Swindon Town – meeting the opposition.

Swindon Town meeting the opposition

Rovers play their third league game of the 2021-22 campaign on Tuesday night as they travel to Swindon where they will come up against Ben Garner’s Robins at the County Ground. It’s safe to say that Tranmere’s record against their hosts isn’t the best, with no wins in the past ten encounters but to get further information on a range of subjects ahead of the game I spoke to Ben Nicholls who told me who to keep an eye out for and how he can see the game panning out.

How long have you been a Swindon supporter? How/when did you first come across the club?

I’ve been a Swindon fan for about 30 years. I started following them properly in 1992. My dad is a Spurs fan. At the time there were a lot of Swindon and Tottenham connections. When I played for my local under 12’s we went to watch a Swindon game, 5-1 win v notts county, from then I was hooked.

Ben Garner is Swindon gaffer and was appointed in late July this year, what are your thoughts of him so far? What did you make of the John McGreal situation who was appointed in the summer but left after four weeks through mutual consent?

I liked McGreal, however the club wasn’t honest with him. When the club stopped paying players and staff, he walked. Don’t blame him, Garner is a very good appointment. Failed at Rovers under tough circumstances. However he has great pedigree and plays excellent entertaining football. I like him being at the club a lot. 

What is your score prediction for Tuesday night and how do you think your manager will address the game in terms of tactics etc?

2-1 Swindon. We’ll play 4-2-3-1 and pass it – a lot.

Random fact about Swindon?

We’re the only West Country team to have ever played in the Premier League and win a major honour. 

What are your worst and greatest moments as a Swindon fan?

Greatest? Promotion to prem.

Worst? This summer. 

Who are the hosts’ key men?

Anthony Grant and Louis Reed are the engine room. 

What are your general thoughts on Tranmere, as a club and as a team in terms of the quality that Mellon’s side has?

Good team. Big club at this level, sooner or later you’ll go back up and rightfully so after what happened. However, it seems like the fanbase still have a chip on their shoulder over the flood lights incident in 92. 

Having a look back at last season, how would you say it went in terms of expected success and how will this upcoming campaign be any different? What are your predictions/expectations/ambitions for the ten months ahead?

Well there’s a question. Since March 2020 the club had been on self-destruction. Our (at the time) owner had come to the point where he no longer wanted to run the club. However, due to a deal he made he wasn’t able to sell the club to the group he wanted. So he just stopped, lost interest and ran the club down. 

3 weeks ago we had 8 contracted players, no manager, no board, no ground staff and no coaches. Power had paid rent since March 2020, owed a million in tax, a large number of creditors owed, and the club had stopped paying staff and players. 1.1 million EFL loan taken out. Three weeks ago I’d take relegation if it meant that we still existed.

However, it’s amazing what can happen In such a short period of time since the takeover. 

Creditors have been paid or are in the process of being paid, we have a very good coach and an excellent coaching set up for the league. 

We are going up to buy the ground from the council and re-develop the CG. The vice chair of the trust is not the CEO. We have trust not only trust members but supporters club on the board. Money’s been made, the club has been rebuilt from its core, it’s healing. To the point now just staying up would be a disappointment. 

What are your thoughts on the owner/s of the club? Who are they?

Clem is God! 

Clem Morfuni is a self made entrepreneur. Started life as a self employed plumber in Sydney. Now he has a global business with a turnover of over £200 million a year. The guy loves football, lives and breathes it. All he’s talked about is transparency and giving the club to the fans. He watches the club home and away, he used to be a sponsor. Stands with the fans. He’s out himself pushing season ticket sales, meeting fans and ultimately putting the graft in. I love it.   

What players will pose the greatest threats to Tranmere in the opening game of the season? Are you worried about any of the visiting players? If you did have any, what were your thoughts on the dismissal of Keith Hill at Prenton Park? From afar, what do you think Mellon will bring back to Merseyside from his time in the SPL?

Ben Gladwin & Jack Payne are high end league one players playing in league 2. You’ll struggle to find better in the division. Their vision and ability is beyond this league. Tbf, I’ve been so involved with Swindon this year I know little about you. However, I do know that Mellon is back and you should be in and around the top 7 come the end of the season. 

‘Clem Morfuni is a self made entrepreneur who lives and breathes football’.

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