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Chairman Andrew Fitton eyes speedy Swindon decisions

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Hart cagey on Swindon future

Chairman Andrew Fitton is adamant Swindon have to learn from previous mistakes and move quickly to set the relegated club in the right direction.

The Robins won just eight games in League One and a 3-1 loss at Sheffield Wednesday consigned them to the drop.

"The mistake was that there wasn't enough planning done at an early enough stage to get the additional players we required," Fitton told BBC Points West.

Imminent discussions will also focus on the future of manager Paul Hart.

The 57-year-old took over from Danny Wilson in the first week of March but could not turn around the club's form, winning only one of his 11 games at the helm with his side scoring just six goals in the process.

Following the defeat at Hillsborough, Hart told BBC Points West he was yet to decide on his future: "There are no sticking points. I've just got to make my mind up."

SWINDON UNDER PAUL HART
Played 11
Won 1; Drawn 4; Lost 6
Goals for 6; Goals against 12

Despite his failure to breathe life into a flailing campaign, Fitton is an admirer of what Hart has achieved in his short time at the County Ground and believes the insurmountable problems he faced with an anaemic attack date to the previous regime.

Last season's run to the play-off final was fired by 45 goals from Billy Paynter and Charlie Austin which accounted for 64% of the return in front of goal in the league.

With Paynter leaving soon after their play-off final defeat at Wembley by Millwall last season, and the club's third-highest scorer Danny Ward finishing his loan deal, the onus fell on Austin who responded with 12 league goals before leaving in the January transfer window.

Since his departure nobody has been able to pick up the mantle and his contribution remains the highest single source of goals at the club despite appearing in just 20 games this term.

Losing League One play-off finalists are almost twice as likely to finish in the top half than the bottom the following season, but Swindon bucked that trend and flopped spectacularly to become the fifth team to go down after a final appearance and club legend Don Rogers is in no doubt why.

"It's simple," he told BBC Sport. "You get rid of all those goals and nobody's replaced them."

Fitton reflected: "The striking problems were never addressed early enough. That's where you win and lose games.

"I'd argue that Paul Hart's record, in terms of conceding goals, is OK. You can afford about a goal a game if you want to do well in League One. Statistically, 46 goals conceded in a season is play-off form, but on the other side you've got to score more.

"Whilst he's done an excellent job at containment football with the resources he had, the one resource he didn't have was a striker that got goals at the other end.

"I think Paul has done much of the job he was asked to do. I accept we haven't got the results, and that's a great disappointment to everybody, but he's done a lot of good things around the club."

Fitton accepts the blame for what has gone wrong in the last 11 months and described himself as feeling "sick to the stomach" when Wednesday scored their second.

He added: "I had accepted relegation two or three weeks ago as the likely outcome, but it doesn't make it any easier when it happens.

"As chairman I have to shoulder a lot of the responsibility because that's what being the man out front is. Maybe I didn't get my message across and maybe we didn't manage to get everybody pointing in the same direction at the same time.

"I don't think anybody doubts that we invested in players. Maybe we made the wrong decisions, maybe we bought in the wrong sort of players. I don't know. What I do know is that I feel I have the burden of responsibility for that.

"But this is a time when there's a lot of planning going on, a lot of discussion going on and I think it's right the club and the fans should get some direction from the board as to what's going to happen next and I'd like to think some announcements will be made during the current week."



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see also
Sheff Wed 3-1 Swindon
25 Apr 11 |  League One
Fitton criticises Swindon hunger
05 Apr 11 |  Swindon
Swindon appoint Hart as manager
03 Mar 11 |  Swindon
Wilson quits as Swindon manager
02 Mar 11 |  Swindon
Millwall 1-0 Swindon
29 May 10 |  League One


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