The beautiful game

Of late I’ve started to feel that this blog can’t be complete – well not that a blog is ever complete but you know what I mean – without some mention of its sporting activities. I am aware that Swindon has a football team, an ice-hockey team and a speedway team. I also know it has swimming clubs – and only then because my daughter went to one. And THAT is the summation of all I know about the sporting scene in Swindon.  So I decided that the best, indeed the only, way to tackle (see what I did there?) this was to get someone else to write something for me. So now I’ll stop dribbling (pun intentional) on and let you read Lee’s lovely, very personal reminiscences about the club.

And yet again, as so often with this blog, I’ve learned something new. Don Rogers I was aware of – even I couldn’t miss that one!  But Harold Fleming, after whom Fleming Way is named, I had not heard of.  Sorry Harold. I know now!  Lee also kindly shared photos of some of his memorabilia which you can see in the gallery at the bottom of the post.

“My name is Lee (@Leefer3 on twitter)…and I have been watching Swindon Town since 1975, so it’s close to forty years now.

 As a 12 year old I was given 50p pocket money a week and I felt incredibly rich. I was living in a childrens home at the time and they were not keen on me going to football, it was a lot rougher on the terraces in the 70s. But to a young lad with plenty of tension inside him, that was part of the attraction.

I vividly remember my first match v Mansfield Town and paying 35p to get in the Town End, bus fare 5p return from Stratton, programme 5p all of which left 5p for sweets or a bag of chips and scrumps. I was in my element.  A couple of seasons went by before I went to my first away match at Everton in the FA Cup; the noise and atmosphere were simply electric.

The years rolled on and I moved away, but always tried to watch the Town whenever possible. Over the last twenty five years I have watched most home matches and plenty of away ones, with two league cup semi finals and four Wembley appearances notched up.

The best player I ever saw in a Swindon shirt has to be Glenn Hoddle, although past his best years when at Swindon, he still had the qualities to change a match single handed. My favourite player though has to be David Moss who went on to play for Luton. In my opinion should have got an England cap. In recent years, Jan Fjortoft and Charlie Austin have caught my eye. In the last two seasons I have watched the Town a little less due to work and playing the game with a little white ball over 18 holes, but people who know me, know how passionate I still am about the club.

You see I love Swindon as a place, and the club is a massive part of the community. And, whether you like football or not, it’s part of the make-up of modern Swindon and Swindon past.

 I have been pleasantly surprised at the current regime,  as I have to be honest and feared the worst. But MarkCooper and the people trying to run the club have done a very decent job. Funnily enough, within the photos I have shared is a letter from Terry Cooper the current manager’s father. I received it while he was manager at Birmingham about twenty odd years ago!

 So as the years dribble by, players like Harold Feming (Fleming Way is named after him) and Don Rogers surely our greatest ever player are a constant reminder of greatness at the club. And lets not forget players like Freddie Wheatcroft who gave thousands of Swindon fans pleasure only to perish in the Great War doing what thousands of Swindonians did… the ultimate price for our freedom,the freedom that paves the way for people like myself to take for granted the pleasure i get on most Saturdays and midweek matches when Swindon Town FC win, lose or draw.”

The man himself –  Don Rogers – source Wikipedia:

Don Rogers

Don Rogers

(born 25 October 1945) is an English former footballer is regarded as one of the best players to pull on a Swindon Town shirt; his principal rival in this respect being Harold Fleming. He played at outside left and served the club in two spells.

Born in Paulton, Somerset, Rogers signed a youth contract with Swindon in January 1961 at the age of fifteen; having turned professional in October 1962, he made his first-team debut on 17 November in a Third Division match against Southend United. Rogers scored the two extra-time goals which won the 1969 Football League Cup Final for Swindon, 3-1 against Arsenal.

He signed for Crystal Palace in 1972 for a fee of £147,000, then joined Queens Park Rangers in September 1974 in an exchange deal involving Terry Venablesand Ian Evans. Rogers played 18 league games for QPR scoring 5 goals before returning to Swindon in March 1976 in exchange for Peter Eastoe.

In November 1976 Rogers moved on loan to the Southern League team Yeovil Town, where he joined his old Swindon team-mate Stan Harland. He returned to Swindon two months later and, after suffering a hip injury, retired at the end of the 1976–1977 season and now runs a sports shop in Swindon bearing his name.

*Picture of clipping courtesy of Brian Carter of Carter Collectables

Some items from Lee’s collection of memorabilia:

And some pictures from inside the ground courtesy of a Twitter follow. Thank you!