The Iron have been relegated for two consecutive seasons and now they compete at England’s sixth division, but that’s not the only problem the club has. The owner of Glanford Park, their home facility, is demanding a substantial sum from the United authorities for using the stadium, or the club's eviction from the venue. The conflict ended up in court.
Scunthorpe United has endured an arduous few years. After dropping out of the Football League in 2021/22, the 124-year-old club experienced a second consecutive relegation. Last season saw Scunthorpe falling into the National League North - English football's sixth tier.
That's not all, though. HM Revenue and Customs served The Iron with a winding-up petition due to tax defaulting. An over-century-old Scunthorpe institution was on the brink of closing down and liquidating its assets. Just in time, former Ilkeston Town chairman David Hilton saved the club by buying it and settling the outstanding taxes.
Then in May this year, Scunthorpe United released a statement confirming its instruction of barristers. Peter Swann, its former chairman and the owner of its Glanford Park Stadium home was demanding £3m or the club's vacation of the stadium by 24 May.
Scunthorpe United has been at Glanford Park since 1988. The club's move there from Scunthorpe's Old Show Ground stadium made history. The Iron became the first English football club to move stadiums in the modern era.
It now appears the Glanford Park conflict has gone from bad to worse. Both Mr. Hilton and the club itself are to appear in court in 2024, after a 29 August Leeds County Court hearing ruled so. A court date hasn't yet been set, but District Judge Christopher Royle confirmed that three days have been set aside for the case. This case will take place during the first quarter of 2024.
The major issues of the case concern the possession of Glanford Park and how legitimate Scunthorpe United's tenancy is. Barrister Alexander Hill-Smith told the court that Mr. Hilton and Scunthorpe United currently rent the stadium for 7p per week. Hill-Smith represents Mr. Swann's company, Coolsilk.
The Iron, currently two points off the lead in National League North with a game in hand, can still draw some solace. Due to a ruling during the recent hearing, Scunthorpe United cannot face eviction from the ground until the court's finding in 2024. This means that for now at least, the club can fulfil its fixtures and continue its push for promotion.
From a sports betting perspective, this will relieve a fair number of bettors who follow and support the club and its results. It likely means that The Iron's current odds available at the UK bookmakers will continue. This allows punters to include Scunthorpe United in their accumulator and futures bets until the case happens.
As much as Scunthorpe United's future is not secure yet, the Leeds County Court ruling grants them a "stay of execution". The Glanford Park owner cannot continue his attempts to evict the club from the stadium.
For a time during the initial dispute, the stadium gates were bolted shut. Several signs were also positioned around the ground's perimeter. One read that Scunthorpe United was legally allowed to "squat" at Glanford Park. Others referred to any attempts to gain entry to the ground being criminal offences contrary to section 6 of the Criminal Law Act of 1977. Reference to this act is often used as a way of circumventing harassment by landlords and unlawful evictions.
Scunthorpe supporters still hope that Messrs. Swann and Hilton can find an amicable solution, ideally with the latter purchasing the stadium. Whether the two parties can achieve this outcome after their current disputes is unlikely. It is more probable that a 2024 court verdict will decide the matter.