Exeunt Williams and Hayes
We’re still a few weeks away from the end of the domestic season proper, but various players have already lined up moves ahead of the next one.
Elsewhere, Scunthorpe fans are currently experiencing the bitter aftertaste of one sweet Championship season that yielded memorable victories against Crystal Palace, Newcastle and Derby. While big-name striker Gary Hooper’s departure will have been long expected whenever it comes to pass, Iron fans will have perhaps been surprised to have learnt this week that his partner Paul Hayes and first-choice left-back Marcus Williams have both exited on free transfers.
One might ask what the club were playing at in letting two of their key players’ contracts expire, but it’s clear that Scunny were priced out of the market. Williams, who has joined Reading as a possible replacement for the impressive Chelsea loanee Ryan Bertrand, rejected a new deal with the Lincolnshiremen while Hayes, who cleaned up in the club’s Player of the Year awards, had a number of options available to him before he went for Preston, all of which presumably involved a higher salary increase than Scunthorpe Chairman Steve Wharton could offer him.
As painful as it is to acknowledge, that’s life for a club such as Scunthorpe. Surviving on an average crowd of below 6,500 in what has been a successful season, one can’t blame the powers that be for keeping contracts short and wages realistic. Should the club have been relegated with one or two highly-paid underperformers, then it could have a completely different story.
Once the future of several other out-of-contract players has been settled, manager Nigel Adkins will turn his attention to pursuing replacements in earnest. For a start Brighton left-back Jim McNulty, who’s one kidney down, has been strongly linked after a loan spell at the end of the season. Scunthorpe will most definitely have to show similar levels of resolve to McNulty if they are to recover from this round of setbacks.