Lee Power insists he is only temporary manager after sacking Mark Cooper
22 October ~ When last season's League One play-off final ended in a crushing defeat for Swindon, most supporters braced themselves for turbulence. Two or three departures were due, and the loanees had to go back too, but things have got bumpier. Eight members of that day's starting 11 have left, and manager Mark Cooper followed them last week. Now, with the club one place off the bottom of the table, the chairman, Lee Power, has taken over as caretaker boss.
Of course, it is more complicated than that, as is attributing Cooper's departure solely to the run of six defeats in seven games. The same goes for blaming that record on a barely credible run of injuries, peaking with the absence of 12 of the new first-team players.
Instead, Power said the sacking was actually triggered by the collapse in the technical football that he has demanded in his two-and-half season long tenure. Not only has Swindon's passing style brought a degree of success, it also encouraged clubs such as Southampton, Tottenham and Liverpool to offer young players to join on season-long loans.
Borrowing the likes of Jack Stephens, Ryan Mason and Jordan Williams not only improved the football, it also meant those owned by the club, such as Massimo Luongo and Nathan Byrne, were sold for good fees having shown technique, not just physique.
So it seems the chairman put preservation of this ethos above the job of a manager, who though dignified, had never been truly accepted by many supporters. Or as Power put it: "The specific way we play is the lifeblood of the club and keeping that identity is so important.”
The situation leaves supporters in the rare position of being able to see exactly what their chairman wants from the team, since starting with Tuesday's defeat by Oldham, Lee Power has added picking the team to his self-confessed role of signing them.
However, even this demands closer inspection. Power has been keen to reassure supporters that this is an interim measure, despite having performed the same function at Cambridge United almost a decade ago, because this time it isn't practical. Power lives in Geneva and so is limited to spend 93 days per year in the UK – hardly enough time to explain zonal marking to anyone.
For Saturday's visit of Coventry, Power has again promised to view the game from the directors' box. But, like Tuesday's defeat, it seems like that he will again turn up in the dugout giving instruction directly to Cooper's former assistant Luke Williams – an arrangement that many supporters believe was in place already last season, although we will never know for certain. But, of course, it is more complicated than that. Alex Cooke