Where Are They Now?: Don Rogers

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The Independent Online
EVEN at the bottom of the Premiership, Swindon Town occupy the highest league position in their history. At the pinnacle of their folklore, however, nothing disturbs the 3-1 defeat of Arsenal in the 1969 League Cup final, a fairy-tale written by their brilliant winger, Don Rogers.

Rogers scored twice in extra time for his then Third Division team, running half the length of a muddy Wembley before skipping round Bob Wilson for the second. He became a cult figure and when he was sold to Crystal Palace for pounds 150,000 in 1972, hundreds of Swindon fans boycotted the County Ground, travelling to Selhurst Park instead.

'I never asked to leave,' Rogers recalls, 'but Swindon needed the money and it was a big fee in those days.' The Palace manager was Bert Head, who in 1960 had plucked him from non- League football in Somerset.

By the time he returned to Swindon in 1975, via Queen's Park Rangers, Rogers had a chronic left hip injury and, at almost 48, he carries an uncomfortable reminder of the swerves and shimmies. 'I had a replacement in 1979 and I've been waiting a year to have it redone.'

This season, he rejoined Swindon as under-15 coach and he also manages a local side, Lambourn Sports. 'I'd much rather be involved than just watch, although I never missed a home game in four years when Lou Macari was here.'

He suffered a financial setback when his building business collapsed last year but his shop, Don Rogers Sports, still thrives.

(Photograph omitted)