Swindon Town are back in the League One relegation zone following Saturday’s embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Fleetwood Town.
FLIC’s Sports Editor Andrew Steele-Davis explains why he thinks the class of 2015/16 aren’t too good to go down, and who he thinks is responsible for Town’s current plight.
“On paper we have a top-half side in a poor league.”
That comment is one that I’ve seen plenty of on various social media sites or forums in recent weeks/months.
But, and this is only my opinion, this Swindon Town team isn’t too good to go down.
In fact, they deserve to go down on current form.
Some people, given my job, tend to forget that, first and foremost, I’m a Town fan and have spent more Saturdays watching my beloved Robins from the stands than I have from the press box.
In that time I have seen some wonderful players grace the County Ground playing surface.
Sam Parkin, Simon Cox, Gordon Greer, Matt Ritchie, Charlie Austin, Massimo Luongo; there is a good few more I could add to that list too.
But I’ve also seen my fair share of duds.
Step forward Ibon Arrieta and Patrick Noubissie.
Unfortunately, a fair few of this season’s vintage will fall into the latter category.
It has been a disastrous season so far, without a doubt. And, you know the worse thing about it? I really can’t see it improving anytime soon.
I have missed just one game this season – the 1-0 defeat away at Wigan Athletic – but most of the matches I’ve been to this year I have come away with the same burning question – it can’t get any worse than that, can it?
And every week, bar the 2-1 win over Scunthorpe United earlier this month, the class of 2015/16 sink to new lows and make me wonder why I even bother asking the above question.
Saturday’s 5-1 defeat to Fleetwood Town was a whole new low altogether and it was a humiliating day for the football club.
Forget the first half-hour, where I thought Swindon actually did okay and created their fair share, there was no fight, there was no passion, there was no desire and there was no resilience among the players out on that pitch.
As a fan that saddens me.
It was bad enough sitting in the press box, freezing cold and having to write about that rubbish, but it is the travelling support who made the long trek up north that I feel sorry for.
I’m not really one for clubs refunding supporters after a poor performance, it is part and parcel of being a fan after all, but I do feel they need paying back in some way shape or form.
I look through that team and, bar three or four players, I can’t see anyone who is up for or willing to fight and scrap to get Swindon out of this mess.
Play all the pretty football you want, that won’t save you in this division.
You need to mix it up and be willing to do the ugly side of the game when you are at the bottom – no matter what league you ply your trade in.
Unfortunately, I can’t see the powers that be allowing Martin Ling to tweak the playing style, no matter how much the new boss wants to make changes.
And I am led to believe that he does indeed want to shake things up.
We all know, under the current regime, whoever is in charge won’t be able to fully stamp their own mark on the team.
And that leads me on to my next point.
When things go wrong people need to be held accountable – that is a given in any walk of life.
In this case, the man responsible for recruitment at Swindon Town has some serious questions to answer.
Step forward Mr. Power.
I, and I stress this next point, have always been supportive of the Chairman when it was appropriate, I did, or I thought I did anyway, have a good working relationship with him.
He has been responsible for many good things at SN1 during his tenure.
He needs to take a lot of credit for what has been some of the best football I have ever seen at The County Ground.
He also needs to take credit for some of the business he has conducted in the transfer market – bringing in Massimo Luongo and Ben Gladwin for peanuts before selling them on for big bucks.
And, finally, securing a new training ground for the club could well prove to be one of his greatest legacies for the club.
However, there is no doubt that he has got things wrong this campaign.
We all know and all accept that selling players is now a fact of life at SN1 – that is the way it has got to be, pure and simple.
We don’t want a repeat of the Paolo Di Canio days, no matter how loved he was, where there was a very real threat of the club going out of business.
But, in saying all that, if that is the model you are going to adopt then you have got to make sure that you are bringing in suitable replacements.
That has simply not been the case this season.
Power has replaced quality with cheap and inadequate replacements.
Like trading in a luxury sports car for a battered old Ford Escort.
Okay, maybe not exactly like that, but you get the drift.
Gone are the likes of Andy Williams, Jack Stephens, Massimo Luongo and Wes Foderingham.
Enter Lawrence Vigouroux, Drissa Traore, Jeremy Balmy and Henrik Ojamaa.
They simply haven’t cut the mustard this season.
All in all, the recruitment in 2015/16 has been ill-judged and woefully executed.
Walsall are the visitors to The County Ground on Tuesday and I can only see a second straight defeat, I’m afraid.
In-fact, I have a horrible feeling it is going to be a very, very long second-half of the season.
There are many similarities to the last time Town went down after losing in the Play-Off Final, but I won’t prolong your misery by listing those points.
Put it simply, this current Swindon Town team are not too good for the drop.
And if they don’t start getting their act together soon then I fear we’ll be getting ready for life in the basement division again.
Unlike last time, I also fear that it won’t be as easy bouncing straight back.