Owen David Coe
1 year ago
2 days ago

I've Never Been To Scunthorpe - Scunthorpe United RTG - (FM24) - Part 1 - Introduction


“I've Been Southampton, But I've Never Been to Scunthorpe." I'm not going mad, but if you're of a certain age, you will be replaying that line in your head from Tinie Tempah's 2010 song, “Pass Out”. I was 13 when that song came out, but I never thought I'd be using it for the title of a save over the Summer with Football Manager 2024. But I am. And here it is. Scunthorpe United have a very interesting history with top players who used to play for the club, but in more recent times, the supporters have been through the ringer. Let's look at their history. 


Scunthorpe United: A Brief History Scunthorpe United were founded in 1899 and quickly merged with North Lindsey United to become Scunthorpe and Lindsey United. They spent most of their early years pre World War Two playing in the Midland League, and winning the title in 1927 and 1939. During this time, they consistently attempted to apply for election to the Football League, but several times missed out on actually gaining Football League status. That would change in 1950, when the Football League was expanded from 88 to 92 clubs. They beat off opposition like Workington and Wigan Athletic to gain a place in the Third Division (North). In 1958, they won the title in that league (only one team went up from North and likewise in South) to enter the Second Division for the first time, and for a long time, they were making progress through the league, while never seriously threatening the promotion spots. They dropped the “And Lindsey” from their name in preparation for their debut in the second tier. In 1964, they dropped from the Second Division, and by 1968, were plying their trade down in the Fourth Division, where they would bounce around between the Third and Fourth Divisions for the longest time. They produced England internationals in the 20th century, two for football in Kevin Keegan and Ray Clemence, and a third in a completely different sport altogether, Ian Botham, who played for the club before transitioning to his famous cricket career. In 1987, they moved to their current stadium of Glanford Park, and in 2008, they returned to the Championship for the first time in 44 years. This period of success saw them play in 3 out of the next 4 Championship seasons, before relegation in 2010-11 spelled their last season at that level. They were relegated down to League Two in 2013, but came back immediately, and had two play-off finishes in the next few years in League One. By 2019, they got relegated back down to League Two, and by 2022, their slide down to current Non-League football was completed after their 72-year stay in the EFL drew to a close. In 2023, they were relegated one step further down to the Vanarama National League North, and that's where we pick up the club. 


So with knowing what's happened recently at the football club, this is a team needing to improve their league position and move back up the levels. They've never made the top flight, so maybe that will be what we aim for. Welcome to Scunthorpe United!


The supporter profile is simple at this football club. They want promotion out of the National League North as champions this season, that's definitely something we can strive to do. Obviously none of our major rivals play anywhere near this level really, with Grimsby and Doncaster in League Two, and Lincoln in League One. It's very tight inbetween Core, Family and Casual supporters, all 3 being in the mid-high 20s. 


There's no reason to look further than this season, because we have to be successful this time around. You've got your usual wage budget and reputation demands at this level. That's why I like lower leagues. What the board want is always nice and simple. We should be OK financially. But the big one is in light purple halfway down the screenshot. Gain automatic promotion to the National League. No play-offs. That's not good enough. We need to win the title. They also want us to make it through the qualification rounds of the FA Cup, and that's what I'm aiming for as well, so we can get nice money later on in the season. I'm going to show you now the finances. But, first of all, something noticeable has come up as soon as I start the save. 


In real life, Scunthorpe United went through a transfer embargo, as they were struggling with their finances, and were a few minutes away from moving out of their Glanford Park home and potentially having to share with near neighbours Gainsborough Trinity. Thankfully, that never happened, but it does mean, we won't be able to improve the team until later in the season, when most of the season will have gone anyway, so it may be that we just have to keep our players around until we are able to buy more. 


We've got no finances to work with as well, so it could just be a season of trying to make sure our best players don't want to leave, and just giving them the belief that they can make it into the National League automatically. 


Jacob Butterfield (DM, CM) Our first main man at the start of the season that is fit (you'll see who I'm talking about in a moment), is Jacob Butterfield who has experience, not just in the EFL, but around the world as well as you can see in the bottom right corner. We're mainly going to be playing a triangle in midfield, which Butterfield will be instrumental in. His long shots and corners stand out already at 14, which is quality for the sixth tier. He's a decent free-kick taker as well, and his decision making and determination could be the experience we need to get out of this league first time. He may not be the quickest in terms of pace, but he's definitely a forward thinker. 


Ross Fitzsimons (GK) A goalkeeper with decent non-league experience is what you need to achieve all your goals at the back, and in Ross Fitzsimons, we've got a goalkeeper with recent National League experience having played for Chesterfield so recently. He dominates his box, and is good when it comes to restarting play quickly. He will be huge all season, and hopefully he doesn't get tempted away. 


Squad: These are all our senior squad members with their star ratings as well, and two of my top performers in this team are out injured like I mentioned earlier, with Cal Roberts and Jason Law out for about half a season, so we're going to have to make do without them in the first half of the season. There are very few players under two and a half stars and most of them are either starting their career, or in Andy Butler's case, about to reach the end of it. In terms of top earners, we've got a few on £1,200 which isn't bank breaking, but we're going to have to leave that as the maximum while we're in this league. 


Despite our problems in terms of injuries and lack of transfer ability, we are very overwhelming favourites to win the title this season. Scarborough and Chester are very close to us as well, with real life champions Tamworth in 6th position. 


Next Update: So my next update will be going through our pre-season friendlies, any transfer interest for our own players, but hopefully not too much, and then starting the National League North season, covering the whole of August as we try to stop the Scunthorpe United rot, and return them up to the big time in non league football, before making them an EFL club. Can we do it? Let's wait and see. But I hope you're excited for the journey. I'll see you next time. 

Owen David Coe
1 year ago
2 days ago

I've Never Been To Scunthorpe - Scunthorpe United RTG - (FM24) - Part 2 - Rough Start to the Season

Hello and welcome back to Part 2, and in this update, we're going to start the season. The plan is to bring just a quick update about all the pre-season matches we played, as we prepare for our first season in the Scunthorpe United job, before in depth match updates from the start of the National League North season. We're going to have a quick Summer as we can't actually sign anyone, and we're just going to make sure we can keep hold of our players as I said before. The main formation will be a 5-2-3 formation mainly with the option to go four at the back. I just feel with the squad we've got, that's the best formation we can possibly play in with two main attacking wingers feeding the ball into the box. This is why I play pre-season matches, unlike several content creators. 



Friendlies: Our first match of pre-season was at Glanford Park against our own Second XI, a match we won 4-1 using a wing play tactic. That will probably be the way we go mainly as well, because the players were linking up so well, with three of our goals coming from balls into the box. Cameron Wilson scored twice with further goals from Will Evans and Maxim Kouogon. David Jones got one back for the reserves. We took on a team from our level in the form of Braintree Town away from home, and unfortunately fell to a 1-0 defeat thanks to a goal on the break from Alfie Pavey. It was a boring game and at least it was in a friendly this sort of game happened. In our third pre-season match, we gained a credible draw at home to Scottish Premiership side St Johnstone. We took the lead through Cameron Wilson firing home, but the bigger side levelled up with 20 minutes to go, Adama Sidibeh finding the leveller. We had a big chance to win it at the death, but Scales fired narrowly wide. Our fourth game was an away draw against FC United of Manchester, the game ending 1-1. We had the better chances, but it was the fan led Reds who took the lead. Keane Barugh scored for the hosts in the first half, but we managed to equalise from the spot in the second half, Harrison Poulter finding the back of the net. Our final pre-season game was a tester at home to Oldham Athletic and unfortunately we lost 1-0. They are a team who should be challenging for promotion up to the EFL, and they showed it. The only goal came from a tap in from Alex Reid up front, and despite us having a go, Oldham were the better team, and we unfortunately come away with no wins against other teams. 


New Head of Youth Development: At the moment, we don't have a youth team, but I thought we should put the motions in place to get something going, and we've brought in some brilliant experience in the shape of Andy Awford who most recently has spent 7 years at Premier League Luton Town. He's green when it comes to working with youngsters, which is great for this level, and it just shows we should be miles ahead of everyone else. I'm buzzing with this appointment.


New Chief Scout: We've got a brand new Chief Scout at the football club as well, with Chris Trotter coming in from National League side Hartlepool United, on a 2-year deal. He has Championship experience when he was a recruitment analyst with Rotherham United and Middlesbrough, and he's got 11s in terms of Judging Players and Staff all round. His negotiating isn't great, and it may take him a while to get them to play in our system, but I think he's good for what we can afford right now. 


Danny Elliott is the first injury of pre-season, after picking up a hamstring strain in our 1-1 draw at FC United. He will be out for the first game of the season at Tamworth, and maybe a few after that. The unfortunate thing about having no youth setup is that you can't play them back into fitness that way, so we've got to be patient with him, and bring him off the bench when we can. 


Official squad numbers for the season for those who are interested, and maybe want to get their own shirts made. 


Danny Whitehall is the second striker to pick up an injury this pre-season, and it means we could have a bit of a crisis as we start this season up front. We only currently have one fit striker, which is thankful that we only play a one striker formation at the moment. Harrison Poulter is going to have the world on his shoulders as we start. We can't get anyone in, so we have to make do with this situation.


And now our main man in that midfield role, Jacob Butterfield has been ruled out for the season, with damaged cruciate ligaments. I do wonder if it'll force him to retire and become part of the backroom team, or whether he will wait out the season. But this has made this season a hell of a lot tougher than what it should have been.


Saturday 5th August 2023: Tamworth 3-1 Scunthorpe United (Vanarama National League North) Our league campaign began away at fellow promotion favourites Tamworth, and we struggled throughout losing 3-1. Kyron Farrell gave the Lambs the lead after 3 minutes, with an insane free kick into the top left hand corner from 30 yards out. The home side doubled their advantage in the 32nd minute, Matt Curley whipping in a beautiful cross from the right, which a running Ben Acquaye met beautifully on the left and smashed into the top left hand corner. We got a goal back before half time, giving us some hope. A counter attack down the right allowed Cameron Wilson to find Harrison Poulter in the box, he couldn't get the ball towards goal, but took it away from the diving goalkeeper. He played it back to Cameron Wilson, and while the keeper was on the floor, he fired in from a narrow angle for 2-1. We looked like we'd be the next to score, but unfortunately we were dealt a huge blow by the sending off of a stupid Maxim Kouogon, who went through one of their midfielders on the half way line for no apparent reason. We still had the chances to equalise, but it left us more vulnerable at the back, despite me bringing the wing-backs back into a back 4. The third and final goal for them came from a cross into the box we just couldn't clear, and a vital tackle from us found Dan Creaney virtually on the line, and he tapped into an empty net. We played well attacking wise, but couldn't really get it together at the back, and we need to improve. 


New Head Performance Analyst: We need one of these before the Data Hub kicks in, with Dan Bedeau coming into the football club after spending a bit of time out, being the Under 18s performance analyst at Watford. He also was a scout for Guam for a year as well which I find rather remarkable. I'd love to know how that came about.


Saturday 12th August 2023: Scunthorpe United 3-3 Peterborough Sports (Vanarama National League North) We've just had the worst collapse in the history of my time in Football Manager. We should have won this comfortably but we were just awful all second half. Harrison Poulter picked up an injury early on, and we will see in a moment what's happened and how long he will be out for, but it allowed Danny Elliott to come on in his place. He converted a penalty to give us the lead after 20 minutes, and then managed to flick a header over the Sports keeper, after receiving a Barrows scoop ball to make it 2-0 before half time. The second half started amazingly again, this time a ball in from Wilson on the right, was flicked back by Beestin, and Dion Sembie-Ferris fired into the corner to give us what should have been an unassailable 3-0 lead. But no one gave my defence that memo. Ross Barrows put the ball into his own net rather than clear a looping header away for 3-1. Alban-Jones ran through down the left next for the away side, and his narrow shot was saved by Campbell, but Jack Serrant-Green tapped home the rebound for 3-2. They then hit the bar which made me believe we would hold on, but in the 94th minute, we tried to play a long throw in, which I will turn off cause it just doesn't work. They countered, Nicholson played in a sliding cross from the left, and Mark Jones slid into the bottom corner to make it 3-3. Fuming is not the word. 


Another striker out as well, with Harrison Poulter picking up an injury which will leave him out for 3 weeks. It's been a disaster to kick things off. 


Tuesday 15th August 2023: Scunthorpe United 3-1 Darlington (Vanarama National League North) We picked up our first win of the campaign at home to another former league team in Darlington. The first goal was from a massive mistake in the Darlo defence, as Cameron Wilson picked up the ball, and lashed home first time from the right side of the area to give us the lead after 24 minutes. We had the lead at half time, but we made a defensive mistake of our own which allowed the away side to make a move, which left Curtis Main beating the offside trap in a one-on-one position and slotting past Campbell for 1-1. I thought it was going to be another frustrating draw but we took the lead with just 2 minutes of normal time to go. A long ball from the halfway line was scooped forward to Dion Sembie-Ferris and he took the ball down and fired home from the narrowest of angles into the net, to make it 2-1. The game was made safe in the 94th minute. Sembie-Ferris turned provider as he led a counter attack from a Darlington corner, squared it to Kian Scales who slotted into the bottom corner to make it 3-1. 


League Table Update: We've played three matches so far, and we've had a win, a draw and a defeat, and we currently sit in 11th. Chorley are the only team with a maximum number of points from 3 games, with King's Lynn, Tamworth and Blyth Spartans on 7 points apiece. Banbury United and Bishop's Stortford are both on 0 at the moment, with Warrington Town and Hereford joining them in the bottom 3. 


So we've reached the season and it's been tough. It's been difficult defensively, but we're always in games and it's good to see goals being scored. Tomorrow I will probably continue to our first FA Cup game, and we'll see who we face in that tomorrow. But I'm happy we got the first win, and hopefully we can push on from here. Thank you for joining me, and I'll see you next time. 

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