The latest installment in our ‘Town Fans Abroad’ section comes from Shane Wakefield, a Swindon supporter based in Switzerland.
Shane lives near Zurich and shares his memories of the Robins, and what it’s like to cheer them on from afar, with TrustSTFC.tv…
When did you start supporting STFC?
I moved to Swindon in 1989 aged nine and started supporting town soon after.
First game? Memories of it?
Town v Millwall. It was 0-0 on a Sunday near the start of 1990 season. I was sat in the Town End. My dad was not into football so I went with a friend and his parents. I think this may have been Micky Hazard’s debut. I can’t really remember much of the game but I’m sure there was a little trouble afterwards.
Favourite STFC moment?
Promotion to the Premier League with that 4-3 win over Leicester at Wembley. What more can I say. Most of Swindon was there. Atmosphere, noise, incredible. I was 13 and had never experienced anything like it.
Favourite STFC player ever?
Wow. I have seen so many wear the shirt of Town and so many have been so influential. Going on pure class and probably one of the best footballers of his generation… Glenn Hoddle. However, there is something about that overhead kick against Bristol City that made me like Rory Fallon quite a bit as well. Not forgetting Nathan Thompson, he’s one of our own and a solid foundation to the recent Town team.
When did you move abroad? Where? And why?
I moved to a small town in Switzerland called Zug. It’s about 25 mins south of Zurich. Long story why I moved but it was time for a change in my life. Things worked out very well.
Are there supporters clubs for STFC or other supporters of STFC around you?
There are no supporters clubs or supporters of STFC anywhere near me. We have a good expat community and meet regularly in the local pub to watch the football. Most support Premier League teams but there are a few lower league fans I can have some banter with.
What’s it like supporting STFC abroad? How do you keep up to date with news? Is it a big occasion when they’re on TV?
Supporting STFC abroad has its moments. I get banter from friends who support the likes of Arsenal, Spurs, Man United and City saying I should support a team that I can watch on TV a bit more.
When Town are on TV it’s big. Everyone will join me in the pub and then spend 90 mins taking the mick. I follow all the STFC news and games via social media and websites.
Is it easy to keep up to date with STFC abroad?
Pretty easy with social media and websites. However, the updates are not as good as they used to be.
Who are you living abroad with? Are they STFC fans? Do they share your passion?
I live with my wife – a Leeds fan – and my seven-month-old baby daughter (soon to be a Town fan). My wife is not that bothered by being a long distance Leeds fan. But then again neither am I. Why would anyone support Leeds?!
Can you get back to the County Ground? If so, how often?
My parents still live in Swindon and I visit a few times a year. If Town are at home I try to get to the County Ground for the game. I have flown in for three Wembley visits – Millwall, Chesterfield and Preston – losing all three. I do not have good memories of the new Wembley. In December 2013 I spent Christmas with my wife’s parents in Pudsey. Town happened to be playing Bradford so I went to watch. i bumped into old friends and had a really good catch up.
Have the locals in your country of abode learned from you the ways of STFC? Have you made more STFC fans abroad?
Most Swiss people I know are either not football fans or support the big teams. However, they do like to learn and hear stories about English football and will come to the pub when town are on TV.
If you are a ‘Town Fan Abroad’ and would like to share your experiences of following the club from hundreds or even thousands of miles away, get in touch by emailing info.truststfc.com.