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When Lou Macari resigned to join West Ham in July 1989, the job of replacing Swindon's most successful manager for decades went to former Argentine international and World Cup winner, Ossie Ardiles.
Like Macari, the Swindon job was Ardiles' first managerial position, and he proved to be up to the task. To the amazement of the Town fans, he transformed the team from playing the long ball style which had been so successful, to a new "Samba style", which saw the Town playing attractive attacking football. Part of this change was the new "diamond formation" which Ardiles implemented - a 4-4-2 style with left-sided, right-sided, attacking and defensive midfielders.
Just ten months after he had joined, Ardiles led the Town to their highest ever league position - finishing fourth in Division Two. After the Town beat Blackburn in the first leg of the Play-Off semi-final, the fans paid tribute to Ardiles' success in the second leg with a tickertape reception - recreating the atmosphere of the 1978 World Cup, in which Ardiles had starred. Swindon went on to win promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history - beating Sunderland in the Play-Off Final - only to have the promotion cruelly taken from them ten days later, when the Football League demoted them for irregular payments to players.
The following season, Ardiles was forced to sell to keep the club alive - and Wembley hero Alan McLoughlin was the first big-money departure. With Swindon obviously rocked by their pre-season nightmare, their form deserted them, and opposition clubs seemed to come to terms with the Town's style of play. By the end of February, relegation threatened, and when Newcastle offered Ardiles the chance to become their new boss, he accepted.
MANAGERIAL RECORD AT SWINDON:
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