Slipping standards leading to relegation - an STFC column by Alfie Howlett

By Alfie Howlett - 26 March 2021

Clubs & ActivitiesSport

In recent weeks both on and off the pitch Swindon have entered turmoil.

Discontent among town fans has reached a boiling point. And the club is rotting. Despite showing small signs of improvement following fortunate victories against Crewe and Northampton as well as recording a good point away to high flying Lincoln, Swindon have taken one step forward and about 10 steps backwards.

With the defeat against local rivals Oxford in the Derby reflecting the severity of the disarray at the County Ground, from top to bottom the club has dropped its standards.

A prime example of this being the hallowed turf of the County Ground. Swindon have a reputation for often producing pristine pitches to play football on.  However this season the pitch is resembling a field rather than a playing surface. Now admittedly there has been a shorter turn around this season which wouldn't benefit the pitch, but it still shouldn't be in the current state regardless of the situation.

On another note, the methods deployed by John Sheridan this season clearly aren't working. His ideas on the game are a far cry from former gaffer Richie Wellens' fresh exciting views. Some of the substitutions made this season have been baffling including replacing both of your centre halves with 10 minutes to go in the derby against Oxford when you're looking for a way back.

With all that's happening off the pitch it's hard to remember as well as believe that Swindon still have the faintest survival hopes. At the time of writing Swindon sit joint bottom of league 1 alongside AFC Wimbledon. I believe that for survival this season it will need 48 points. Burton were bringing up the rear of league 1 for the majority of this season, until the appointment of former boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as manager.

It just goes to show how if you put together a run of results then a lot can change very quickly. In my opinion Burton are out of danger now which leaves six teams fighting for survival. Those teams being Swindon, Rochdale, Wigan, Bristol Rovers, AFC Wimbledon and Northampton.

It must be said that whatever league Swindon find themselves in next season I'm worried about the future for the club. With chairman Lee Power looking to sell the club, I'd suspect funding for next season will be minimal. Not just down to him looking to leave but Swindon haven't had matchday revenue for over a year and Swindon won't be able to base their budget on off season ticket sales. Meaning that regardless of the level of football or whoever is in charge of the team, there will be very little money to spend on what is currently a poor squad.

With the season coming to its final hurdle it's now more imperitive than ever to clear that hurdle. The teams that do will be playing league 1 football next season and the teams that don't will be staring down the barrel of league 2. Surely and hopefully things can only improve for Swindon.

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