THE 1980's

SEASON 1988-1989

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Macari breaks the club transfer record to replace Quinn, by paying Huddersfield 250,000 for Duncan Shearer. Once again Swindon push for promotion - after winning just four of the first sixteen games, they lose just two of the last nineteen, and sneak into a play-off position - finishing sixth. They meet Crystal Palace in the play-offs, but after winning the first leg 1-0 and being denied a hotly disputed disallowed goal, the Town are turned over in the second leg, when goals from Ian Wright and Mark Bright secure a 2-1 aggregate win at Selhurst Park. A second disappointment follows just six weeks later, when, after years of speculation linking him with other vacant positions, manager Lou Macari finally leaves to take over at West Ham.

Barclays League Division Two:  6th of 24
 
RESERVES Ovenden Papers Football Combination reserves table |



SEASON 1987-1988

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A season of consolidation, Swindon finish up in a healthy mid-table position in the league, ending up in 12th position. A Gazza-inspired Newcastle dump the Town out of the FA Cup, winning 5-0 - a result which would come back to haunt Swindon two years later. Jimmy Quinn bangs in 31 goals in all competitions, but can't be persuaded to stay at the end of the season, and he leaves for Blackburn for 210,000.

Barclays League Division Two:  12th of 23
 
RESERVES Sunday Mirror Football Combination reserves table |



SEASON 1986-1987

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After drawing six of their last eight matches, the Town finish third in Division Two, and are forced down the newly-introduced route of the play-offs. A 3-2 aggregate win over Wigan in the semi-final sees Swindon on their way - but they look like they're beaten in the final, when Gillingham take a two goal aggregate lead early in the second leg. With half an hour remaining, Peter Coyne reduces the deficit, and Charlie Henry equalises with just twelve minutes left - sending the tie to a replay at Selhurst Park. Two goals from Steve White are enough to book the Town's place in Division Two, and a second successive promotion.

Today League Division Three:  3rd of 24
 
RESERVES Football Combination reserves table |



SEASON 1985-1986

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An amazing season - after taking just five points from their first eight games, the Town go on to break seventeen club records and win the Fourth Division championship. Victory over Burnley in March seals a 14th consecutive home victory, and promotion is won with seven games to spare, when the Town beat Chester in an fiery encounter. The championship is wrapped up just three games later with a draw at Mansfield, and goal from Peter Coyne seals a 1-0 win over Crewe on the last day of the season - a victory which takes the total points for the season up to 102 - a new league record which isn't broken for thirteen years.

Canon League Division Four:  1st of 24
 
RESERVES Football Combination reserves table |



SEASON 1984-1985

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A sponsorship deal is made with insurance company Lowndes Lambert - and as part of it, they insist on the appointment of a big-name manager. Ken Beamish is offered a scouting position, which he refuses - and he leaves the club. Former Scottish international Lou Macari is named as the new man in charge, with Harry Gregg appointed as his assistant. His first job was to build a new team - there were just nine professionals on the books, but though he made a couple of signings, he allowed the existing squad to prove themselves - until the Town are knocked out of the cup by Dagenham, the first time since joining the league in 1920 that Swindon have lost at home to non-league opposition. Macari begins to make changes, bringing in Chris Ramsey and David Cole, plus four other loan players - and results begin to pick up. Unbeknown to Town fans though, his relationship with Gregg is strained to say the least - and the board take a harsh line, sacking them both on Good Friday. The sackings spark a protest from Swindon fans to get Macari reinstated, and they succeed - he rejoins the club just five days later. The Town finish in a healthy eighth place - and Macari brings in seven new players before the start of the following season.

Canon League Division Four:  8th of 24
 
RESERVES Football Combination reserves table |



SEASON 1983-1984

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The sale of Rideout leaves the Town lacking in firepower - only the returning Alan Mayes manages to get into double figures in the League - though the signing of Jimmy Quinn offers hope for the future - he scores a brace in a 7-0 demolition of Kettering in the FA Cup. The cup run is the only bright point of the season - Swindon knocking out Second Division Carlisle in round three, before succumbing to Blackburn in the Fourth Round. The League form wasn't good though, and the Town ended up in 17th place - their lowest ever league position, but the lack of funding looked to have persuaded the board to keep Beamish in the hot seat, as he is offered another year's deal.

Football League Division Four:  17th of 24
 
RESERVES Football Combination reserves table |



SEASON 1982-1983

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A mid-season run looks to have put the Town in with a shout of promotion - and going into the Christmas period, they sit in second place - two points behind leaders Bury, with a game in hand. They crush Aldershot 7-0 in the cup, but suddenly things take a turn for the worse - a run of six defeats and a draw triggers a demonstration by the fans - and John Trollope is relieved of his duties, returning to his previous youth team role. A player, Ken Beamish, is given the chance to take over, and he steadies the ship - consolidating an eighth place finish for the Town, and securing a year's contract for himself. At the end of the season, financial problems force the sale of Paul Rideout, who signs for Aston Villa for a record 175,000 - which is eventually increased to 250,000 after a number of first team appearances.

Football League Division Four:  8th of 24
 
RESERVES Football Combination reserves table |



SEASON 1981-1982

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The League introduces three points for a win, instead of two - but it does little to help the Town, who spend the entire year in a relegation battle. In financial difficulties, the club's record signing, David Peach, is released on a free transfer to reduce the club's wage bill, after a disappointing period at the County Ground. The Town are knocked out of the League Cup at the first hurdle, and only get to the Third Round of the FA Cup by virtue of meeting non-league opposition in rounds one and two - and in mid-April, they are five points short of safety. A run of four wins in six games raises hopes, but the Town travel to fellow strugglers Newport on the final day of the season, needing a win to stay in the division. Rideout hits the post in the second half, but that's the closest that Swindon come to a goal - and a late penalty seals their fate. Just twelve years after looking like being promoted to the First Division, Swindon are relegated to the Fourth for the first time in their history.

Football League Division Three:  22nd of 24
 
RESERVES Football Combination reserves table |



SEASON 1980-1981

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After becoming the youth team manager, and missing the whole of the prior season, a terrible start sees a recall for John Trollope to the Town's line-up, and he goes on to make his 770th league appearance for Swindon - a Football League record. The Town are thumped 5-0 at Liverpool in the League Cup - and they as sit in the relegation zone, manager Smith is sacked, despite a home win over Huddersfield. Trollope is persuaded to take over - and he finally retires from playing to concentrate his efforts on saving Swindon from relegation. After the sale of Alan Mayes to Chelsea for a club record 200,000, Trollope brings youngster Paul Rideout into the side - and he scores on his debut, becoming the youngest player and goalscorer in a League match in the Town's history. In the end, Swindon narrowly avoid relegation - a 0-0 draw at Brentford on the last day of the season finally securing their Third Division status.

Football League Division Three:  17th of 24
 
RESERVES Football Combination reserves table |



SEASON 1979-1980

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A good run of results puts the Town in the promotion hunt again - and an 8-0 win over Bury in December catapults them into the top three. Meanwhile - Swindon go on another run in the League Cup - and they draw 1-1 with Arsenal at Highbury in the Fifth Round to bring them to the County Ground for a replay. They go 3-1 up, but the Gunners peg them back to 3-3, before a goal from Andy Rowland five minutes from time puts the Town through to the semi-finals, where they meet Wolves. A late Alan Mayes goal puts the Town 2-1 up on aggregate in the first leg - and they appear to go further in front at Molineux - but Billy Tucker's goal is controversially disallowed. Wolves then score two in quick succession to go ahead - but a terrible foul from Wolves keeper Paul Bradshaw hands Swindon a penalty. Ray McHale converts the spot kick, but the foul leaves Mayes with a badly gashed eye, which needs stitches. With just five minutes to go, Wolves score again - and they win 4-3 on aggregate, dashing the Town's dream of Wembley. The game seems to have an effect on performances, and Swindon go on a run of just three wins in eighteen games, and nine away games are lost on the trot - so manager Bob Smith tries to turn the tide with a couple of big-name signings. Firstly, he smashes the transfer record to bring David Peach to the club for 150,000 from Southampton, then he signs Glenn Cockerill for 100,000 from Lincoln. They make little difference - and the Town end up in tenth place.

Football League Division Three:  10th of 24
 
RESERVES Football Combination reserves table |