When the full-time whistle blew last Saturday to confirm Swindon’s defeat to Peterborough it was sad to see how two football clubs could be so far apart in nearly all aspects, but the result was expected, and knowing two season-defining games were coming up, starting with Rochdale on Tuesday evening.
The squad, management team, and everyone involved at Swindon Town knew how important this game would turn out to be in the big picture of this season, and sadly they choked, but they not only choked, they threw in the towel.
I never thought I’d witness a day as bleak as 23rd April 2011, the day Town lost 2-1 to Notts County at home to all but confirm relegation, it was easily one of the worst days I’ve had supporting Town.
It’s hard to compare like to like as that day I was at the County Ground with thousands of other fans, to share in the disappointment, but this season it feels far worse as you’re at home watching the game, as fans are by-law unable to tell the players and management what they need to hear.
I’m of a firm belief that if this had been a normal season with fans in attendance this team wouldn’t be on the cliff edge facing almost certain relegation.
There’s zero chance John Sheridan would still be in his job as fans would’ve made his position even more untenable than it is currently, and if he left 10-15 games ago this squad could’ve survived with a different man in charge.
The players have to take huge responsibility also as on Tuesday night they put in their worst performance of the season in the most important contest of the campaign.
Thankfully there were a couple of players who did try and salvage a result, one being Jack Payne, as he did his best to drive the team forward but sadly his midfield partner Matty Palmer had another game to forget with the man in front of him Brett Pitman failing to make the impact needed.
There have been rumours linking the talented midfielder with a move to in-form Barnsley in a £300K move, and of course, that money would be snapped up if offered, but it’s clear whatever division Swindon Town are playing next season it won’t be with Jack Payne.
One aspect of our last four defeats has come with our terrible defending, and this comes on the back of success in playing three at the back over the two games, which preceded this terrible run of defeats.
When we last tasted victory at the Memorial Stadium, we played Akin Odimayo, Anthony Grant, and Elis Iandolo at the back, and away at Fleetwood, it worked brilliantly, and this is down too personal inside that backline.
With injuries to Odimayo and Iandolo taking all the pace out the back three and replacing it with Jonathan Grounds and Taylor Curran, the system has been doomed to fail as neither replacement has looked as composed and comfortable in these positions.
Injuries are sadly a big part of the game and this season, this has been the entire theme of this campaign as we’ve used over 40 players, which has led to inconsistency inside the starting eleven, and enjoying consistency inside your team is essential if you want to pick up much-needed points.
Some of this tinkering has been made by the manager and some forced on him but whatever the intentions behind it, it’s one of the reasons we’re facing League Two football next season.
Looking to matters off the pitch, which are sadly much, much worse, it was encouraging to see Clem Morfuni once again reinforce his intentions to take control of Swindon Town Football Club at the Trust board meeting last week.
After reading everything he’s said in previous statements and what he explained at the meeting it’s clear his intentions for the town and the club as a whole are good ones, and his vision is incredibly exciting.
It’s clear to everyone Lee Power’s time at Swindon is done, it’s over. If his claims about keeping the club afloat from his own pocket are true then I thank him, and if he claims to have some genuine feeling about our club then he will agree to sale to Mr. Morfuni as soon as possible so plans for next season can begin to take shape.