By Harley ThorneOver the next few weeks we will be taking a look at some of the sides that we will be taking on next season in SkyBet League One, today it's the turn of Swindon Town.
Name: Swindon Town FC
Nickname(s): The Robins
Stadium: County Ground
Distance: 41 miles from Bristol.
Last season: 16th in League One.
Swindon Town will be no strangers to Gasheads next season, as the clubs were in the same division for 6 years between 2006-2012. The clubs were even promoted, and relegated, at the same time (League Two promotions in 2007, and League One relegations in 2011).
Back in the 2011-2012 season, our last encounters with The Robins, the teams played out a 1-1 draw at The Memorial Stadium, followed by a 0-0 draw at The County Ground - Danny Woodards with an 88th minute equaliser in the home draw.
That was to be the last time the clubs were in the same division. Swindon, managed by Paulo Di Canio, won the league that year, and have been in League One ever since.
The years that followed were to be very different for the two clubs. Rovers, as we all know, struggled in League Two, eventually falling to the Conference in 2014. The Robins, however, battled for promotion in League One for their first few seasons.
In 2013, in their first season back in League One, they reached the play-offs. Although a loss on penalties against Brentford saw them fail to progress at the first attempt.
Mark Cooper led the club to an 8th placed finish in 2014, a real achievement considering off-the-field distractions. In July 2014, an ownership battle was settled in the High Court – the judge ruling that chairman Lee Power’s takeover was carried out properly – former owner Jed McCrory ordered to pay legal costs of over £50,000.
The settlement clearly allowed Cooper to focus on the job at hand, as in the 2014-2015 season, they were to have their strongest attempt yet at reaching the Championship. A 4th placed finish saw them reach the play-off final, though they were swept aside by Preston North End 4-0. A disappointing end to the season that saw them sitting in the automatic promotion spots for long periods.
Last season was their worst finish yet since their return to League One. 4 different managers took charge at one time or another, including chairman Lee Power taking control of first team affairs for the month of October. A 16th placed finish seeing them battling against relegation rather than battling for promotion. On a positive note for The Robins, they were able to replace their goalscorer, Nicky Ajose notched an impressive 24 league goals – even though the team struggled for results. It is worth noting also that Andy Williams, who chose to leave for promotion hopefuls Doncaster Rovers, saw his new club surprisingly relegated – as he and his new side struggled to match the form of the previous season.
Swindon Town will be no doubt aiming for a higher finish this season. Last season’s issue with changing managers – not necessarily their choice with Martin Ling unfortunately having to resign due to health reasons – is now gone.
Luke Williams, who had originally taken over as caretaker on 29th December, has been entrusted with the job of battling for promotion. This is Williams’ first managerial role, having previously held the title of first team coach, and first team assistant manager, under Mark Cooper. It’s hard to say he did not deserve this chance, after he led his side to winning 6 of his 10 games in charge as caretaker. Fun fact – Williams was actually an apprentice at Bristol Rovers along with Bobby Zamora, both joining the club after playing for Norwich City as schoolboys.
Having been rewarded with a five-year contract in March, it will certainly be interesting to see what he can do with his first summer in charge of the club.
Purchasing your 2016/17 Season Ticket couldn’t be easier
Personal callers are welcome at Pirate Leisure at The Memorial Stadium or at The Supporters Club Shop 199 Two Mile Hill Road Kingswood, BS15 1AZ.
Alternatively Season Tickets can also be purchased over the phone by calling Pirate Leisure on 0117 909 6648 - option 1 (during office hours) or ‘199’ on 0117 961 1772 (during office hours) or online at www.brfctickets.com
Ambulant Disabled, wheelchair users and carers should contact Clare McDonagh directly, either in person or over the phone, on 0117 952 4001.