Press Watch – STFC’s bid for media domination

Welcome to Press Watch, the Washbag’s new sideways glance at all things Town related in the media. If you see anything remotely concerning Swindon Town in the worlds media get in contact with me via Twitter @mrbraindown

First up, imagine my horror in reading that Swindon could have a new hated rival to loathe and despise this season. Who could it be you ask? Personally I find it exhausting enough devoting my time disliking Oxford, Rovers, Bristol City and Gillingham, not to mention my irrational repugnance for Birmingham City. Now, according to Football League Blog ‘The Two Unfortunates’, on top of that cavalcade of obnoxiousness we need to start hating the other STFC, Shrewsbury Town.

“League 1 presents the Shrews with an old foe in the shape of Walsall but there’s not a lot else expected in the rivalry stakes this year. Indeed, the net of contempt is likely to be thrown further still and animosity with Swindon Town could blossom. Last season’s game at the County Ground caused Graham Turner to explode rather angrily. Add to that James Collins’ departure and the growing irritation caused by everyone’s favourite Mussolini fan Paolo Di Canio and you just might have something to build a possibly sustainable rivalry”

Although I must say, the hackneyed, yawn-inducing fascism reference is enough to get my back up, so perhaps this new rivalry does have some legs after all.

So during the pre-season programme, the world’s media wasn’t exactly awash with coverage regarding our friendly matches. Forest Green’s official site heralded Swindon as ‘powerful’ when reporting on the four nil destruction at the New Lawn. We couldn’t possibly been as powerful as FGR’s shirts though, which to be fair were so bright they damaged fans retinas if they were unfortunate to be sat in rows A-C.

As normal, the fans forums supplied the subjective views; FGR fan ‘greenstripe’ has the Di Canio mentality totally sussed out –

“Swindon played the game properly, apparently failure to commit in any game they play in would probably result in being dropped or kicked out of the club altogether. It certainly worked; while not spectacular they put up possibly the best overall performance I’ve seen by any away side ever. They easily contained us.”

There was a disappointing effort on the Crystal Palace fans forum, their match day thread was strangely devoid of lazy put-downs concerning Di Canio. In fact I could only find one mention of the F word, courtesy of ‘Hambo’ of Crawley, who branded Di Canio as ‘everyone’s favourite fascist’ as if trying to provoke a debate on the subject.

Instead their fans had the temerity to talk about their own players and the overall performance of the team. So nothing to see here, although a special mention goes to ‘Serial Thriller’ (not of Crawley but instead of ‘The Promised Land’ – Croydon then) who did say –

“Speroni made a ridiculous save early in the first half too, Swindon were good, and how we kept a clean sheet I’ll never know as our defence was shocking.”

Awww, shucks….

As well as all the pre-season friendlies it’s also time for the endless stream of Season Guides and League Predictions, or as I like to call it – finger in the wind time.

When Saturday Comes magazine predicts us a 4th place finish this season, Town fan and top cartoonist (this still makes me smile) David Squires provides an amusing pen picture to the team, summing up the combustible nature of our manager well.

The Daily Mail daren’t play the prediction game it seems, and instead shout out the odds – we’re 9/1 for the title apparently. They also describe Paolo as controversial and say Matt Ritchie is our key player, knee deep in serious research at the Mail as usual I see.

In the Guardian however, reporter Sachin Nakrani (favouring the use of spelling ‘Paolo’ two different ways in his opening two stanzas) picks his 3 League One players to watch this season and Matt Ritchie is named as one of them! And the manager to watch out for? Paolo Di Canio – ‘who else’ he laughs.

Thankfully the reliable John Ashdown restores some journalistic pride by canvassing those ‘who really know’ about their clubs. The person who really knows Swindon is the Washbag’s very own Rosie MacGillivray who predicts a play-off finish for the club.

The Brighton match offered the first competitive outing of the season for both players and journalists alike. Unfortunately the game the journo’s seemed pretty slack and failed to provide any meaningful coverage of the game. Towns magnificent win was captured in all national papers, albeit within a pitiful Capital One Cup ‘it’s not the premier league therefore’ roundup article. With a whole line dedicated to analysing the victory.

The game was live on Sky though, giving the world a chance to scrutinise our manager’s touchline antics first hand and maybe see a bit of football as some sort of two bit sideshow. The studio guest was Dennis Wise who was introduced by Ben Shepherd as ‘knowing a bit about Swindon and Poyet’, spoken in the same way you’d have introduced Lee Harvey Oswald as ‘knowing a bit about Dallas and John F Kennedy.’

Ben Shepherd is a competent presenter but for some reason I can’t get the niggling feeling that he’s still really a kids’ TV presenter who accidently wandered into the wrong studio one day.

The Brighton press delivered fair reviews of the game and contained nothing controversial. The local paper ‘The Argus’ headlined the match report with the imaginative ‘Navarro sinks his old mates’, I was hoping for something like ‘The Guns of Navarro-ne’, so let’s hope the Adver use that at some point.

The real interest came from the Comment section, with Gus getting a bit of a panning from their fans and Navarro getting a lot of love. Zamora25 states:

“A very poor performance. The players really need to pull their socks up otherwise a season of struggle and possible relegation awaits. Why oh why did Poyet release Navarro. A very costly mistake.”

The Official Match Thread on the Brighton fans forum definitely provides a must read, from the excellent score predictions to ‘daveinpragues’ fantastic premonition that “Navarro is bound to score” which includes a sarcastic ‘long laugh’ smiley.

By the end, Gus and the team are getting slaughtered by everyone, as is Di Canio, who by the end of the night has a whole thread dedicated thread to him and his antics. Rouseytastic quips:

“The result tonight aside, I absolutely love this bloke. He’s a total diamond!
If/When Gus goes I would drive to where ever Di Canio is and pick him up myself. Brilliant”

As you can imagine though, things soon degenerate into hurtful name calling and heavy use of some very angry smileys.

Navarro comes out of the whole match with some credit and is rewarded with his own thread.

Navarro thread link

Match thread link

Di Canio thread link

Onto Hartlepool for the first league match of the season, for some reason I’ve always liked Hartlepool fans, they always seem a real decent bunch. Anyway, Vital Hartlepool started the post match proceedings with ‘5 Things We Learned’ from the game. One thing I learnt from reading it though was that still, for some reason, people still can’t spell Paolo correctly.

The Hartlepool Mail provided a fair match report, even offering words of solace to Tommy Miller:

“But former Pools favourite Miller, on his league debut for The Robins, lashed over the crossbar. In fairness, his effort was just inches away from being the perfect penalty.”

Hartlepool fans forum ‘The Poolie Bunker’ go one step further than the Brighton fans and instead of having threads dedicated to Miller/Di Canio, they have one concerning our team bus.

Another good post-match thread can be found here the fact that their fans seem to think Tommy Miller never missed a penalty when playing for them makes it all the more annoying!

Final word on the game must go to celebrity Hartlepool fan Peter Mandelson  Jeff Stelling, fantastic stuff –

One comment

  • Cheers for mentioning my humble contribution to the WSC season preview (and link to my carton blog). I should point out that I didn’t draw the illustrations in WSC though, they were done by the great Tim Bradford. Have a look on the WSC site for his excellent lo-fi cartoons about Euro 2012 (remember that?).

    However, TheWashbag has been kind enough to invite me to draw something for The Hall of Shame, which I’m working on presently (well, I’m skiving on the Internet presently, but you get my drift).


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