Former Scunthorpe United chairman Peter Swann has called on the club’s fans to channel their energies in supporting the team rather than protest against him as the Iron prepare for their final home game in the Football League after a frustrating relegation season.
Scunthorpe sit bottom of League Two after winning just four of their 44 league games so far, with just two left to play, including Saturday’s visit of Hartlepool. The Iron will then finish their campaign with a trip to Bristol Rovers on May 7, and then life in non-league football awaits.
After intense fan pressure and protests Swann, who took over the Iron from retiring Steve Wharton in 2013, announced he would be stepping down from the club with immediate effect, and he has since apologised to the fans for the relegation to the National League.
However, he is also appealing on the club’s “wider fan base to respect each other and not disrupt the game” against Hartlepool United.
A large section of the fanbase pins the blame on Swann for the club’s demise and there have been hints of possible pitch invasions and further protests on Saturday. The Lincolnite contacted Humberside Police to ask if any there are any plans to have extra officers on patrol at the match at Sands Venue Stadium.
In a statement on the club’s website, Swann said: “Firstly, from myself and on behalf of my family and the directors of the football club, I must apologise to the fans and all associated with Scunthorpe United following our relegation to the National League.
“I stepped down as chairman to enable the club to move towards a new era, eventually with new owners. My legal responsibilities as owner and a director of the club, along with the other directors, is to ensure the continuance of the club at the highest level it can attain. The club must continue to strive towards sustainability.
“Tony Daws and our academy staff work hard to produce the players of the future with a clear and defined pathway, which will stand us in good stead for years to come. Keith Hill has introduced a number of exciting, young, talented homegrown players into the first team, which will benefit the football club moving forward.
“We can confirm Keith will be in total control of football affairs and Lee Turnbull will oversee the general running of the football club. As directors we will support both of them in their duties.
“Financially, we will continue to support the club during this period of transition, guaranteeing that all income into the club will stay in the club as it always has done.
“All season ticket monies, sponsorship monies, transfer fees, football fortune and any other income will continue to be invested directly back into the club. This will ensure the football club benefits from the fans’ investment, will enhance the budget available for Keith next season and we will be entirely transparent with all of this.
“We ask in return that you continue to support the club, so it can strengthen its financial footing, providing a competitive budget giving us an opportunity to bounce back at the first time of asking.
“The club will fight extremely hard to give the fans the quality and excitement they deserve to challenge at the top of the National League next season.
“I will not be involved in the day-to-day running of the club, or the football side. I’m constantly working towards finding new ownership in the meantime, but we can’t stand still and it’s imperative that we continue to financially support the club.
“Tomorrow’s [Saturday’s] game against Hartlepool provides the club an opportunity to turn a corner. Please channel your energies in supporting this young team rather than protest against me.
“The implications from the footballing authorities would be severe, which can lead to sanctions and fines which would impact on the football club financially. I appeal to the club’s wider fan base to respect each other and not disrupt the game.
“Once again, I am disappointed where this journey has finished for me, but would ask that all of you continue to support the Iron with your passion, energy and commitment to move the club forward.”
During Swann’s reign at the club, there were 11 different managers including current boss Keith Hill, earning him the reputation of being a ‘trigger-happy sacker’.