By Richard Banyard – founder of www.swindon-town-fc.co.uk
As a kid growing up, I was always fascinated by two things.
The first was football – if I wasn’t playing, I would spend hours at home recreating my own tournaments with the scores determined by two coins and two die; when I was given Star Wars figures, I would set them up in five-a-side teams with two ice cream tubs as goals; and when I discovered the Rothmans Football Yearbook, I would sit and pore over it, reading all the facts and figures from clubs and countries all over the world.
My second fascination was computers. As a nine-year-old, I programmed my Commodore 16 to play out a World Cup tournament that England always won, and I soon discovered football management strategy games on the ZX Spectrum – the original Football Manager, Super League Soccer, Football Director 2, to name but a few. Football, computers and stats, all rolled into one!
When Championship Manager was released some years later, I was in football stat heaven.
This all coincided with one of the most successful periods in Swindon Town’s history – and so, with my dad an ardent Town fan, as was my grandad before him, it was easy to catch the STFC bug… pitch invasions as the Town won 102 points… the atmosphere in Selhurst Park… seeing us turn over First Division opposition on a regular basis… Wembley (twice!)… going to the game with the young, naive expectation that we would win every time. Back then, it felt like we could!
And so, with the inception of the internet in the late nineties, I suppose it was inevitable that I would end up creating a website dedicated to STFC.
If you haven’t yet visited, the site is aiming to be a complete online encyclopaedia of all things Swindon Town, with all match details back to the club’s first competitive games in the 1880’s, profiles of every player, over 1,200 videos of old matches, and, one of the more recent additions, 1,400 newspaper reports from the Football Pink.
The site itself is a constant work-in-progress, and I have many ideas for things to add in the future – but one of the great things about the site has been the number of people who have come forward with their own content – and as a result, I’ve still got a large backlog of DVDs and newspaper reports to get added before I can get started on them!
Since the site started in 1998, it’s become a bit of a rabbit warren – and I’m sure that, even for regular visitors to the site, there are some features in there that haven’t been spotted – thanks to TrustSTFC.tv, over the coming weeks I’ll introduce some of these areas, highlight some milestones and generally reminisce about some of the good (and not-so-good) times!
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