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The story of Swindon's scoring sensation

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Paul Fletcher | 06:30 UK time, Friday, 5 February 2010

Swindon striker Charlie Austin has to pinch himself every now and again to make sure he is not dreaming.

You might not have heard of the 20-year-old but if you take a look at his career trajectory it is easy to see why he is still coming to terms with his elevated status.

Austin started the season working as a bricklayer for his old man's company and playing part-time for Wessex Premier League side Poole Town.

After joining Swindon in October, he made four substitute appearances before finding the net against Carlisle on his full debut. Austin's current run of form has seen him score 10 times in his last 11 League One fixtures, as the Robins have surged up to fifth in the League One table.

It is a breathtaking, sensational start to Austin's professional career, and I was curious to find out whether he always thought he was destined to play full-time.

Swindon Town striker Charlie Austin Austin has been a scoring sensation at Swindon

"Well, kind of," the softly-spoken Austin told me. "I always thought I could play at a higher level but maybe not at the standard I am now. Luckily I am, and everything is just like 'wow'."

Austin sounds like someone still coming to terms with what has happened to him this season; there is almost a sense of awe, even bewilderment, when he discusses the course of events over the last five months.

It perhaps shouldn't come as a total surprise because Austin spent pre-season training with League Two Bournemouth, who would have offered him a contract had the Cherries not been operating under a transfer embargo.

After a midweek game for Poole early in the season, a match in which Austin smashed home a goal from just inside the penalty box, a mate told him that a representative from Swindon had been at the game to watch him.

Austin, who had a prolific scoring record at Poole, refused to believe his friend, giving him short shrift, but two weeks later he was on trial at the Robins.

The striker was petrified, a fear way beyond the first-day nerves of any school pupil, when he turned up for training on Monday morning. But he quickly settled in, scoring in a reserve game against Swansea on the Wednesday. Shortly afterwards, he signed a professional contract.

In a short space of time, life had profoundly changed for Austin, but if the speed of events left him dizzy then the striker's rapid ascent elicited a very different reaction from Swindon chairman Andrew Fitton.

If Austin seems slightly awkward answering questions, Fitton, who took over at the County Ground in January 2008, is an engaging and charismatic character.

A local businessman with a background in motor racing, Fitton had previously been chairman of Hungerford Town and is also a Uefa B qualified coach.

But it was while refereeing a game that he first noticed a 15-year-old Austin. Two years later, Austin had joined his Hungerford side.

"I was surprised he was ready for that level, but he had filled out and played extraordinarily well, even if he did not score that many goals," Fitton told me.

Austin left Hungerford when his family relocated to Poole but Fitton continued to monitor his progress, especially when he took over at Swindon.

Former Robins boss Maurice Malpas took a look at the striker and Jamie Gosling, but nothing happened and Malpas was eventually replaced by Danny Wilson.

Then Fitton had an interesting conversation with Swindon's chief scout. "One day he said to me 'I've found this great player at Poole'. I told him that he hadn't found him at all. We ended up wasting 18 months and a lot of money before we signed Charlie."

Fitton is obviously far from your ordinary chairman and has strong opinions that he is not afraid to voice. For example, he is critical of Premier League academies, accusing them of burning out young talent.

Austin himself trained with Reading as a youngster but was not taken on, in part because he had a knee injury but also because he was thought to be too small.

"Charlie, who is now 6 ft tall, is a cracking example of players that are missed by professional clubs," said the Robins chairman, who was in no way suggesting that the Royals were guilty of burning out Austin.

Every Saturday, Fitton tries to pick out one player from the opposition that would improve his side and compares his judgement with manager Wilson.

"That is how we signed Alan Sheehan - I saw him play for Leeds and a year later when we needed a player on the left, Danny reminded me that I had liked him and said 'why don't we try to sign him?'," said Fitton.

Not surprisingly, Fitton has an explanation as to why Austin has made such a remarkable start to his professional career. In short, the chairman believes that his young striker possesses an instinct that cannot be taught; he knows where the goal is and has that positional gift that allows him to be in the right place at the right time.

"If you have that instinct then you are halfway there," added Fitton. "Then it becomes a matter of hard work and psychology."

Austin, whose goals have ranged from the spectacular to the type of straightforward bread and butter finishes that mark out many a prolific goalscorer, seems to be in full agreement with his chairman when he says: "I have had to adjust my whole lifestyle.

"I've had to look at the bigger picture and realise that not only is football now my job but it is also a sport that people are 100% passionate about."

He has had precious little opportunity to visit his friends down in Poole, instead spending his spare time preserving his energy and trying to prepare mentally for his next game.

I couldn't help but wonder whether he missed anything about his old life. The answer was immediate and unequivocal.

Dons Rogers was part of the Swindon side that won the 1969 League Cup Don Rogers won the 1969 League Cup with Swindon

"I don't miss anything about it - not when I am doing something I love," he said.

Fitton describes Austin as a level-headed young man, and I certainly wouldn't argue with him. He may well possess that well-rounded perspective that seems to me characteristic of many players who work for a living before entering the pro ranks.

Austin's timing also appears to be pretty good as he has definitely joined a club on an up-curve after a lengthy period of financial troubles.

The chairman would like Austin, a local lad, to go on to become the new Don Rogers, which won't be easy.

Not only is Rogers the most famous player to pull on a Swindon shirt but if Austin does continue his current rate of scoring it seems unrealistic to assume that clubs from higher divisions will not express a serious interest in signing him.

Thankfully for Swindon, they announced on Monday that the striker had agreed a new deal and he signed a new two-and-a-half year contract on Tuesday.

It might just be prove to be the best bit of business on what was an unremarkable transfer deadline day.


  • Comment number 1.

    Nice to see a piece about Swindon!

    Am glad that Austin put pen to paper on a new deal... Just what Town needs after selling Cox last season.

    You REDS!

  • Comment number 2.

    All I feel when I read about Charlie Austin is gutted that Bournemouth had their transfer embargo and missed out on signing him way before Swindon even had a sniff...

  • Comment number 3.

    "Not only is Rogers the most famous player to pull on a Swindon shirt"

    Glenn Hoddle, perhaps?

  • Comment number 4.

    Nice article about a player who's come in and done really well for Swindin. You can't help but think this type of background really grounds a player as well, unlike those being looked after and wrapped in cotton wool by the Premier League academies.

    Do you think Austin can play at an even higher level one day?

  • Comment number 5.

    I can only agree with #2. Thanks a lot football league. This kid would have taken any money to play for bournemouth so would it really be that much strain on them to have taken him on at the start of the season?

    However, it is nice to hear about these stories of players coming into the professional game later in life who are genuinely grateful for the opportunity they've got and seem a lot more humble than the lads who are signed up at 8 years old and never have to think about anything other than football.

  • Comment number 6.

    I like hearing stories like this: it seems they become less and less as the seasons go by. Haven't seen the lad play, but that is an admirable scoring record for any striker, Premier League or not. Hee keeps this up and Swindon may just be taking a hefty fee for the lad from a Premier League side.

  • Comment number 7.


    Harsh sentiments there given the fact that Austin is a local lad born in Hungerford (very close to Swindon) and I also believe he's a lifelong fan. He's Swindon through and through and definitely better off playing for us than Bournemouth (no disrespect).

    Anyway I'm delighted to see an article about us for once and we're having a great season too, lets hope we can maintain the good form and secure a play off place, it would be a remarkable achievement given the predicaments we've been in over the recent years. Charlton at home this sunday, I'll be there.

    Also I'm glad you've given some coverage to our chairman, he's done a great job as has Danny Wilson. Good times for us.

  • Comment number 8.

    Rich_Owl, Glen Hoddle may be more well known to the general public than Don Rogers, but to most Swindon fans he won't be on the list of all time great players (partly because he was our manager)... Names like Don Rogers (scored the winning goal in league cup 1969 against Arsenal), Harold Flemming (played for England and Swindon) and John Trollope (770 appearances over 20 years for the same club!!) usually spring to mind.

    We are very lucky to have signed Charlie Austin, and Andrew Fitton has done well to get an excellent deal for us. This will help Charlie as he doesn't have to worry about a contract for the next couple of years and can go on to do great things, and when the higher league vultures do come for him (and they will eventually) we will have him a substantial contract to ensure we geta reasonable price for him. Fitton didn't stand in Cox's way, and he won't stand in Austin's... who knows? Hopefully he might be plying his trade in the Championship for us next year! ;-)

  • Comment number 9.

    Derby were thought to be after him.

    What is it with the youngsters being rejected for being too small?! Forest released Shaun Wright-Phillips simply because he was too small, well arguably the greatest player on the planet is one of the smallest players, plus Maradona was small too

  • Comment number 10.

    Thanks again Gin Swillers for robbing us of the opportunity to sign what is proving to be an outstanding talent - Gutted!!
    Still our loss is Swindon's gain and good luck to Charlie. As has been posted above it's good to see honest hard working lads get their chance - and he is certainly grabbing it with both hands.
    It just depresses me to think that had we had him this season and he showed the form he has we would be out of sight by now. Yet here we are with only 13 fit pros who are risking their wellbeing due to this over zealous embargo. I'm sure this Charlie Austin story has put a big smile on Mawhinney and his fellow cronies at the FL. B*&^%$^%&*s
    Post number 8 - It warms my cockles to know that you will one day make a decent bit of money from him; just annoys me that it should have been us as it was Eddie Howe who wanted to rescue him from non league. Still there you go, just another day in the life of being a Cherries fan!!

  • Comment number 11.

    Thanks for the read Paul !

    I just hope the Town keep such a bright promising player.

    The BIGGEST thing for Swindon is that they have replaced Coxy the next season on the cheap ! Whilst keeping the proceeds !

    I knew Danny Wilson would bring some success to Swindon when he was given the post.

    I have seen Swindon 5 times this season so far and the first time was without Austin (they stil had Revell!) and they looked toothless against Millwall ! (TO be fair it was a non game after JD got sent off for a blatent dive by a Millwall player but that's another gripe!)

    It seems Austim is working well with Billy Paynter too. Somthing Cox did so well.

    The last 4 times have been with Austin in the team and the Guy looks like he will score every time he gets the ball !

    If the Town get up via the playoffs Austin will easily cut it at Championship level and so will the nucleus of the team. Cuthbert, Douglas etc !

    Happy times for my local club (long overdue!)

  • Comment number 12.

    Top top player. Made even better for us by the fact we couldn;t hit a barn door earlier on this season. Since his full debut at Carlisle not only he has 10 in 11 but so does Billy Paytner. Fitton has done an unbelievable job for club. Is running it like a business and whether we get promotion or not we will be in exsitence next year and the year after - unlike a lot of other clubs. Its amazing to say it when we are a 3rd Division side (sorry old school) but the future has never looked so good for us Town fans.

  • Comment number 13.

    #9 Football history has reams of stories of discarded players who go on to be top class.

    Reminds me of when the Swans chairman released Dean Saunders as a teenager, telling him that he'll never be good enough to be a professional footballer. doh

  • Comment number 14.

    Were Bournemouth interested in Charlie nearly two years ago when Charlie got injured whilst on trial at Swindon?

    Okay I appreciate you were interested in him earlier this season, but we've been tracking Charlie for some time now.

    Nice article on Town, nice to see a bit of variety on the beeb.

  • Comment number 15.

    Even if clubs from higher leagues are interested, the lad would be MAD to move before he has had a few more seasons at Swindon.

    Move now; he'll be finished.

    Keep playing well and move in 2 years - he could go to the top.

    As simple as that.

    (And I'm not a Swindon fan. Just a neutral telling it as it is).

  • Comment number 16.

    Good Blog Paul, very refreshing to see stories about players like Charlie. He is a very talented goalscorer and with the right application and determination could ply his trade higher up the football ladder. As previous posters have commented he would do well to stick with Swindizzle for a couple of seasons to build his experience.

    There are some excellent players playing in the lower leagues who just need that break, a chance to prove themselves in a proffessional environment.

    Andrew Fitton is doing a fantastic job at Swindon and its great having a chairman in charge who really understands football.

  • Comment number 17.

    As the article explains Swindon had shown an interest in Austin 18 months before they got him so that precedes Bournemouth`s interest.
    Unfortunately the manager that went to watch him was Malpas so no surprise that he didn`t see any potential.

    In a world when we so often hear about the prima donna players bringing down the good name of football it is refreshing to read an article like this.

  • Comment number 18.

    I love these kind of articles. I've heard alot about this lad but I've never had the pleasure of seeing him play.

    10 goals in 13 appearances is some effort, at whatever standard you're playing. He seems a great talent and I hope the lad goes far. This is what lower league football is all about picking up young talent from non league. It's great to see.

  • Comment number 19.

    Bournemouth had been tracking him for the last two years. He trained on two separate occasions. Fact is, he had agreed terms with AFCB (as had Steve Lovell) yet wasn't able to sign. GUTTED! Good luck to him though. Damn Football League (we're down to 13 fit players + assistant manager now!).

  • Comment number 20.

    Great to read about Charlie's talent. Yes, we did check him out before Bournemouth but we still have to count ourselves lucky to have been given the opportunity to sign him, whichever way you look at it. Now weve got him on a longer contract, bring back the glory days! I can see a play off final a la Leicester.....4-3!

  • Comment number 21.

    #15- agree entirely, we've had a number of youngsters go to big clubs never to be seen again (and i'm sure its the same for other clubs in lower divs as well). tozer at newcastle, jutzcavickz (spelling is way out on that one!) to everton are just a couple of examples in the last few years. even cox who started well at west brom has been sidelined again recently (and i think i saw they'd signed a new striker as well).

    the problem is when players go from say a div 1/2 club to a champ (or even prem) its only for 2mill tops. this's nothing really to these clubs and there highly likely to buy another stirker for even more money. take the palace kid who's just gone to wigan. 2.5mill is nothing for a prem striker and wigan are highly likely to go into the transfer market for another more expensive one come the summer. how much game time is the kid really going to get?

    agree with everyone that fitton is doing a great job (he also managed Ramsbury FC in the Swindon and District League before going to Hungerford!). as shown by austin he has an eye for a player as well. equally though i don't think he'd interfere with what wilson is doing and they clearly have a good relationship.

    hopefully we'll go up this year (but we need more gates like the leeds game to compete in the championship), though i don't think i could take another horible playoff loss like brighton in 2004!

  • Comment number 22.

    First of all, great article. Secondly, I agree with much that has been commented before me (praise for Fitton, Wilson, etc).

    Massive praise must also be reserved for Billy Paynter who is on a similarly brilliant run. Whatever it is in his make up, Paynter appears to play the role of partner very well. Just ask Simon Cox, who many widely acknowledge, wouldn't have scored nearly as many as 30 last season without Paynter next to him.

    Paynter and Austin have clicked and the new arrival, Vincent Pericard, may have to wait a little time yet before he breaks that up!

  • Comment number 23.

    what a great story of charlies progress. i'm looking at his career from afar as an Ex-pat fan of the Robins. I wish him well and hope he goes on to greater things with Swindon.

  • Comment number 24.

    I too am a long way away - not quite expat! - but Charlie has been a sensation, and as others have said, these sorts of stories do not seem to happen very often these days - maybe Chris Smalling is another? I hope Swindon can really benefit from his gifts before he is enticed away. The sad thing is that the Premier League - and increasingly the Championship too - is being flooded by overseas players who are creating substantial barriers for 'home-grown' talent, and therefore damaging the prospects for our national teams as well.

    By the way re #21, Lukas Jutkiewicz is knocking in goals for Motherwell, tipped to become the third force in Scottish football - not quite Everton maybe, but he is making his mark

  • Comment number 25.

    Fantastic to see the Town doing so well. It was a real shame that Charlie was cup-tied when we played Fulham in the FA cup as it would have given him a chance to test himself against top-flight opposition, plus it would have Town a real chance of getting a result.

    There's still a long way to go in the season but I'm quietly confident of finishing in a play-off spot...

  • Comment number 26.

    How true you are, Highland Robin concerning "home grown" talent or the lack off it. I had the pleasure of watching Swindon in the Don Rodgers era. What a team they had then and a few of them were local or west country. I've seen some great games there in my time, lets hope those days are coming back. They have certainly got backing with Fitton and Wilson.

  • Comment number 27.

    Apart from the likes of Best and Charlton and Dalglish ie obviously great players- Don Rogers was the BEST, absolutely the best, player I ever saw in English football in the late sixties / seventies. To think he never once played for England is a travesty beyond belief when one thinks how many other mediocrities HAVE played.

    Good luck to Charlie Austin.

  • Comment number 28.

    I don't think there is a Swindon Town fan on the planet who isn't currently enjoying the season we are having. To date its been no fluke, we really do have a competitive 11 for the first time in years.

    Charlie has been a sensation so far, the real test will be over the long haul, and whether or not he can maintain such a rich goal scoring vein. I hope he does, for Swindon's and his sake.

    Keep up the good work Charlie, it's a pleasure having you.

  • Comment number 29.

    3. At 08:19am on 05 Feb 2010, Rich_Owl wrote:
    "Not only is Rogers the most famous player to pull on a Swindon shirt"

    Glenn Hoddle, perhaps?

    Yes i'd agree, probably even say Craig Maskell too.

  • Comment number 30.

    A very encouraging story - good stuff. Don Rogers? Well yes he was one in a generation of excellent players and probably Swindon's best player. But the best player of his era? I think not. No disrespect to Don, who was a great player, but not quite in the class of Rodney Marsh, Tommy Hutchison, etc.

  • Comment number 31.


    Thanks for the comments and feedback.

    Rich_Owl - You have a point. I reckon if you took photos of Glenn Hoddle and Don Rogers in their prime to a variety of pubs across the land (or indeed, the globe), the former would be recognised alot more.

    However, Hoddle in his prime was nowhere near Swindon and in that corner of Wiltshire, Rogers is very much number one.

    As for how far Austin can go - I honestly could not say because he has only been playing League football for such a short space of time. I think he has plenty left to prove - not least that he can do it again and again and is not a flash in the pan.

    But I definitely agree with those who suggest that the best idea for Austin is to stay at Swindon and keep learning.

    Good luck to him. Any other young players plucked out of the non-leagues who are worth a mention?

  • Comment number 32.

    Quote 21. 'tozer at newcastle, jutzcavickz (spelling is way out on that one!) to everton are just a couple of examples in the last few years'
    Just to inform that if you look at Motherwell's recent scorers you would see quite a few goals coming from lukas jutkiewicz, the former Swindon lad. Hes had one apperance for Everton and is now scoring in the Scottish Premier quite frequently.
    No news on Ben Tozer though, there was rumors about him coming back to Swindon. Austin has made a great start and can hopefully push town all the way to the playoff final.

  • Comment number 33.

    Great to see our Team getting some positive coverage for a change and Charlie certainly is a revelation. Just a word of caution, today he appears on the same internet page as a certain JT. Nothing to do with Mr Terry of course but it is the day that the football world reads about and takes notice of our Charlie.The honeymoon will be over and he will become a very marked man. He is only a kid but a few more goals, maybe a hat trick in the next two or three weeks and everyone is gonna come calling. Swindon and those around him will need to take care of him. He is by all accounts a level headed lad but Fame and Media, he wont be ready for quite yet. Our secret is now out! Good luck Boys for the next 20 games or so....."you reds!!!"

  • Comment number 34.

    Paul- Sam Wood at Brentford is a great player and was plucked from Blue Square South Side Bromley. I watched him at Bromley on numerous occasions and was impressed on every visit to Hayes Lane. He went on trial at Wolves a few years ago, but was finally snapped up by Brentford a season or so later and was a regular in their first team almost instantly.

  • Comment number 35.

    Great story about a nice kid and a talented player with wonderful potential. I live in Sydney so I don't get to many games but I was there for the 2-1 win over Brighton and both Charlie and Billie Paynter looked very classy.

    It is truly a great time to be a Swindon fan, especially after the trials of the MM and SM eras. I haven't been so excited since the early 90s, and before that 1967 to 1970.

    I was a bit concerned about Danny Wilson (in spite of the similaroity of his name to the great Danny Williams) to start with but I'm now an unreserved fan - and even more so of Andrew Fitton who has been instrumental in saving the club and turning it from a joke into a club bto be proud of.

    As for the Glen Hoddle/Don Rogers debate, to any long time Swindon there's no comparison. Hoddle had one or two seasons with Swindon and did a great job but Don had an entire career there and was involved in so many of our proudest moments, from reaching the Youth Cup Final in 1964, to beating West Ham, complete with Peters, Moore and Hurst in 67, to the League Cup win, the defeat of Roma 4-0, winning the Anglo Italian Cup in 1970, beating Luiverpool in 72 and so much more.

    I've followed Town since 63 and there is no doubt that Don is head and shoulders above any other player to put on a Town shirt, at least in my time.

    I also have no doubt that if Alf Ramsey had picked Don against Poland in 73 he would have scored at least one of the dozens of chances that Alan Clarke and co misses and England would have beaten Poland, gone to the 74 finals and Alf Ramsey would have kept his job.

    Ramsey never picked Don for the full England side in spite of the fact that he scored every time he played for the under 23s - because Ramsey values work rate over skill, didn't like wingers and didn't like players outside Div One.

  • Comment number 36.

    Not going too far off the point I hope. It's probably too hopeful to think that Charlie Austin will become the next Don Rogers, albeit that he's a great signing for us this year. When it comes to Rogers, those of us who saw him play regularly (the over 50's now I'm afraid) will know that he was a truly talented player whose loyalty to Swindon curtailed what could've been a much more stellar career. When he stepped up against higher opposition, such as the Liverpool game in 1972, the 69 league cup final, the game where he represented the football league and some other notable examples, he never disappointed. When he moved to Palace; when he was past his best and not as fit as he had been, (due to knee problems I think) he had some very good games with one (against Man Utd I think) where he was truly awesome. I've got the highlights on a DVD somewhere which I shall watch at the earliest opportunity. I view him as one of the best players never to be picked for England in the last 40 years. And while we're on/off the subject how about Mike Summerbee, Rod Thomas, Jan Aage Fjortoft and Colin Calderwood?

  • Comment number 37.

    Look likes Don Rogers has it over Glenn Hoddle!

    goldilox16 - Thanks for the tip, I'll keep any eye out for him. One of the Brentford fans in the office (yes, we have several) rates him highly.

    How many of you actually think Swindon will win promotion? Not an easy division this year and I reckon Leeds and Norwich will finish in the top two, so that only leaves the play-offs....

  • Comment number 38.

    Great Blog Thank You! No one bothers with us these days!! To answer your question I dont we have the strength in depth and unless the loanees come in next week, we could be caught in positions like centre mid and left back. Most STFC fans I think would settle for a great day at Wembley and we've played 3 and won 3 there!!.....

  • Comment number 39.

    Good to see a Swindon story and great to see Charlie is being recognised in the wider footballing world. I just hope that if we do sell him we don't get sold short like we did with a certain Norwegian striker (we were told he wouldn't go for less the £5m and Middlesboro got him for £1.3m).

    Paul, in answer to your question I think we will finish 4th in the playoffs. Leeds, Charlton & Norwich are just too far ahead for us to catch them, however I am hopeful. It is great to see us doing so well, playing good football and with a quality team.

    STFC have always (in my memory, 1991+) been a team that produces some great players that go on to better things. I like to think Milner and Carrick both benefited from their time with us. Also Bouazza whos goal got Algeria into semis of the African Cup of Nations recently.

    We do have good strikers come and go though, I wish we'd kept Sam Parkin but we were probably right to sell him. Simon Cox always wanted to go higher and I think the board have again proved they made the right decision as I'd rather have Paynter & Austin and a sack of cash.

    On the note of Jutkiewicz banging them in at Motherwell. Has anyone else noticed his strike partner is John Sutton? Another ex-Swindon loanee (ok, he didn't last long but he still counts) :)

  • Comment number 40.

    Come on Swindon fans - what about a little optimism! You're no stranger to a dramatic day at Wembley.

  • Comment number 41.

    If we keep giving injury time goals away we will struggle to get to the playoffs! As per my first post Charlie looked a little tired and frustrated today. The real world starts today!

  • Comment number 42.

    " A very encouraging story - good stuff. Don Rogers? Well yes he was one in a generation of excellent players and probably Swindon's best player. But the best player of his era? I think not. No disrespect to Don, who was a great player, but not quite in the class of Rodney Marsh, Tommy Hutchison, etc. "

    But I didn' t say he was the best of his era. I said, that apart from some obvious greats, he was the best I ever SAW - i.e in the flesh. Clearly he wasn' t better than Bobby Moore, Martin Peters of Geoff Hurst, either but I never saw any of them actually play live. Now, clearly, even Don has to bow down to the legend that was Rodney Marsh as well.. but Tommy Hutchison ???? Do me a favour... A good player but DEFINITELY not as good as Rogers...

  • Comment number 43.

    Sir Rodney the debate I believe was about best swindon player not best player ever. The guys you mention were very special

  • Comment number 44.

    Absolutely no reason why we should not win promotion. Yes the squad needs strengthening - some of the current 1st choice players have played without a break, and we may rely very heavily on one or two key players - Douglas especially, but there is every evidence we are worthy of a play-off place at least, and once there, predictions are pointless. Charlton have shown themselves to be very vulnerable; Norwich are clearly good; Leeds....well, we go on celebrating the 3-0 victory for a long time - and the rest are no better and no worse than we are. So, who knows? But I am optimistic.

  • Comment number 45.

    If we stop giving away stupid goals in the dying minutes, then I think we have a decent chance at promotion via playoffs. The recent result against Charlton a pure example of throwing 2 points away right at the end. We need maximum points out of the games we have in hand...

  • Comment number 46.

    Swindon had fantastic players in the sixties, Rogers, Summerbee, Thomas and Trolloppe, yes, but also Bobby Woodruff and the inimitable Ernie Hunt, immortalised on YouTube with his free-kick for Coventry against Everton, having been set up by Willie Carr. Start clicking, Fletch.

    Swindon faithful with any sort of a memory will rhapsodise about Ernie Hunt's ability, if not his training regimen.

  • Comment number 47.

    It's now worth mentioning that he's now reportedly had England U21 scouts watching him. Selection could top off an amazing year for him, but I really hope that things aren't moving too fast and that he gets chance to progress.

    Thank God he's extended his contract though!

  • Comment number 48.

    great article and well written, charlie austin has adapted so well to professional football but the best thing about him apart from scoring a hatful of goals is the kid never stops working against tranmere on monday he looked kanckered after 80 minutes or so but even though we were 3 nil up he was chasing defenders down right till the last minute, also special mention for Billy paynter who got unfair stick from town fans at the start of the season but he was virtually playing on his own and shouldered all the responsiblity but as previously said we have a fantastic chairman and superb manager and dont want the season to end! feel for bournemouth missing out on charlie hope you boys go up and shove oen up the fa's nose!

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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