Wednesday, 27 April 2011

And the Rollercoaster Moves On Again

I should probably be talking today about the Champions League semi-finals, or the spat between Guardiola and Mourinho, or the Snooker World Championships nearing their end, or whatever. But, to me this last week has meant only one sporting story - the relegation of Swindon Town to the fourth tier of English football.
Just 11 short months ago, Swindon were facing Millwall in the final of the League One play-offs to determine who would claim the final promotion place to the (ridiculously named) Championship. I don't think anybody who was watching that day would have thought that we would be looking at relegation down to the basement of league football less than a year later.

There are a number of reasons why this has come about, all of which I know every Town fan is sick of hearing. Sold a number of the best players, never properly replaced, board dithered over changing manager, poor tactics, ..... I could go on for hours. The fact is we are where we are because the players that were put out onto the pitch did not perform to the expected level. A lot of them are now out of contract and a big rebuilding job is clearly needed. The current stop-gap manager, Paul Hart, is not in my opinion the man to carry out that rebuilding process. His reign has seen little change from that which went before at a time when a big change in attitude, if nothing else, was needed. Very negative tactics and some bizarre substitutions, together with an extremely haughty manner when dealing with the media (and through them the fans) has destroyed any semblance of credibility he had with the Town faithful. The team are not inspired and the fans are merely agitated. A change is needed.

And a change did come today - the resignation of chairman Andrew Fitton. He is the man who, three years ago, led a consortium that saved the club from the brink of bankruptcy and liquidation and I will be forever grateful to him for that. But, whilst the club is now immeasurably better off away from the pitch, the same can obviously not be said for the playing side. Some poor decisions on managerial appointments, and a busy work schedule that took him away from the County Ground on a very regular basis, have contributed to the failure of the team this season. I feel that a change will be welcomed by most supporters, and I hope that new chairman Jeremy Wray's first decision will be to point Mr Hart in the direction of the exit and look to bring in a new, enthusiastic and inspirational manager to revive the team and get us moving back up the league.

Things are never boring at the County Ground. The rollercoaster moves on again.

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