Throw that monkey off our back!


No, not literally – that would be a little bit strange. But you know what I mean!

We might be ten games into the season, but Scunthorpe United – at home to Yeovil on Saturday – have finally secured their first league win of the season. At long last, the team have thrown the proverbial ape off their backs.

You try and use a bit of kidology now and then, but the setting of reasonable targets – like getting a first league win of the season, or the first league clean sheet since March – aren’t really our yearnings. But to be honest, in North Lincolnshire the claret & blue skies have been begging for a few points to rain down.

Appointed back on the final day of March 2011 – current Iron boss Alan Knill gave the Iron brief hope of Championship survival with stunning wins against QPR and Crystal Palace but it was too little too late. In the end, the club were relegated by more points than they were adrift when Knill’s predecessor Ian Baraclough was shown the door.

Then 9 league games into the season Scunthorpe were yet to chalk up a single win. Some post-relegation hangover.

But we Scunthorpe types are a fountain of optimism, and some can point to just moments where the side have lacked ruthlessness – or top quality performances against the likes of Sheffield United and Charlton, good comebacks against Walsall and the Addicks, and just being plain robbed against Wycombe. Oh, what might have been.

But playing well, or just a few shortcomings to finesse back to perfection, is no consolation when the team are sat 4th bottom, when tipped for better things post-relegation. An awful lot of clubs, and their fans, wouldn’t have had a huge deal of patience after such a run.

But this isn’t the case with Scunthorpe United. The sacking of the popular Ian Baraclough was a rare blip in a distinguished history of being the ultimate antidote to the hiring and firing policy of so many clubs. Even Doncaster Rovers sacked O’Driscoll this week for example.

Rather than resort to any knee-jerk reactions, the fans were superb and at Walsall, despite trailing for much of the game, the undying support for the manager and team was there for all to see. The away army were absolutely fantastic.

That support has taken a while to be rewarded, but the home win against Yeovil was more than enough for Iron fans to head home happy.

Two goals either side of half-time from Damien Mozika – who at previous club Bury was forbidden to cross the halfway line under current Scunny gaffer Alan Knill no less – secured that much needed win, despite a thunderous penalty from Yeovil’s Paul Wotton in the third minute of first half stoppage time.

But the truth is, Scunthorpe played poorly. Yeovil had a hatful of chances and nine times out of ten won the game. 18-year-old Manchester United loanee keeper Sam Johnstone kept United in the match and the visitors still managed to miss an open goal from five yards out through Kieran Agard. Fernando Torres eat your heart out.

In so many of the games Scunthorpe have not won this season they played much, much better. Oh the conundrum! Our prayers were answered with a win, but is it too much to combine the two? Probably.

Knill’s side travel to Stevenage next Saturday, hoping they can fire themselves further into the comfort of mid-table mediocrity, but it’ll be no easy task. Many of Stevenage’s tactics are arguably ‘anti-football’. I hate that phrase anyway but I’ve always had a soft spot for any underdog and in this league, they’re certainly that.

But they are direct and physical so hopefully Scunthorpe are ready to win ugly. It’s what they need. Frankly, after so many of the mental and physical rollercoasters home and away this season, plenty of the Iron fans deserve just a few weeks of quietly successful rest!

Baby steps, baby steps I hear you cry, and rightly so. Scunthorpe got the monkey off their back with that first win, now they’re staring it in the eye.

I know Caesar from ‘Planet of the Apes’ was an amazing creature – but get the ape and put it where we want it. Thrown in next door’s bloody greenhouse and as far away from the team’s backs as possible!

But that might take a few decent performances, victories and clean sheets first.

Careful, you’ll get me excited!

Written by Max Bell, We Are Going Up’s Scunthorpe United blogger

Max tweets at @UseTheLeftWing 

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