WITH a win rate of just 22 per cent, it came as little surprise when the news started filtering through that Swindon Town head coach Luke Williams had been removed from his role yesterday.
A meeting between chairman Lee Power and Williams had been held late on Thursday evening in the wake of Town’s worst league finish in five years.
Power had promised an immediate inquest into the demise of Town this season, going from top to bottom with a fine toothcomb, and that is what he delivered.
While it may have come too late for some, Power was justified, having brought in Tim Sherwood as director of football in November, to use the January transfer window to rectify previous failings in the recruiting department and believed, as per his subsequent statement, that he had given Williams ‘all the tools needed’ to keep the club in League One.
Yet the lack of surprise at the news did not stem from the belief that Power would follow up his words with the adequate actions - that did knock me back a bit - but more that it was in sync with the rhetoric of the entire past season.
Williams has again become the fall guy, taking Ross Embleton with him.
It was a role that - and he would be the first to admit it - Williams never really wanted.
But, with a five-year deal and a reported six-figure annual salary on the table, few would say ‘no’ to that kind of job security.
Maybe, like many baffled by the patter of a salesman, he should have read the fine print a little closer before signing on the dotted line.
Yet how much blame can really be pinned on someone who has had little say on the players coming into the club, had the style of play dictated in advance and, at some stages, the selection of those taking to the field on any particular afternoon taken out of his hands?
Williams started the campaign piecing together a side that was far from complete and was soon bailing out water from an already-sinking ship as a result.
Cue the appointment of Sherwood which, at the time, seemed a logical move - an experienced hand to lead a fledgling prospect through their first full season in charge.
Instead, it served to only undermine Williams’ already-flimsy role as the officer-in-chief further.
Despite Sherwood washing his hands of any active part in the club’s demise on live television the day after their relegation was confirmed, it is understood he was still having his say over the selection of the side that took to the field on the final day of the season at the Valley last Sunday.
Yet it was Williams who was constantly wheeled out in front of the media to explain the shortcomings on all-too-regular occasions, while those actually pulling the strings were made ‘off-limits’ to the media or believed a ‘club statement’ would suffice.
As a result, slurs such as ‘yes man’ and ‘Power’s puppet’ were frequently thrown in Williams' direction as an increasingly-frustrated fanbase looked for a target for their angst.
While Williams has to shoulder a large proportion of the blame, it is a responsibility that he never shied away from, despite the best efforts of the media officer during some rather awkward post-match press conferences.
Now, having acted in a way that he deemed best for the club to move forward, Power must consider his next move before appointing a successor.
Does he want another fall guy who will cover up the mistakes of himself and those around him - shortcomings he himself admitted had been horribly evident throughout the campaign.
Or will he let the next incumbent manage their way, allowing them to stand or fall on their results if they then come up short?