Riding the Rankings Since 1879 -
In 1879, nearly 150 years ago, the town of Swindon formed its own football team and dubbed them the Swindon AFC. Four years later, the club changed the moniker to Swindon Town, and, in the following decades, the team would swing between tiers and leagues as football associations in the UK fluctuated. Unfortunately for Swindon Town, the team has spent only one year in the top division, the Premier League, during the 1993-94 season. In 2000, Swindon Town slipped from League One to League Two.
But, as any true football fan knows, a loyal fan base is what drives a team toward greatness. From 2011 to 2017, Swindon Town kept the faith of their fans and returned to League One. Since the end of the 2016-17 season, diehard fans have returned to the sidelines and filled the stands to cheer on their team as they began the steady climb back to League One.
It seems this hearty support is paying off yet again. For now, Swindon Town leads League Two rankings with 63 points, above Crew with 61 and Exeter with 60. But football odds depend on every game played, so Swindon will have to continue strong until they play their final match against Macclesfield Town on 25 April. Luckily for the Robins, they have the top goal scorer of the league on their side, Eoin Doyle, who has scored 23 goals this season alone.
Doyle Makes the Difference
Swindon Town is no stranger to star athletes and great coaching. In fact, the team has often depended on both. In the 1980s, the team relied on Lou Macari to lead them to a Second Division title, and another excellent coach in Glenn Hoddle to take them to a play-off final that would see Swindon Town in the Premier League in the early 90s.
While the days of the infamous Don Rogers, a dynamic player from the early 60s, are long gone, Swindon Town seems to have picked up another formidable asset in Irishman Eoin Doyle. Doyle took the pitch with Swindon Town early in the 2019 season and scored 23 goals in only 22 games. Between 26 October and 26 December, Doyle scored in 11 successive games.
Following a loan from Bradford City in the fall of 2019, Swindon Town offered Doyle a permanent deal which he accepted on 30 January, 2020. Following a remarkable record goalscoring for Swindon Town during December play of last year, Doyle earned himself more than an offer from Swindon Town.
The 31-year-old also became the first player to ever receive the PFA League Two Player of the Month for three consecutive months. Now, well into the 2020 season, Swindon Town is reaping the benefits of having signed on a forward with finishing and crossing power. The team leads League Two rankings with 3 wins, 1 loss, and 1 draw.
This comes off the tails of manager Richie Wellens being “99 percent sure a deal won’t happen” in reference to fellow League Two team Bradford City selling Eoin Doyle to their squad. But Wellens, and the rest of the Swindon Town fanbase, made no qualms about wanting to sign Doyle and keep him in Swindon.
However, it isn’t only Doyle who took the field with Swindon Town on loan from another team to give the team a meteoric rise. Jerry Yates, an up-and-coming forward from Rotherham United, was also welcomed to County Grounds early in the 2019 season. In the opening weekend, Yates helped Swindon Town defeat Scunthorpe before going on to score 12 goals in the first half of the season alone. So far, with Swindon Town, Yates has broken his record for number of goals scored in a season, with 25 under his belt so far in this 2019-20 loan to Swindon Town. However, Yates has not been officially signed to the club and remains on-loan from Rotherham United.
Fortunately for Swindon Town, they will have Yates as a striker until the end of the season, and if the team can continue to dominate League Two with the likes of Doyle and Yates, they stand a strong chance of advancing to League One for the 2020-21 season. Right now, Crewe Alexandra and Exeter City are hot on the heels of Swindon Town, both of which ranked above Swindon in last year’s League Two rankings.