Scunthorpe United FC

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’.

Scunthorpe United have become the first team to be relegated from League Two this season, ending their 72-year stay in the English Football League with four games still to play.

The writing has been on the wall for the Iron for quite some time now, having only managed four wins in their 42 matches in League Two, but relegation was confirmed on Good Friday, after a heavy 3-0 defeat away at Leyton Orient.

The defeat left Scunthorpe 14 points adrift of safety in 24th place with just 12 points up for grabs until the end of the season, sealing the club’s fate as a non-league side next season.

The game started poorly and only went downhill from there for Keith Hill’s North Lincolnshire side, with Paul Smyth opening the scoring for Leyton Orient after 15 minutes.

As if the day couldn’t have got any worse for Iron fans, on-loan Lincoln City winger Theo Archibald got on the scoresheet for Orient to make it 2-0 in a first half that saw Scunthorpe blown away in just 30 hapless minutes, crowned by Cypriot forward Ruel Sotiriou’s strike for the home side to make it 3-0.

A goalless second half brought to an end not just the match, but Scunthorpe’s time as a football league club after 72 long and prosperous years.

What the future holds for Scunthorpe is anyone’s guess, but if Keith Hill is to be the man that remains in charge in the National League, he has a mammoth task of overhauling the squad and building a side capable of regaining confidence in a team that has been in freefall for quite some time now.

After intense fan pressure and protests, Scunthorpe United chairman Peter Swann has announced he will be stepping down from the football league’s basement club with immediate effect.

Swann, 56, took over the Iron from the retiring Steve Wharton in 2013 when the side were relegated to League Two. It came five years after he took over at Gainsborough Trinity.

He will be making a statement over the weekend, but the club has acted quickly to name Lee Turnbull as the new chief operating officer, taking on the chairman’s roles in the process.

In his almost nine years at the club, there have been 11 different managers, two of which have served multiple terms in charge, earning Swann the reputation of being a trigger-happy sacker.

Read: Time running out for Scunthorpe as relegation to non-league looms

The Iron have gone into freefall in recent seasons, dropping from League One play-off contenders to the lowest ranked professional football side in the country, and are currently looking down the barrel of relegation to the National League for the first time in 72 years.

Scunthorpe are sat bottom of League Two at the time of reporting, ten points adrift of safety with just seven games remaining, following another humbling defeat at the hands of Harrogate Town on Saturday, March 26.

It has resulted in a breakdown in relationship between the ownership and the fans of the club, with protests being staged throughout the season, most notably when fans locked the gates at Glanford Park before a match.

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