After a couple of dismal seasons in the 4th division there is a buzz around the football club and fans, and it feels that the good times are back at Swindon Town. Just 7 games into the season Swindon sit in 4th place after a 3-1 away win at Leyton Orient. Two home games are next up against Macclesfield and Colchester United and they are the real acid test to keep this great run going.
This all started in the summer with the social media team at Swindon who undertook a drive and put on preseason training videos at the beginning of pre-season, with all the gym work and then the boxing with the punching bags. Then the daily videos of the drills when the club went to La Manga in Spain, you really got a good insight to what was going on at the club behind the scenes and you can see that the fans and the players embraced it.
The fan zone was announced in early July and is a brilliant idea to get young fans in attendance. It is located behind the Don Rogers stand. Sadly this has been opened once due to the bad weather on the Carlisle game. I thought it was going to be postponed again for the Morecambe game because we had some bad weather, but it eased off. It’s a great Initiative from the club to reach out to the younger fans and get them into the club and get to interact with the players.
After last seasons mid table finish, the ins and outs at the club were pivotal to see the club identity on the pitch for this up and coming season. Richie Wellens did his best and gutted the squad from last season and got out all the dead wood. This was needed and freshened up the squad with his players to play his style of attacking football which we would like to call “Wellens Ball”. It is very impressive transfer window with 14 players brought in, sadly Daniel Ballard who impressed in pre-season picked up a serious knee injury away at Colchester and had to return to Arsenal and will miss most of the season. Zeki Fryers, Rob Hunt, Mathieu Baudry, Lloyd Isgrove, Jordan Lyden Tyler Reid, Jerry Yates, Eoin Doyle etc etc have all been brought in and helped the squad and played a massive part to the start of the season.
So much talent has been brought into this squad and the massive coup for me over the summer was the re-signing of club captain Dion Conroy, he is a massive part of this club and he is pivotal to how Swindon under Richie Wellens plays. He is the ball playing centre half who likes to bring the ball out and dictates the play. The only downside with this is that he is on a one-year deal, if we do go up and you can see a new extended contract, but if it’s a glorious failure I can see him leaving.
The other massive coup was Michael Doughty signing an extension to his contract, this was massive news. Doughty when fit was Swindon best player last season and is an important cog to the midfield. This season he is playing a lot deeper in the double pivot role and having more time on the ball and dictating play from deep. You can see his quality on the ball with the goal away at Exeter.
On to the pitch, it was great to win the first two games of the season especially in the horrible conditions at home to Carlisle. Especially going 1-0 down in the second half, the crowd at the CG got behind the team and didn’t turn their backs, which has happened in the past. The team got the three points in the end with a 3-2 win but conceded stupid goals. The away draw at Exeter felt like a win in the end, I was in the away end at the side of the goal and my friend was in the terrace and for 60-65 mins we dominated the game and should have been a few goals up. But Exeter showed their class with Nicky Law in the midfield pulling the strings and took the lead but Swindon showed the courage and pulled a late equaliser from Eoin Doyle.
The Northampton game was a negative point for the start of the season, it was a leggy performance so early in the season. The games do come quick and fast and it’s a real slog of a division. The Northampton team defended well and stuck at Swindon and didn’t give them any freedom at all. The goal from Andy Williams was offside everyone in the ground could see it was offside bar the officials. That was a bitter pill to swallow. The Cheltenham game was frustrating, I was also in the away end and part of the 1500 amazing away fans that travelled down. To take the lead twice and concede two sloppy goals was very frustrating and ultimately it was the type of goals that were conceded which was most annoying and baffling.
A couple of comments after those two games had a major impact on me, with people saying we only picked up one point against Cheltenham and Northampton and mid table league two is where we belong. Come on it was just a minor bump in the road, there are still twists and turns to occur this season. It does help when you secure back to back 3-1 wins over Morecambe and Leyton Orient on Saturday to silence the doubters and climb into a top 4 place.
There are exciting times ahead in this Swindon side and I cannot wait to see what happens, the away following has been sensational at the start of this season. Selling out our allocation in our last three away games at Exeter, Cheltenham and Leyton Orient. Let’s hope for a strong support away at Cambridge in a couple of weeks.
There has been a couple of players that have been outstanding for Swindon at the start of the season and the plaudits they have been getting on social media. Lloyd Isgrove, Keshi Anderson and Jordan Lyden have been so pivotal to the way Swindon have started so well. Isgrove has got 6 assists in 7 games and has become a fans favourite at the club. Jordan Lyden who has been the tough tackling centre midfielder we have been missing for a while and Is very good on the ball. The last is Keshi Anderson who was part of the bomb squad for poor behaviour and was on his way out of the club in early August. Anderson has turned it around massively on the pitch and is an important part of Wellens tactics as the no10 who plays between the lines from defence to attack. The worst part of that is that all three players are out of contract in the summer with Lyden and Isgrove only singing 1-year deals, because of their injury concerns and Anderson is in the final year of his two- and half-year contract which was signed in January 2018.
For the first time since the 2014-15 season the good times are back at the county ground and this sleeping giant of a club is on the way up. Who knows in late April we could be seeing a promotion party away at Macclesfield?
Thanks to our guest Author Scot Munroe for this article.