Managers Countdown: John Trollope

No.20 | John Trollope | Manager November 1980 to March 1983 | Score 230.27

John Trollope might have made 770 appearances in the Football League for Swindon Town, however when he made the decision to retire his boots and take over from Bobby Smith in November 1980 he put his legendary status fully on the line.

At first Trollope inspired a team 23rd in Division Three to 4 wins and 2 draws and out of the relegation zone. It stayed that way for the remainder of the season as Town only lost 7 games and finally secured safety in the final game of the season in a 0-0 draw with Brentford.

The following 1981/1982 season would mark a new low in our history, ensuring Trollope will equally be remembered as the first manager to lead Swindon to a relegation into the Division Four wilderness.

The usual financial constraints ensured Trollope’s team were stuck in a relegation dogfight all season, however it still went down to the wire away at Newport County on the final day, with Town needing a win to ensure Division Three survival. I’ll let the videos tell their own story of this match and the aftermath.

Swindon’s relegation with 52 points at 1.13 points per game remains the highest points total any Town side has been relegated with.

Our first campaign in Division Four seemed to be going so well. By the start of December Town were 2 points behind leaders Bury and then it went wrong for Trollope a few weeks later at Ashton Gate.

Town were 1 nil up when City equalised in the 90th minute with a controversial goal. The players were incensed that the goal resulted from the ball having been kicked out of Jimmy Allan’s hands and Gary Emmanuel was sent off. Thereafter the players lost confidence and Trollope lasted for another 12 games, picking up just 8 points, including a six match losing run. The knives were out for Trollope as Town had seemingly thrown away an excellent shot at promotion, now languishing 8th, a full 14 points off the promotion chasing pack. Cue the fan protests at Trollope’s final game, a 2-1 home defeat by Darlington, whereby Trollope was sacked, returning to his youth team role which he’d continue in until dismissed by McMahon.

Good, Bad or Ugly? – Legendary player, bad manager – You only live by your last results and for Trollope the results leading up to his departure were awful as he couldn’t halt the slide down Division Four. As Jimmy Quinn and Iffy Onoura would later find out, a former player should think twice about taking the managerial reigns, particualrly as the saviour when finances are non-existent.Trollope has only been saved in these ratings by his better than average record in the FA Cup.

  • Leagues: 2 seasons in Division Three and 1 season in Division Four
  • FA Cup: 9 ties | Best 4th Round in 1982/83
  • League Cup:  2 ties | Did not progress past 1st Round
  • Achievements: Relegation to Division Four
League Pld Won Drn Lst For Agg League Pts P/G League Score FAC Score FLC Score
107 36 32 39 134 131 140 1.3 158.60 71.67 0.00


Click here for a full list of the managers in the countdown so far and their scores, including an explanation of how the scoring works.

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