WHEN I was little, like many, I thought astronauts were cool.
Like many, I dreamed of the endless nothingness of space and what it would be like to glide almost aimlessly through the skies.
Over the years, partly down to a love of writing and perhaps more pertinently down to an insatiable appetite for fast food and the discovery of alcohol, that obsession petered out into happy memories. Little did I know that, at the age of 25, I would experience that weightless feeling while sat wildly typing up quotes in a dimly-lit office on a cold night in January.
It’s as though someone thought it’d be funny to switch off the gravity in the world of Swindon Town this week and leave us all floating around, scrambling for answers that are either out of reach or simply unknown.
Welcome to limbo. We’ve been drifting in a strange state of flux between owner and owner, unable to sign players and apparently unwilling to enlighten the masses as to why.
I’m hesitant to blame any one individual. The press office at the County Ground has been working absurdly long hours of late, my mobile’s logs are testament to that, in trying to deliver the necessary facts to appease the worried fanbase.
The current board, that of the soon-to-be ex-majority shareholder Andrew Black, are fighting hard to finalise their departure as soon as possible while the incoming board, that of Jed McCrory, remain constrained by a non-disclosure agreement regarding the takeover.
It would be unfair for us to expect McCrory to come out publicly and address the Swindon fans until he is satisfied that everything is complete. From my brief conversations with him he seems to be a man with football at heart, who wants to do the best to help our club survive. And I don’t use that word without due merit.
So we’re left with a peculiar state of affairs; a state of affairs in which no one and everyone is responsible equally. What the supporters deserve in this instance is some kind of clarity, but until today they’ve been forced to interpret threads of information, leaving the situation open to manipulation and misunderstanding.
It’s taken the erudite and eloquent chief executive, Nick Watkins, to give us the tools with which to understand the situation more clearly.
But the buck does not stop with the club. The fans must let business run its course. If we interfere too much then the building blocks already in place could come tumbling down. During the sale of the club certain elements have already had a negative influence on discussions.
Can we not be forthright and polite at the same time? After all, we’re all used to this kind of thing. It’s what Swindon Town is about, is it not?
The club should really come with the strapline, ‘Adversity: And how we overcome it’.
With the best part of 20 years’ experience watching the Town behind me I, like the rest of you, am all too aware of the trials and tribulations this bonkers and bizarrely endearing club puts itself through.
We’re the Football League’s equivalent of Dan Brown’s albino monk Silas. We know that being an intimate part of our footballing corner of the country brings with it the demands for self-flagellation on a scale which fans of many other clubs simply could not imagine, yet we keep our faith.
Our penance for the glory of 1969, the dizzy heights of 1993 and the magical rollercoaster ride of the Di Canio years is the knowledge that, on a seemingly cyclical basis, we will get hit with an almighty sucker-punch out of nowhere. A flailing right hook from an assailant in the dark.
Over the years, because of that, our chins have hardened. We know all about administration, we know all about controversy, we know all about squads of players who between them lack the character or charisma to inspire even the most fairweather of supporters.
And yet through it all there remain 200 hardy souls who’ll slide down Drove Road in temperatures cold enough to freeze a polar bear’s nipple to shovel snow for hours on end.
Through it remain the 749 intrepid men, women and children who’ll watch a bore draw in the rain in east London and still out-sing the opposition for 90 minutes.
Through it remain the institutions of the club. Silases one and all.