AT THE start of a new year the sporting world is full of predictions and speculation about what is to come over the following 12 months.
Luckily for readers of the Advertiser, we’ve gone one step further and invested in a rather expensive crystal ball which has told us exactly what is going to happen in 2014.
So here’s the spoiler alert, turn away now if you want the events of the next year to be a surprise as we reveal Swindon’s extraordinary sporting year of 2014.
THE new year opens with plenty of activity in the transfer market for Swindon Town, who reject an offer of £5million and a season’s pass to Cineworld from Bristol City for Massimo Luongo.
Following Oxford’s surprise expulsion from the FA Cup, Town are treated to a wildcard reinstatement and make the most of their chance by winning on penalties at Charlton. Stephen Darby, on loan from Bradford, nets the winner.
Swindon Robins announce they are to merge with the Swindon Wildcats and all future races will take place at the Link Centre. The BSPA react to this shock news by doing absolutely nothing.
WITH Sochi having been stripped of the Winter Olympics at the last minute after a high-ranking official offends Stephen Fry on a special edition of QI, Swindon is surprisingly nominated by the IOC to take charge.
Shelley Rudman, on near-as-damn-it home “snow”, flies down a makeshift luge track on Victoria Hill to claim gold. Rockin’ Robin is named as the Games’ mascot but tragedy strikes when the Canadian ice hockey side mistake him for an opponent and beat him to a pulp.
An eight-match winning run sends Swindon Town top of League One but it soon emerges the club have been put into a transfer embargo by the Football League “as a prank”. Andrew Black releases a statement on Twitter. Just because he can.
NICKY Henderson’s Cheltenham Festival gets off to a curious start in the Champion Hurdle when My Tent Or Yours stops halfway round the famous course and starts to freestyle dressage. The Gold Cup crowd watch a surprise winner, as Laura Collett guides Kauto Star to a comeback triumph.
Following the departure of Nick Morris to Leicester, Swindon Robins pick up Greg Hanock on a zero average after the BSPA forget he exists. Hancock posts five consecutive maximums as the Robins start the season on a high.
Four goals in four minutes from Connor Waldon, who is being scouted by Manchester United and Real Madrid, gives Town a 12-point lead at the top of League One following their 8-0 victory at home to Wolves. Manager Mark Cooper tries an innovative 0-10-0 formation at Ashton Gate but Wes Foderingham scores the only goal of the game from a goal-kick. Bristol City are relegated as a result and Aden Flint takes to Twitter to ask for his old job back. Swindon win the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, melt it down and pawn it for extra funds.
SIMON Belcher gets a surprise call from Ferrari to replace Felipe Massa, who has chickenpox, at the Bahrain Grand Prix but the Swindon speedster hits a protester on the first bend and retires.
Stephen Lee finally gives up hope of clearing his name in snooker circles and starts a new career as a John Candy impersonator.
Swindon Wildcats surprise everyone by finishing sixth in the English Premier League but can’t sneak past Manchester in the play-off quarter-finals. Ryan Aldridge steps down and is replaced by Alun Rossiter and Paolo Di Canio for 2014/15.
Swindon Town remain in embargo, with the Football League sending them a Facebook poke to remind them of the situation every 24 hours. “Just for a bit of fun”, the Robins are lumped with a 20-point deduction, wiping out their lead at the top of the table.
With Cooper down to the bare bones on the final day of the regular season, the Town boss registers himself and Lee Power for the clash with Rotherham. Each scores a brace as Swindon sneak the title on goal difference from a resurgent Crewe. Leyton Orient, who have lost every game in 2014, are relegated.
Nationwide House Cricket Club shock the cricketing world with the announcement of the signing of Marcus Trescothick for the new season.
Marcus Trescothick leaves Nationwide, despite scoring 254 on debut, citing homesickness and is replaced by an overweight 54-year-old from financial services.
Swindon Robins’ experimental season at the Link Centre is abandoned after Peter Kildemand is accidentally locked in on the ice and suffers minor frostbite to his right hand.
FIFA decide to strip the World Cup from Brazil and relocate it to Wiltshire on the advice of Bobby Barnes. England’s tricky game in the Amazon jungle is instead held at The Elms Recreation Ground in Highworth in searing 18-degree heat.
Victories over Uruguay at Cinder Lane and Costa Rica at The Flying Monk Ground see the national side into the last 16, where they lose to Portugal on penalties. Brazil still win the competition.
Sam Hutt, coached by Goran Ivanesevic, reaches the semi-finals at Wimbledon where he loses to a resurgent Tim Henman.
TROY Batchelor wins the Tour de France but is disqualified for using performance enhancing engineering before Jazz Carlin causes waves at the Commonwealth Games.
The former Swindon Tigershark announces her retirement from swimming 30 seconds before her first heat in the 400m freestyle to start a new career in judo, in which she wins gold in the 70kg category.
Lee Power accidentally sells Swindon Town to the News of the World’s “fake sheikh”. Mark Cooper resigns in protest and is replaced by Joey Beauchamp.
The News of the World’s “fake sheikh” announces investment of £100million to build ahead of the Championship campaign.
David Howell shoots a Kim Jong Il-like final round of 30 to win The Open Championship by 50 strokes and climb to number two in the world. When Paul McGinley quits as Ryder Cup captain the Broome Manor golfer is named as his replacement.
Jed McCrory reveals on Twitter that he is undertaking an English Language post-graduate degree.
SWINDON Robins reach the Elite League play-offs, as Greg Hancock records his 29th straight maximum in a huge win at Poole Pirates. The BSPA remember who the American is towards the end of the month and plan to email Swindon to question the signing, only to discover none of them know how to use a computer.
Howell leads Europe to the first-ever Ryder Cup whitewash of the USA at Gleneagles. The cheeky Swindonian gets carried away in the singles after beating Jason Dufner, however, and is banned for life by the Scottish course for kneesliding topless across the 17th green following his 2&1 victory.
The Championship is a difficult place for Swindon Town who, with Darren Ward in charge, lose eight of their first 10 games. A player revolt, led by Nathan Byrne and Nathan Thompson, begins after the Town squad is fed yam and beetroot smoothie for the 37th consecutive lunchtime.
THE BSPA’s written letter informing Swindon Robins of their exclusion from the Elite League arrives via carrier pigeon the morning after play-off final victory over Poole.
Swindon Wildcats coaches Alun Rossiter and Paolo Di Canio announce their intent to finish in the play-off places, but their reign does not last long as Shane Moore discovers Di Canio’s plans to ban barbecue sauce the night before games. Ryan Aldridge returns.
Laura Collett and Kauto Star claim L’Arc de Triomphe glory but there’s no such great success for Darren Ward, who is sacked as Swindon Town manager and replaced by Lee Power.
Darren Ward makes up for the shame of being kicked out of Swindon Town by winning the New York marathon, Laura Collett and Kauto Star claim the Melbourne Cup by 100 lengths and Melinda Messenger is drafted in to front Sky Sports News following the shock defection of Natalie Sawyer to BT Sport.
The speedway season keeps on running throughout November as Swindon Robins and Birmingham Brummies find their Knockout Cup final postponed on eight occasions due to heavy snowfall.
Jed McCrory is named as the new host of Newsnight following Jeremy Paxman’s retirement.
SWINDON Town are all-but relegated from the Championship after a 7-3 drubbing at QPR leaves them 20 points adrift by Christmas. Jamie Cullum sacks Lee Power and installs Sophie Dahl as boss.
Swindon Robins finally win the Knockout Cup with a 47-43 victory over Birmingham on Christmas Day, while Laura Collett and Kauto Star win the King George VI at Kempton.
On New Year’s Eve, Swindon Town are sold again.