THE Swindon Town fan leading an online campaign to raise the money necessary to keep three loan stars at the club has stressed that the concept is in no way a swipe at majority shareholder Andrew Black.
After hearing manager Paolo Di Canio say he would be willing to fork out up to £30,000 of his own cash to enable Chris Martin, Danny Hollands and John Bostock to remain in Wiltshire, Devizes-based Trevor Whichello began a Twitter initiative reintroducing supporters to the Red Army Fund - originally set up by Trust STFC to help the club pay for transfer fees and player wages.
Using the hashtag #dicaniofund, Whichello has sparked both donation and debate across the Swindon cybersphere.
Some supporters have criticised the idea, suggesting it is a veiled swipe at Black, but the 40-year-old stated that there is no politics behind the campaign - simply an honest intention to help keep Swindon’s promotion-chasing season on track.
“I’ve tweeted as many times as I can and I’ve tweeted Andrew Black directly to say ‘no way is this a swipe at you’. I can understand why he wouldn’t want to put money in and if he doesn’t that’s fair enough, it’s his cash and he’s already pumped money in,” he said.
“Take away the politics, take away everything in the background - if we need £30,000 to keep this squad together, can we raise that as a group of fans. I don’t care how much the board has spent, I don’t care if they don’t want to spend any more, I don’t care about the politics. All I care about is can we raise around £30,000 that Di Canio was on about.
“The amount of negative comments on Twitter about this has been incredible, it’s taken me back a step really. There are lot of people out there who are never happy but there are almost personal attacks on Twitter. It’s mind-blowing really.”
Now Whichello is keen for those who may not have heard of the initiative to consider taking part.
“I looked at the Carlisle gate and thought if it was £3 a person you’d be round about the money that Di Canio was talking about,” he said. “I tweeted it and said ‘wouldn’t it be good if such and such’ and someone came back and suggested we had a go.
“It went from there. The response on Twitter is what it is, which is why I’m keen to get it out there as well because I’m sure there are others out there who, as yet, aren’t aware of it.
“There have been people who have been saying they’ll donate £50 or £100, so with those tweets coming through I thought I’d take it up for a few days, run with it and see what happens.
“It’s grown legs of its own accord.”
Details of how to make a donation to the Red Army Fund can be found on the Trust STFC website. Visit http://www.truststfc.com/raf/contribute/.
Meanwhile, Town’s trip to Leyton Orient has been rearranged. The original clash, which was scheduled for Boxing Day, was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Brisbane Road.
The tie will now take place on Tuesday, January 29 with kick-off at 7.45pm. Tickets already issued for this game will still be valid on the new date.