AS A microcosm of their 2016-17 campaign, the last five games have perhaps perfectly summed up Swindon Town.
Just as wins over Coventry and Gillingham fanned the flames of a possible relegation escape, so the damaging losses to Chesterfield and Port Vale, followed by the unsurprising reverse to league leaders Sheffield United, rapidly doused them.
Two steps forward, three steps back.
The latest turn for the worst has, understandably, been too much for some.
Calls for the head coach’s removal, already amplified following the Vale Park disappointment, were given visual credence with the unfurling of a ‘Williams Out’ banner in the Town End at Tuesday’s beating by the Blades.
Williams himself gave short shrift to suggestions he should call time on his own tenure at the County Ground, talking authoritatively after Saturday of refusing to take the option of a ‘coward’ by walking away.
Unfortunately for him, that authority proceeded to be undermined three days later by the revelation that Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill, Lawrence Vigouroux and James Brophy had been axed from matchday duties due to concerns about their own commitment to the cause.
Instead of leading a focused fighting machine, ready to ‘spill blood’ in the cause of Town’s League One survival, Williams appears to be stuck trying to band together a collection of disparate elements, some of whose minds - in his own words - do not appear to be fully on the job.
The question of the head coach’s own position at the club was the subject of much discussion long before the last week or so, little surprise given his win record of only 18 from 67 games, two or three of which came during the spell in which director of football Tim Sherwood supposedly had input into team affairs.
The answer his many detractors need to digest however, is whether Williams’ removal would actually make a material difference to the club’s fortunes.
One well-rehearsed argument is that an ‘experienced manager’ would get more from this County Ground squad than is currently being achieved by Williams.
Maybe, maybe not. But given the lack of control of transfers, the player profile at the centre of Town’s recruitment policy, player discipline being handled further up the food chain and the almost religious adherence to a particular style of play handed down from above, the more pertinent question surely is precisely which experienced manager would be queuing up to take on such a role?
On a purely human level too, why should Williams walk away from a post in which he has the considerable job security of a five-year contract and has loyally and quietly got on with it?
The demands for the head coach’s departure miss the undeniable conclusion that Williams’ status and the whole ethos behind the running of Swindon Town are inextricably linked.
His focus is largely confined to the training ground, trying to mould a successful squad largely with a combination of free transfers, young prospects and loan recruits that his own chairman admitted earlier this season had fallen well short of requirements.
While he may be the most public face of the club, Williams’ sacrifice would be just that.
The other problems remain.