Writer: Shaun Calderwood
Date:Monday December 19 2011
Cast your mind back to January 2011, the transfer window is open, Town are in a relegation battle but Danny Wilson and Charlie Austin will surely preserve our League One status right?
Town started 2011 bright with a 4-2 away win at Charlton Athletic infront of the Sky cameras, many Town fans predicted this was finally the result that would pave the way to climb away from relegation but as was the case last season, each good result was followed by a bad result if not results.
Town would lose the next 2 games 2-0 to Oldham Athletic away and lose 1-0 to Yeovil Town at home. The worst was yet to come.
Sean Morrison who had finally got a run in Swindon`s first team unexpectedly departed the club and joined Reading after the Championship Club made a bid of £250,000 which was the minimum release clause for Morrison. Town accepted and with Town`s defence looking shockingly bad it got even worse. Chairman Andrew Fitton explained at the time that the club had to have a minimum release clause in the contract otherwise Morrison would never have re-signed for Swindon Town in the first place.
In late January it would emerge that top goal scorer Charlie Austin had put in a transfer request after a bid was Hull City was rejected by Swindon. Charlie would play the next two games and be a shell of his former self before Town agreed a fee with Ipswich Town. With Austin heading away from the County Ground, Wilson was keen to replace his talisman ASAP to try and stop the rot. Wilson agreed a 5 figure sum to bring in 15 goal striker Elliot Benyon from Torquay United.
Austin would reject a move to Ipswich in favour of working with Eddie Howe at Burnley whom Austin had been on trial with at AFC Bournemouth. So on 28th January the Austin era was over before it really got started after the former brick layer signed a three year contract with the Championship outfit.
Austin`s replacement Benyon made his Swindon Town debut against Rochdale scoring the equaliser in the process. Shortly thereafter Benyon was done for the season with an injury. Wilson would go into the transfer market once more to sign highly rated defender Aden Flint from Blue Square North side Alfreton Town to help bolster his defence. Many fans felt Town would never get relegated to League Two although it looked more and more likely by the end of February.
Throughout February Town failed to win a single match, although Town fans had given manager Danny Wilson the benefit of the doubt seeing as the previous season Town had made it to League One playoff final at Wembley, some fans finally admitted that Wilson was not going to be able to save the season after losing 4-1 to Southampton at the end of February.
On the second of March around 6pm news began filtering out of the County Ground that Danny Wilson had left Swindon Town by mutual consent. The club later released a statement saying "This (the dismissal of Danny Wilson) allows the board an opportunity to appoint a new manager while there are still sufficient games left this season. Maintaining League One status has to be the priority for everyone.'
Many fans felt it was too late as a new manager should have been found in January to allow them to sign players during the transfer window. Swindon Town chairman Andrew Fitton was convinced he had time to save Town`s League One status and would name a new manager in 24 hours time.
Date:Monday December 19 2011
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