In the early 90’s, Shaun Taylor was undoubtedly the Town fans’ favourite defender. In the mid-70’s it was probably COLIN PROPHETT, a typical bargain buy by Danny Williams, who had a reputation for bringing quality signings to the County Ground on a shoestring budget.
Colin had been under Danny’s wing at Sheffield Wednesday after the manager had first left Wiltshire in 1969. And Danny had given the 22 year old his first taste of top flight football at Hillsborough.
He had come a long way since quitting the Rolls Royce factory in Crewe, where he plied his trade as a fitter and turner. Over thirty thousand were now paying to watch him perform every week.
Both Colin and Danny had gone their separate ways – to Norwich and Mansfield respectively - before they joined forces again, when Colin arrived at Swindon on loan at the end of August 1974.
In his first full appearance in a red shirt, the Town were 5-0 down at Palace by half-time ! But he resisted the temptation to jump on the train and head back to East Anglia, making the move permanent at the beginning of October. And Colin missed just one game as Swindon recovered to finish fourth in the old Third Division, just two points outside a promotion slot.
While the Prophett-Burrows (Frank) partnership halted the flow of goals at one end, Peter Eastoe was busy hitting 31 at the other end. “He would have got forty had he taken the penalties as well”, commented Colin.
And in 1976/77, Colin doubled his own seasonal best by scoring six times, although this time it was only a mid-table finish for Town. But the defender added to his repertoire by becoming a trusty stand-in keeper.
Twice he deputised for the injured Jimmy Allan and once for Jim Barron. Curiously, two occasions were against his old club Sheffield Wednesday. In September 1975, Swindon were trailing 1-0 to the Owls, when Barron failed to appear for the second half. But an inspirational display from Colin between the ‘sticks’ saw the Town recover to win 2-1.
However, after being an ‘ever-present’ for two seasons, Colin’s stay in the south was soon over. Danny gave way to Bob Smith in May 1978 and the new manager handed the number six shirt to Kenny Stroud.
In the September Colin joined Chesterfield, where he now lives, before rejoining the club where he had started out as an amateur, Crewe Alexandra. His League career came to an end in 1981, but he continued to play for Derbyshire sides Matlock, Heanor and Alfreton Town - and was a member of Johnny Quinn’s All Star Celebrities XI until the age of 48 ! “Then I really had to call it a day. I got an arthritic ankle which gives me problems now”, he explained.
Now 58, Colin did some scouting for his old Wednesday defensive partner Sam Ellis, when he was second in command at Leeds. Away from football he works for a tool manufacturing company. “We sell tools and saw blades to the woodworking trade. We have seven area reps and I am now sales director”.
Colin is married to Cathy and they have two daughters Lisa and Emma, one granddaughter 2 year old Ellie – and another two grandchildren on the way !
(First Published by Wiltshire Newspapers/Swindon Advertiser in November 2005)