Into a third consecutive season in the fourth tier for only the second time in their history, Swindon were awarded the League Two title in the strangest of circumstances, after the season was halted with ten games remaining due to a global pandemic.
Entering his first full season as Town boss, Richie Wellens had noticeably changed the playing philosophy in his first few months in charge to a more modern, pressing style. Having been forced to implement his style with loanees initially, the close season allowed him to bring in players to suit the style he wanted to play - sixteen players departed, and no fewer than ten players were signed over the summer, with four more following before the transfer deadline at the end of August.
From the moment the season started, there was a feel-good factor around the club that had not been present for a number of years. Loan striker Jerry Yates netted in the first two games in victories over Scunthorpe and Carlisle - both sides who were expected to be challenging at the top of the table. The good start was threatened when Yates was sent off for a tussle at Colchester in the Carabao Cup - but Wellens quickly managed to bring in Eoin Doyle on a season long loan from Bradford, a signing that proved to be a masterstroke.
After scoring a late equaliser on his debut to rescue a point at Exeter - making Swindon the early League leaders in the process - Doyle immediately endeared himself to the Town support, quickly being adorned with the nickname "The Ginger Pelé" after registering seven goals in his first six games for the club, including braces in a draw at Cheltenham, and home victories over Morecambe and Macclesfield. In the games in which Doyle didn't score in that spell, Northampton registered the Town's first defeat of the campaign with a ridiculously offside winner courtesy of former red Andy Williams; the other a memorable away day at Leyton Orient, where a loud, packed away end enjoyed a commanding victory.
Mid-September brought a downturn in form that lasted a month - the Town losing to Colchester, Newport and Bradford in quick succession - all physical sides that Swindon found difficult to deal with over the season. The Newport match also saw captain Dion Conroy succumb to a serious knee injury that ended his season. Due to the rules of his loan agreement, Eoin Doyle was not allowed to play at Bradford - but he returned the following weekend to net against Plymouth, and though he opened the scoring at top-of-the table Crewe, the Town conceded twice in the dying moments to lose 3-1. The loss left Swindon clinging on to the final play-off place, eight points behind the Railwaymen at the top - but little was it known that an incredible goalscoring streak had already begun, and the Town were about to propel themselves to the top of the league.
The next game saw rock-bottom Stevenage visit the County Ground - Swindon struggled to break down a packed defence, but just as it seemed that the Town were destined to drop out of the play-off places, Doyle found space in the area to net an injury time winner. There were no such problems at the weekend - Doyle netting a hat-trick in a 4-0 demolition of Crawley. Over the next few weeks, Walsall, Salford, Mansfield, Grimsby and Oldham were all swept aside, putting the Town three points clear at the top going into the Christmas period - and incredibly, Doyle scored in all of them, netting twelve times in just nine matches - the longest run of goalscoring matches by any Town player since the war.
Amazingly though, Doyle's run did not end there. He netted another brace to put the Town two up at Forest Green Rovers, before the home side ended the seven match winning streak with an equaliser deep into injury time - meaning that a goal for Doyle on Boxing Day against Cambridge would equal Harry Morris' all time club record of scoring in eleven consecutive League matches (although Morris failed to score in an FA Cup match in the middle of his run). Within five minutes, the Town were awarded a penalty - regular taker Michael Doughty forgoing his duties to allow Doyle to slot it home and equal the record - Keshi Anderson adding a hat-trick in a comprehensive victory.
Both Doyle's and Swindon's runs came to end a few days later with a 2-0 defeat at Port Vale - but by now, with Doyle's parent club Bradford six points behind the Town in the table, the spotlight was on whether or not the Bantams would activate a recall clause in January. Whilst adamant that he wanted to remain at the County Ground, Doyle himself was quick to point out the superb service he was receiving from his team-mates.
If he was to leave, he went out with a bang. On New Year's Day, the Town travelled to a promotion-chasing, in-form Plymouth side without a recognised central defender in the squad after Mathieu Baudry had limped out at Port Vale - Argyle backed by a large home support, swelled by the opening of a new stand. After going behind midway through the first-half, Diallang Jaiyesimi equalised before the interval - and as the Town gradually moved into the ascendancy, Doyle netted the winning goal, turning home a cross from Paul Caddis. The goal sparked wild scenes of celebration, with Doyle jumping into the away support - later commenting that, "there was a nice smell of lager and beer - just pure man love, it was great!"
Three days later, Doyle was again ineligible as his parent club Bradford visited the County Ground. In a match dedicated to former Town and City man Stephen Darby, suffering with motor-neurone disease, Jerry Yates was pushed up front, and scored an early penalty - only for the Bantams to equalise with a superb late free-kick through Shay McCartan.
Four days later, with an incredible record of 23 goals from his 22 games, Doyle was inevitably recalled by Bradford. Manager Richie Wellens was quick to point out that, far from being a one-man team, strike partner Jerry Yates was the second top goalscorer in the division, and had scored in every match that Doyle hadn't played in - and for the crucial match against third-placed Crewe, he switched to a 3-5-2 formation, pairing Yates and Kaiyne Woolery up front. Though full-back Rob Hunt gave Swindon the lead with his first goal for the club, the Alex equalised on the hour - before Yates beautifully controlled a lofted pass with his chest and slammed it home to put the Town on top again, a goal quickly followed by another courtesy of midfielder Danny Rose.
After defeat at Newport on a terrible pitch that prevented the Town from playing their usual slick football, another blow was to follow - Jerry Yates was also recalled from his loan spell by Rotherham. Although it seemed like a temporary measure to alleviate an injury crisis in Yorkshire, now without players who had scored 35 of the Town's 49 goals, it left Wellens short of firepower for upcoming matches against play-off hopefuls Port Vale and Colchester - though he was able to mitigate somewhat with the signing of the attack-minded Hallam Hope from Carlisle, even if he wasn't an out-and-out replacement. Hope marked his debut with a goal in a superb 3-0 victory over Vale - finishing off an excellent team move that proved the Town were far from reliant on their now departed loan strikers - but the trip to Colchester resulted in defeat despite going ahead, the Town unable to deal with the Essex side's aerial bombardment in the last fifteen minutes.
As the transfer deadline approached though, everything finally came together. Firstly, Jerry Yates declared himself "buzzing" after being allowed to return on loan for the remainder of the season, and then, the following day, having not scored in any of the four matches he played for Bradford after being recalled, Eoin Doyle signed as well - this time a permanent transfer for an undisclosed fee. These signings - along with the capture of Hallam Hope, a loan deal for Rarmani Edmonds-Green (a defender from Huddersfield), and a permanent deal for midfield enforcer Anthony Grant, who had proven indispensable since joining on loan - meant that the transfer window was seen as a huge success for Swindon, when it had threatened to be disastrous.
These signings came ahead of another crucial encounter - a first versus second clash with Exeter visiting the County Ground - and for the first time in years, supporters were being turned away disappointed - the home sections all sold out as a wave of optimism washed over the club. In conditions that were not conducive to good football, the Town benefitted from an own goal in the first half, but were pegged back by the Grecians, before Hallam Hope headed home on the stroke of half-time - the Town winning through with a battling performance to extend their lead at the top to four points.
The next two matches were both away from home - and after Rarmani Edmonds-Green netted his first senior goal that led to a point at Carlisle, Jordan Lyden headed his first goal for the club in front of the large travelling support at Northampton, to clinch victory against another of the Town's promotion rivals. Straightforward back-to-back home victories followed against Grimsby and Scunthorpe - Jerry Yates netting his first since his return to put the Town on the road to a 3-1 win over the Mariners; Eoin Doyle scoring his first goals since the Plymouth game with a brace to see off Scunthorpe.
Unfortunately though, in the strangest of denouements, the Town were denied the opportunity to clinch their deserved promotion on the field. Having been knocked off top spot courtesy of an efficient away performance by Forest Green Rovers, the season was suspended the day before their scheduled trip to Oldham, due to a global coronavirus pandemic that had arrived in Britain, that would go on to kill hundreds of thousands across the globe. At first, matches were postponed only until early April, but as the severity of the issue became apparent, this was quickly extended to the end of April, and then indefinitely. In mid-May, League Two sides held an indicative vote that unanimously agreed to curtail the season, awarding an average of points per game won to each club's remaining matches - but requested no relegation into the National League. With one point separating six clubs fighting for the play-off places in League One, the points per game solution was heavily debated, with various other options being put forward for discussion - nevertheless, the EFL's counterproposal was to conclude the season based on the PPG method, with both promotion and relegation remaining, and the play-offs in each division being played behind closed doors.
Eventually, on June 9, the final votes were cast - and though the Championship clubs decided to play on, Leagues One and Two both decided to end the season using the EFL's framework - meaning that, level on points with Crewe but with a game in hand, the points per game method saw Swindon crowned champions. The announcement was made on the internet and social media - the club posting various memorable montages to commemorate a superb season.