Realistic Cooper insists season has been a success

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Mark Cooper Mark Cooper

“IF WE’D started the other way round, struggled at the start and worked our way up to eighth everyone would be jumping up and down saying ‘what a great season’.”

Following Swindon Town’s 1-0 victory over high-flying Preston North End on Saturday, manager Mark Cooper once again suggested that, for all the doom and gloom about the County Ground in recent weeks, the Robins’ campaign has not been a bad one.

Town ended Preston’s 12-match unbeaten streak thanks to Michael Smith’s 56th-minute penalty, securing their first home win in almost two months in the process, to lift themselves to eighth in the League One table.

The play-offs maybe out of sight, although Swindon did close the gap on sixth-placed Peterborough United to seven points, but reflecting on their season as a whole Cooper was at pains to state the situation was not that bad.

He said: “If we’d have started the other way round, struggled at the start and worked our way up to eighth everyone would be jumping up and down saying ‘what a great season’.

“The way it’s transpired is the other way.I don’t know whether it’s realism but I understand.

“When you see the age of the team today, let’s be realistic.”

The average age of Swindon’s starting XI on Saturday was a little over 22, while Preston’s was closer to 26, and the three substitutes used by North End in an effort to change the game boasted almost 400 professional appearances more than the entire Town team combined.

Given those statistics, Cooper thought the home fans appreciated the nature of his side’s performance.

“If you look at the age of the team today that’s where we’re going to be next season, we’re going to be younger probably,” he said.

“We want to be energetic, fit and we want to play. If we play like that I think the fans can live with it.

“If they’d scored near the end I think the fans would have lived with the performance because we’ve played with drive and desire.

“It was brilliant.

“I know it’s difficult when you’re not playing well and balls keep going back to the goalkeeper and you want to scream and shout ‘get it forward’.

“I understand that but that’s not what the remit is.

“We have to try to play football and if we’re going to bring players through like Ben Gladwin then we have to do that.”

Comments (13)

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7:01am Mon 24 Mar 14

LionelHutz says...

Agree with most of what he says, although strange to use age as a reason and then go on to say the squad will be even younger next season.
Agree with most of what he says, although strange to use age as a reason and then go on to say the squad will be even younger next season. LionelHutz
  • Score: 1

7:21am Mon 24 Mar 14

Helpme234 says...

Just like to pick him up on one comment - If we'd started badly and worked our way up to 8th that would have been am sign of progress.
Just like to pick him up on one comment - If we'd started badly and worked our way up to 8th that would have been am sign of progress. Helpme234
  • Score: 1

7:33am Mon 24 Mar 14

Lazaat says...

Most of us would have settled for a top half finish this season. Sounds like we have some promising young players already lined up for next season so i am optimistic we could be challenging. I really hope we manage to keep the young Southampton centre half on a long term loan, if we had a decent defence we would probably have made the play offs this season?
Most of us would have settled for a top half finish this season. Sounds like we have some promising young players already lined up for next season so i am optimistic we could be challenging. I really hope we manage to keep the young Southampton centre half on a long term loan, if we had a decent defence we would probably have made the play offs this season? Lazaat
  • Score: 8

7:50am Mon 24 Mar 14

perth red says...

LionelHutz wrote:
Agree with most of what he says, although strange to use age as a reason and then go on to say the squad will be even younger next season.
Because it has to be, due to the wage costraints. It also seems pretty clear that the likes of Ward, Jay and possibly even Troy are unlikely to be here. I'm not sure what their contract situations are, but I would expect Cox,Williams, Harley and N'Guessan to be off the books as well. Like most others on here I do hope they make an exception for Troy.
[quote][p][bold]LionelHutz[/bold] wrote: Agree with most of what he says, although strange to use age as a reason and then go on to say the squad will be even younger next season.[/p][/quote]Because it has to be, due to the wage costraints. It also seems pretty clear that the likes of Ward, Jay and possibly even Troy are unlikely to be here. I'm not sure what their contract situations are, but I would expect Cox,Williams, Harley and N'Guessan to be off the books as well. Like most others on here I do hope they make an exception for Troy. perth red
  • Score: 0

7:50am Mon 24 Mar 14

stokes_stfc says...

I really cannot understand citing age as a reason for not finishing higher in the table (although in my opinion this is the reason) and then saying that we will be even younger next season... It seems cooper is saying we could never have reached the playoffs because of our inexperience, so what are we going to do about it? Put out an even less experienced team next year! It all hints to me that ward, jmac and dany ng will be leaving and coops is indicating that any new additions will be young...
I really cannot understand citing age as a reason for not finishing higher in the table (although in my opinion this is the reason) and then saying that we will be even younger next season... It seems cooper is saying we could never have reached the playoffs because of our inexperience, so what are we going to do about it? Put out an even less experienced team next year! It all hints to me that ward, jmac and dany ng will be leaving and coops is indicating that any new additions will be young... stokes_stfc
  • Score: 0

8:39am Mon 24 Mar 14

Since 1950 says...

I said before the start of the season that anything but relegation would be a success in itself. To finish knocking on the door of a play off place is a credit to all that is trying to be achieved at the club.
I said before the start of the season that anything but relegation would be a success in itself. To finish knocking on the door of a play off place is a credit to all that is trying to be achieved at the club. Since 1950
  • Score: 18

8:41am Mon 24 Mar 14

umpcah says...

stokes_stfc wrote:
I really cannot understand citing age as a reason for not finishing higher in the table (although in my opinion this is the reason) and then saying that we will be even younger next season... It seems cooper is saying we could never have reached the playoffs because of our inexperience, so what are we going to do about it? Put out an even less experienced team next year! It all hints to me that ward, jmac and dany ng will be leaving and coops is indicating that any new additions will be young...
I think it highly likely that Power and Coops intend to offload those you mention and rebuild with YOUNG ones and at the same time cut the salarybill. I`m not sure that a promotion push is on he cards asap either. More likely the season after next when the youngsters have matured ? Hopefully Town fans can still enjoy the footie and not expect too much too soon !
[quote][p][bold]stokes_stfc[/bold] wrote: I really cannot understand citing age as a reason for not finishing higher in the table (although in my opinion this is the reason) and then saying that we will be even younger next season... It seems cooper is saying we could never have reached the playoffs because of our inexperience, so what are we going to do about it? Put out an even less experienced team next year! It all hints to me that ward, jmac and dany ng will be leaving and coops is indicating that any new additions will be young...[/p][/quote]I think it highly likely that Power and Coops intend to offload those you mention and rebuild with YOUNG ones and at the same time cut the salarybill. I`m not sure that a promotion push is on he cards asap either. More likely the season after next when the youngsters have matured ? Hopefully Town fans can still enjoy the footie and not expect too much too soon ! umpcah
  • Score: 3

8:46am Mon 24 Mar 14

dazzastfc says...

stokes_stfc wrote:
I really cannot understand citing age as a reason for not finishing higher in the table (although in my opinion this is the reason) and then saying that we will be even younger next season... It seems cooper is saying we could never have reached the playoffs because of our inexperience, so what are we going to do about it? Put out an even less experienced team next year! It all hints to me that ward, jmac and dany ng will be leaving and coops is indicating that any new additions will be young...
STOP ON STOKES..
What about TAH..and Ranger will they be here next season ??...
I dont rate JMac as he has injuries nearly every other game BUT on a lot lower wage I think we should try and keep him with Troy and hopefully Stevens will be here next season as well..
[quote][p][bold]stokes_stfc[/bold] wrote: I really cannot understand citing age as a reason for not finishing higher in the table (although in my opinion this is the reason) and then saying that we will be even younger next season... It seems cooper is saying we could never have reached the playoffs because of our inexperience, so what are we going to do about it? Put out an even less experienced team next year! It all hints to me that ward, jmac and dany ng will be leaving and coops is indicating that any new additions will be young...[/p][/quote]STOP ON STOKES.. What about TAH..and Ranger will they be here next season ??... I dont rate JMac as he has injuries nearly every other game BUT on a lot lower wage I think we should try and keep him with Troy and hopefully Stevens will be here next season as well.. dazzastfc
  • Score: 0

8:56am Mon 24 Mar 14

umpcah says...

dazzastfc wrote:
stokes_stfc wrote:
I really cannot understand citing age as a reason for not finishing higher in the table (although in my opinion this is the reason) and then saying that we will be even younger next season... It seems cooper is saying we could never have reached the playoffs because of our inexperience, so what are we going to do about it? Put out an even less experienced team next year! It all hints to me that ward, jmac and dany ng will be leaving and coops is indicating that any new additions will be young...
STOP ON STOKES..
What about TAH..and Ranger will they be here next season ??...
I dont rate JMac as he has injuries nearly every other game BUT on a lot lower wage I think we should try and keep him with Troy and hopefully Stevens will be here next season as well..
DAZ : I just cant see Ranger being a Town player much longer. His behaviour this weekend indicates that he`s still too much of a loose cannon and a poor example to the younger ones. Great player though !
[quote][p][bold]dazzastfc[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]stokes_stfc[/bold] wrote: I really cannot understand citing age as a reason for not finishing higher in the table (although in my opinion this is the reason) and then saying that we will be even younger next season... It seems cooper is saying we could never have reached the playoffs because of our inexperience, so what are we going to do about it? Put out an even less experienced team next year! It all hints to me that ward, jmac and dany ng will be leaving and coops is indicating that any new additions will be young...[/p][/quote]STOP ON STOKES.. What about TAH..and Ranger will they be here next season ??... I dont rate JMac as he has injuries nearly every other game BUT on a lot lower wage I think we should try and keep him with Troy and hopefully Stevens will be here next season as well..[/p][/quote]DAZ : I just cant see Ranger being a Town player much longer. His behaviour this weekend indicates that he`s still too much of a loose cannon and a poor example to the younger ones. Great player though ! umpcah
  • Score: 0

9:11am Mon 24 Mar 14

London Red says...

I think the big thing which has been excluded from the articles and comments is that age and experience are not the same thing
.
Obviously they are linked as the older you are the more likely the experienced you are - but you can be young and experienced
.
Troy is the prime example of that in our team he is 24 - but has over 150 games to his name which means he has a fair amount of experience - that would have been closer to 250 if it was not for his knee injury!
.
Wes is another he will be going into his 4th season with us next year and has over 150 games under his belt too - yet is extremely young for a keeper at only 23
.
That will then extend to the others - N.Thompson, Byrne, Luongo, Kasim, L.Thompson, Gladwin etc - who will all still be young but will all be vastly more expereinced having entered their 2nd full season - most will double their appearances totals!
.
So if we were to name the same XI next March - the average age would only be 23 - but the total number of appearances could be 1,300 odd instead of 772 - so practically doubled!
.
Average age not always the best judge of the squad as losing Navarro and Benson will pull down the age but make no impact - actually will make us stronger as their replacements might actually be involved!
I think the big thing which has been excluded from the articles and comments is that age and experience are not the same thing . Obviously they are linked as the older you are the more likely the experienced you are - but you can be young and experienced . Troy is the prime example of that in our team he is 24 - but has over 150 games to his name which means he has a fair amount of experience - that would have been closer to 250 if it was not for his knee injury! . Wes is another he will be going into his 4th season with us next year and has over 150 games under his belt too - yet is extremely young for a keeper at only 23 . That will then extend to the others - N.Thompson, Byrne, Luongo, Kasim, L.Thompson, Gladwin etc - who will all still be young but will all be vastly more expereinced having entered their 2nd full season - most will double their appearances totals! . So if we were to name the same XI next March - the average age would only be 23 - but the total number of appearances could be 1,300 odd instead of 772 - so practically doubled! . Average age not always the best judge of the squad as losing Navarro and Benson will pull down the age but make no impact - actually will make us stronger as their replacements might actually be involved! London Red
  • Score: 8

1:03pm Mon 24 Mar 14

Swindon1984 says...

I'd said more or less what Cooper's saying now a few weeks back - if we'd either been patchy (as we've been most of the season) for the whole season, and finished eighth, good result for the season. If we'd had a bad first half and a good second, also good. Overall it hasn't been a bad season, it's just that we've had a right bad run towards the end, where if we'd had a few better results we could be talking play off chances. That's now not realistic, but glad we've broken the duck and can be positive about the remaining games. Said before Saturday, Cooper's achieved what was expected of him for this season presumably, and so it would be very unfair for people to call for his head on the basis that he hasn't taken us further.
I'd said more or less what Cooper's saying now a few weeks back - if we'd either been patchy (as we've been most of the season) for the whole season, and finished eighth, good result for the season. If we'd had a bad first half and a good second, also good. Overall it hasn't been a bad season, it's just that we've had a right bad run towards the end, where if we'd had a few better results we could be talking play off chances. That's now not realistic, but glad we've broken the duck and can be positive about the remaining games. Said before Saturday, Cooper's achieved what was expected of him for this season presumably, and so it would be very unfair for people to call for his head on the basis that he hasn't taken us further. Swindon1984
  • Score: 2

1:52pm Mon 24 Mar 14

badger58 says...

As said above the old guard will be on their way replaced by young uns but those moving on wasn't playing anyway and imo Ward will be offered a coaching roll which to me would be a good move a good CH but the legs have gone his experience would be invaluable to the younger players .
Like many on here I hope Stephens returns on season long loan plus TAH ( best CH in this league ) is resigned ,I know it's taking chance on his fitness but one worth taking .
Still it's going to an interesting summer at SN1 and who knows what the future holds ? That's what makes supporting this great club of ours so good so good !
As said above the old guard will be on their way replaced by young uns but those moving on wasn't playing anyway and imo Ward will be offered a coaching roll which to me would be a good move a good CH but the legs have gone his experience would be invaluable to the younger players . Like many on here I hope Stephens returns on season long loan plus TAH ( best CH in this league ) is resigned ,I know it's taking chance on his fitness but one worth taking . Still it's going to an interesting summer at SN1 and who knows what the future holds ? That's what makes supporting this great club of ours so good so good ! badger58
  • Score: 0

3:28am Tue 25 Mar 14

uruguay whitey the red says...

fit and energetic???stop giving them so many days off.Only recently puppet has been making excuses because the youngsters are tired,you cant keep making a statement with 2 meanings in it.
fit and energetic???stop giving them so many days off.Only recently puppet has been making excuses because the youngsters are tired,you cant keep making a statement with 2 meanings in it. uruguay whitey the red
  • Score: 0

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