Huge thanks and congratulations are due to Paul Hedges on not only funding but organising the Launch Night on the June 15th. He really has managed to arose an interest in the project among a wide range of the influential and those well qualified to drive the project forward. They will have been impressed by the former players who turned out to support the event and wish the project support.
As is often the way with such events it is the informal before and after conversations which can add much to the success of an event and this was certainly the case for me. If you were not at the event I am sure you will able to read about them elsewhere so I will use this column to share some of my before and after chats. Paul of the Exeter Football Museum had taken the much appreciated journey up from Devon to give us the benefit of his experience and expertise. Apart from being amazed at the amount of information including programmes and team pictures that they have stored and accessible on line which will be a task for someone with different skills to mine to undertake for Swindon I picked up three key points which will help myself and my fellow Trustees as we attempt to move the project forward.
1. In persuading people to help us obtain items of memorabilia to display reassuring holders that their property will be kept safe and that we are interested in accessibility not ownership is key.
2. Local Record Offices have excellent systems for storing documents to which unrestricted access might not be appropriate yet but which will in years to come be part of the Club’s Heritage.
3. Last but not least it was good to find that Paul and myself share the belief that while collectors might seek pristine unmarked programmes for their collections for club heritage those with the score and or team changes add more character. To this end I took the opportunity to get our guest of honour to autograph the Swindon v Halifax programme which saw the first of his record breaking number of appearances.
As a Rotarian, a highlight of the evening for me was seeing the Leader of the Council, Jim Robins and Justin Tomlinson M.P. In friendly conversation. They seemed to demonstrate to misquote Bill Shankly, “Football is not a matter of left or right it’s more important than that.” Before leaving politics can I apologise to the Lib Dems and Greens. If a representative is interested in attending future events please let us know and we will ensure you are not forgotten.
During my talk during the evening I compared an action by Rob Angus to another person from the Club’s history can I close by comparing him to another figure from the past: Howard Carter.
In myself and my fellow Trustees Vic and Andy, he had three Lord Carnarvon’s who gazed in wonder when he showed us a room and a cupboard both stacked to the rafters with objects and documents from the Club’s history which we are being invited to inspect and catalogue. We are fortunate that our club is now owned and run by people who not only recognise that the club has a proud heritage but are willing to give people access to it!