League Two Lowdown: Cheltenham Town
Feature by Jim Bonner
Updated Thursday, 21st July 2016
A closer look at the Robins and Whaddon Road.
Chairman: Paul Baker
Last Season: National League - 1st (Champions)
Nickname: The Robins
Rivals: Gloucester City, Hereford United, Swindon Town
Portsmouth vs Cheltenham: Saturday, May 6th (3pm)
Cheltenham vs Portsmouth: Saturday, November 19th (3pm)
Cheltenham Town: A brief history
Founded by a local teacher, Cheltenham didn't turn professional until the 1930's and spent a long time in non-league before promotion to the Football League in 1999 under a certain Steve Cotterill.
The former Pompey manager led the Robins to promotion to the third tier of English football but left for Stoke soon after and relegation back to League Two shortly followed.
Another promotion followed in 2006 but after another relegation and changing managers regularly, Mark Yates was appointed in 2009 and was close to winning Town's third promotion back to League One the following year before he was eventually sacked after a poor run of results. Gary Johnson couldn't prevent them from slipping into the Conference in 2014 but they bounced straight back as champions the following season.
The Manager: Gary Johnson
After an unremarkable playing career, Johnson's first stint in management was at Newmarket Town but it wasn't long before he was called to the coaching team of Cambridge United where he almost saw the U's win promotion to the Premier League in the 90's.
Spells in charge of Kettering and the Latvian national football team followed but it wasn't until 2001 when Johnson really made his name as a manager when he took over at Yeovil. There, his team stormed the Conference and then were promoted to League One two years later. His success earned him a move to Bristol City where he won promotion to the Championship lost out on promotion to the Premier League after a play-off final defeat to Hull City.
Johnson failed to repeat that success and he left the Robins by mutual consent in 2010. Indifferent spells in charge of Peterborough and Northampton were followed by triumphant return to Yeovil where he took the Glovers to the Championship but was sacked the season after. He then took over at Cheltenham in 2015 and although he couldn't stop his side being relegated to non-league, they bounced back at the first attempt by winning the National League in 2016.
The Stadium: Whaddon Road (Capacity: 7,000 - Away: 1,100)
A trip to Cheltenham may well be more popular for the horse racing but the football ground isn't too bad, either. The clubhouse may look like a prison from the outside and have decor from the 1970's but it's not a bad place to drink.
Visting fans are placed either in the Hazelwoods stand behind the goal or in a section of the In2Print stand to the right. Both stands are small, modern all-seater affairs which offer good views of the pitch.
The Prestbury Road stand opposite the away end is a simple roofed terrace for the home supporters.
The only old looking part of the ground is the Main Stand which gives the ground a bit of character. Steve Cotterill was sat here to watch the match between two of his former clubs after he proclaimed he would manage in the Premier League one day. I suspect he meant the Ryman Premier League...
Overall, aslong as you don't go to Cheltenham expecting too much (and why would you?) then it's a pleasant little ground. The home supporters don't make much noise and so are easy to drown out in the away ends which are condusive to creating a good atmosphere.