Twelve things we’ve learnt at the County Ground in 2012

Hasn’t 2012 flown by quickly..!? Ron Smith recalls twelve things that we’ve learnt supporting Swindon Town this year…

1. I should attend less games….

Various commitments have meant I’ve been unable to maintain my full quota of games at the County Ground in 2012.

Working late ensured I couldn’t see Town bounce back from defeat at O#*ord with a 4-0 win over Dagenham & Redbridge. My father in-law’s 60th birthday gave reason to boycott Franchise FC’s visit, but miss a 1-0 win. A bout of the norovirus – which luckily unleashed itself just prior to departing for the County Ground – kept me away from a 4-0 win over AFC Bournemouth. And finally, an office Christmas Party meant I missed the emphatic 5-0 routing of Tranmere Rovers.

I promise to burn my season ticket so you all can enjoy guaranteed home victories in 2013…

2. Paolo likes shopping…

“I like shopping, maybe I have become a woman” were the very true words of Paolo Di Canio earlier this year.

2012 has been a revolving door at the County Ground with 25 players joining on permanent or loan deals and 25 departing.

Many of Di Canio’s original signings including Mattia Lanzano, Lander Gabilondo, Alan Connell, Jonathan Smith, Lukas Magera, Medhi Kerrouche, Alberto Commazi, Lee Cox, Alessandro Cibbocchi, Etienne Esajas, Oliver Risser, Luke Rooney and Paul Benson and haven’t even lasted until the end of the 2011/12 season or have fallen out of favour.

Buy the t-shirt at our shop...

Buy the t-shirt at our shop…

3. An uninjured goalkeeper can be substituted…

The goalkeeping position is no longer exempt from suffering the indignation of a first half substitution, as Wes Foderingham found out at Preston.

Paolo’s decision shook the football world, with the story going national and international and FIFA double checking the Laws of the Game to ensure that cheat Di Canio hadn’t flouted them.

The whole episode again proved the media’s fascination with Di Canio, who are always eager to publish those ‘Nazi Salute’ pictures and reflections on past Paolo ‘detonations’ at every opportunity.

4. The new Wembley Stadium remains a soulless dump until we win there…

Just reward for success in the cups was a run to the final of the JPT to meet Chesterfield at Wembley. 30,000 Swindon fans made the trip only to for the afternoon to unravel in Chesterfield’s favour with a 0-2 defeat, a second successive loss at the new Wembley.

With the pre-match PA drowning out the chanting and soon enough another limp performance failed to ignite the several thousand day trippers, Wembley will remain a soulless dump until we win there.

5. STFC requires a warzone diplomat to control Di Canio

Andrew Black’s decision to replace the much-liked Jeremy Wray with Sir William Patey in October took many by surprise. But this boardroom reshuffle also highlighted the tensions behind the scenes, requiring the expertise of a former British Ambassador to Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan wearing a fetching hat to defuse the situation.

Sir William Patey

6. The world didn’t end on 21st December 2012…

…however we now know what Swindon are really capable of and that Tranmere Rovers probably aren’t going to win League One.

7. “Paolo Di Canio he’s bought a new coat”…

The 20th October and a 1-1 draw with Scunthorpe will live long in our memories for the appearance of Paolo Di Canio sporting a bright red jacket. Gone was the usual green jacket sparking accusations the change in matchday attire was soley responsible for a third successive winless game as hosts.

8. Paolo Di Canio doesn’t like transfer embargoes…

After the win at Bury in early October, Di Canio let slip of his frustrations of being restricted in the transfer market for the first time as Town had been placed under an embargo a few weeks earlier following the Troy Archibald-Henville and James Collins tribunal ruling.

Cue a month of angry and passionate press conferences from Paolo openly criticising the club for their failure to quickly resolve the funding issues as injuries and suspensions mounted. In the end it took an early £500,000 cash injection from Andrew Black to secure the lifting of the embargo, but more money will be needed for Paolo’s bargain hunting in the January sales.

9. We become quite good in the cups against Premier League opponents…

First up was Wigan Athletic who were dispatched in the FA Cup thanks to a fortunate goal from Paul Benson on his home debut…

In late August, it was a breathtaking evening listening to the League Cup Second Round tie with Stoke City unfold on the radio, which was probably finest performance under Di Canio and probably for many years…

Then, Town nearly took Aston Villa to extra time after a brace from the later over-hyped Miles Storey equalised in this League Cup Fourth Round tie.

10. Nobody is safe…

Paul Caddis, a stalwart of 2011/12 and forever bombing up the right wing, couldn’t make it past pre-season and was sent packing to Birmingham City on-loan and expected to make the deal permanent.

The Scot’s departure was the latest in a series of swift changes in personnel at the County Ground and proved nobody is safe, as Alex Cooke explained in the article ‘Paolo Di Canio’s Uncertainty Principle’ back in September, which gets my nod for TheWashbag blog of 2012.

Paul Caddis in the stands

11. Paolo wants to be banned…

After being sent to the stands against Macclesfield, Di Canio took a swipe at the incompetent FA after the 3-0 victory over Crawley.

“Not ironically, I want to thank the Football Association for giving me the opportunity to watch the game from the stands,” he told BBC Wiltshire. I give them permission to ban me for the rest of the season. We will win the league anyway.”

Buy the ‘Ban Me’ t-shirt!

12. We Are The Champions!

Swindon Town have only won three Football League titles and I’m lucky that all three have been during my lifetime.

We all expected promotion from League Two, but I always knew the championship was ours to lose.

The 5-0 drubbing of Port Vale at the County Ground was the perfect way to secure the title, re-live the celebrations…


Images from


  • Blog of the year? I think David Squires deserves that…

    What else have we learnt?
    – as usual more about financial rules and embargoes than we’d like to know.
    – that Raffa De Vita always gets his place back, regardless of who Di Canio buys to replace him.
    – that James Collins doesn’t really look like being a goal-scorer and Andy Williams is great outside the box.

    Can anyone else think of anything to add?


    • That fans too – even on the excellent Washbag site – can be wrong…..Collins not a goal scorer? (The day after Swindon/Portsmouth)


Comment Here...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s