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28 April 2020

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Back in December 2019, seems a while ago right? - we interviewed Wes Foderingham as our most capped player from the decade. He spoke about the Di Canio days and winning promotion as champions. As 28th April 2012 is the anniversary of the title win, here's his full interview where he discusses that season and beyond.

Over the whole decade, Wes Foderingham has made the most Swindon Town appearances. 192 times in total, the stopper wore the shirt.

Red Review caught up with the now-Rangers stopper to look back on his time at the club.

You came into the club on-loan originally under Di Canio and you had a fantastic start – five clean sheets in your first five games, and only seven goals conceded in three months on-loan?

I trained for a few days with the goalkeeper coach at the time, had a meeting with Paolo and he said: we want to take you, and you’ll be playing at the weekend. I was a little bit nervous because it was my debut in the football league. I kept a clean sheet and from there it was an easy group to settle into – I had to share a room with Simon Ferry which was a nightmare. It was a good side with a good manager which helped with that early stage. Even from that first game, we settled and that helped going into the next games

By the end of that season, for you, you’d conceded the least goals by about nine goals? What do you put that down to?

It’s an element of both defence and me – as a goalkeeper, you don’t keep that many clean sheets without having a decent defence. It doesn’t matter who the goalkeeper is. The foundations are built in front of you and having a goalkeeper in good form helps too.

We just had the right blend. We didn’t take too many risks.

How do you sum up that whole season under Di Canio?

Paolo is one of those managers that if he doesn’t like you, you know about it very soon. If he likes then he loves you and treats you like family. The core group took to Paolo really well. We just had a good blend at the back and front. We played decent football and worked really hard – I’d say the attention to detail from the coaching staff helped a lot too. We did a lot of video sessions looking at other teams, their strengths their weaknesses. We had a real focus that whole year.

I think we went into every game expecting to win – the side was very good. We were going out most weeks as favourites but we also knew that if we didn’t win, we’d be in at 6am watching the game because that’s what Paolo made us do.

There’s a week in the next season which is one of the craziest weeks in that period, which is saying something – what are your memories of playing Stoke in the League Cup?

We went into that game quite positive from what I can remember – we were a decent side and we thought if we can try and shut up shop, we can take our chances. For me personally, it wasn’t a great game but the boys were fantastic on the night. It was brilliant for the club.

Four days later, Preston away and Di Canio takes you off after 21 minutes – that’s pretty unheard of for a goalkeeper. What were your emotions at the time?

It’s funny because, on the day, I remember saying to the boys: this is the best I’ve felt in a warm-up. I made one or two errors but nothing major. I’m not thinking: I’m gonna get dragged here. Then I see Leigh Bedwell warming up, and thinking: he’s not, is he? When I’ve seen my number up on the board the red mist has descended. At the time, I felt disappointed in the manager. I felt as though I’d given him so much from joining, at a young age as well. I felt I deserved a little bit more respect.

How did you reconcile from that?

The next day he called me in his office and we had a chat. He said that some of the stuff that had been said in the media had been lost in translation which I’m still not so sure about!

He’s a fiery character and says things in the moment sometimes. At that point, it was a case of just getting back in the team and I thought it’s happened so I can only do my best from here.

If he’d stayed, would it have been Championship football the season after?

Certainly. I think so, anyway. We were playing really well. We thought we were going to get this done. At Brentford, it was gutting. When Flinty’s scored the goal, everyone’s buzzing and we’re thinking this is our day. To go out on pens we were devastated. All the off-the-field issues, it was so disappointing. We knew there was change coming and there was uncertainty which is always weird.

Two years later, it’s a very different club with a very different manager but how was the way of working under Mark Cooper and at the football club?

It was totally different. We had a very, very young squad. Talented but boys who needed guidance. We were all quite young. I think we maybe needed more older heads whereas under Di Canio we had a lot of experience. Even to this day, I say that this dressing room was probably the best I’ve been in. We were playing some really, really good football. As a side we were the best footballing team in that division but we just came up short in that final.

Right then, Sheffield United. Play-Offs. Go.

That second leg is the craziest game I’ve been involved in. The first leg Nathan Byrne scored in the last minute to give us the advantage going home and then we go 2-0 up early on and we think it’s done.

To be honest, it got to a point in the game where boys were turning round to me and saying: what’s the score? I couldn’t tell them so I just said: don’t concede. If we concede we lose but I didn’t know that was true.

Onto the play-off final, and it’s a really sad day for the club because of the scoreline – what was the difference on the day?

That’s the most disappointing day I had in a Swindon Town shirt. We did so well to get there and to turn up and be beaten that convincingly was horrible. We gave away cheap, cheap goals and were keeping the ball without looking to score. It was possession and nothing else. Nathan Thompson got injured, two goals – and then they just ground us down with their experience.

Finally, overall how do you look back at your time at the club?

I loved my time at Swindon. I really, really did. I loved the club, living in Swindon, the fans – they treated me so well from day one. It was a great level to play at in the early stages of my career and I can only thank the club for giving me that opportunity at that stage of my career. To be honest, there weren’t that many clubs that were looking to take me. If they hadn’t given me that chance, you never know how your career’s going to pan out.

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