AFTER nine years of waiting for one of the greatest Christmas traditions to return to the County Ground, was Boxing Day football worth the wait?

Unfortunately, the gift Town fans had been waiting for was the equivalent of finding an Oxford shirt under the tree, the horror of setting your eyes on something truly repulsive.

The fixture list wasn’t kind to Swindon over Christmas as they faced two in-form sides from League One, a huge test, and one Town never looked like passing.

In a shocking turn of events on Tuesday afternoon Martin Ling resigned as manager due to health reasons.

Ling has endured a well-documented battle with depression since stepping away from his job as Torquay manager in 2013, and has done well in rebuilding his career in the subsequent years since leaving Plainmoor.

Since his arrival at the County Ground, Town have looked a different side, playing with more confidence, and started to look like the successful team from last season.

Despite cutting his tenure short in Wiltshire, Martin did a great job; I wish him all the best in his recovery, and hope he will return to the game at some point in the future.

The time now comes to search for his replacement, but I don’t think the search will venture too far outside SN1.

Since the arrival of Ling and new first team coach Ross Embleton, the club have looked a better outfit, it makes sense not to change the current status quo in the wake of the manager’s departure.

I believe that Luke Williams will step up into the manager’s role until the end of the season.

It would be a different story if the club didn’t hire a new coach in Embleton, but with his appointment, Williams can afford to take the leap up the managerial ladder - providing he wants to take on the responsibility.

If the club decides to appoint externally it’s hard to narrow down certain names, as we found out a couple of months ago.

My pick for the job hasn’t changed from Ian Holloway, but with his punditry work and him unlikely to work with Lee Power’s style, it’s a non-starter.

From the outside, suggestions of Tim Sherwood would seem ridiculous after he’s managed two huge clubs in Tottenham and Aston Villa.

But with Town chairman Lee Power a close friend of the former Premier League winner, could he persuade him to manage Town until the end of the campaign?

It would suit the club to appoint quickly, and to have a settled backroom team with the transfer window opening tomorrow as the first team is in real need of new faces and removing some that don’t fit.

I want to wish you all a happy New Year, and to raise a toast to a successful 2016 for Swindon Town.

Follow me on Twitter @danwjonson

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