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SWINDON TOWN: McCrory wants fans - and Chelsea - to return
JED McCrory hopes Swindon Town’s display against Chelsea will encourage occasional visitors to the County Ground to return more often, and the Robins’ chairman has voiced his desire for a rematch with the Blues in January.
Almost 15,000 fans flocked to SN1 on Tuesday night to witness Town give the Europa League holders a stern test before falling to defeat thanks to goals from Fernando Torres and Ramires.
Given the vast financial gulf between the sides - Swindon’s starting XI cost £550,000 to assemble compared with Chelsea’s £185million team - a 2-0 loss, in which the hosts played some attractive football, was a performance to be proud of.
Around 11,500 home supporters were in attendance on the night and, with Town’s home crowds averaging 7,866 prior to Tuesday’s game, McCrory wants to see the team’s display rewarded with an increased number of bums on seats in the weeks to come.
“I have to give a special mention to the supporters yet again,” he told the Advertiser. “They were magnificent and were a credit to the club, the community and to themselves.
“Long may this continue as we aim to take the club forward together. Hopefully the fans that came had an experience that they enjoyed, one which will encourage them to come back.”
Promotion remains McCrory’s ultimate goal for the campaign, but he’s already set his sights on a possible grudge match with the Blues in the third round of the FA Cup.
“Bring on the FA Cup and the third round draw in three months’ time with this team,” said the chairman, whose team would have to win two ties to reach that round of the competition.
“Chelsea at home in a rematch would be nice.”
McCrory reserved special praise for Chelsea’s youth coaches, who spent time with local children in the build-up to the game, and he revealed that Blues chairman Bruce Buck was hugely complimentary of Town’s style of play and the general vibe around the club.
“I thought Chelsea were extremely professional and friendly, as you would expect, but what you don’t see is how giving they are,” he said.
“Throughout the day they gave coaches to train our local school kids and their players stayed on to sign autographs for everyone who was there.
“Their board, including their chairman, was pleasantly surprised and praised the feel around the club and the way we played and encouraged us to continue with what we are doing. They believed we have a great chance of promotion.
“The Special One, Jose, was a delight to be around before the game. I spent time with him joking about how we would give them a gave, which he acknowledged, and he also gave his time for a picture on the pitch before the game as well as dishing out autographs.
“Overall, bar the result, I felt the team both on and off the pitch gave everything to make the day and evening a success. The players should hold their heads high as they wore the red and white shirt with pride.
“The performance, from a team that has been together for such a short period of time, was fantastic. We played enterprising football that made I’m sure not only myself but everyone proud of the club. Hopefully it has given the platform for everyone to believe that we can kick of for a promotion year.
“I think it was only Mark (Cooper) and myself who were generally disappointed we lost, unreal I know but it shows the beliefs and aspirations we have.”