With the vast amounts of money spent by the premier league and the championship in comparison to leagues one and two it is clear to see that modern football has become unsustainable financially. Championship teams are able to lose large sums of money as long as their loses are covered by a money man or â€œsugar daddy”. Premier league sides continue to spend vast amounts of money as has been seen by both Manchester clubs to name a few. What has Swindon Town and in particular Mark Cooper have to do with all this? Well Swindon as a club are showing that it is possible to be both competitive and financially prudent at the same time. Forget about the storm in a tea cup which has arisen over the recent rent row between the club and the council or the issues arising with this Redditch striker and look at what has been achieved in the last eighteen months by both Mark Cooper and chairman/owner Lee Power. The budget has dropped significantly since the Di Canio era having been sliced from 5 million to less than 2 million.
Yet still the club have remained competitive having just missed out on the play-offs in the 2013/14 season and are currently in the midst of a promotion push. Success on the field has been achieved by Mark Coopers continued development as a manager and Lee Powers eye for talent. Power has been extremely successful at spotting talent at clubs higher up the football ladder having recruited players from Tottenham, Southampton, Liverpool, Chelsea and Birmingham and he has even been busy in the non-league market having signed Ben Gladwin and Raphael Rossi Branco from Marlow and White-hawk respectively. Youngsters from within the club have also been promoted with Louis Thompson following in his brother Nathan’s footsteps to progress into the first team; a platform he has used to earn himself a move to championship Norwich. Who he will join up with after his season long loan at Swindon has expired.
The approach Swindon have taken displays the many problems within the English game. Players such as Nathan Byrne have had to drop to league one level in order to acquire first team football and how Yaser Kasim and Massimo Luongo are not playing premier league football is baffling. Last season Alex Pritchard was farmed out on loan to Swindon and he showed that he is more than capable of playing at a higher level spending the current campaign on loan at Brentford. Of course as a fan of the club and lower league football I am obviously thrilled that we are able to attract players of this pedigree but part of me despairs for the future of the game. Swindon have shown that putting faith into young players and diamonds in the rough can be just as effective as throwing millions of pounds about in order to achieve success on the pitch. This model gives players a chance to develop and makes competitive teams which are run financially prudently. It is a wonder why teams further up the footballing pyramid cannot see the abundance of talent which remains untapped. Maybe if the top teams in the country spent less time spending millions to solve their problems and more time nurturing young talent then we wouldn’t be so far behind the Germans on the international stage. The answer is not “b teams” it is going back to a game run on a sustainable budget.