Swindon Town Football Club was founded by Reverend William Pitt of Liddington in 1879.
The team turned professional in 1894 and joined the Southern League which was founded in the same year.
Swindon reached the FA Cup semifinals for the first time in the 1909/10 season, losing to
eventual winners Newcastle United.
Barnsley and Swindon were invited to compete for the Dubonnet Cup in 1910 at
the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris.
The result was a 2-1 victory for Swindon with Harold Fleming scoring both of the club’s goals.
The trophy was missing for many years, but turned up in 2014 in an old cupboard!
The following season, 1910/11, Swindon Town won the Southern League championship,
earning them a Charity Shield match with the Football League champions Manchester United.
This, the highest – scoring Charity Shield game to date,
was played on 25 September 1911 at Stamford Bridge with Manchester United winning 8 – 4.
Some of the proceeds of this game were later donated to the survivors of the Titanic.
In 1912 Swindon Town reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup for a second time in 3 years,
losing to Barnsley after a replay 1 – 0.
Swindon’s exploits at this time owed a lot to the skilful forward H.J. Fleming
who was capped by England 11 times between 1909 and 1914 despite
playing outside the Football League. Fleming remained with Swindon
throughout a playing career spanning 1907 and 1924 and went
on to live in the town for his entire life.
Swindon entered the Football League in 1920 as a founding member of Division Three and
defeated Luton Town 9 – 1 in their first game of the season. This result stands as a record
for the club in League matches.
After the outbreak of World War II, the War Department took over the Stadium in 1940,
where for a while POWs (Prisoners of War) were housed in huts placed on the pitch,
for this the club received compensation of £4,570 in 1945.
World War II affected Swindon Town more than most other football clubs and the club
was almost disbanded, the club needed a large amount of time to recover and for this
reason it failed to make any real impression in the league and would not climb into
the second division until 1963 when they finished runners up to Northampton Town.
The club was relegated back into Division Three in 1965 but it was about to create a sensation.