All the key points from Scunthorpe United’s fans’ forum
Scunthorpe United hosted a fans’ forum on Wednesday evening and several key topics around the club’s future were discussed.
Here, we are going to break down the most important points.
David Hilton’s wealth and club finances
Due to recent rumours circulating, owner David Hilton confirmed that he had recently provided proof of funds to former director Simon Elliott.
He went on to confirm that the club is not currently under a transfer embargo and that HMRC payments are continuing to be paid on time alongside all the staff’s wages.
Hilton did admit, however, that after inheriting a pension debt, it has risen further since the takeover. But he insisted payments will be made in due course and that the account will be brought up to date.
While the United owner will be playing no part in the recruitment process, he said the budget he has provided is good enough to build a top-seven National League side.
A new training facility has also been secured, but its location can’t be disclosed yet. It was described as an “excellent facility” and Hilton revealed a further £2m has been set aside to enhance the current facilities to provide everything required away from matchdays.
New kit provider
It was confirmed that the club will move away from the current kit provider Macron, as Hilton felt that the relationship was at an “irreparable stage”, given that the provider couldn’t commit to it being delivered on time.
He believed the breakdown was caused by the current league position of the football club, alongside the absence of payments over the season despite the club receiving and selling the stock a year ago. Kelme will be providing the kits for next season.
New stadium plans
After two sites were acquired at Glebe Road and Warren Road, Hilton confirmed that, subject to the relevant planning consents, a new stadium will be erected, and he hopes it will be completed in time for the start of the 2025-26 season.
Civil contractors, stadium construction experts, architects and various surveyors have all been instructed and a comprehensive ground testing survey has already been provided to the relevant parties, according to Hilton.
He stated that North Lincolnshire Council are “extremely supportive” of the potential development and is “working closely with the club to ensure things happen quickly”.
The club hope that enabling development, which could potentially be retail, will be key to the application to help fund the new stadium.
Hilton confirmed that the amount of personally allocated funds will “rise significantly” and he feels the move is in the best interests of the club and supporters in the long term.
Glanford Park purchase
It was confirmed that Hilton and Peter Swann are no longer on speaking terms and the deal has stalled over purchasing Glanford Park.
The Iron owner said this was due to “various legal issues” such as unregistered parcels of land – or potential ransom strips.
Other issues included the inability for him to purchase the stadium in the club’s name due to Swann apparently not following the correct procedure for a sale of an asset of community value, previously undeclared access rights for a third party, expired planning consents, flood risk and a much lower valuation.
Hilton reiterated that at no point did he want to withdraw from the process, but he was insistent that the legalities were “carried out correctly in order to protect the club moving forward”.
An extension was requested in order to complete the processes and a rent of £20,000 per month was offered to “show that there is no benefit to the club to create unnecessary delays”, said Hilton.
He revealed that Swann declined the offer and has insisted that the club, the Iron Foundation and Study United will have to vacate on 24 May unless £3m is paid without legal works being completed.
Hilton confirmed that he has instructed his own legal team and Barristers to act on behalf of the club moving forward and feels that, after taking their advice and carrying out certain administration processes, he has protected the club by ensuring its stay for the foreseeable future at Glanford Park.
Banning orders lifted
Hilton has taken steps to remove all banning orders at the club, stating that he hopes everyone can “unite” and see it as a “fresh start”.
He requested, though, that people remain respectful of players, staff and each other throughout the coming season and “enjoy the ride” as the club looks to bounce back up to the National League.
Rediscovering family feel
During the meeting, Iron manager Jimmy Dean stated he would be working hard to ensure the club “rediscovered its family feel”.
He said there needs to be a strong presence of the football club within the community and he will be working with the relevant people to ensure that he, his players and his staff regularly undertake visits and appearances within the local area.
The United boss added that he would like to extend this to the players and staff returning upstairs to the Executive Lounge and the Iron Bar after home fixtures, where supporters will be able to meet and talk to them.
Future of club’s academy
Chief Operating Officer Lee Turnbull said the club’s academy will continue at Category Three status for the 2023-24 season, with sustainable funding provided by Hilton.
He added that the academy will strive towards a self-sustainable model in the future, but that the club will continue to aim to “provide opportunities for local youngsters”.
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