Swindon Town won the second division a little over a year ago as one of the few beneficiaries of the controversial points-per-game method of sorting teams after a difficult post-Covid season with a number of games remaining were playing.
It was hoped that this would be an opportunity for the club to settle down and secure its reputation, especially since they have been pacing up and down more than most in recent years.
Instead, they promptly relegated, are currently reduced to seven players and have no manager.
What went wrong for the site and is there any hope for the future?
Multiple manager problems
A kind of explanation can be found when looking at the coaching situation over the past 12 months.
The managers’ carousel was in full swing in Swindon when four came and went with alarming regularity.
John McGreal resigned from the club after only 30 days in office. During his short time on the team, he did not lead a single game.
Then there was John Sheridan, who announced that enough was enough and that he would step down as manager during an open post-game interview;
“I don’t think it’s good for my health – it’s not good for anyone to watch us get beaten week after week. It’s not right for the fans or the club with the position we’re in.
There was caretaker manager Tommy Wright who was previously charged with misconduct.
The point is that no one has been able to move the needle, which suggests that problems are likely to run deeper than normal and couldn’t be resolved by a simple change in formation or a couple of new signings.
It’s not that Swindon can be saved from the abyss with a little skilful management. A look at their ownership structure reveals problems across the board.
For example, club staff were reportedly paid 60 percent of their salaries for the month of June while the team was placed under a transfer embargo after failing to comply with five EFL regulations earlier this month.
They owe the Swindon Town Council rent on their property and have been in arrears since April last year, which is a six-figure sum.
Lee Power has been the owner since 2013 and hopes to sell the club if the reports are to be believed.
Minority shareholder Clem Morfuni has been touted as a potential buyer and has the full support of the STFC Official Supporters Club. They say;
“As you know, Swindon Town FC and its supporters, the community and the people of Swindon have suffered greatly in the past from the penalties imposed by previous owners for violations or illegal acts.”
That’s fair to some extent as it’s easy to forget that in 2006 they were the first ex-Premier League team to be demoted to the lowest Football League division.
The team has never really recovered and is unlikely to reach previous heights in the future (They beat Arsenal in the 1969 League Cup final when they were still a lower third division side.)
Swindon Town: The Future
It’s hard to fight your way back from the abyss without a first XI, especially after being relegated with just a few points, after it’s all said and done.
There seems to be some signs of recovery, including some trials for goalkeeper Lewis Ward and winger Bruno Tavares.
The Trust STFC also relies on new ownership and makes the following statement;
“We can assure fans that Clem Morfuni remains 100% committed to the purchase of STFC, as demonstrated by his application to the EFL for full ownership. Once granted, we hope the shares will transfer immediately, and we again call on Lee Power to join this process in order to secure the future of the football club he claims to care for.
However, you will struggle against all odds and it will be a tedious task if you want hope for a long-term future. The truth is, they are doomed and need a miracle to get out of the current mess.
Swindon Town: 2021/22
In addition to dealing with the financial consequences of the lockdown restrictions last season, the employees have not been paid in the past few months, the squad is flimsy and they have no manager, assistant coach, managing director, football director or a strength and fitness coach.
The remaining players’ contracts will expire next month, while backers have had to set up a hardship fund to ensure staff get paid. They’re also missing out on the core group that promoted them in the first place, with the majority long gone.
The owner does not want to be there, while the supporters are careful not to put any more money in their pockets.
All of this paints a worrying picture for all fans hoping for some respite in the second division.
Swindon fell back to the fourth division for the first time at the end of the 1981/82 season, with the most recent relegation being their fifth appearance overall. They managed to climb the mountain again every time, but the truth is that when they start the climb again they run out of grip.
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