Scunthorpe United: Unexpected departure of Bobby Grant was due to fans' hostility, says Alan Knill
Manager Alan Knill has revealed Bobby Grant's departure from Scunthorpe United was as a result of hostility from sections of the Glanford Park crowd.
The front man, who joined Rochdale on Friday, 'broke down' earlier in the week after a negative reaction from fans when he was substituted in the home game with Yeovil.
Although it left him short on striking options, Knill says the club were left with little choice but to let the 22-year-old, who had a one-year option on his deal taken up in the summer, head to Spotland on transfer deadline day.
It marked the end of a difficult two years in Scunthorpe for a player who, although he returned this season determined to win over his doubters, continued to polarize opinion in North Lincolnshire.
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"After last Saturday's game, Bobby, when he came off, was distraught at the crowd's reaction to him," said Knill.
"He'd had some abuse through the game, and on Monday he more or less broke down.
"He felt that it didn't matter what he did, he wouldn't change people's opinions of him.
"I said, firstly, we couldn't afford to let a striker go, but Bobby was adamant he couldn't play here.
"He didn't feel he was ever going to be given a chance.
"We sat down and we all made a decision with the board that for Bobby's sake, it's probably best that he goes.
"We're all sorry to see him go.
"We all spoke to him about it, because we've all been there - it's something that happens - and we all more or less said the same thing, you just play through it.
"He'd done okay, all that was missing was a goal. He's had chances, sometimes the keeper's made a good save, other's he's not taken well; but we tried to say, 'look, two goals changes people's opinions'.
"But he was adamant he couldn't play.
"When he left to go on loan (to Accrington last term) he said some stuff, and when he came back we spoke with him and said, 'you have to work hard to build some bridges again'.
"To be fair to him, whenever he spoke to the press, he said the right things.
"Even on the pitch, he was working hard for the team.
"We thought he was getting there, but in the end it was a lot of responsibility on a young person's shoulders.
"We were never going to get the best out of him because he just wasn't enjoying playing and definitely wasn't enjoying playing at home.
"In the end, we all made the decision that was best for Bobby."
It was a decision which left Knill unexpectedly down on numbers.
Already looking for a forward, the search was stepped up with a matter of hours remaining before the window closed on Friday.
Knill says they came close to bringing a new recruit in; and is hopeful of actually welcoming a striker when the loan window reopens before Saturday's clash with Sheffield United.
"We have been looking for a striker, but Bobby going just left us pretty short," said the Iron boss.
"We had some options on Friday and Thursday who didn't come to us, went elsewhere or weren't allowed out until the window opens again on loan because they're waiting for a sale.
"I left the office at 7.35pm on Friday and in the end we didn't have any time to bring anybody else in.
"That's how it was, but quite obviously we need somebody because we're so short on numbers.
"We're trying to get somebody nailed on through this week so they can play on Saturday.
"I'm hopeful we can do that.
"We had some options that we didn't have the time to go, 'yes', or the club weren't willing for it to happen but they may be willing for it to happen now."