SWINDON Town have finally got their hands on the League Two trophy.

The fourth – and most unusual – championship in the club's 141-year history was sealed this month when clubs in the EFL's bottom division voted to end the season early.

The silverware was presented to the players and management in front of empty stands at the County Ground on a scorching hot morning.

Instead of having the chance to enjoy the moment with thousands of Town supporters, they had to make do with an audience that included chairman Lee Power and a handful of journalists.

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But nothing could take away the sense of achievement for boss Richie Wellens, who arrived at Town with the club 18th in the table 18 months ago. They amassed 69 points in 36 games before the 2019/20 season was cut short by the pandemic in March and finished top of the pile ahead of Crewe Alexandra and Plymouth Argyle.

Wellens said: “We needed to put a line through it. We were crowned champions two or three weeks ago, we needed to do the trophy presentation and realised that wouldn’t be any time soon in front of supporters.

“The players are quite frustrated that we can’t do it in front of our families and I totally understand that.

“We’ve been presented with it today so we’ve put a line through that.

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“We’ve got an evening in Swindon next week when the players will have a meal and a celebratory drink and then we’ll have a break in Spain where the chairman and one of the directors have kindly paid for us to go away to celebrate.

“Then after that hopefully the restrictions will be lifted and we can do this again in front of the supporters and family members.

“Let’s just wait and see what Boris Johnson and the government say and hopefully we can do it properly."

The presentation was stage-managed to comply with social distancing guidance. Each player sat in the Arkell's Stand as their name was called out.

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Dion Conroy with the trophy

They collected a medal and a flag or bottle of champagne and were directed to their spot behind the ‘champions’ hoarding where the celebrations took place.

Eoin Doyle finished as the league's top scorer with 25 goals, breaking a club record for netting in 11 consecutive matches at the back end of 2019.

The Dubliner said: “The goal was promotion and the title is an added bonus. But if you look through the season you’ll see we were deserved winners and if the season had continued we would have won by a few more points rather than a fraction of a point.

“The strength of the team has been the players behind me.

“I’m so grateful I got that opportunity to play with them this season and it was so enjoyable to have such talent and knowing that if I make a run they’ll know where I am.

“The service has been top notch and it’s been the most enjoyable season I’ve had.”

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The loan deals involving Doyle and strike partner Jerry Yates were extended in January after both returned to their parent clubs - but Town had to play a waiting game with both.

Eventually, Yates was allowed to return to Wiltshire by Rotherham United and Doyle's services were secured after an unhappy spell at League Two rivals Bradford City.

Reflecting on the transfer window, Wellens added: “I wouldn’t say it was stressful because we had a really good team, a really good squad and if you take away the two strikers we still had a really good team behind them.

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“The worry is obviously you can dominate a game but you might not score the goals. So we were thankful to get those two back.”

The last time Town won a title was in 2012, when Paolo Di Canio led his side to 93-point haul.

“This is not the way we wanted to win it,” Wellens said. “We won the league by nought-point-something points, if the season carried on my main aim was to beat Di Canio’s points return in the last title-winning season.”