Town’s disappointing campaign hit a new low on Tuesday night, as another league defeat sees Town with just one win in 2023, and three wins since last October, as our promotion hopes seem to drift further and further away.
After taking the lead in the first half at Gander Green Lane thanks to Charlie Austin, Swindon rode their luck in the second half before the home side scored twice in quick succession to take the maximum and leave Jody Morris still looking for his first points as Town Head Coach.
It’s certainly been a baptism of fire for Morris, who becomes the first Town manager to lose his first three games in charge since Iffy Onuora in late 2005.
But the blame shouldn’t be placed at the feet of our Head Coach.
Being announced on Deadline Day saw him have zero say on the players in his squad, either the incomings or importantly, the outgoings at the club.
It’s clear to anyone watching Town we’re lacking experience throughout the side, not only the team on the pitch but the entire dressing room.
Selling Angus MacDonald, Louis Reed, and Ben Gladwin in January and not replacing them with some other experienced professionals has been painfully obvious, the biggest miss out of those three being Ben Gladwin in midfield.
The 30-year-old midfielder certainly wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea with his style of play, but as Scott Lindsey commented more than once, Ben acted as a player/coach, someone who directed and helped those younger professionals, he wasn’t the only one, with MacDonald anchoring a defence with Tom Clayton and Ciaran Brennan.
Selling two players who have played in the Championship and have over a decade’s worth of experience behind them, then replacing them with a 19-year-old from Bristol City’s academy, and then failing to sign a replacement for MacDonald smacks of a lack of understanding.
Dylan Kadji has enjoyed a solid start to his time at Swindon, as he impressed in his debut at Newport County and could do great things at SN1, but when signing someone to replace Ben Gladwin, you need someone who had played in League Two before, or at least sign Kadji, and alongside him that experienced head, so he has someone to guide him in his young career.
I have nothing against the club’s plan of buying young players, improving them, and making a profit, it’s a sensible way to run a football club, but that needs a balance of experience, as only having one player on the pitch against Sutton in their 30s makes a huge difference when playing in League Two.
On social media, Sandro di Michele is coming in for a lot of the blame on how the season has panned out so far, and it’s hard to disagree with him being the man responsible for player recruitment.
He has signed some talented players in Remeao Hutton, Jake Wakeling, Tom Clayton, and Marcel Lavinier, but he hasn’t balanced the squad with talented youngsters and experienced professionals.
Hiring the former Wigan man was a big gamble by the club, with him only spending a few months at the DW Stadium, as Town gave him his first long-term project at SN1.
But I don’t see any point in removing him at this point in the season, the club’s hierarchy has made their decision on the strategy they want moving forwards.
You need to give him the whole season, then review how it has gone, and if we finish mid-table come May, I would agree his position would be untenable, with a top-seven finish in League Two the minimum expectation.