SO before we look at the options as Swindon Town begin the hunt for their 10th manager in the last 10 years, how to assess the eight-month reign of David Flitcroft at the Energy Check County Ground?

By any stretch his tenure in Wiltshire was one of quite marked contradictions.

Here, on one hand, was a manager who rebuilt a squad from the rubble of last season’s risible League One campaign, bringing together a mix of experienced heads and young tyros and forging a tilt at promotion which, while never entirely convincing, was at least still very much viable heading into the final two months of the season.

Yet on the other, a manager whose approach and playing philosophy never quite won over a significant portion, if by no means all, of those red-and-white-clad followers.

A manager whose team could look like world-beaters when landing at the various stopping points around League Two, yet contrived to lose seven league matches in front of their own supporters before Christmas.

More pertinently, a manager who preached the gospel of players ‘committing to the cause’ set out by himself, yet who upped sticks for the lure of a League Two rival with the club’s promotion push very much at a delicate stage.

Those contradictions continued when it came to following the fortunes of his side.

Often eloquent, lengthy and obliging answering media questions, he caused bemusement at Adver Towers when, having been at pains to play down the importance and impact of Town’s opening-day trip to Carlisle last August, he subsequently rang a member of the sports team to insist we hadn’t been generous enough with our player ratings after the 2-1 win.

Perplexed looks all round too when he chose to harangue the local media over their supposed lack of support offered to his side, each time after they had just won a match. Town subsequently lost both following games.

So was he a success, picking a struggling club off the floor after a traumatic previous campaign to at least offer hope of a revival?

Or an under-achiever, while possessing with a squad sprinkled with a few elements of potential star quality good enough to be challenging at the very top of the division?

The truth is that you will find plenty of Town supporters willing to populate either camp.

An infuriating aspect of Flitcroft’s spell in charge is that we will never find out.

His reign is like a story with an unfinished ending.

Yet like him or not, Flitcroft's departure means Town are now left with the considerable quandary of ensuring that a campaign that still promises an exciting conclusion doesn’t go off the rails with 11 games of the season remaining.

Getting veteran player Matt Taylor to take charge while the dust settles seems a sensible interim move.

Maybe a weather-enforced postponement of this weekend’s fixture against Yeovil might be no bad thing either, allowing minds to clear and stock to be taken.

Chairman Lee Power, having handed Flitcroft considerable clout to make Town’s dream of a League One reality last summer, is now faced with another huge call.