Swindon Town was a club to count in the late 60’s and early 70’s steadying the ship in the 2nd tier of English football. But since then it’s been a bit of dark and grey at County Ground. The club are at the moment sailing in the 4th tier and under the guidence of Richie Wellens we just have to wait and see what happens.
Their existence is based on a lively fanbase turning up for games and on home games they can attract crowds of almost 8000 which is not bad for a team playing as low as the fourth tier in the league pyramid. Currently Swindon Town are 2nd in the table and a promotion looked very close.
Since the days of the late 60’s and early 70’s light has not been much on but some highlights seen on a few occasions. Managers has been many since the days of Danny Williams, who was in charge during those glory days of League Cup victory and the Anglo Italian Cups.
The team of those days 50 years ago never reached the top flight, but they fought well and recruited some very interesting players. Don Rogers of course comes to mind, and his two goals in extra time in the 1969 League Cup Final will forever be written in stone.
Don Rogers stayed loyal to Swindon Town for a number of years, but played at the highest level with Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers later in his career, being part of that memorable 5-0 win v. Manchester United, scoring two on that occasion as well. Big money fees and exchange deals involving none other than Terry Venables was part of his moves in football.
John Trollope was another loyal servant, the defender that represented the club in 770 league appearances from 1960 to 1980 was a fine left back and always a steady performer and later also the manager at Swindon Town from 1981 to 1983. He is the holder of most league appearances for one club in English football history.
On the right in that 1969 League Cup final you had a player that a few laters joined Derby County and won the League Championship in England. Rod Thomas was the only steady full international at the club and represented Wales 50 times during his career.
Stan Harland captained the team and is to date the only captain of the club to lift such a major trophy. Harland left Swindon to play at the highest level with Birmingham City. Peter Noble also played in the team and later moved on to Burnley and played in the top flight with The Clarets.
Things didn’t really change as much but as described above a number of players left and a number of new men arrived, with Dave Mackay maybe the most known and as we all know moved to Derby County and guided them to the 1st Division title.
Swindon Town has over they years had a great number of managers and some of them are really famous mostly as players with the duo Osvaldo Ardiles and Glenn Hoddle both being former men in charge at County Ground. Hoddle must look up on his years as a “sweeper” and player manager at the club with fondness. In the Swindon set up during his time clearly being the most influential player he did what we all thought was impossible, guiding Swindon Town into the top flight.
Hoddle was in charge at Swindon Town from 1991 to 1993 bringing great success to the club, but he decided to leave the club straight after the promotion was completed and took over at Chelsea, were he continued to play alongside being the manager. Before him two very famous footballers in Lou Macari and Osvaldo Ardiles both got their real birth in football management, and later went on to manage clubs at higher levels.
After the days of Glenn Hoddle things have gone mostly wrong and a number of men has had their chance and surprisingly did see a spring of hope under Paolo Di Canio who had a relatively good period at the club getting that chance to move up to Premier League and take charge of Sunderland.
Richie Wellens might be the right man, with a former life at most levels in football, starting out at Manchester United and from there enjoying a ride around at several clubs including Blackpool, Doncaster and Leicester.