Swindon-Town-FC.co.uk is an unofficial website that is aiming to be a complete online encyclopedia of Swindon Town Football Club. Always a work in progress, at the time of writing (August 2010) the site consists of the following sections:
Big thanks go to Paul Plowman and John Young for their help in making this happen – Paul for supplying and allowing me to use endless amounts of information, John for his superb research, particularly into matches played in the Southern League.
To achieve this, I have used many sources of information – books, magazines, programmes, fanzines, websites, TV programmes etc – I do not hold the copyright for some of the resources used. In posting this information, it is not my intention to infringe anyone else’s copyright – the information is provided as a service to STFC’s and other football fans – if you find something on the site that you would prefer was removed, please contact me and I will remove as soon as possible. Please note that I do not, nor will ever, make any financial gain out of this website – in fact it costs me hundreds of pounds every year to run and maintain.
Also, please note that this is not the official club site, so any views or opinions expressed on this site do not represent the views of Swindon Town Football Club. Also, if you are from Nigeria or wherever looking for a trial with the club, I’m afraid I can’t help you – please contact the club through the official site at http://www.swindontownfc.co.uk.
The first incarnation of Swindon-Town-FC.co.uk began in 1999, and started as a result of a work project – I was trying to learn HTML to create an intranet site, and so decided to do a bit of investigation in my spare time. The original site was posted on my personal webspace at http://website.lineone.net/~rbanyard/swindontown/index.html - and started off with ten seasons’ worth of results copied out of my old Rothmans books, profiles of some players past and present, and pictures of South Park characters and the Simpsons in Swindon shirts, all set in a frankly embarrassingly bad design. It also got me my first emailed letter of complaint, when a professor at a university took exception to my STFC Donor Card (I would like to help someone live after my death.... as long as they don’t support Oxford), an idea shamelessly stolen from an old satirical magazine “Sweet FA”.
About a year later, I bought the domain name http://www.swindon-town-fc.co.uk. Yes, yes.... I know.... I know.... not exactly the best choice – my dull selection even gets a mention in the superb Grimsby website Cod Almighty (see, that’s how you do it). In my defence, I purchased it way back when there was very little STFC content on the web, and before there was an official STFC site – just before I launched with the domain name, the club announced their new site at http://www.swindonfc.co.uk. Since then, I have toyed with changing the name of the site on a few occasions, possibly to www.theidesofmarch.co.uk as a tribute to the most successful day in the club’s history, and I was considering www.townenders.com (like EastEnders, but the story is about STFC....) just weeks before the TEF was launched.
After a bit of a make-over, the new site was launched over the summer in 2000 – with a bit more historical information, and the introduction of my own “editorial” section. At this point, the site was getting an update around once a month, and after another minor revamp early in 2001, more and more historical data was being added – but with the site still running off static HTML pages, it was getting a bit big for its boots. Then, over the close-season in 2002, after gathering together all of the Town’s league and cup results, all of the content was moved over to an SQL database with ASP webpages, which enabled the gradual addition of more and more data. By the end of the 2002/03 season, there were around 700 ex-Town players and staff in the database, all of the final league tables, and almost every Town result (though the pre-1920 dates and goalscorers were mostly missing). I’d also started capturing the match lineups, though at this point only for the current season.
Over the course of the next few years, and after many visits to Swindon Library, the missing dates and goalscorers were added, and I started to add some of the older match lineups, again from my Rothmans books. It was about this time that I had a conversation with my wife:
“You’re not going to enter all of those match lineups, are you?”
“No way, it would take ages.”
But.... after managing to get hold of Paul Plowman’s excellent publications from the 1980’s on eBay, with his permission I quickly added all STFC lineups back to 1920 – and by 2006, pretty much every STFC lineup was recorded. Over that summer, the site took on another revamp, and Stat Attack was launched, allowing easier access to some of the data, all built from the match lineups. Another eBay purchase - this time of a series of old videos -brought the introduction of the video library in 2008, and though 2009 was a slow year for updates on the site, behind the scenes loads of work was taking place, this time to add the opposition lineups. This was a major undertaking – finding out and entering the lineups, then painstakingly cross-referencing the players – this cross-referencing alone took almost a year to complete, the database now has over 14,500 opposition players in it. This was finally launched in time for the start of the 2009/10 season, along with another new look.
So, what next?
Well... as mentioned above, the site is always going to be a work in progress, current ideas for future developments include:
Any other suggestions gratefully received.
Well.... if you got to here you’re either incredibly bored or expected the link at the top to take you to the homepage. This section explains the different straplines that appear in the site’s title – for the homepage, click the “badge history” logo, or here.
A history of the 56th best team in the country
A little bit controversial.... one afternoon I had too much time on my hands and worked out that the average position that STFC finished in the League since 1920 was 56th (taking into account points gained in both the Third Division North and South from 1921-1958). That puts us exactly half-way up League One in today’s money – not surprising considering that STFC has spent the vast majority of its time at this level, with only brief flirtations with the level above and below. The highest position ever was of course in 1993/94 (22nd in the Premier), the lowest in 1955/56, when the Town finished bottom of Division Three (South), and therefore 91st out of 92, with Crewe Alexandra yielding two less points in Division Three (North). The Town also finished bottom of Division Three (South) in 1933, with only 88 teams in the League, they would have been positioned 87th.... so we've never been the worst team in the League!
Of course, there are loads of other ways to work this out... the RSSSF shows the all-time league table here, which puts the Town in 48th place: http://www.rsssf.com/tablese/engprof-alltime.html. Interestingly, if you made the same table of matches in the FA Cup, up until recently the Town were in the top 10.
The Spartans, the Railwaymen and the Robins
This one simply refers to the Town’s nicknames over the years – the “Spartans” was the name that the original Swindon AFC team changed their name to back in the early 1880’s, the “Railwaymen” obviously came out of the town’s links with the GWR, and the “Robins” first began to appear after the club changed to red shirts in the early 1900’s. Other nicknames seen in print are the “Signalmen” (another railway reference), the “Moonrakers” (from the famous Wiltshire tale), and the “Quartermasters” (seen in the early Southern League days, when the Town wore red and black quartered shirts).
Salubritas et Industria
The Latin motto of the town of Swindon, meaning “Healthy and Industrious”, that first appeared on the arms of the Borough of Swindon in 1900, after the unification of Old and New Swindon – STFC’s original badge was closely modelled on the Town’s arms, and the motto also became a part of the club.
“For the first time, suddenly I became aware of all the Swindon fans sitting around us....”
An excerpt from arguably the best football book of all time - Fever Pitch, by Nick Hornby – in which Hornby describes his life as an Arsenal fan, and is obviously indelibly scarred as a young boy by the defeat to the Town in the 1969 League Cup Final, to which a chapter of the book is dedicated. The full paragraph is as follows:
For the first time, suddenly, I became aware of all the Swindon fans sitting around us, with their awful West Country accents, their absurd innocent glee, their delirious disbelief. I hadn't ever come across opposing fans before, and I loathed them in a way I had never before loathed strangers.
The book is a superb read – and a lot of what Hornby says I see in myself – if you haven’t read it, do!!
Beware, the Ides of March!
The “ides of March” was the name of March 15 in the Roman calendar – and the day that Julius Caesar was assassinated, beforehand he was told to “beware, the ides of March”. This was also the headline in the Evening Standard on the day of the Town's first ever visit to play Arsenal in the 1969 League Cup Final... with most expecting an easy win for the Gunners, as if you didn't know already... it was Swindon who took home the silverware. March 15 is also a day that the Town has a surprisingly good record on – in 1986, Swindon beat Burnley 3-0 to set a club record of 14 consecutive home wins.
“Why the f*** didn’t they put the effort in every week, then maybe they wouldn’t be playing for f***ing Swindon.”
An excerpt from Roy Keane’s autobiography, when he talks of his frustration with other teams upping their game for the matches against Manchester United – the full passage goes as follows:
I welcomed the intensity of every United road game. There was no danger of becoming complacent and I felt this would help me become a better player. But the extra effort made by players from clubs like Norwich, Swindon, Crystal Palace, Oldham and Wimbledon usually led to trouble. Confronted by tackles that were high, late and sometimes crazy, our only option was to meet fire with fire. Eric, Incey, Mark Hughes and myself led the resistance. It was no coincidence that Eric had been sent off at Swindon and identified as the villain after the Norwich cup tie. Taking him down a peg or two seemed to be objective number one for the opposition hard men. Perhaps part-time hard men would be a better description. For what really bugged us was the thought that these guys were out to make a name for themselves by sorting us out. Why the f*** didn't they put the effort in every week, then maybe they wouldn't be playing for f***ing Norwich or Swindon. So there was no rolling over when faced with this stuff. Meet aggression with aggression, then ability would make the difference at the end of the day.
“If the Swindon team could only have more practice in shooting at goal, any club in the South of England would have a difficult task to beat them.”
When scouring old newspapers for information, some of the comments always make me laugh – this one was a good one from the North Wilts Herald, after the Town had drawn 0-0 in a friendly against Maidenhead in 1887.
I’ve often been asked what the success rate percentages relate to – basically, for a win, a team is awarded 100%, a draw each team gets 50% of the success rate, losses 0%. When a match is decided by a penalty shoot out, both teams’ rates are adjusted, so the winning team would get 75% and the loser 25%.
There are many other methods of doing this, this was my preferred option because both teams add up to 100% - so, as of August 2010, Swindon’s success rate against Oxford was 62.7%, Oxford’s against Swindon 37.3%. Other methods don’t do this – and although this method gives the impression of using two points for a win, this isn’t the intention; I thought it preferable to “% of points won” which would result in different percentages after three points for a win was introduced to before (and teams don’t get points in cup games), or “% matches won” which doesn’t assign anything to a drawn game.
As always, if you do have any ideas or suggestions for improvement, if you would like to contribute to the site in some way, or just if you would like to get in touch, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for visiting.