Hall of Shame #4: The decision to sack Lou Macari in 1985
For our next entry into the Swindon Town Hall of Shame, Vic Morgan recalls one of the most shameful decisions taken by a Swindon Town board. Vic looks back to April 1985 when Lou Macari was wrongly dismissed to the anger of the Town faithful, then reinstated days later.
It was Good Friday…a day of rest I thought.
In those days I worked for the Civil Service, and part time for the old commercial radio station in Swindon.
I’d been covering the Town since the start of the 1984/85 campaign, which coincidently, was the start of Lou Macari’s reign.
Lou’s been sacked the caller said, “what” I said.
So begun an incredible weekend, which led to an incredible period in Swindon Town’s history.
A hastily arranged news conference saw the Town board give their reasons for the dismissal of not only Lou, but also his assistant Harry Gregg. The two Manchester United greats apparently couldn’t work together, and a change had to be made. From then it was a couple of days of madness.
Swindon-town-fc.co.uk footage of the decision to sack Macari
Swindon played at home on the Saturday, but the game was secondary to the off the field story.
Lou was at the game, and conducted an interview with me in the back of his car.
It was an amazing few minutes, with Swindon fans cheering and clapping as Lou talked to me about the events of the past few hours.
That interview was never aired, and I’ll never say what was in it.
A couple of hours later, I’d gone to the Abbey Stadium to watch Swindon Robins. Yes they used to race on a Saturday in those days.
Part the way through the meeting, my wife appeared carrying our young son. Lou had been in touch….no mobile phones in those days remember, and asked if we could refrain from using our taped conversation. It was obvious that talks were underway, which might lead to his return.
And so it transpired. Harry Gregg’s days at the club though, were over.
Swindon-town-fc.co.uk footage showing Macari speaking to Swindon Cable about his sacking
On the Tuesday, another hastily called news conference. Lou Macari was back in charge of Swindon Town. John Trollope was rewarded for his loyalty to the club, as Lou’s new assistant. The rest, as they say, is history. Promotions and play offs followed.
It was three days which remain etched in my memory. The order of events is as clear now as it was then. Credit goes to the Town board for reversing their decision, but their original decision was baffling.
Credit also goes to the Swindon fans, who protested long and hard. They made their feelings known, and were rewarded over the next few seasons with some truly great times.
Brian Hillier and the Swindon Town board in 1985….take your place in the STFC Hall of Shame!
Swindon-town-fc.co.uk footage of Macari’s reinstatement