Swindon 2 – 3 Rotherham United
1 – 0 Cureton 20
1 – 1 Butler 22
2 – 1 O’Hanlon 25
2 – 2 Barker 31
2 – 3 Butler 49
Having looked at the Football Money List yesterday, the stark contrast between the haves and have-nots was brought home to me in todays League One relegation battle. Both teams are under severe financial restriction and fighting to stave off the drop into League Two. For Rotherham, it is even more marked following so closely on from their relegation from the Championship at the end of last season.
Swindon for their part, took the step of allowing Season Ticket Holders the opportunity to bring three extra guest with them at a cost of £5 per ticket. The effect on the crowd was to bring in an extra 2,500 people to the match, an extra £12,500 to the bottom line. Indeed, the cost cutting was apparent with The Stratton Bank being closed to fans and covered in flags from both Swindon and Rotherham. Presumably the closing of this is providing savings but it makes a strange atmosphere with noise from one end of the ground not there.
The match itself was poor quality but honest endeavour by most of the players on view. That both sides are struggling is not difficult to see, defensive frailities immediately apparent – neither manager would be happy with any of the goals scored from a defensive point of view. Swindon will be doubly upset having taken 10 points from the 12 available leading up to this match and the opportunity to put 4 points between them and the bottom four. As it was, for all of their endeavour they took 65 minutes to force a save of any meaning from the Rotherham keeper whilst Rotherham looked dangerous on the break needing two smart saves from Rhys Evans in the Swindon goal.
One of things that struck me was the absence of players who would look comfortable at a higher level; Evans and possibly the right back Jack Smith – only Paul Shaw and Martin Butler for Rotherham. It is obviously difficult and I’m sure Albert Jarret, Rick Shakes and Michael Pook will all disagree with me but they didn’t play well today. When I was a young lad, Swindon were my local team and until I was 18 and could afford the fare to Highbury myself, this was where I watched Division 3 & 4 football. But always in those teams were players who moved up the divisions and held their own.
This is the first of two visits to lower division grounds – next week, I am taking Power Ranger to his first football match, Wycombe Wanderers vs Oxford United courtesy of the Wycombe Football In The Community scheme. Oxford hold a special place in my affections with visits to The Manor Ground being a special treat for the violence strewn derby with Swindon. Bless ’em…
Todays Tunes are part of a week long tribute to Paul Weller, following on from hits Brits win. Starting with The Jam, four songs from 1977. The first two are from a 100 club gig in September of that year:
These next two are from The Rathskeller, Boston in October 1977: