who are responsible for the 'Lincolnshire Lakes Project', overseeing a major redevelopment including the building of 6,000 new homes – but the two parties failed to reach an agreement. This has caused the club to re-enter discussions with a different developer, including having to settle on an alternative location just 500 metres south. This will be overseen by Maltgrade Limited, who are based in Wooton. The new site may also allow the club to expand a further 20 acres outside of the original parameters if deemed necessary.
Scunthorpe chairman Peter Swann has been keeping fans updated on developments via the local newspapers and radio stations and is believed to have invested an additional £4.9 million into the project simply to keep it alive. Swann has pumped plenty of money into the League One club since becoming chairman back in 2013. He said he was 'thoroughly disappointed' with the setbacks but promised fans that construction would begin imminently once the terms and conditions have been signed.
The club are yet to find an official sponsor for the new stadium but have confirmed it will be named the Iron Arena. It will be built using British Steel, who have just signed a new deal to sponsor the club's shirts for the forthcoming campaign, providing a huge boost to the local community and residents within.
It was a decent season for Scunthorpe under boss Graham Alexander, with the former Burnley defender guiding his side into the League One playoffs before just falling short against Millwall. The Lions went on to beat Bradford in the final, securing their place in the Championship. The boss was linked with the vacant job at his former club Preston this summer but remains in charge of the Iron ahead of their opener against AFC Wimbledon.
Glanford Park became a fortress for the club last year, with five consecutive victories at the end of the regular campaign, while Alexander's men lost just three times at home during the course of the season. Despite that success and the addition of quality players such as Rory McArdle and Matt Gilks, Scunthorpe are not deemed one of the favourites for promotion this time around and can be backed at around 16/1 to finish top of League One. If you're thinking of backing the Iron, Oddschecker have details on how to get a £30 free bet when signing up for a William Hill account to use on ante-post bets ahead of the forthcoming campaign.
It's been a frustrating twelve months for the Scunthorpe chairman, officials and fans, with delays and setbacks hampering the progress of their proposed new home. The new site has been identified and work is believed to be getting underway later this summer, which is a significant step in the right direction. March 2018 is the amended completion date and only time will tell whether this is met. For now, Scunthorpe will continue playing at Glanford Park but if next season is as enjoyable as the last, there won't be too many complaints amongst the supporters!