With the 2017/18 season rapidly approaching, we take a look at all 23 teams who will be visiting Brunton Park in Sky Bet League Two this season.
We start off by looking at the first of those visitors - Swindon Town.
Nickname: The Robins
Club Colours: Red & White
Who are they?
Founded in 1879 by Reverend William Pitt of Liddington, Swindon Town entered the Football League as founding members of Division Three in 1920. Having secured a first promotion in 1962/63, the good times continued to come for the Robins as they lifted the League Cup in 1969 after defeating Arsenal.
Further success followed in the 1980s as Lou Macari led the side to back-to-back promotions before Ossie Ardiles and then Glenn Hoddle took over the reins. It was under Hoddle that Swindon flourished, earning promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs in 1992/93. Their stay in the top flight lasted only one season, with successive relegations seeing the club slide down to Division Two.
The Robins became the first former Premier League side to be relegated to League Two in 2006 and have since plied their trade in the third and fourth tiers. They did, however, narrowly miss out on promotion to the Championship in 2014/15 campaign after losing out in the play-off final.
Did You Know?
+ Swindon won the 1970 Anglo-Italian Cup after defeating Napoli 3-0. They also went on to win the inaugural Anglo-Italian League Cup Winners’ Cup, beating Roma 5-3 over two legs.
+ The Robins have played at The County Ground for 121 years, having moved to the ground in 1896.
+ There have been five different Swindon Town crests since the clubs inception, with the current design coming into effect in 2007 after a public vote.
+ Shortly after moving to the County Ground the Robins changed their club colours to green and white but, following problems obtaining green dyes, they reverted to the traditional red in 1901.
How did they get on last season?
The Robins finished 22nd in Sky Bet League One last year, despite a positive start which saw them lose only one of their first five games. They struggled to maintain consistency throughout the season with ex-Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood’s appointment as Director of Football failing to keep Swindon safe. Both Sherwood and manager Luke Williams departed at the end of the season.
Who’s in charge?
Former Barnsley and Bury boss David Flitcroft was appointed manager earlier this month as the Robins began to rebuild. He took over at Oakwell in 2012 and guided the Tykes to Championship safety in 2013, but was sacked in October of the same year. Flitcroft has previous experience in League Two having led Bury to promotion in 2014/15, but left the club last year after a winless run of 11 games.
How has their summer transfer business looked?
The Robins have made two new signings so far, bringing in ex-Cambridge midfielder James Dunne as well as experienced defender Chris Robertson. Raphael Rossi-Branco, Yaser Kasim, Jermaine Hylton and Jonathan Obika have all been offered new terms, with captain Nathan Thompson turn-ing down the offer of a new deal in favour of a move to Portsmouth.
They’ve Played For Both
Jon-Paul McGovern joined United in 2011 having spent four seasons at the County Ground. He joined Swindon in 2007 from Milton Keynes Dons and made 153 appearances for the Robins, finding the net eight times. Greg Abbott brought the wide man to Brunton Park and he turned out 85 times for the Blues while netting four goals.
Moving in the other direction was Vincent Pericard, who left the Cumbrians to join Swindon in 2010. The former Juventus and Portsmouth striker joined Carlisle on a short-term deal in 2009 and scored four goals in only 10 appearances. He then made the decision to move to the County Ground where he made 34 appearances, scoring twice.
Coming soon - an interview with former-Blues and Robins favourite Lee Peacock. Keep an eye out for that on the official website next week.
Memorable Meeting - Carlisle 3-0 Swindon (4 December 2007)
Joe Anyinsah’s brace helped the Blues to a comfortable win over Swindon in 2007. The striker netted one either side of the break, with Joe Garner adding a third with 15 minutes remaining. Ben Tozer later saw red for the Robins as United claimed a vital League One victory.
When Did We Last Meet?
The two sides last met on 5 April 2014, where a solitary goal from Gary Madine was enough for United in League One. James Berrett saw red late on but the Blues held out to claim three points in their bid for survival.
When Do We Meet Next?
Swindon are our visitors on the first day of the 2017/18 season as they make the journey to Brunton Park on 5 August. The return fixture comes on 7 April.