A farewell statement from departing Chairman Steve Wharton.
After 20 years on the Board of Scunthorpe United, and over 10 years as Chairman, it is with mixed emotions that I say “Goodbye” to my fellow directors, shareholders and our supporters. I originally retired back in 2003 but made an unexpected return the following year due to the fear of losing our Football League status. This was the most difficult decision I have ever faced and some would say it was an error of judgement, however I have always done what I believed was right for our football club and to have spent three years in the Championship League and five years in League One out of the past nine years is certainly better than most of us could ever have hoped for. On top of this we enjoyed two fantastic trips to Wembley. However to leave on a relegation is a bitter disappointment. The last few years have been extremely difficult for a number of reasons. Having a heart attack in March 2008 didn’t help and losing an excellent Manager, Nigel Adkins, in September 2010 was a devastating blow. Had we held out for what we believed was fair compensation, would have denied Nigel a life changing opportunity, which your Board were not prepared to do. Nigel had taken us to a level we could never have believed possible and he, more than anybody, deserved such an opportunity. A second heart attack in 2010 meant that I couldn’t give Ian Baraclough the time and support that a young, inexperienced manager deserved. Perhaps we were wrong to expect him to fill Nigel’s shoes, but it was always part of our long term strategy. It was a very difficult decision to relieve him of his duties as he had played a large part in our recent successes both as a player and a coach. Fortunately he has been extremely successful with Sligo Rovers in the Irish Premier League. The appointment of Alan Knill did not provide the answer. Relegation from the Championship League was almost inevitable but we did expect to be competing at the top end of League 1 in 2011/12 and only just avoided relegation with a modest improvement at the end of the season. We were attracted to Alan by his reputation for successfully working with young players and operating on a tight budget. Sadly we didn’t produce any rising stars and the budget was exceeded by an alarming amount! I made it clear to my colleagues on the Board at the end of last year, that I had lost my drive and enthusiasm for the game and that we must have a new Chairman. I was persuaded to stay in office until the end of the season, primarily to avoid making our bankers nervous at a time when we were struggling for finance. The season has now ended and regrettably I bow out on a very low note. I have always done my utmost to make Scunthorpe United successful without compromising our long term viability. Our club is well respected throughout the football world and it is only the savage cut in income caused by the drop from the Championship League that has caused us to become somewhat insecure. Fortunately we have a strong balance sheet and with careful financial management we will regain our enviable reputation as a well run club. My sincere thanks go to my fellow directors, all the staff and all our supporters for making my 20 years at the club so memorable. I will always follow the fortunes of Scunthorpe United and wish them much success in the years to come. With Brian & Russ back as the management team, we have the two people who started us on our epic journey nine years ago. They are both Scunthorpe through and through. Let’s hope they can do it all over again. Steve Wharton 29th April 2013
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