The STFC review from a Norwegian point of view: September
Our resident Norwegian Town fan Hans J. Tandsether of Heiaswindon.com casts his eye on events in September.
Another month has gone by and for us Swindon fans it’s been a rocky ride with both ups and downs.
I ended my last review by suggesting that we left August on a low due to some surprisingly bad results and the ‘Clarkegate’ incident – which of course triggered a loan move to League One and Chesterfield were he started to bang in goals straight away.
I also suggested that Paolo Di Canio might just lack a certain lower league experience both in the way he wants us to play and the frenzied way he’s been going on in the transfer market before his first season of management.
September proved me wrong, and yet to a certain degree right. We started the month in a very good matter and I had the pleasure to watch the Rotherham game on live streaming at my home in Norway. It was a great game of football with two teams that looked equally shaky in the back four. Matt Ritchie was the key player for me and I was really impressed to see him during the game although he also had a terrible miss on open goal.
The next couple of games were to be crucial and I was really anxious to see if Town were able to build on that great live TV performance. Indeed we would!
Home against Southend with ole’ Luggy in charge saw a solid Swindon performance and a clean sheet. We haven’t seen a lot of them over the last few years to be honest. It was also good for the back four to be able to build confidence that is so important in this funny old game.
A 2-0 victory against the Shrimpers was followed up by a 3-0 trashing away against Crawley Town. The build of to that game were hilarious between Steve Evans and Paolo Di Canio. Di Canio got the last word: “Evans who?” and also the last of laughs. He even stole a good gentleman’s hug from a stumped Evans after the game and to win 3-0 away was indeed a very good feeling – for the players, for the management and staff and for the fans – especially those who travel to every away game. They’ve been in a lot of misery on the road the last few years as well.
Could we now move away from that away form monster that’s been haunting us for a while. After awful displays at Cheltenham, Dag & Red and Shrewsbury in August, the win at Crawley was exactly what we needed, but then we play Burton Albion.
The first ever visit to the Pirelli Stadium in Burton ended our three win streak and the battle between the two Italian Paolo’s ended up with that little fellow Paul Peschisolido getting the better of his counterpart. Di Canio blamed the players for not being up to the task and name dropped a few of the players. Mattea Lanzano was one of the players to be blamed for the 2-0 loss after a silly error in the second half. He probably knew that himself without Di Canio raving on about it in the post match interview.
Sure I love that Di Canio is free speaking, warm blooded, passionate and all that but in a sense I feel his man management skills are not as good as they perhaps ought to be at this level. To build confidence is to a certain degree more important than passing skills in League Two and that should be a priority to Di Canio. I think he will agree and I also think he wants to so as well but I am not sure he is going about with the right methods every time. I hope however he will prove me wrong and build a strong confident team during the winter that lies waiting ahead.
It suddenly helped to have a go at some of the players after the Burton game because the next game saw us trash Barnet 4-0 at the County Ground in a free flowing game of football. Matt Ritchie once again showed that he is way too good for this league and I really hope we can keep him come January. Teams need to pay good money to convince Jeremy Wray to sell our jewel. Ritchie can be the difference between promotion or not – just as Austin might have been the difference between survival or relegation last season. We will never know will we?
The last game of the month saw us travel up north close to Manchester for a Friday night game of football. At Moss Road in Macclesfield we were once again to get a lot of trouble on the road. Another 2-0 loss and back to the drawing board for Paolo Di Canio.
Di Canio has learned a lot during his rather short time in the game however. He admits when he’s wrong and learns from it. His rather trigger happy transfer deals in June and July has not been as good as he first thought. Players like Ibrahim Atiku, Oliver Risser, Lander Gabilondo and Etienne Esajas to name a few. Most of them foreigners and none with English League Two experience. What have Di Canio learned? League Two is not a league were continental players can come and pass the ball around. We saw Dossevi struggle last year with the tempo and aggression of the British play.
Di Canio also admitted that he didn’t know about the foreigner rule that leaves Swindon with a lot more foreigners than allowed in a match squad of sixteen. Although he stressed that this wasn’t the reason that some of the players did not figure in the sixteen. Take a player like Risser. He’s been in Norwegian football and struggled even in the second division here (third tier). He was made captain by Di Canio and yes his attitude is second to none – but you need certain basic skills as well. I don’t say he’s not got it, but the tendencies we saw when he was playing his trade in Norway was that he was not good enough for this level of football. Atiku as well came from the lower leagues in Sweden and I really do hope for the sake of Swindon Town that their 2 year contracts aren’t worth that much in yearly wages!
Di Canio knows that he needs strong and aggressive players up front. He’s dipped into the loan market for two young British players. Ridehalgh from Huddersfield looked lively against Macclesfield when he came on after the rapports I’ve read and Jake Jervis is also a talent that brings height to the game. In time I also think Lukasz Magera will blossom – he’s got a real strong talent about himself but has to cope with the English style and tempo and needs to stay fit and free of injuries.
September overall has been a good month but loosing away against teams like Burton and Macclesfield is probably not what Di Canio had in mind. Anyway we are only three points from a play-off spot and I am filled with confidence in front of an exciting October month ahead – I just hope the Swindon players have the same confidence!