Ever since Town was officially made League Two champions a few months ago and lifted their trophy aloft at the County Ground thoughts moved swiftly onto when Town will begin their campaign in the third tier?
Thankfully that question was answered late last week as it was confirmed by the EFL that the season will begin on September 12th.
Despite lockdown rules being eased across the country and some aspects of life slowly returning to normal, we know the 2020/21 season won’t start with fans inside football stadiums.
But with a handful of Cricket matches allowing a small percentage of spectators through the turnstile and even this Friday’s Irish Cup Final at Windsor Park allowing 500 supporters inside the stadium, how long until the Town faithful will be allowed inside the County Ground?
If trials inside different sports stadiums across the country are successful, I can’t see why fans shouldn’t be allowed back inside stadiums starting in October, whilst adhering to all the social distancing rules, including masks, hand sanitiser, etc.
If they leave a few seats free both sides of supporters and use every other row as they have done at similar events, surely the County Ground could manage 3,000ish fans? With season ticket holders getting entered into a raffle to decide who can attend each game?
Thankfully all these questions and more will be answered over the coming month, but let’s hope it’s not too long before we can get back to watching Town live at the County Ground.
With only six weeks before the big kick-off, Richie Wellens and Paul Jewell can finally begin to build a squad ready to compete in a very strong League One next season.
As was expected some of Town’s players have decided to make a new start for themselves, but despite it being on the cards, it hasn’t made some departures easy to take.
Swindon’s top scorer last season Eoin Doyle making a move to join Bolton Wanderers in League Two was disappointing after the club made it clear how much he was loved and appreciated in Wiltshire by shedding out a transfer fee for what everyone thought would be half a season but sadly ended up being a handful of games.
In an ideal world, Doyle would’ve repaid the faith shown in him by Richie and the club and stayed for another season, but sadly money talks and I can understand that it would’ve been incredibly difficult for him to turn down a three-year deal and a significant pay rise.
Along with Doyle moving up north Keshi Anderson joined Blackpool on a free transfer after his deal at Town expired. On his day Keshi could be a superb player, at certain points he showed how important he could be to Wellens’ side, but unlike Doyle, I wasn’t too disheartened to see him move on.
Blackpool has got themselves a decent player but Keshi is easily replaceable.
Someone who isn’t as replaceable is former on-loan striker Jerry Yates who also joined the Seasiders for an undisclosed fee from Rotherham Utd.
After months of speculation that Swindon had put in an offer and that there was a possibility of Yates making a return to Wiltshire, I can’t say it wasn’t painful seeing Yates paraded on the pitch at Bloomfield Road.
But the pain of seeing talented players move on is easily healed when we see the same people who built last seasons talented championship-winning squad are still at the club.
Both Director of Football Paul Jewell and Manager Richie Wellens are not only still at the County Ground but going by interviews from the manager he can’t wait to show what himself and his team will bring to League One next season.
He’s already started building that team with the arrival of the incredibly talented Diallang Jaiyesimi arriving on a free transfer after his release from Norwich City.
We all know what DJ is capable of after witnessing his impressive performances last season. After injury delayed his loan spell, he made up for lost time quickly by fitting nicely into Richie Wellens’ squad and his performances moved up a gear every time he put on a Town shirt.
Having a player of his calibre sign on the dotted line not only for this season but until 2023 shows his belief in what the manager is building at Town going into this season.
Hopefully, Diallang won’t be the only player from last season to re-sign as the future of Anthony Grant is still up in the air, with several clubs interested in signing the talented midfielder after his superb season for Town.
If rumours are to be believed Blackpool, along with Town, are interested in Grant’s services for next season, and with the Seasiders seemingly handing out big money deals it’s hard to see Swindon being able to compete for Grant’s signature, but hopefully loyally will win the day and we’ll see the talented midfielder at training tomorrow with his new deal signed, sealed and delivered.