Managers Countdown: John Gorman
No.14 | John Gorman | Manager June 1993 to November 1994 | Score 259.53
John Gorman could’ve followed Glenn Hoddle to Chelsea, but he didn’t. Instead the untested and brave Gorman stayed on at the request of chairman Ray Hardman, reflecting the views of the majority of supporters who wanted continuity as Town faced the toughest of tasks to avoid relegation from the Premier League in 1993/94.
17 years on from that only season in the top flight our memories are blinded by the record equalling 15 games without a win from the start of the season and the heavy defeats resulting in 100 goals conceded.
Yes we were bad, however we scored goals and played entertaining football, plus as subsequent campaigns by Ipswich (1995), Leicester (1995), Watford (2000), Bradford (2001), Sunderland and West Brom (2003), Sunderland (2006), Derby (2008) and Portsmouth (2010) proved. Swindon’s 0.71 points won per game is far from the worst ever Premier League season.
Gorman also worked under a tight budget, restricting him to just 3 pre-season signings of Fjortoft, Whitbread and Nijholt. Finances were further strained by the less than capacity home crowds meaning Gorman was restricted to signing experienced professionals Mutch, Fenwick, Kilcline, McAvennie and Sanchez nearing the end of their game.
Town’s relegation came only after the 39th game of the season, a 4-2 reverse at home to Wimbledon put the final nail in the coffin, not like Derby County, who were relegated as early as March in their disastrous 2008 season.
For this Gorman can take significant credit. Who honestly believes that even a Town side led by Glenn Hoddle would’ve kept our top flight status…?
Back in Division One the season started well enough despite the sales of Moncur and Summerbee. Fjortoft continued to score goals and Town were sitting 5th and looking good to mount a serious promotion challenge after a 3-2 home win against Wolves.
Then for whatever reason, be it the suicide of physio Kevin Morris or unwelcome Anglo Italian Cup midweek matches, Town’s form dropped with six defeats in a row whilst conceding 17. The Board’s patience went in the final 3-2 defeat at Bristol City, leaving Town 16th and 7 points off the play-offs, when Gorman was sacked, being the first Town manger in over 10 years to be relieved of his duties.
Good, Bad or Ugly – Bad purely because he signed Joey Beauchamp, we were relegated from the Premier League and ultimately couldn’t keep pace in Division One the following season, however we can’t forget his contribution when working with Hoddle and setting up our run to the Coca-Cola Cup semi-final, I completely agree with Gorman in this quote from 2005:
Obviously my biggest memory was getting promotion to the Premier League, and obviously my worst memory was getting relegated out of it. But when I look back I realise how well we did – the football we played at times was extraordinary and there was some great stuff. I think people appreciated it after we (Glenn Hoddle and John) left and realised how well we’d done.
- Leagues: 1 season in Premier League and 1 season in Division One
- FA Cup: 1 tie & 1 3rd round defeat
- League Cup: 4 ties and 3 wins | Best 3rd Round in 1994/95
- Achievements: Promotion as Assistant to Hoddle and Relegation
|League Pld||Won||Drn||Lst||For||Agg||League Pts||P/G||League Score||FAC Score||FLC Score|
|TOTAL SCORE: 259.53|
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.
Whether we would have stayed up with Hoddle is something we will never know, but I do feel Gorman made some fundamental errors. Not least, we went into the start of the season with not one single player with any top flight experience. I don’t think Hoddle would have let this happen (and obviously Hoddle would’ve been playing for us anyway).
Also, the article cites the ‘less than capacity home crowds’, however, looked at in another context, there were four clubs with a lower average home attendance than us that season so I don’t think that can be used as an excuse.
Personally I look back on the top flight campaign with fondness and, football-wise at least, it seems like a lifetime ago.
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