Counting our blessings after January disruptions

Swindon fan Nick Judd comes out of January thanking his lucky stars

Thank god the transfer window is closed.

I’d love to slam it shut for good, much like I imagine Mrs Terry’s done with her hubby's suitcase.

Fans of top-flight teams might love the endless possibilities brought about by the January sales, but fans of lower-league clubs just hope it goes away without any players being sold.

There’s no avoiding it, either.

From Sky’s ridiculous Rolodex graphic to live blogs and endless tweets – even fans on our own forums were reporting rumours they’d heard from their gardener’s brother’s hairdresser’s cousin twice removed.

This is the first time Swindon have had players other clubs are interested in for, well, ages.

That’s great news, obviously: it means we’re good, which makes a nice change.

But it also makes for a nerve-shredding transfer window.

With even the big clubs strapped for cash, lower-league gambles might seem worth taking - like our goalscoring prodigy Charlie Austin, who's bagged 10 goals in 14 games since joining from Poole Town.

BLOG: Tue Dec 8: Fairytale stuff in Swindon

If rumours were to be believed, he was being watched by Derby County and Nottingham Forest – although presumably Billy Davies and Nigel Clough weren't sat together in the stand buying each other Bovrils.

Thankfully, it looks as though he’s going to sign a two-year extension to his current contract at fortress County Ground.

Austin: Maestro

His strike partner Billy Paynter – our top scorer with 14 – was linked with a move to Bristol Rovers, which thankfully never came to fruition either.

Few Town fans were surprised to hear Preston were interested in centre-back Scott Cuthbert, one of approximately 179 players we’ve signed from Celtic this season (in some capacity).

Ironically, Celtic themselves were said to be interested in Preston’s Sean St Ledger, prompting North End's interest in Cuthbert, but neither move materialised.

The window brought its usual share of disappointment and relief.

No doubt Southend fans were feeling flat following the inevitable sale of top scorer Lee Barnard to Southampton earlier in the transfer window.

In contrast, Gillingham supporters will no doubt be chuffed they’ve managed to keep Simeon Jackson away from the clutches of QPR, ditto Leeds with Jermaine Beckford, who seemed Newcastle-bound.

Jackson: "I'm still here!"

Elsewhere, Norwich fans must have been sweating after reading that Hull saw midfield maestro Wes Hoolahan as the perfect replacement for Stephen Hunt.

Thankfully for the Canaries, Hunt stayed put rather than join Wolves.

Interestingly, there was precious little movement in League One. It’s all about loan deals, don’t you know.

All this means it’s as you were for the denouement. Bring it on…

* * *

There was a sobering scene at the County Ground last Tuesday that put Swindon’s 3-0 tonking of Leeds United into context.

Billy Paynter had just scored his second – Town’s third – from the penalty spot and he was going berserk, much like everyone else in the stadium.

Everyone, that is, apart from the Leeds fans – and Town left-back Jean-Francois Lescinel.

‘Lecs’ has other things on his mind. Our Haitian-born defender still has family missing in his home country following last month’s earthquakes.

Understandably, his reaction to Town’s third goal was subdued.

I’m amazed he’s been able to play at all. He was excellent against Leeds, keeping livewire Max Gradel at bay and supplying the killer cross for Paynter to head Town’s second.

He revealed in an interview with the Independent that playing football helps take his mind off events back home, even if only for 90 minutes.

LINK: Indy interview, Tue Jan 19

The good news from the Leeds game was that both clubs agreed to give the Haiti fund 50p from each ticket – and the game was a sell-out.

No doubt it’s small fry compared to the amounts spent in the transfer window, but it’s nice to have football reaffirm your faith in humanity every once in a while.

Everybody’s thoughts are with ‘Lecs’…

Donate to the DEC Haiti Earthquake Appeal here

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