SWINDON Town director of football Paul Jewell said he “smelt a rat” in regard to recruitment last summer and that the club had become “a bit blasé” in the way it went about signing players.

The former Wigan Athletic manager was speaking on BBC Radio Wiltshire’s Talk of the Town in which he analysed what went wrong for the County Ground club in the months leading up to relegation.

Jewell discussed a number of factors, including the club’s recruitment policy, and revealed Town to had the 11th biggest budget in League One.

Despite that, Town’s woeful campaign led Jewell to suggest the available funds were not used wisely enough by those in power positions.

He said: “Our budget was very competitive, don’t let that fool you. We were right up to the salary cap – there is a lot of misconception that we lost out on players due to money.

“We can’t compete with Ipswich, Sunderland, or Peterborough, but our budget was the 11th biggest budget in the league last year.

“People talk about budgets as though it’s the most important thing – of course it plays a part – but it’s about how you spend that money and how you get the best out of it. To say the budget wasn’t competitive is completely wrong.

“We were 11th in the league and right up to the salary cap, therefore we underachieved. And we’ve all got to take a portion of the blame.”

The 56-year-old continued by saying the club would not try to simply sign physical players this time around in a bid to avoid being accused of being the “soft touch” that so many apparently accused them of being last season.

Instead, manager John McGreal should try to add a little more balance than his predecessors had managed.

Jewell said: “I did smell a rat early on (last season) because I felt we had got a bit blasé in the way we went about it last summer.

“We signed players or kept players where we had too many similar type of players. Small, good footballers, but in my view, once the pitch became big and we lost possession, we were too easily got at.

“I don’t want people to think we’re going to go out and sign 6’7 players all over the pitch and just boot it – that’s not what I’m saying.

“But we were seen as a bit of a soft touch last year, and we’ve got to get away from that.”