100 Owners: Number 85 – Brian Hillier (Swindon Town)

Whiter than white though some might claim it to be, the history of football in England is pock-marked with attempts to bend the rules as set out by the Football Association. The punishments meted out to these clubs have been many and varied, but it could be argued that few in recent have suffered a penalty as harsh as Swindon Town did in the summer of 1990. In some respects, this is perhaps unsurprising. The club had been the aim of a sustained investigation by a national newspaper, and the charges brought against the club coincided with what should have been the biggest moment in its history. At times such as these, the football authorities have to be seen to act, if for no other reason than as a deterrent to others that might have been considering a similar route. In the case of Swindon Town, however, the matter of Swindon Towns financial irregularities didn’t end in the dusty rooms of Lancaster Gate. It ended with an Inland Revenue investigation into the financial affairs of some of the biggest clubs in the country and with a court appearance for their then-owner, Brian Hillier. Hillier, a builder by trade and a life-long supporter of Swindon Town Football Club, had worked as a scout for Birmingham City, but our story begins in 1984, when he was appointed as the chairman of...

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