We chat to a Swindon fan who is concerned about injuries but feels there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic at the County Ground…
Thanks to REP for posing the questions…
About the fan…
I’m Panda Paws from the Townend.com forum. I’m a London-based Town fan and into season number 25. I work in media and content. I’ve been supporting Swindon since I was five, and my first game was the opening day of the 1992/93 season (versus Sunderland, a Glenn Hoddle screamer, a 1-0 win). My twitter account is @telpierce, check it out!
About the opposition…
How do you expect your team to do this season?
I fully expect us to progress on from last year. If we can keep the majority of our squad fit and well (which seems impossible at the moment), I expect us to steer clear of trouble completely and you never know, although I think we’ll finish tenth, we may even threaten the top six.
What are your thoughts on the manager?
Luke Williams is incredibly highly rated by those in the game, but less so by our own fans. In my mind, he and the Chairman (the de facto Director of Football) are doing their best to mould the youngest side in the Football League into a competitive side at this level, despite being bottom three in terms of budget.
How about the squad and the summer signings?
Michael Doughty signed on loan for the season from QPR and is a bloody good signing…
Incomings in the summer included Lawrence Vigoroux from the Scousers [Liverpool] for £400,000. It’s a big sum for a goalkeeper but it’s one who did well last year here on loan and he looks to be getting better and better.
Michael Doughty signed on loan for the season from QPR and is a bloody good signing at this level – he’s the most consistent/impressive player thus far. John Goddard from Woking (I’m guessing the fee would be around £150,000) scored 26 from midfield in the National League last year and Luke Norris (£150,000 from Gillingham) looked very good on debut but is struggling to be fit for the weekend. Darnell Furlong from QPR on loan looks a great addition at right wing-back and Lloyd Jones looked assured at centre-back on debut but, like everyone else, he’s now injured.
Players to watch?
Jon Obika is out, which is a shame as he’s in the top three all-round strikers in the league. Norris, if fit, should go well on his home debut. Jordan Stewart (a young Northern Ireland attacker we bought last year but who initially struggled to settle) has looked very good in a couple of sub appearances. Doughty loves a goal from midfield. Doughty to score is always worth a couple of quid.
Signings wise, our business isn’t completed yet and we always do it late, much to the frustration of the fans.
Thoughts on the board?
We have a young, forward-thinking, progressive team with a batch of young players that we own…
Oh God… Speaking personally, Lee Power took the club on in an absolute shambles.
He openly states he doesn’t like the media unless they pay for access, doesn’t believe in PR and is behind most of our signings BUT having said all that for the first time in memory, we run at break-even and remain competitive at this level.
We have a young, forward-thinking, progressive team with a batch of young players that we own and are developing and have picked them up for very little. We sell players, but who doesn’t? We also buy players though and paid around £750,000 out on signings this summer, which is unheard of for us until recently.
We also own our own training ground for the first time in generations, developing it (slowly) into a base for the whole club. Despite all of that, some our fans will not take to him, the manager or the team’s style.
They’d rather we spent money we don’t have signing players who we have no interest in developing. They’ll also accuse him of asset-stripping, bankrupting the club and only signing his mates’ sons.
A score prediction?
It all depends on who we have back from injury. If we can start Norris, Kasim and Jones then we’ll win this 2-1 after going a goal behind – Norris and Doughty for us and someone from Benfica’s reserves for you. If we’re still as thin on the ground as last night then it will be 0-0. Attendance: 7,350.
About the Vale…
How do you think Vale will do this season?
I fully expect your experiment to blow-up and your chairman to have egg on his face by Xmas, [now steady on, let’s hope not – OVF editor] where he gets pushed to implement the much talked about “Plan B”, which I assume is a combo of Micky Adams and Tom Pope
Do you have any memories of previous clashes between your team and the Vale?
Great chance to plug this site again: http://www.swindon-town-fc.co.uk/HeadToHead.asp?Team=Port%20Vale#HeadToHead
I mostly recall absolutely smashing you on a regular basis, but the one that stands out is the 3-3 at Vale in March 2004. We were pushing hard to go up. Came from 3-0 down with 30 mins to go with Rory Fallon scoring the equaliser.
A guide for Vale fans…
Can you recommend a forum or blog?
Well, the Townend.com forum obviously. For a club our size, we’re blessed with a brilliant blog (thewashbag.com) and a quite frankly incredible archive of all our results, players, videos and more (swindon-town-fc.co.uk)
Any recommendations for away-friendly pubs, eateries and the best places to park?
Park in the cricket club next to the ground then drink pints of Stowford Press in their bar while watching the cricket (it’s T20 Finals Day Saturday). For the half-dozen sunny games a season, there’s no better pre-match watering hole.