Our thoughts two games into pre-season

So we've played two and won two of pre-season into the lead up to 2017/18.

We have a new gaffer, new playing style, new approach to transfers, new back-room staff, new attitude from the chairman(?) and a possibly a new found enthusiasm for the club.

Introducing David Flitcroft

David Flitcroft was appointed as the new manager of Swindon Town in June after the departure of Luke Williams in May. It raised a few eyebrows to begin with because it became evident that Steve Evans was Lee Power's first choice for the job.

However, in our opinion, Flitcroft has really shone in every interview he's had so far. He's clearly a real football man (if that's such a thing). He clearly understands the game and how to manage players individually and in a team.

We were present for the game at Swindon Supermarine on Saturday & tonight's game at Melksham Town and what is really standing out as a huge difference from Luke Williams last season is his 'hands on' management style.

Both warm-up sessions Flitcroft has directly been involved with whether it be throwing balls in shooting practice or just doing the runs with the players whilst shouting words of encouragement.

Then during the 90 minutes, the manager is giving instructions or approval to players from his dugout and calling them over individually for a more direct one-on-one pep talk.

This is a huge change to last season where the manager would spend 70 minutes leaning back sat down in the dug out or stood arms folded in the technical area.

Flitcroft has also come over to shake hands with members of the crowd to thank fans for support, even making the walk from the dugout directly over to us and where we were behind one of the goals at the end of the Swindon Supermarine game. This is a huge statement for us and it shows he really appreciates supporters and what we mean to the game.

We took this opportunity to give him one of our Great Western Reds polo shirts, so we hope to spot him wearing that on the touchline one game this season...

Playing style and transfers

Swindon fans will know the playing style and transfer policy under Lee Power's tenure has been these two key rules:

  • Young, cheap or free players that can be developed into saleable assets
  • Very patient, possession-based football

This has all changed.

From what we have seen from the friendlies so far we are playing with a lot more aggression and focussing on faster attacks and getting the ball into a threatening position as quickly as possible.

This is a great change if you want to watch football for the entertainment value of seeing plenty of attempts on goal, where there would be many matches with shots on target being almost non-existent.

The players we're signing are a huge difference to the previous few seasons, too. All are solid professionals with experience in the football league.

In summary, we are trying to not get too excited about the season ahead as we have only played against Swindon Supermarine and Melksham Town, but the feeling amongst the players is drastically different.

The attitude of the players towards a game is hugely different, too. Where last season we looked like a team of individuals not really clicking off the pitch or on it, we are already hearing plenty more communication on the field where the team appear to already be generating relationships with one another.

Dare we think that David Flitcroft could be the Manager this club has been in dire need of for many years, and one that could take us straight back up into League One and beyond?

We'll have to wait and see...