FOLLOWING the 1-0 home defeat to Leyton Orient on Saturday, Advertiser chief sports writer Sam Morshead sat down at the Beehive in Old Town with a handful of Town fans.
Darren Aylward, Joe Ward, Ron Smith, Greg Dancey and Jenn Brooks joined Sam and the six chatted about the various events at the County Ground over the past fortnight – including the Wes Foderingham saga, Alan McCormack’s role in League One, Steve McMahon, central midfield and Paolo Di Canio’s passionate management style.
Here’s what was said…
JB: It was pants.
DA: I think that we lost midfield big style so we had no control so we ended up bypassing midfield and we don’t play long-ball. I don’t think Miller and Navarro had any control from the first minute.
GD: We couldn’t change it.
SM: How would you change it?
GD: It’s obviously a strategy that needs to be adopted. There are going to be plenty of teams like this and it’s going to happen – we’re in a better league than we’re in last year.
RS: The new players that have come in are struggling to adapt and Paolo doesn’t know his first XI yet. The midfield partnership today wasn’t the right one.
JW: It’s down to the midfield again. DA: You get Ritchie when you get Ferry, those two link up so well. I thought Ritchie had a good game, anything good that happened went through Ritchie but he doesn’t seem to function so well without Ferry in there.
SM: So what is the starting two in the middle of midfield?
RS: It’s about familiarity.
DA: For me I think it’s Ferry and one other – whether it’s Navarro, whether it’s Miller I don’t know but Ferry makes things happen.
JB: I think, depending on who we’re playing against, it’s Ferry and Navarro or Ferry and Miller. Miller to me is a better version of Risser, he’ll break up the play. Navarro is more creative, not as creative as Ferry.
DA: I’m not sure he is. We saw Navarro score twice against Brighton but his record shows that’s a bit of a freak. If we think Navarro’s going to score for fun, well no he’s not.
RS: But Ferry’s not going to score either. JB: I don’t think he’s going to score goals but Navarro talks all the time and once he went they lacked orientation.
GD: At the back it gets too compressed, there’s just so many people there. You need to build it and make the pitch bigger.
DA: Flint looked like, every time he had the ball on the floor, he was scared of making a mistake. He was fine in the air. His distribution was terrible.
SM: So why aren’t they playing with any confidence?
DA: I don’t know whether it’s because of the week we’ve had. But how much confidence have you got if you know your manager’s going to come out and blame you individually for an error. I thought it was definitely the case with Flint today – it was the case every time he got the ball.
GD: It’s only a glitch. They just scored four goals at a Premiership team, they’re going to come down with a bump after that. You get a little bit above your station.
DA: But it’s been three games on the bounce since then… SM: That’s the thing, it’s three games on the bounce, but it’s also two-and-a-half poor performances on the bounce… DA: My worry is that McCormack is getting found out, well not found out but he doesn’t have as much time as he did in League Two and he’s a midfielder who’s moved into the back four.
JB: But he’s playing with another set of players alongside him. It keeps changing. Caddis has gone, Devera was fitting in alright and Troy Archibald-Henville and McEveley were fitting in nicely, now you’ve got Bessone in there, now you’ve got Flint back in. Is that being found out or is that having to adapt to a whole new backline?
RS: It’s just how the opposition have set up. They’ve watched the videos, they know he likes to get forward whenever possible. I just think today Leyton Orient did their homework.
JB: I don’t know if we took Leyton Orient for granted but they did a job on us.
DA: It’s three defeats on the bounce. We’re not stupid, we know we’re not going to go through a whole season not losing, not conceding goals at home – that’s not going to happen. It was the performance. We could have lost 5-0 today and it wouldn’t have been a travesty.
RS: They’ve got a week off now before Carlisle, do we think that’s going to help?
SM: When you say they’ve got a week’s rest, they’ve got Sunday and they’re training throughout the week.
DB: Paolo’s probably looking around and thinking ‘well what do I do?’ SM: So are we still in shock from Preston?
DA: I think it’s had a major impact.
JW: It hasn’t helped the stability. I run a boys’ football team, if you change people in and out it’s not going to help them. Perhaps come the end of October we’ll know what the starting line-up is it’s going to help.
GD: In a month’s time, like Paolo said, we’ll know what’s going on.
JB: Anyone who goes to the JPT final knows, if you put a load of new players in it doesn’t always work. Six weeks down the line, when they’ve had time to gel, we could look back and see what’s been happening.
SM: So what do people think of how Paolo dealt with Wes and then coming out with the Aden Flint line on Wednesday night?
DA: I was listening to it and I thought it was a terrible decision taking Wes off after 20 minutes but, after Wes’ reaction, I thought he was spot on. Okay, perhaps he shouldn’t have ranted to the press but Foderingham’s reaction was unacceptable.
DB: Foderingham’s reaction was in front of the crowd, in front of the cameras and as public as you can get so why does everyone criticise Di Canio for criticising him publically?
SM: Is he not meant to be one step above his players in things like this?
DB: If his player has shown the ultimate dissent, then… DA: If Foderingham had taken his gloves off, shaken hands with Leigh Bedwell and sat on the bench then there’s no story.
GD: I think Di Canio was probably very pleased with his reaction. It showed the guy has a bit of passion. I think it was good that the manager was willing to substitute early.
JW: With Danny Wilson you’d wait and think when he was going to do something, and when he did it would be with 10 minutes to go and it would be too late.
DA: Andy King would be on 72 minutes.
RS: With Wes’ reaction, Di Canio is very public in his reaction – in the dug-out his demeanour is very public. Perhaps a bit of that rubbed off on Wes. ‘If it’s good enough for my manager’… DA: The Flint thing I have a problem with because he singled one person out for a defeat and it’s one mistake. I had a problem with that. But the bottom line is it’s Di Canio, you get more good from him than bad.
RS: The media are always hovering over the button for when Di Canio goes mental. It happened with Leon Clarke, Tehoue etc. So many times. GD: The thing is, when Di Canio finishes with Swindon will he go gracefully or will the bubble burst? It’s one of the two.
DA: After the appointment we all said it’s either going to be a fantastic appointment, we’ll win the league or come November it will go horribly wrong, he’ll throw his toys out of the pram and he’ll be gone.
RS: There’s a lot of similarities last year with Steve McMahon. People said a monkey could’ve won the division – last season pretty much anyone could have taken Swindon to the title.
SM: As Mehdi Kerrouche said in his interview with a French magazine…
JB: That is the danger. What’s the tilt point? Is he a Macari or a Hoddle or a McMahon? Does he bully people, does he pip people against the wall? Does he destroy the youth policy? JW: But you look at Alex Ferguson, he was like it as well. If you don’t like it, you’re out.
JB: Jeremy Wray was spot on. What the club needed after Danny Wilson was discipline and passion. That’s what you’ve got.
DA: We’ve got that in spades!
JB: Exactly, he’s a passionate, disciplined manager that expects the same from his players but it’s whether it goes into inspiration...
The Fans’ Jury takes place after every Swindon Town home match on a Saturday at a pub in Swindon.
To get involved, follow Sam on Twitter (@SamMorshead_SA) for the time and place of the next event.