Suppose you live in the USA but have developed a fondness for soccer. You'll want to support an English football team then won't you? But not one of the big guys, because they've got loads of fans already. No, you'll want to find a lower League club worthy of your interest. So you'll write to all the 3rd Division English football clubs and tell them you're thinking of supporting them for no better reason than they probably need it. Then you'll sit back and wait.
One club responds, from a small town you've never heard of, called Scunthorpe. What's more, they offer you T-shirts and tell you about another supporters club for people who live in Ireland. So you decide to join this Irish supporters club for Scunthorpe United football team. Proudly you become one of the Irish Iron.
This scenario is not fiction. Neither is the Irish Iron. This is a proud group of Irish residents who nevertheless feel a duty to visit Scunthorpe for at least the last game of every season. Awards are presented for the 'Player of the Season' and player kits are funded by the Irish Iron. It's a real boon to a small English football club, stuck in the lower Leagues but trying its best to succeed so as not to disappoint the Scunthorpe diaspora.
The Irish Iron were founded in 1995 by a supporter from Donegal, Republic of Ireland. Its existence is an indication of the strong Irish links with this small Lincolnshire town and the devoted following of the local football team. Many of the members have links with the local Scunthorpe Irish community. Although they have moved away from the town, fervent supporters retain their interest in the fortunes of their local football club.
Scunthorpe has a large Irish community grounded in the rapid development of the town when the steel industry suddenly arrived out of nowhere. Labour was required and Irish immigrants escaping the economic perils of Ireland were glad to apply. In honour of this, the Irish Iron emblem is based on that of the Scunthorpe United football club, commonly nicknamed 'the Iron'. The emblem shows a clenched fist holding a bar of iron, an appropriate symbol for this steel town.If you are a follower of football (soccer for our US friends) and require a friendly local team to support, you could do worse than joining the Irish Iron.