Swindon Town: A Season Of Unsolved Mysteries

From the baffling tactics of Paul Hart to mentions of Carlton Palmer as the next manager, it's been a head-scratching season for Swindon Town fans...
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From the baffling tactics of Paul Hart to mentions of Carlton Palmer as the next manager, it's been a head-scratching season for Swindon Town fans...

From the baffling tactics of Paul Hart to mentions of Carlton Palmer as the next manager, it's been a head-scratching season for Swindon Town fans...

The ‘I f*cking love this game’ highlight of the season?

If the club made a DVD featuring highlights from this season it would be shorter than an advert. There are only nine wins to choose from, but the best was the 4-2 win at The Valley in January. We looked like Brazil. Shame we played like Alan Brazil circa 1986 – at QPR – for the rest of the campaign.

The season ticket shredding moment?

Watching the crowd behind the Swindon Town dugout towards the season’s end was like watching people audition for Slayer. The reason was Paul Hart. His baffling tactics – one up front when wins were essential – and obtuse interviews were frustrating, but it was an antagonising post-match rant (after the defeat to Notts County – see below), when he criticised fans, that touched a nerve. Oh, and losing to Crawley in the FA Cup: “not so good”, as Sven would say.

Moment that just about summed it all up?

The home game against Notts County, when we huffed and puffed but just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. With four games to go survival was still a possibility and we dominated our relegation rivals. Yet even if the game was still going we’d still be trying to score. “F**k all you can say about that really,” said skipper Jonathan Douglas on Twitter afterwards.

Got the right manager?

Depends who the board appoint. The spectrum of candidates ranges from the sublime (Hoddle/Macari) to the ridiculous (Paolo di Canio) with several suitable candidates in between, but one thing’s for sure; Paul Hart’s short-term appointment was a disaster. His credentials were fair game – he helped Portsmouth and Crystal Palace avoid relegation in successive seasons, he just didn’t work for us. Felt sorry for Danny Wilson when he was sacked. He was responsible for so many happy memories the previous season… for some reason the players simply stopped playing for him.

Player of the season?

** sighs ** Such a strong squad, such an underwhelming display from all of them. Winger Matt Ritchie seemed the only one capable of turning things around during our seemingly never-ending winless streak. Despite boasting the height of an Ewok and the presence of a feather his passion and occasional flashes of magic were one of few redeeming features in the run-in.

Muppet of the season?

Hart. Good Riddance, as Billie Joe Armstrong would say. Thomas Dossevi, too – played like Pele in a pre-season friendly, was dreadful after signing. Ali Dia in disguise.

Now, new chairman, new manager, new start… the comeback starts here (unless it’s Rix, in which case we’ll see you in the Conference).

What would you change next term if you were the gaffer?

I’d instil some discipline. There were undertones of cliques and dressing room unrest, so some Macari-style army drills and runs in the Swindon Lawns should do it. I’d change the captain, too. Jonathan Douglas bosses our midfield but the responsibility distracts him and he doesn’t seem to have that rallying quality needed.

Which player would you like to sign?

Dear Jim, please fix it for us to get one or more of Matt Taylor (Exeter),Danny Schofield, Scott McGleish and Owain Fon Williams.

Best goal?

I wasn’t there, but people talk about Vincent Pericard’s goal at St Mary’s like Ross and Chandler used to discuss Gandalf in Friends. Don’t quite believe it myself, the man has 50p-shaped feet.

Biggest tosser?

Jonathan Obika and Allassane N'Daiye. They weren’t interested and neither were we.

Player’s tweet of the season?

“Is out on his bike solving mysterys with scooby and the gang “ @thebulldozer88 (Simon Ferry)

Best laugh you had all season?

Someone has just suggested Carlton Palmer is in the running for manager of Swindon Town...

How do you plan to get through the summer without football?

Honestly? It’s nice not having to fear Saturdays anymore. Need to replenish the endorphins before we go again in August!

Any other news?

Our chairman stepped down after relegation was confirmed. Far from being castigated for our demise he went with his head held high –Andrew Fitton has done so much for our football club. Now, new chairman, new manager, new start… the comeback starts here (unless it’s Rix, in which case we’ll see you in the Conference).

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