Managers Countdown: Paul Sturrock
I’ve finally reached a Swindon Town manager who actually achieved something positive in this countdown, as Paul Sturrock secured us a promotion!
On joining on 7th November 2006, Town had been without a manager for two weeks following Dennis Wise’s departure. After a great opening, losing just 2 games in 15, Town had lost succesive games under Ady Williams and looked in real danger of falling behind early pace setters Walsall.
Soon enough the former Sheffield Wednesday manager set about reshaping the side to his direct style, resulting in four wins in a row in League and FA Cup. Town kept pace and by the turn of the year remained in contention for promotion and looking ahead to an FA Cup 3rd Round tie at Crystal Palace.
Whilst the cup run didn’t progress, January was unbeaten taking 13 from 15 available. Soon enough Town were 2nd, three behind leaders Walsall and 18 points clear of 8th placed Notts County and Sturrock was Manager of the Month.
February and March was the mirror opposite as Town seemed to throw it all away. Sturrock’s early decision to allow Andy Monkhouse to leave on loan to Hartlepool came back to haunt us (and not for the only time) as his strike gave our promotion rivals all three points at the County Ground. This set the tune for Hartlepool’s rise to the promotion and our very nervous end to the season as we started to slide out of the top three.
With very little business in the transfer market except loan signing Michael Timlin and his unattached son Blair, Sturrock left it late to the end of the transfer window in March to bring in five loan reinforcements. Four were soon consigned to the ‘Worst players to ever play for Swindon’ discussions, but Barry Corr’s arrival was the start of a change of tactics as Peacock and Roberts moved back to midfield. These changes worked as Corr’s 3 goals brought about a change in fortune as Town were only to be defeated once (at Bristol Rovers) in the final nine games.
After Town had looked certain to wrap up promotion long before the final game, it was a nervy match against eventual Champions Walsall and a 1-1 draw that gave both sides exactly what they wanted, promotion.
Back in League One a Paul Sturrock side included new signings JP McGovern, Billy Paynter, Simon Cox and Miguel Comminges, however as usual with Town it was off the field issues that would cause the most problems as the failed BEST Holdings takeover led to a transfer embargo and could’ve signaled the end of our club.
A frustrated Sturrock, with limited options to deal with a defensive crisis, could only start to take his eye off things at the County Ground. After being linked to a variety of jobs at a higher level, it took a bizarre managerial merry-go-round to send him back to his beloved Plymouth.
After potentially being lined up as the new Leicester boss, Sturrock lost out to Gary Megson, who only lasted several weeks to join Bolton. As Ian Holloway left Plymouth to join Leicester, it was Sturrock who the Home Park supporters turned to lead them in the Championship. With his heart always set on unfinished business in Devon, Sturrock resigned his post as Swindon Town manager after just over a year to rejoin his former club.
Good, Bad or Ugly – Good – It was job done for Paul as he just about led Town back up to League One at the first attempt. With all the off the field shenanigans you always knew there was little here to keep him, but perhaps it was only Plymouth who could’ve really tempted him away.
- Leagues: 1 season in League Two and 1 season in League One
- FA Cup: 4 ties | Best 3rd Round in 2006/07
- League Cup: 1 tie and 1 defeat
- Achievements: League Two 3rd place and automatic promotion
|League Pld||Won||Drn||Lst||For||Agg||League Pts||P/G||League Score||FAC Score||FLC Score|
|TOTAL SCORE: 265.5|
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.