THE STAGS ARE BACK at home in the Southern League Premier Division South this weekend against Swindon Supermarine. Let’s find out about our opponents…
Swindon Supermarine Football Club is based in South Marston, near Swindon, England. The club plays in the Southern League Premier Division South and is affiliated to the Wiltshire Football Association. Their home ground is Webbswood Stadium on the northern edge of South Marston, north-east of Swindon.
HAVE THEY GENERALLY BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN THE LEAGUE?
In 1997/98, the new club won the Hellenic League championship but were not promoted due to ground grading requirements. The championship was won for the second time in 2000/01 and this time they were accepted into the Southern League. After four years of struggle at the foot of the Southern League Western Division table, not helped by a rapid succession of managerial changes, they qualified for the Promotion Play-Offs in 2005/06 but they lost to Hemel Hempstead Town in the Semi-Finals.
In 2006/07 they again reached the Play-Offs, where this time they were successful after beating Burnham in the Semi-Final and Taunton Town in the Final. This earned them a place in the Southern League Premier Division. That season also saw the club secure the Wiltshire Premier Shield, a decade after first winning in the competition.
Their inaugural season in the Southern League Premier Division saw them finish in 12th place. They also earned a mid-table finish in the following 2008/09 season and had an excellent run in the FA Trophy, reaching the Third Round (last sixteen) where they lost to the holders Ebbsfleet United.
At the end of the 2009/10 season, the club announced that it was facing a financial shortfall of £50,000, which would affect its immediate position in the Southern League. A consortium of supporters then took over the club and saved it through various commitments and a sponsorship drive, which allowed it to continue in the Southern League Premier Division in the 2010/11 season. Part of the sponsorship drive included the ground sponsorship, which was taken up by local company H J Webb & Son and the ground became known as the Webbswood Stadium from August 2010. Before the start of the season, former player and manager Tom Jones returned to the club as assistant manager.
The 2010/11 season saw them narrowly miss a lucrative FA Cup Third Round tie after a 0-1 defeat at League One side Colchester United in the club's best ever FA Cup run. In February 2011, Mark Collier, who had been appointed as the club's manager in March 2004, and assistant Tom Jones both resigned due to proposed budget cuts with player-managers Gary Horgan and Matt Robinson taking over as temporary managers until the end of the season. The duo guided Marine to a final placing of 10th in the Southern League Premier Division, which remains their best league finish to date. Season 2011/12 kicked off with Horgan and Robinson now as permanent managers, but the season did not go well with relegation to Division One South & West confirmed on the last day of the season.
In May 2012, the management team stepped down and Highworth Town manager Dave Webb was appointed. In his first season in charge, Webb led the team to a 4th-place finish and a place in the Play-Offs where they lost in the Semi-Final on penalties at Merthyr Town. The following campaign also ended with defeat in the Play-Offs, once more losing at Merthyr Town at the Semi-Final stage. After a mid-table finish in the next season, the club reached the Play-Offs again in 2015/16 only to be beaten in the Semi-Final one more time, on this occasion losing at Taunton Town.
In mid-January 2018, manager Dave Webb departed the club and his assistant, Lee Spalding, took on the role of caretaker manager until the end of the season. The team finished in fifth place and a Play-Off position with a Semi-Final at Evesham United. After drawing 1-1 after extra-time, Marine went through on penalties to face Wimborne Town in the Play-Off Final. Another tight game ended 0-0 after extra-time, before Marine triumphed 4-3 on penalties to claim promotion back to Step 3. After the Play-Off win and promotion, Lee Spalding was appointed manager.
HOW DID THEY GET ON LAST SEASON?
The 2022/23 season was the club’s 30th Year Anniversary and it was an historic season with Swindon Supermarine's highest ever finish in sixth place, just one place and two points off the Play-Offs. There were several highlights during the season but one of the most outstanding was the 4-0 win over National League South highflyers Dartford, with George Dowling scoring a great hat-trick. But they suffered a 1-2 home defeat to Harrow Borough in the following round. In the FA Cup, they reached the Third Qualifying Round but lost heavily to another National League South side in Farnborough.
After a disastrous start to the current 2023/24 season, with seven loses in their first seven games, manager Lee Spalding and his assistant Charlie Griffin resigned from their positions in early-September, after the defeat to Cribbs in the Emirates FA Cup.
HAVE AFC TOTTON PLAYED THEM RECENTLY?
These two sides have met in both league and cup competitions in recent years until Marine’s promotion to the Southern Premier League South. The first meeting between the clubs back in 2011 saw The Stags come out on top with a 4-0 victory. Nathaniel Sherborne scored a hat-trick and Mike Gosney got the other. The Stags' most handsome victory against this weekend's visitors came in the form of a 6-0 win in the FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round in Wiltshire, where braces from Richard Gillespie, Dave Allen and Mike Gosney saw Totton advance into the next round. Marine hold the most wins between the sides in the 13 fixtures played - 7 wins for Swindon, while Totton have won 5 with just one draw, which was a goalless draw at Swindon back in 2012.
DO WE HAVE CURRENT OR FORMER PLAYERS IN COMMON?
The only player I’m aware of to play for both clubs is Jack Alexander. Some supporters may remember the midfielder that joined The Stags back in the 2015/16 campaign as an 18 year-old, initially on a dual registration from Eastleigh, before moving on to Swindon Supermarine for 3 years.
WHO IS THEIR MANAGER NOW?
On Wednesday, the club announced the appointment of Stuart Fleetwood as Head Coach, replacing Lee Spalding. Fleetwood has worked for the club before, and will be looking to enjoy the so-called "new manager bounce" when he brings his new charges to the Snows Stadium on Saturday.
WHEN AND WHERE IS THE GAME?
The match will take place at the Snows Stadium in Salisbury Road, Totton SO40 2RW on Saturday 23 September. Kick-off is at 3:00pm.
CAN I BUY TICKETS?
Tickets will be available at the turnstile on the day. You can save money by purchasing tickets in advance online from https://afctotton.ticketco.
By Adi Rose and Malcolm Tombs (Club Historian)