When a football fan hears the words ‘Swindon Town’ some of them might have a time period or a certain game that comes to mind. Dan Johnson offers his thoughts and feelings at the half way mark of the season.
The older demographic would go straight to the League Cup Final in 1969 when Swindon Town beat the mighty Arsenal 3-1 on one of the worst pitches you’ll ever see. (Check out the YouTube footage, it’s shocking)
For those in there 30’s & 40’s it would be Spurs & England legend Glenn Hoddle leading his side to the promised land of the Premier League in 1993, in one of the most memorable playoff finals Wembley has ever seen.
For the younger generation, Paolo Di Canio is the lasting memory.
The charismatic Italian took Wilshire by storm in 2012 and won a league championship in his first season, whilst making countless headlines along the way.
So what about 2017/18? Is there anything memorable on the horizon?
After enduring a painful 2016/17-campaign Swindon were relegated into the bottom tier for the third time since their promotion into the top flight 24 years ago.
At the start of the season the owner, chairman and past Director of Football Lee Power decided on a new direction for the club, after being hands on in the previous two seasons he took a step back and appointed former Barnsley and Bury boss David Flitcroft as the new manager, moving away from the Director of Football and Head Coach model.
At the time of writing Swindon sit 8th in League Two, and are out of all cup competitions, an average and underwhelming first five months in charge for the new gaffer.
You may think to yourself I’m being harsh as sitting 8th midway through a season with an entirely new squad and playing style is impressive, but one thing has dominated everything else in this campaign, the backwards nature of the clubs home and away form.
If you separated the home and away form into two different tables, Swindon are four points clear at the top of the away form table, but currently occupy the bottom four in the home form table, something which has made this season one of the most peculiar I’ve witnessed in my 22 years following Town.
If you are able to go and watch this side home and away it bares resemblance to a production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
But if like most fans you are only able to attend home games you are currently watching boring predictable football followed by a disappointing draw or gut wrenching defeat.
The big question on many lips around the County Ground is why can’t we transfer are away form from all around the country to North Wiltshire?
The biggest reason has been unbalanced recruitment from the new manager, especially in midfield.
Last summer Flitcroft assembled a decent squad, but a team that works best on the counter attack, who don’t focus on keeping possession the majority of the game, but work effectively when moving it forward to one of our talented, pacey attacking midfielders to pounce.
A squad set up well to play away but struggle at home as when they see more of the ball in home games there isn’t someone to take hold of the team and drive them forward.
The biggest mistake was not buying a midfielder who can control a game; we are missing a quality playmaker, something that has to be addressed in the upcoming transfer window.
As we look ahead into 2018 expectations for this season is a top three spot in League Two, after being provided the biggest budget in the forth tier finishing in the playoffs would be disappointing, and ending up outside the top seven is thinkable for any Swindon fan.
This season hasn’t yet provided any memorable moments, but it currently sits on a knife-edge with the transfer window close and the manager not making any secret of his desire to strengthen his side.
If you were pushing me for a prediction on where Swindon will finish with five months left I would say a place in the playoffs, but that’s with some good business being done in the upcoming transfer window.