Former BBC Wiltshire commentator Vic Morgan writes his latest blog for TheWashbag.com…
Wasn’t a shock was it? It was one of football’s worst kept secrets that Martin Ling was to be Swindon Town’s new manager.
For those of a certain age, Martin is a two-time Town player. A brief spell under Lou Macari, about six weeks, and a longer stay after being signed by Glenn Hoddle. Any member of the Swindon squad which reached the Premier League, will always have a special place in a Town fans heart. Lingy was a talented and skilful midfield player.
He started out in Devon with Exeter City. I can tell you that Martin is popular in these parts. Many Torquay United supporters regret the way in which he left Plainmoor. The battle with depression that Martin faced is well documented. After being given a leave of absence to recover, he was subsequently dismissed. It was something which left a nasty taste in the mouth of many in South Devon.
Martin was a popular manager of the Gulls and who knows where they might be now if he’d been allowed to return to his job. That’s water under the Teign Bridge now and Lingy will lead Swindon at Rochdale on Saturday. What’s definite is that he’ll get a warm reception from the travelling fans at Spotland and who knows, he may see us get our first FA Cup goal since the famous day against Wigan.
A final word about depression. It’s unseen and debilitating as anyone who’s a sufferer will know. If Martin’s story helps awareness, then that’s a positive to come from what I’m sure is a very dark time in his life.
Before the appointment came the disappointment of the reunion with the aforementioned Wigan Athletic.
A first ten minutes or so saw a bombardment from the ‘Latics in their very impressive DW Stadium. Slowly and gradually though Swindon got back into the game. Anton Rodgers had one of the best chances of the game, Ben Gladwin hit a post and some of the Town’s football looked like a return to form. It seemed the only negative would be the failure to register a shot on target.
The only negative that is, until the 96th minute. The Wigan winner was a real kick in the stomach. Defensively Swindon had been superb all afternoon. In fact I would go as far as to say it was their best defensive performance of the season. But, when you’re struggling the footballing gods contrive to punish you. A failure to catch the ball by the otherwise excellent Lawrence Vigouroux , led to the ball finding it’s way into the Town net. A sickener. No other word for it.
Still not the same feeling of total disappointment after the Millwall game two weeks earlier. This was a performance of character and at times good football. There is light at the end of the League One tunnel. Swindon will get out of the relegation scrap.
The cup then Saturday. Another long journey north to Rochdale but one which may provide something to cheer about at long last in the completion. Me ? I fancy at least a replay.
Keep it loud keep it proud keep it SWINDON!