IMPORTS certainly come in all shapes and sizes.
What I’ve noticed over the last six or seven years since I’ve been here is that they are getting better all the time, and right now the group we have at Swindon is the best we’ve ever had.
That’s part of the club getting more professional and the league getting better, you need good imports and they need to produce for you, especially if you’re not able to have a third line loaded with experienced players like some teams do.
There’s certainly been some interesting characters. When I first started the imports were Slovakian and Czech and didn’t really seem that happy to be here. It was weird, like it was a chore they were here and they were being forced to play.
Now it’s really different because Jan Kostal’s Czech and he’s the nicest, most dedicated guy you could every wish to play with. It all depends I suppose.
You can hear that someone’s a good guy and then he turns out not to be when you start playing with him or the one you don’t hear much about ends up being a great teammate.
We joke with imports that it’s a coin flip and to be fair it really is.
It all depends if they suit the style of the league or if they fit in and enjoy Swindon, so it really is a coin flip.
You get some who have really good resumes, like Toivo Suursoo from Estonia, who has basically played in every league in the world but didn’t turn out to be very good and was a bit out of shape and couldn’t get to grips with the league.
I remember Ryan was really excited to sign him and was getting loads of emails from people saying how amazing our new player was but he turned out not to be very good at all.
Toivo might have had a better CV than Jan Kostal but it didn’t work, but because he left we signed Jonas Hoog and it’s all worked superbly. It was the same with Juha Silvander, he had a very good resume and played in leagues way better than ours but didn’t do it, and because of that we signed Jan.
It’s been funny because the ones who looked so good on paper maybe haven’t worked out as well as they should and that’s ended up with us signing some very good players as replacements.
It’s funny like that.