STFC dropping like a stone - a column by Town correspondent Alfie Howlett

By Alfie Howlett - 26 January 2024


Swindon Link Swindon Town FC correspondent Alfie Howlett reflects on latest developments at the County Ground

Football fans are particularly well known for their pessimism. Therefore, you shouldn’t be taken back by my latest column. Where to start?  

After what was their best start to a season for years, Swindon find themselves scraping together the remaining points required to seal survival for the season. Despite their plummeting trajectory, the possibility of relegation shouldn’t be entertained. Yet.  

What is it which keeps lower league football fans returning each Saturday?

For me, and I’m sure many others, it’s the dream that one day they’ll be rewarded with something tangible. Whether that be a meteoric rise through the leagues, a memorable cup run or a historic victory over your rivals.

This dream has frequently comforted me of late. But there are only so many times you can dream while the likes of Barrow play Town off the pitch at The County Ground. Until eventually you wake up to reality.  

Swindon appear further away from success as I can ever remember. Unfortunately, I can’t see the suffering ending any time soon. It seems absurd that in a season where Swindon could have their lowest ever EFL finish, I fear the worst is still to come.

Judging from previous transfer windows, I have little confidence in Swindon’s ability to reboot come the summer. I simply can’t see the freefall halting. While others around them are progressing, Town are regressing. In my opinion, Swindon need substantial investment to prevent their proud position in the Football League from ceasing to exist.  

If Swindon truly are struggling to make ends meet, then they’re only going to find it harder next season. Town are lucky to have a remarkable fan base, their numbers are truly sensational for the level of football. This is demonstrated by the high season ticket sales and attendances in the Morfuni regime.

However, they certainly shouldn’t be taken for granted. I believe that there is only so much more that the loyal support can take before their patience is broken. At this rate I can see season ticket sales plummet and dwindling attendances. This will see a paper-thin budget turn extinct, leaving me with good reason to be pessimistic about the future.  

I have a genuine concern that the football club I’ve grown up watching are falling apart in front of my eyes. Whenever I watch Swindon, I see connotations to a wounded animal on its last legs.

They’re dying. Wherever you look it’s bleak.

On the pitch I see the most threadbare squad I can remember, in the stands I hear a flat and often turgid atmosphere, and around me I see a tired stadium which hasn’t changed an inch since my first game in 2012. 

In fact very recently in a game against Wrexham, after queuing for about 5 minutes to simply reach the toilet, I was confronted with a sign which read along the lines of how the fans' money is reinvested in the club. This came after I had just watched a lacklustre defeat which saw Swindon spurn several chances.

I could only laugh at what I see is a perfect anecdote to explain life as a Swindon fan.  


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