Press Watch – Shrews, Soliciting and Military Contraception

Daily Mail Resized 1

Welcome to Press Watch, the Washbag’s sideways glance at all things Town related in the media. If you see anything remotely concerning Swindon Town in the worlds media get in contact with me via Twitter @mrbraindown

Here we are again, are you ready for yet another exciting column crammed full of Swindon related media snippets? Well back off! Pickings are slim this week and it seems this level of news blackout will continue until Paolo finally decides to do something stupidly absurd.

Again he’s been the perfect manager with no hint of any horseplay, even with the amazing provocation of the atrocious Colchester performance – in fact he’s been so good that I’ve had to make up some national press of my own: amazingly this article appeared on the Mail website*

Seriously though, there was nothing in the national media at all.  I did think there would be some coverage concerning the Shrewsbury encounter, (I’m discounting this in-depth review courtesy of The Sun) what with the two STFCs meeting head-to-head – surely this angle alone provided enough charm or a romantic edge to be covered by a national? No apparently, but I suppose if it had been an encounter between Bristol Rovers and Blackburn Rovers I wouldn’t be interested either.

I shouldn’t have worried about any national coverage of the game; my concerns should have begun closer to home, in the form of the Shrewsbury Chronicle. Zero coverage on that website, nada, zip, although I think football was always going to come a close second to the evidently more popular Bowls scene – what with big clash of Elephant & Caste versus Ford to report. For those that are desperate to know and can’t be arsed to click on the link, Elephant came out on top by 19 chalks.

Although the rather amateurish site did contain a match preview (sort of) in which Shrewsbury defender Joe Jacobson declares that the “Town are on Collins alert”. Not sure of how this alert fits in with current UK Threat Levels scale, perhaps it should nestle in between Severe and Substantial.

The Shropshire Star saves the day with a whizzy photo reel, apparently Paolo ‘Gets the face of the fourth official’ like it was some kind of macabre souvenir. Fede Bessone is also labelled ‘Raffa De Vita’ in a lazy, shrugging, all these dirty foreigners look the same to me, kind of way.

As the local coverage was so poor I decided to dip into the Shrewsbury fans forum, I wish I hadn’t bothered, generally they don’t seem to like our team, our obnoxious fans or our manager.

Moving on and the Colchester game was quickly upon us. Dr Doom was unable to accompany me this time, but as my father was still on holiday his seniors’ season ticket was therefore up for grabs. Unfortunately, try as I might I couldn’t find any willing volunteers to take the spare ticket whatsoever – I made a few phone calls to anyone I thought could pass as a senior, insulting a few people on the way – “I’m 41”, “Seriously?” But alas in the end I couldn’t find anyone, I literally couldn’t give the ticket away.

I made one last attempt prior to kick off by hunting around the mobile homeless soup kitchen which is based in the car park opposite the Jurys Inn – judging by the look of some of our readership I’m sure a lot of you know it well. In the end I came across one particular destitute old man so I asked him if he was up for an evening of fun and entertainment, he looked at me strange and then asked me quizzically how much money I had. Noticing the confusion which was obviously spreading over my face he quickly added ‘cos I don’t turn tricks for anything less than fifty.’

Suddenly I realised that a horrifying misunderstanding was beginning to unfurl so I quickly hurried away, needless to say on arrival at the ground I avoided the foot longs at Di Canio’s deli and went for a pie instead.

So, Colchester eh? Never been to Colchester, I know its famous for its military garrison, it was the birthplace of Humpty Dumpty and three quarters of Blur – and was once the Roman capital of England, but apart from that – what has Colchester ever done for us? Well, ironically that morning, whilst I was going for my pre-commute ‘clear-out’, I began browsing the rather intellectual tome ‘Das Krapital’ – a recent entry in the Rogers Profanisaurus series of books (which I keep in my downstairs toilet, high brow I know.) So imagine my glee when I happened across this little gem:

As this is a family column, (yeah ok, I know I’ve just spun a yarn about soliciting a tramp above) I’ve pixelated the rude bit out, but if you’re really determined to get the full definition click here, but be warned kids, it deals with adult themes.

Anyway, let’s get back to the football – funnily enough, the nationals overlooked this encounter as well, treating it like some sort of lower league bridegroom compared to the stunning Champions League Bride. Try as I might I couldn’t find an official match report in the Colchester Daily Gazette, it hints at its existence but blow me if I could find it. I have a feeling it’s only available in hardcopy, but bugger that if I have to drive to Colchester to get one.

Instead we had an immediate post match report which focuses on the Michael Rose angle and an interview with the new U’s boss Joe Dunne, who apparently was ‘delighted with the performance’.  I’m not surprised; it was such a dire encounter from a Swindon perspective, our performance was so bad that I think I might have enjoyed that half-negotiated sexy tramp cuddle a bit more.

In miscellaneous Swindon news, the latest edition of the excellent When Saturday Comes magazine flopped onto my mat a couple of days ago. Acting like some sort of vengeful wedding invite from a jilted long lost love, it manages to open up old wounds by raising the Wes-Gate subject once more. Sniff.  Appearing in the ‘Quotes of the Month’ section it blurts out Di Canio’s angry Wes related tirade:

A great article appeared on the Burnley webzine No Nay Never regarding Charlie Austin, where author Kevin Robinson states ‘I’m not bothered about Charlie Austin Leaving!’ It’s a deliberately inflammatory headline, but the article behind it discusses the fact that despite Charlie’s heroics in front of goal, Burnley remain pretty mediocre.

“When he’s gone I want to look back and think ‘those were really special times’ rather than ‘he made rubbish times a bit less rubbish‘. I want to remember. I want his goals to mean something. I’m not saying we need to be winning the league – but I want them to let us at least threaten for a play-off place.”

Moving on, do you ever associate certain commercial brands with certain football clubs? If you’re of a particular age can you visualise JVC and not think of Arsenal, or think of Crown Paints and not think of Liverpool? Well this is the article for you.

So following on from this, what sponsor do you consider Swindon’s default? Is it Burmah, GWR, Lowndes Lambert, ISIS even? Leave your opinion below – anyone that says Kingswood is banned.

As this column is a little thin this week and in apropos of nothing, I’m chucking this gem in –

Fantastic eh, it reminds me of this memorable Town End strike –

And that’s pretty much it, unless you want to know what Architecture journalist Jonathan Meade’s five favourite buildings are? One of them is in Swindon don’t you know – any guesses before clicking on the link?

Till next time.

*Again, I must stress that the Daily Mail article above was created entirely by me and was not in any way published by the good people of the Mail. It was just a bit of fun.

Vic Morgan Blog: A Taste For Claret…

Vic Morgan

It’s Friday, so it must be time for the latest blog by BBC Devon’s Vic Morgan.

Decent old week I think you’ll agree.

This time seven days ago we’d seen a recovery in form after another supposed crisis in confidence, all is not well, its going to end in tears scenario. Well I suppose there might have been a few soggy eyes at the County Ground on Tuesday but I doubt they were of disappointment. Unless, of course, you wore the Claret and Blue of Burnley.

That followed on from the terrific win over Bournemouth. Superb football was the key. Nothing more nothing less. If you were being super critical you’d say it should have been more than four-nil. However we gave the Cherries the pip with some great passing play.

As for Nathan Thompson… Well, the reaction when he was given man of the match award said it all. Great to see one of our own coming through the ranks and looking like a veteran. Excellent though Joe Devera has been in that right back position, Nathan gives a more attacking option, a la Paul Caddis. We wish Nathan well, his fledgling career has stretched over a couple of seasons and he’ll be hoping to make that position his own.

There was a sense of fun, I felt, as well on Saturday. There’s been a rather serious feeling around the start of the season for some reason with one alleged crisis after another. But that seemed to lift once the game was won. It was great to see PDC smiling and really relaxed in his role again. At times this term he’s had a rather tortured look about him. Not so Saturday and the wave from the dug out with his foot was priceless. I’d love to see that as one of our weekly rituals. Much as the after match walk onto the pitch is part of Swindon folklore, that foot wave deserves to stay. The chant has to be, as I said on the Washbag podcast, “he waves with his foot etc”, just has to be.

Charlie Austin’s Burnley were the next team to be dispatched at SN1. Like many I thought this might be a difficult game. Charlie came to the County Ground bang in form and no doubt relished the challenge.

I was flying back from Jersey as the game kicked off, I’d been investigating the biggest find of Iron Age coins for my Late Show. A great story much like that unfolding in Wiltshire. By the time I’d reached the office we were flying into round four of the League Cup. Charlie got his goal but hey we’ll let him have that because whatever may have happened, he’s still one of ours.

My guest Tuesday night was Andy Fraser of Free, one of the great English rock bands. I think he might have been a little bemused by the way I kept referring to the Swindon win on a programme which goes out to the South West and Channel Islands. He took it well.

As for the draw for the fourth round… Terrific. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Aston Villa. A packed County Ground under the lights against another Claret wearing team. Wonderful. Lets dream of the quarter finals shall we?

Before all that is Shrewsbury on Saturday Last season we disappointed there, apart from the first twenty minutes which we dominated.

Another win would be great to keep the retread bandwagon on the road. But, as always, a point away from home is always welcome. See you there and don’t forget “He waves with his foot”

Keep it loud, Keep it proud, Keep it SWINDON.


Press Watch – Dr Doom, Cherries and a Burnley Wallet

I Curse This Football Club 4

Welcome to Press Watch, the Washbag’s sideways glance at all things Town related in the media. If you see anything remotely concerning Swindon Town in the worlds media get in contact with me via Twitter @mrbraindown

Another week, another two matches and amazingly, another spell of normality. Acting like some sort of Florence Nightingale I managed to nurse this column back to full health after the general drabness of last week, so I feared the worst when it became apparent that there wasn’t any scandal or meltdown on the horizon for this week. But for some reason though, the column seemed quite happy to simply report on what Swindon related news there was, noting down the brief snippets whilst staring wistfully out of the window with an almost serene look on its face. I think it knows there’s a storm on the way and is conserving its strength.

Anyway, let’s crack on with the action then – on Saturday Swindon welcomed ‘big-spending’ Bournemouth to the County Ground.  So in a shameless parody of my Preston Press Watch column:

I once knew a girl who was ‘big-spending’, she spunked cash left right and centre, had a plethora of maxed out credit cards and nursed various sick looking overdrafts. Needless to say, she ended up falling in with the wrong crowd, developed a big drug problem and was thrown out of her house by an angry bailiff.

I saw her only last week looking like a right tramp (the piss stained sort, not the tarty sort) she was yelling a bunch of incoherent expletives at a frog shaped novelty bin outside my local garden centre. She was dressed in charity shop clothes and for some reason had taken to wearing a pair of spiked golf shoes. The tap, tap, tapping of the sharpened studs on the decorative patio paving slabs was truly haunting, tragic even. So much so I almost shed a tear on the bag of John Innes Special Blend Compost (3 for £8) I was carrying.

I was therefore hoping that ‘big-spending’ Bournemouth would end up the same way as this girl. And by that I mean they would ultimately turn out to be an expensively assembled shambles (and not start sleeping in skips and drinking from discarded half-empty bottles of lighter fluid.)

For some reason I was not looking forward to the game, we never seem to win against Bournemouth at home. The last time we won was in 2007 and I was in a different country at the time and therefore missed it. This time it was my father’s turn to be on holiday so I used his spare season ticket to take my uncle instead who lives just outside Bournemouth – but supports Swindon.  Now unfortunately he has a reputation of being a bit of a Dr Doom character when it comes to watching Swindon, and by that I don’t mean he turns up wearing a metal mask and cloth hood. It’s more that when he comes, we lose, simple as that – I think I make my point when I say that the last game he saw was the JPT final.

Well, this time it was different – instead of picking through the normal stinking, rotten fare he’s served up by the Town, he feasted on a smorgasbord of fresh, exciting football – a dazzling, inviting fruit bowl of fun, and one in which the expensively assembled Cherries got well and truly cored and pipped.

And wow, did their local paper know it, in possibly the most scorn drenched article I’ve read in a long time, reporter Neil Perrett in the Bournemouth Echo writes an amazing alternative version to the drab post match interview that was held with beleaguered manager Paul Groves.  It makes for a fantastic read, the reporter pulls no punches at all, taking shots at all comers, including winger Donal McDermott who gets an absolute pasting:

“We have kept faith with Donal and gave him his chance against Swindon. He repaid us by metaphorically sticking up two fingers to us. Once I have analysed the DVD, it will probably dawn on me that I should have taken a leaf from Paolo Di Canio’s book and substituted Donal after 20 minutes. He seemed disinterested”

The match report however seemed to blame the entire defeat at the feet of Matt Tubbs, apparently if he had scored his one-on-one with Wes shortly before half time then the result would’ve been different. Well, yes, the game would’ve finished 4-1.

To be fair, Bournemouth were on to a hiding to nothing anyway, their fate was sealed as soon as their Chairman Eddie Mitchell, with all the class and coherence of a Napalm Death concert, spouted off about how he’d rather have Paul Groves instead of Paolo as manager. I’m sure a lot of Bournemouth fans thought this was the perfect, rousing battle cry for rallying around their troubled manager. Whilst most Swindon fans were busy face-palming themselves repeatedly, saying “Does Mr Mitchell not know what he’s doing? He’s merely angering the Di Canio beast, three points are now guaranteed”.  As I’ve often said, in my best Mr Miyagi voice: “Take a cattle prod to a meek, lame cow and it’ll go where you want, take it to mad, slavering bull and it’ll probably rip yer face off and trample on your wedding tackle”

Unfortunately though Bournemouth fans, it appears that Paul Groves is going nowhere, as Mr Mitchell publicly defends him after the match. Although judging by the remarks left in the comments section a lot of fans are left hoping that this is the dreaded vote of confidence and Groves is as good as gone.
On the back of the impressive win Swindon make it onto the When Saturday Comes website, which provides a nice view on Di Canio’s relationship with Harry Redknapp:

“He likes the good life and he appreciates Italian wines and French wines but at the end I will offer it to him only so he can have a bitter taste after he loses the game.”

Whilst browsing the site I stumbled across this article concerning leaving games early, it’s not Swindon related, but makes for a good read. I suppose there is a tenuous link with the Bournemouth encounter as Eddie Mitchell did confess to leaving Saturdays game early in the ‘Nobody is getting sacked’ article linked above.

The Sun provide a mini match report, explaining that Matt Ritchie had received the highest accolade possible from Paolo – a kick up the backside! Oh and tippy-tappy football has finally packed its bags it seems.

That’s enough Cherry related chat so let’s move down the Dulux red hue paint chart to the Clarets section and yet another League Cup upset.

Burnley were in town and that meant one thing, the return of Charlie Austin. It was also the first time we’ve played each other since 1996. But to me, playing Burnley only makes me think of one thing – the Burnley Wallet, a vicious, scrotum related, gangland revenge injury, beautifully demonstrated here by Paddy McGuinness.

The Sun described the Town as ‘Classy Underdogs’ in their match report, like we were a bunch of stray hounds who instead of rolling around in our own faeces managed to do it in a stash of make up and fine jewellery for a change. The Sun reporter treats us to a fair if not brief report which includes a truly startling picture of Paul Benson, he can’t be happy with that one.

The Burnley local press dish out typical fare with the Lancashire Telegraph churning out a pretty standard report, which is enlivened by the Burnley/Blackburn slanging match that ensues in the comments section. I imagine this is something that happens in every article, I don’t get the whole ‘dingle’ thing though, it was like reading an old script from Emmerdale Farm, all dingle this and dingle that. (I am right in thinking there is/was a family in that dreadful soap called the Dingles? Otherwise that last bit makes no sense!) The Burnley Express eschews a standard reporting method and instead delivers a charming one minute photo compilation video. I cannot comment on how good it is because I couldn’t get the bastard thing to run. Web Technology 1 Man 0.

Talking of photos, the Daily Telegraph collect the best shots from all the Capital One Cup encounters and stuff them into a slideshow. It includes a great one of Di Canio breaking Paul Bensons neck with a deft one-handed manoeuvre and looking like he is about to make a start on Wes. The worried look on Wes’ face is fantastic – “Is he going to cuddle me or kill me?”  Probably both Wes, probably both.

So I’ll finish this week with an apology – sorry for the brevity of the column this week, believe me it does take me hours to write and forever to search the internet for STFC related stories. So it was during this internet data comb that I stumbled across this particular website – so like a guy who works in an illegal drug factory who then becomes a junkie himself I ended up spending my entire night reading that instead. It’s really not my fault your honour, I’m just weak see…..

Swindon 3 Burnley 1: Town add Clarets to cup victims, who’s next?

Capital One Cup 4

Daniel Hunt reflects on further progress for Swindon Town in the League Cup after a convincing 3-1 victory over Burnley.

Soak it all in, appreciate it, take pictures! Because this is a fantastic time to be a Town fan. A healthy crowd of over seven thousand witnessed an action packed cup tie at the County Ground as Burnley, a side from a higher division than Di Canio’s Swindon Town, went the same way as Bristol City, Exeter, Huddersfield, Colchester, Wigan, Brighton and Stoke before them.

The men from Turf Moor attacked with menace and the Robins had to be at their best to repel them following a bright start. However, Burnley’s vulnerable defence was exposed by the attacking foursome of Ritchie, Roberts, Benson and Williams as Swindon booked a place in the last sixteen of the League Cup – a feat last achieved in 1994/1995 under Steve McMahon. Let the dreaming commence, who would you like to take on in the next round? A Premier League team at home, under floodlights and on TV is all I’m asking for. The world shouldn’t be deprived from seeing Paolo’s giant-killers any longer.

This was supposed to be the Charlie Austin show and sure enough, the pantomime villain got his goal to threaten a Burnley comeback in the second half. Sections of the Town End were particularly damning in their assessment of the former Poole Town hot-shot from the first minute. From my seat in the Don Rogers Stand, I pleaded with those dishing out the abuse not to anger the Championship’s joint top scorer – captain McCormack and the returning Archibald-Henville had a tough enough night ahead of them without Austin wanting to rub it in. Charlie loved to wind up opposition fans when he scored, that much I do remember from his tenure at the County Ground, and the Town End were certainly giving him some ammunition.

Call me harsh but Austin’s inability to score in the opening ten minutes cost Burnley a place in the fourth round. The Clarets started the game at a fierce pace and had the home team on the rack. A dummied Wallace corner in the third minute presented Austin with a shot from 15 yards but it whistled just wide despite his sweet connection. From another Wallace corner three minutes later, Burnley’s number 23 had a header cleared off the line by Gary Roberts.

When midfielder Chris McCann finally put the ball in the net with ten minutes gone, he was flagged offside correctly by the linesman. Austin’s scuffed effort from the middle of the goal fed McCann but the truth is that Charlie should have put the chance away himself. Perhaps subconsciously, Charlie still has a soft spot for the club that gave him his chance in the Football League?

Following Burnley’s missed opportunities, the reds regrouped and the central midfield combination of Miller and Navarro started to see some of the ball. Crucially the score was still 0-0 because this meant a moment of Swindon quality could provide the precious first goal – see earlier Washbag article: – and it came from veteran Paul Benson.

The supporter to my left bemoaned the short corner taken to Jay McEveley in the 19th minute but after taking a moment to compose himself, the left back whipped in a low cross that Benson swept home expertly. Said supporter and I had a good laugh about his grumbling in the aftermath of the goal. Was it against the run of play? Probably yes but aside from a McCann header straight at Foderingham in the 22nd minute, Burnley offered little until Swindon doubled their advantage through the outstanding Andy Williams.

All the credit for the second goal has to go to Town’s unsung hero of the season, Tommy Miller. Pressing high up the pitch, Miller intercepted a pass and surged forward with pace and strength beyond his 33 years. He slotted a pass in for the onrushing Williams who deftly side footed the ball through Brian Jenson’s legs to send the County Ground crowd into delirium. Three goals in three games now for the summer recruit from Yeovil; I’m genuinely chuffed to bits for him. If only his finishing could match all the other aspects of his play, he would be playing for a much better team than Swindon. For now though, I’m more than happy for Andy to stay here and improve that attribute.

Andy Williams had so many chances to extend Swindon’s lead in the second half that I’ll have to bullet point them otherwise this report will never end;

  • 52 minutes. Picks up ball on right hand side from a Benson flick on and curls wide on his left foot from 20 yards.
  • 62 minutes. Shows electric pace in a driving run from the left wing but can only poke tamely at Jenson when bearing down on goal. Such a shame after doing all the hard work.
  • 66 minutes. Diving header into the ground well saved by Jenson from a left-wing cross. You could feel the pressure building at the game.
  • 80 minutes. Coming back from miles offside, Williams picks up the ball and curls wide on his right foot from left hand edge of the box. Jenson was diving at full stretch, poor linesman-ship though.
  • 89 minutes. Played in over the top by substitute Collins as Burnley are visibly stretched late in the game. Williams has a fairly tame effort pushed wide by the busy Jenson.

While a two goal lead at the interval flattered Town, the anticipated second half Burnley charge never really came. In between the Andy Williams show above, the main threats for the Lancashire side came through dangerous set pieces. Eleven minutes into the second half, the lively McCann volleyed a left foot shot over the bar after Swindon failed to clear a long throw from the right wing. The most guilt-edged chance fell to substitute Sam Vokes on the hour mark following Kieran Trippiers whipped free kick. The former Bournemouth striker headed low towards goal only to be foiled by a reaction save by Wes Foderingham. I’m not sure how much Foderingham knew about it but credit where it’s due for getting the ball as far away from goal as he did.

Vokes’ performance from the bench raised the question why on earth he didn’t start the game? With 16 minutes to go, the Wales international dragged Alan McCormack out of position on the right wing, jinked this way and that, before laying the ball on a plate for Austin to nip in ahead of the despairing dives of Thompson and Foderingham to tap in from two yards. How Di Canio’s men handled this setback would determine whether or not extra time would be needed in this gripping cup tie.

The response from Swindon’s players was really impressive as they went in search of a third goal to kill the game off rather than sit on their narrow lead. Gary Roberts’ left wing trickery almost allowed Williams to tap in the 76th minute but a Claret leg intercepted and Jenson had to be aware to stop an own goal. A collective sigh of relief could finally be breathed with six minutes left in normal time though, thanks to Troy Archibald-Henville.

Benson cleverly won a free kick on the left hand touchline which Jay McEveley happily swung in to claim his second assist of the evening. The ball got through a crowd of bodies to be met by man mountain Troy and the header was so powerful that it squirmed through the desperate grasp of Brian Jenson. 3-1, job done thankfully.

All over the pitch there were great performances from the Robins; Williams has been featured heavily but on another day Nathan Thompson could easily be celebrating his second man of the match award on the trot. As team mate Wes Foderingham alluded to on Twitter on Tuesday night;

“@nathan_t23 is the new Vinnie Jones by the way!  Nailing anyone and everyone in sight! #HardAsNails”

Joking aside, Thompson is ferocious in the tackle and in one passage of play after 65 minutes, he crunched two Burnley players in his own half before setting off on a marauding run down the right. Put those feat up Joe Devera, rest that shoulder Mr Caddis… the youth team graduate has waited long enough for his chance and he seems determined not to let go.

The fourth round draw follows the Manchester United v Newcastle match on Sky Sports tonight. Next up for Town is Shrewsbury Town away in League One on Saturday. As Di Canio alluded to in his post-match interview, this result will be pointless unless Town avoid a Preston-esque display in the game following. Hope to see you all there.

Follow Daniel Hunt on Twitter – @dphunt88

The Washbag Meets: Charlie Austin

Charlie Austin Celebrates 7

After speaking to Vincent Pericard a few weeks ago, we talk to another of our 2009/10 League One Play-Off final squad and current Burnley striker Charlie Austin. We ask Charlie about; his rise from non-league to the Football League, key moments at Swindon Town including that miss at Wembley and life at Burnley in the Championship.

Ron: As a youngster how did you take being rejected by Reading?

Charlie Austin: It was hard to take, but at the time I just wanted to play football with my friends again as I fell out of love with football

R: When playing for Thatcham Town, Kintbury Rangers, Hungerford and Poole Town did you ever doubt your ability to make it to the professional game and one day be a million pound footballer?

CA: I never really thought about it like that. I was working for my dad and just enjoying playing with my mates again at the weekend.

R: So at that point did you give up on becoming a professional footballer?

CA: I gave up after [leaving] Reading.

R: At what stage did it seem to you that you might get a shot at the professional game?

CA: It never ever did. It never felt like that as I was just scoring goals and enjoying my football.

R: In the summer just before you joined Swindon, AFC Bournemouth only missed out on signing you due to a transfer embargo. What factors influenced your move to Wiltshire?

CA: It was a team that wanted to sign me, and after training with Bournemouth I got the love back. At that point I really wanted the chance to be a professional footballer. When Bournemouth said they couldn’t sign me, I though “this is never going to happen…not for me” so when Swindon came knocking it was an obvious choice. I got the opportunity at 19 years old, not many people that age get the opportunity I did.

R: Do you feel that coming back from part-time football has given you a different attitude to players who have never worked outside of football?

CA: Of course it has 100%. I know exactly what its like working outside football.

R: What is the difference between a League and a non-league player? Is it skill, professionalism or luck?

CA: There’s a bit of everything to be honest. Training every day so your all round fitness is a major key, which is something I found out in my short spell at Bournemouth. Obviously when your training with better players with better facilities you’re going to inevitably improve.

R: Since you arrived onto the scene many amateur footballers dream of doing a ‘Charlie Austin’ and themselves getting that ‘dream’ job as a professional footballer. What three pieces of advice would you give someone in this position?

CA: Firstly you should never give up believing that your good enough to make it. Secondly, always give 100% in games and training as you never know who could be watching you. And thirdly, always try and be the best you can be.

Q: The partnership between you and Billy Paynter hit it off from the start. How crucial was Billy to your development as a footballer?

CA: When you have someone like that to play alongside with your always going to learn, whether it was in games or training. I learnt a lot from Billy and he scored 29 goals in an unbelievable season not only for him but for the club.

R: You scored many fantastic goals for us, but what was your favourite goal for Swindon?

CA: Southampton away, when we won 1-0, although Rochdale away also wasn’t a bad strike.

R: What was your most memorable game in a Swindon shirt?

CA: Charlton Athletic home and away in the play off semi finals. These were both massive games and great nights all round.

R: These photos show the defining memory for us Town fans at the League One Play Off Final in May 2010. Just what went through your mind as that shot hit that ‘divot’ in the pitch at Wembley and flew wide of the post?

CA: My mind went blank. Those last 15 minutes were just a blur.

R: So given the effect that the miss had, were you surprised when Wilson substituted Billy Paynter instead of you?

CA: No. Because Danny Wilson had belief in me. If you listen to his comments after [the match] he believed if I had another chance I would score it. So that shows his confidence and belief he had in me.

R: Just why did it all go horribly wrong for Swindon post Wembley?

CA: I really can’t put my finger on it, and don’t think anyone else could either.

R: Were you as disappointed at us with our lack of punch in the transfer market post Wembley?

CA: A little bit yeah, but we only lost two players, but those two players were huge for us. We never replaced Billy Paynter, a 29 goal centre forward, and Gordon [Greer] a strong centre half and a true winner.

R: For me the departure of Gordon Greer was the turning point that summer. How important was he to the dressing room?

CA: Massive. He’s a big character and always had a lot to say. Gordon will always be a natural born winner. He always has a way of picking a player up when they are down.

R: It always seemed as if Wilson never really appreciated the true value of Greer to the team when he departed, even up until he resigned when he always never admitted this was a mistake. In situations like this, as a player have you, or would you make your voice heard to ensure such a vital player is replaced?

CA: You just have to trust in the manager and their decision 100%. I’m a player, not a manager. People fail to see the stress and pressure managers are put under.

R: Are you able to elaborate on your reasons for leaving the County Ground?

CA: I wanted a crack at the Championship as soon as possible and I didn’t think Swindon were going to take me there that season.

R: If we had been pushing for promotion from League One in 2010/11 would you have stayed?

CA: 100 % [if] we would have been a Championship club and that’s where I wanted to be, I have ambition.

R: At what point did you realise that wasn’t to be with Swindon?

CA: It was clear in my second season that we wasn’t going to match the heights of the first season. But I still loved every minute that I was a Swindon Town player.

R: In hindsight do you believe handing in a transfer request was the right thing to do to force the issue?

CA: I needed to do what I had to do, for me.

R: A year ago you were linked with various clubs including Celtic and Ipswich. Why did you decide to move to Burnley?

CA: It was just the right place for me at the time, they want to get back into the Premier League and I’d like to one day be there.

R: How have you had to change your game for the Championship level? And what are the key differences between League One and the Championship?

CA: Like I said before, playing with better players you’re constantly learning and improving, so my all round game changed, but it hasn’t changed the fact that im a natural goalscorer.

R: At Burnley you’ve suffered a reoccurrence of your shoulder injury suffered at Swindon. What is life like stuck on the treatment table recovering from injury and how serious is this new injury?

CA: It’s obviously not great because you want to play every game and doing your bit for the team.

R: Being thrust from non-league and into the public eye you’ve experienced the good and bad of the media and rumours going around surrounding ‘off-field activities’. How did you cope with this new exposure?

CA: I never really listened to them to be honest as I knew none of them were true. I think as I was just a local boy it was easy to be a target.

R: Paolo wants a new striker. Will you come back to Wiltshire now that things are on the up?

CA: Who knows what the future holds, never say never :)

R: Thanks for offering to answer these questions. Cheers!

Charlie’s favourite goal for STFC against Southampton:

Managers Month No.1 – Danny Williams (1965-69)

No.1 | Danny Williams | Manager August 1965 to July 1969 | Score 423.2

Danny Williams’ first spell in charge at Swindon from 1965 to 1969 is, by my definition, the most successful spell by any Town manager in the Football League, FA Cup and League Cup.

His overall record is second to none and provided an entire generation with lasting memories of the 1969 League Cup win, an achievement sadly that is extremely unlikely to ever be equalled.

So how did the one club man from Rotherham propel Swindon Town into the national limelight with one of the most famous Wembley upsets of all time?Continue Reading

Austin on Swindon exit and joining Burnley

After Charlie Austin’s complimentary comments to STFC Player on Friday following his move to Burnley, he spoke to Mark Chapman and Mark Clemmit live on BBC Radio 5Live Football League last night and revealed more out his transfer request and reasons for joining Burnley.

Clemmit – Can you quite believe all that has happened to you in the last year and bit?

CA – No..not really, it’s obviously been a whirlwind to be honest. I could’ve never dream to the start I had, but long may it continue.

Clemmit – Can I ask you, hopw significant was you having to put your transfer requiest in last week Charlie. I know there has been a lot of speculation about you, you know it’s seems to be the sort of thing that’s flowting around particualrly today with a couple of very big names having to put transfer requests in, was that a very significant part of the process?

CA – Um…you could say so, yea… to push things along, but I was determined of what I wanted.. wanting Championship football at this time and I felt it was the right time for me to move on,

Chappers – Did you worry about putting your transfer request in with what Swindon fans might think of you or does that not cross your mind?

CA – Um… not that doesn’t cross my mind to be honest because from a career perspective it was the right thing to do, you know, but when I did it… even when I still was a Swindon player I still gave 100% in the games I played after I put in the transfer request.

Chappers – Why Burnley then, because there were other clubs who’ve taken a look at you…so why Burnley?

CA – Um… they were in the Premiership last year you know and they are a massive club. When I heard about Burnley coming in it just seemed like the right place where I wanted to go.

Clemmit – Little bit of unfinished business so well as you have joined up with Eddie Howe, after potentially doing so back in August 2009, but for Bournemouth’s tranafer embargo?

CA – Yea, you know..the gaffer was keen on signing me then and like you say it could be a bit of unfinished business. But seriously… I took the job here thinking it would be a good choice, but when I come up to see everything at the club I just thought that is somewhere I wanted to be.

Chappers – Do you look at the other strikers that they have got or the midfielders they have got and think to yourself how you could play off Chris Iwelumo or the service Chris Eagles might provide for you, those things get taken into consideration before agreeing to a move?

CA – Yea of course, people who I had spoken to and stuff had things to say about the players…..(end of interview as line cut out)

Given what I said back on 18th January I’m not surprised Austin has confirmed he had no desire to continue to play for Town, it was all about him and he’s only in it for his career. We needed to offload him sooner rather than later.

With alleged rumours of dressing room unrest caused by Charlie’s behaviour and ego, coupled with no loyalty to the club, we’re definitely better off without him for our fight to avoid relegation.

That fight would’ve been all more the difficult with just Pericard, Dossevi, Bodin and Ritchie as attacking options, so thankfully we’ve finally signed a new striker…a warm welcome to Eliot Benyon who joins from Torquay United.