Sunday 18 December 2011

Swindon Town - The County Ground

Swindon Town FC
The County Ground
County Road

0871 876 1879
Official Website

Ground Number: 32
Wednesday 12th August 1998
Swindon Town 2-1 Wycombe Wanderers
Worthington Cup 1st Round, 1st Leg


1:  The club was founded in 1879, turning professional in 1894 and moving to the County Ground in 1896.

2:  Swindon Town joined the Football League in 1920 as a founding member of the newly established Division 3 South. Their first game was a 9-1 win over Luton Town, their record league victory to date.

3:  The 1993/94 season saw the club spend their sole season in the top flight. They finished bottom of the Premiership, conceding 100 goals in the process. Though they gained 5 victories during the season, the highlight was a credible 2-2 draw against champions Manchester United.

4:  The club's best ever progress in the FA Cup has been the Semi-Final. In 1910 they lost 2-0 to Newcastle United in a game at Tottenham and two years later they took Barsley to a replay before losing 1-0

5:  Swindon Town won the League Cup in 1969, defeating Arsenal 3-1 at Wembley.

6:  The Football League Trophy final was reached in 2012, where Swindon Town lost 2-0 to Chesterfield.

7:  The most successful manager in terms of win ratio is Paolo Di Canio who won 56% of all his games in charge between May 2011 and February 2013. Excluding caretakers, the least successful is Paul Hart, who gained a pitiful 9% win percentage during a two-month spell in 2011.

8:  Record appearance maker for the club is John Trollope with 886 appearances between 1960 and 1980. Record goalscorer is Harry Morris with 229 goals in 279 appearances between 1926 and 1933.

9:  Swindon's main rivals are Oxford United, with the club also having a rivalry with Reading, Bristol City and Bristol Rovers at various points during their history.

10: Famous Swindon fans include the horse riding jockey, Willie Carson


The County Ground was one of my most visited grounds before my latest trip. Ten times I had been to Swindon Town before my latest visit, the first coming when I went with my brother on the supporters coach to a 2-1 defeat in the League Cup. The tie was played over two legs in those days and we won the second leg 2-0 to progress through to a two-legged tie against Middlesbrough. 2003 saw our biggest win and our largest defeat. In February, we won 3-0 with goals from Dannie Bulman, Keith Ryan and Craig Faulconbridge. The following November Swindon avenged the defeat with a 2-0 win, goals coming from Deon Burton and Stefani Miglioranzi.

VISIT 11: SWINDON 1-0 WYCOMBE (L2 21/10/17)

As with most of the grounds in League 2, I was looking to revisit them to update my blog. Swindon was one such ground and so back in July, I pencilled this game in. Tickets for this fixture were a steep £23, even in advance, which is crazy for League 2 football. Swindon had long been overchargers, even around 15 years ago they were charging £20, earning them the nickname of ‘Swindle Town’ I’d always found them a nice friendly club to visit though, invariably enjoying my previous visits.

On the day of the game, I hadn’t had the best night’s sleep. I’d been up until past 4 am after having to get my car taken home on a low loader after I hit a kerb (successfully) trying to avoid an animal that ran out in front of me. I needed two new wheels, and the worry about the cost kept me awake for ages. In the morning, I woke around 8.30 and went straight on eBay to look for replacements. I found a full set for under £160 and these included tyres and with two of my current ones up for replacement anyway, I thought I’d got lucky. Though the seller listed my car as compatible with these on his listing, he messaged to double check before they got sent. I was really hoping that it would go without a hitch, but it was just a matter of ‘wait and see’. After having some breakfast, I went down to the local shop and got a newspaper before getting the coach near my house at 10. Luckily, the bank of Mum and Dad paid for most of my day out, which was most welcome. The journey down was decent, with us getting to our pre-match pub, the Crown and Anchor in Ramsbury just before the planned time of midday.

There was a double disappointment for me when I got to the pub. Firstly there was no real cider, just Thatchers Gold. I then got an email to say that the wheels were the wrong size for my car, which was frustrating, as it would have been a good deal. Back at the pub, everyone was disappointed with the slow service, high prices and tight portions, it was turning out a disappointing end to my week off work. I got in a round for the group, which cost me nearly £20, though I didn’t object as it was pretty well priced, especially for a quaint village in the south.

Leaving at 2.20, there was plenty of traffic and we got to the ground with around ten minutes to go until kick off. Maybe it was the sense of deja vu or the windy conditions thanks to 'Storm Brian' but conditions were not conducive to a good game of football. Why people insist on giving poor weather and affectionate name, I don't know, but it was a terrible first half, the hosts leading 1-0 thanks to a great goal from Harry Smith. I'd have got something to eat at halftime but conditions in the concourse were manic. Hardly surprising when you try to squeeze hundreds of people into somewhere the size of a small living room. The second half saw a slight improvement, but our tactics of hoofing the ball into a huge wind were never going to work.

It had been a miserable end to my week off and the journey back was a long, slow and bumpy one thanks to extensive roadworks on the M4. Watching last night’s Corrie on my iPad cheered me up a bit. I ended up getting back near my house around 7.15, stopping at the shop to get a couple of bottles and a pizza for dinner. I drank these, watching Match Of The Day amongst other things before going to bed around midnight.


THE COUNTY GROUND is a bit of a mixed bag so far as the stadium is concerned. Undoubtedly the best stand is the Don Rogers Stand, along the side. It's a smart modern stand that looks great and holds around 5500. Opposite is the Arkells Stand, around the same size but looking a bit long in the tooth. The concourse area in this is very small for the away fans. A section of this holds the away support is not huge. If it is, away fans also get the Stratton Bank end, an uncovered all seated stand behind the goal, which is a former terrace and is the worst end. Finally, The Town End is behind the other goal, holds around 1500 and is covered. There are pubs and a chippy nearby the ground, or the town centre is around 20 minutes walk away

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