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THE SAM MORSHEAD COLUMN
5:50am Saturday 22nd September 2012 in Sport
IT’S amazing how quickly the outside world’s view of Swindon Town as a footballing entitiy is changing.
Not so long ago, little old Swindon could barely attract half-a-second in the national spotlight and, when it did, it was mainly thanks to a very real sense of impending doom.
There was nothing for anyone who didn’t have an intimate association with the club to grab hold of.
There was no charismatic manager, no free-flowing football, no post-match rants about Chihuahuas or Scottish midfielders celebrating in their pants.
There were no PFA award winners, no trips to Italy, no claims of racial harrasment or 21-minute substitutions.
There were no wild analogies, no double training sessions, no public fall-outs or year-long unbeaten home runs.
And in the space of 15 months, that has all changed.
And because of that, and because of the investment and ambition at the heart of the club, Swindon Town is viewed very
Just this week, we got an example of that following a tribunal panel’s decision that James Collins was worth £140,000 up front.
Collins’ former club Shrewsbury, understandably seeing as their valuation was considerably (and I mean really quite considerably) more than £140,000, were less than impressed.
That in itself is hardly shocking, but there was a sentence in the statement that they released after the tribunal fee was announced that was particularly poignant.
It read: “The level of compensation awarded for such a highly valued player undermines the position of a club which operates within a prudent financial budget and instead rewards clubs who approach
players with highly attractive contracts that can be afforded as they are not having to pay an appropriate fee to the parent club.”
“Wow,” I thought. “Are we really now a lower-league bully?”
It was the second time in a week that it had been suggested that little old Swindon have become a tiny bit big time after Carlisle manager Greg Abbott mentioned post-match at Brunton Park last
Saturday that Gary Roberts took a “ridiculous” sum of money to sign on at the County Ground.
If there was love for Swindon Town from those following our plight in the recent past, there will most certainly be jealous resentment in the present.
Opposition fans love to hate Paolo Di Canio, opposition managers envy his budget and strength in depth.
It wouldn’t be fair to brand Town as the underdog in a match against any team in League One.
Di Canio said in the week that he’d rather have more friends in the game than money in the bank.
I’m pretty sure I represent the majority when I say I’d happily sacrifice a few friends to get back into the Championship.
While being popular is always a bonus, it’s the results you get that really matter.
l I ARRIVED at work on Monday to be greeted by a colleague with the biggest smile across his face.
Apparently I was the first reporter in his 10 years with the paper to miss kick-off at a Swindon match after all my travel troubles last weekend.
That’s one accolade I didn’t ever plan on ending up with.
lIt was great to see Swindon Town’s powers-that-be make a gesture of goodwill to those fans who missed much of the game at Brunton Park last week.
You have to be rich, mad or incredibly devoted to travel all that way and it was right that supporters were offered some form of compensation.
However, seeing as the Robins’ hierarchy did their best to delay kick-off without success it was an impressive and all too rare reocgintion of the fans.
Frequently sport seems to forget that it is an entertainment industry.
While supporters could never expect, and probably would never expect a game to be held back an hour or more to allow those stuck on a motorway to see the start, clubs have to remember that they are
Swindon did that and for that they have to be applauded.
lTHE World T20 kicked off in Sri Lanka this week, and yet all people can still find time to talk about is Kevin Pietersen.
Honestly, you would think the man was a demi-god with the amount of coverage he’s getting despite being an out-of-form county cricketer.
Oops, even I’m doing it now!
Nevertheless, the point stands.
We’ve got a cracking bunch of young international cricketers coming through the ranks right now - Joe Root, Nick Compton, James Taylor, Danny Briggs, Jonny Bairstow - these guys are the
KP provided eight years of flamingo-legged, skunk-haired, switch-hitting brilliance but it’s time to let go.
lSO it looks like rugby in this country has got itself into a spot of bother.
Rule number one in business, you can’t sell something twice to two different people and expect to get away with it!
Yet Premier Rugby managed to secure an astonishing £152million package with BT Vision, who are very keen to broadcast the Heineken Cup, in the same week BSkyB extended their contract to show
Europe’s showpiece competition.
To be fair, rugby union has only been professional since 1995 and teenagers are renowned for not being great with money.