Meet the opposition, Swindon Town: Already relegated and - like Paul Cook - with a man in charge who speaks his mind
- Credit: PA
Town travel to already-relegated Swindon Town this afternoon. MIKE BACON takes a look at Blues' Wiltshire opponents.
DOWN AND OUT ROBINS
Swindon Town will be playing their football in League Two next season.
It's been a yo-yo decade for the Wiltshire club who have bounced from League One to League Two throughout.
They were relegated from League One in 2011, but went straight back up a season later and, while they twice reached the League One play-offs, they found themselves back in League Two in 2017.
In 2020, Swindon were crowned League Two champions on the basis of average points per game, but were relegated back last week after a 0-5 drubbing at MK Dons.
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Swindon's 0-5 defeat to MK Dons was the final nail in their League One coffin this season, but they've been battling relegation most of the campaign.
And while Paul Cook at Ipswich hasn't been slow in coming forwards on how he perceives his team is performing - 'Sunday League team, etc.' - neither has Swindon caretaker boss, Tommy Wright, who took over from John Sheridan with just four games to go.
Indeed, he was scathing about his team's demise against the Dons.
Wright said: “It was always going to be an uphill battle to stay up, but to go down like that – not a lot of pride, not a lot of effort – it could have been 10.
“We said we were going to press, but we never got a block, we never got a tackle in, we didn’t nick the ball off anybody really.
“I think it was after about 20 minutes and I wasn’t sure whether we’d got into their half. It’s a very tame way to get relegated... the players need to take a look at themselves really.”
ONE PREMIER SEASON
Swindon Town have only reached England's top division once - and they did that after 73 years of trying.
It was the 1993/94 season the Robins had been promoted to the Premiership - guided by manager Glenn Hoddle, who duly left to take charge of Chelsea before he could manage one game for Swindon in the top flight.
Hoddle's assistant, John Gorman, was expected to follow Hoddle to Stamford Bridge, but instead accepted Swindon’s offer to become manager.
However, Swindon did not record a league win until their 17th game, winning just five games and becoming the first top division team in 30 years to concede 100 league goals.
It was also the season Ipswich Town survived on the final day after Chelsea scored a late winner to beat Sheffield United - who were duly relegated. And Everton squeaked safety, coming from 0-2 down to beat Wimbledon 3-2. What a final day that was.
Gorman spoke of his hope the Robins would soon return to the Premiership, saying at the time, "Swindon wouldn't be in Division One for long..."
They have yet to return.
Relegation-threatened Swindon stunned promotion-seeking Ipswich with a 3-2 victory at Portman Road back in January, thanks to two goals from former Norwich winger Diallang Jaiyesimi and a wonder strike from Scott Twine.
James Norwood and Alan Judge replied for Town but the visitors hung on for a well-deserved victory.
It saw Town slip out of the play-off picture and down to eighth, while for Swindon, it was one of only four away wins they have enjoyed so far this campaign.
DID YOU KNOW?
The 'Magic Roundabout' in Swindon, is a ring junction constructed in 1972 consisting of five mini-roundabouts arranged in a circle. Located near the County Ground, home of Swindon Town, its name comes from the popular children's television series, The Magic Roundabout. Often voted one of Britain's 'scariest junctions', it actually has an excellent safety record, since traffic moves too slowly to do serious damage in the event of a collision!