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Neil Godwin: The Next Episode

Started on 16 April 2022 by Jack
Latest Reply on 19 August 2022 by J_ames
Jack's avatar Group Jack
2 yearsEdited

Swindon Town placed under transfer embargo

Swindon Town has been placed under a transfer embargo after failing to comply with five EFL regulations, the governing body has confirmed.

The League Two club broke regulations including: failure to provide audited annual accounts, annual accounts not filed with Companies House, defaults in payments to HMRC, non-payment to football creditors, and failure to submit Salary Cap Management Protocol calculation.

The Robins will not be able to pay a transfer fee for a player and must sign players who are without clubs or who arrive on loan.

Managerless Swindon will be allowed to have up to 23 players in their squad, but none of these players can be signed for longer than the end of the 2021/22 season if they arrive permanently.

Loan players can also only arrive for half a season at a time and they will not be allowed to include a loan fee or additional wages on top of the salary with their parent club.

Swindon are still allowed to register academy players and non-first team players and are allowed to promote their contracts to a first professional contract if they see fit.

The EFL has placed the initial ban until 2nd June 2022, but the embargo will remain in place as long as all five of Swindon's regulation breaches have been resolved.

Two of Swindon's League Two rivals, Oldham Athletic and Scunthorpe United, have also been placed under transfer embargoes until January 2022, but reasons for these bans have not been published.

Swindon are still searching for a permanent replacement for former manager John Sheridan, who resigned in April 2021 after he left the club rock bottom of League One.

Season Progress

2021-22: League 2 1st place, 88 points (Champions)
2022-23: League 1 2nd place, 83 points (Promoted)
2023-24: Championship 9th place, 73 points
2024-25: Championship 4th place, 86 points (Promoted via Play-Offs)
2025-26: Premier League 17th place, 30 points
2026-27: Premier League 14th place, 16 points*

2026-27: Premier League Season in progress...

*Indicates position at time of departure

Godwin to take over Swindon Town?

Rumours are emerging from the troubled Swindon Town that fan favourite Neil Godwin has emerged as favourite for the vacant post at The County Ground.

Chairman Lee Power has reportedly shown an interest in bringing the former centre-half back to the club as Head Coach despite making a statement earlier this week that the change in ownership into Clem Morfuni’s hands should be completed “in the next couple of weeks”.

37-year-old Neil Godwin retired from football in 2019 aged 35 after his St Alban’s City contract expired. He had spent a total of eight years at The County Ground, from the Premiership all the way down to League Two.

Godwin was named Swindon captain in the last season of his first spell at the club, before being renamed captain upon his 2012 return on loan from Cheltenham Town before making the return permanent ahead of the 2013/14 season.

The 2007 League Two winner began studying his coaching badges whilst playing for Boreham Wood in the 2016/17 season and returned to the club as a coach following his retirement with a UEFA C License.

Neil Godwin returned to his hometown by becoming the Head Coach of Swindon Supermarine in the 7th tier of English football just two months before the COVID-19 Pandemic cut the non-leagues’ seasons short. After his January 2021 departure as the season was cut short again, Godwin left with a 48.28% win record at the club, whilst also qualifying for his UEFA B License.

Swindon Town supporters’ forums seem to be overwhelmingly in support of the appointment, also riding the wave of positivity with the news of a new Australian-backed takeover bringing good feeling to the club after years of uncertainty.

“It would be a joy to see Godwin back at the County Ground. Seems to have done well with Supermarine down the road from what was in his control too. Him and Morfuni would be an interesting start to a new season.” one user said on

News outlets have so far failed to receive a response from Neil Godwin’s side but rumours still persist. Other names touted by the bookies have been Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Mike Newell and Owen Coyle.

I believe that Swindon are now owned by an Australian businessman, so as long as he hires Neil and not someone like Harry Kewell: the club will move in the right direction. Best of luck with this story mate! :D

Jury’s Inn

Lee Power had booked a table for three at the Swindon Jury’s Inn Hotel, just a couple of left and right hand turns away from Swindon Town’s County Ground stadium.

Power had previously been a professional footballer, namely with Norwich City, Bradford City and Peterborough United but two broken legs had cut his career short aged 28. He has since made his fortune through being a football agent, his sports publishing company known as CRE8 and he became a racehorse owner in 2006.

He joined the board in 2013, immediately investing £1.2million to lift a transfer embargo, but 8 years later he is on the brink of leaving the club the same way that he found it and there were whispers of staff not being paid for June 2021.

Fans’ opinions of Power have changed over time. Up until 2016, Swindon fans were thankful for him saving the club from bouts of administration. However, a lack of transparency and accusations of siphoning off money from the club has caused the relationship between fans and board to turn sour. Some have even begun to accuse Power of leveraging the prospect of a fan favourite like Neil Godwin returning as a cheap way to regain favourable opinion of himself.

However, Neil Godwin was about to meet up with Lee Power in a meeting that would be decisive in the direction of the club.

“Good afternoon, Lee. It’s good to see you.” said Godwin, as he arrived in his green polo shirt, as if returning from playing a round of golf.

Power stood up to shake hands with Godwin to welcome him to what was considered ‘an informal chat’ that both parties knew was the actual interview for the job underneath.

“Great to see you again, Neil,” said Lee.

“Again?” asked Neil, confused as to where the two had met previously.

Lee had gone on to explain that he had met Neil briefly at a charity auction that took place at Webbswood Stadium - Swindon Supermarine’s stadium - whilst Neil was still the manager of the club during his year there.

Whilst pleasantries continued between the two, unbeknownst to Neil there was going to be a third attendee at the meeting as he had wondered who the empty third seat was for.

“Neil, this is Clem Morfuni, Managing Director of Axis Plumbing Group based in Sydney, Australia and prospective new buyer of Swindon Town Football Club. I felt that his input was necessary considering the direction of the club within the next few years.” Lee Power said as he and Neil welcomed the Australian multi-millionaire.

Neil Godwin had been meticulous enough in his research leading up to the meeting to know that Clem’s presence could be anticipated. He was however slightly frustrated that Lee had failed to mention his arrival until he walked through the door during the meeting.

As the conversation went on discussing next steps for the club’s recent troublesome ownership practices, Neil found himself in a position to demand things.

“Clem, if you are to come in - which it looks like you are - I want full control over all first-team affairs and management of coaching staff at youth level. I will not stand for a lack of transparency from the boardroom to the manager, staff, players and also the fans. All transfer fees, unless I say so, should be published as I feel like after Lee’s time in charge, it is a way to rebuild a relationship with the fans which is key to the team’s success.” Neil said, in a brutal assessment of Lee Power’s reign as Swindon chairman.

Clem smiled, he had a slight look of Paolo Di Canio which made his first appearance look slightly unnerving.

“Neil, I’ll be honest with you: the thought of hiring you hadn’t even entered my head when looking at changes I could make. You have Lee to thank for bringing your name to my attention if I’m to be honest with you.

“However, after speaking to you, I like what you are saying and whilst there are managers with better experience than a year stint at the local non-league club, I think a joint arrival, a sea of change, let’s say of you and I would be a good thing for the fans.

“I believe in what you are saying with transparency, I am going to release my plan with the Trust and listen to recommendations, make amendments if necessary. If Lee is OK with preparing the terms of your arrival, have you in place when the shares are transferred to Axis Group then I would love to sit down with you alone and go through things one final time. How is that for you?” Clem said.

Neil was still suspicious of Clem, but recognised that he was Swindon’s best hope when it came to surviving and not plummeting itself in more financial jeopardy. The pair had arranged to meet without Lee’s presence over the weekend, with a contract to be delivered to Neil on Friday.

James: They certainly are, it's been a tough few years. I hope that Kewell's career in football is long-dead now :P
I remember Swindon seeming to be a club on the 'up and up' when they had Massimo Luongo at the club, with a bit of craziness thrown in via Paolo di Canio's touchline antics. Their decline is all too common these days, and hopefully with a bit more stability, we'll see them rise up the leagues.

The Final Details

“It was nice to meet you on Wednesday, Neil, I think a lot of important things regarding the running of the club were nicely articulated and I think Lee knew what we were both trying to get at with his own ability to run the show,” Clem said as he took a sip of his coffee.

“As I mentioned in that meeting, my takeover did not initially have you in mind to manage the club. In actual fact, I have not even told my own candidate for the role that he is out of the process yet. I’m sure you might know the name Paul Okon?” he asked.

“Yeah, I know him from his playing days.” Neil replied.

“He’s the one I’d been speaking to, he had a bad spell in Australia but he presented himself well. However, despite working at a lower level to him previously, you did better locally and there’s no doubting your affinity with the fanbase here, who will be key to win around after the past eight years.” Clem said.

Neil laid out his plan for the club, consisting of transparency from the top-down, to solidify a position in League One or above, not pushing the club’s financial limits by a slight reliance on the youth academy and good quality scouting.

“I think the Play-Offs would be a good marker for the squad that is currently in place. Obviously we have to bear the brunt of no transfers until the EFL decides, but I’m confident that there is a good enough group of players there to at least achieve that.” Neil said as the conversation neared its end.

“I think I am happy moving forward with formally offering you the role with Swindon and I will let Lee know about my intentions. I believe an initial two-year deal would suffice to assess where we are at the end of the upcoming season. With regards to compensation, I think £1,500 per week is suitable and puts you on parity with a lot of the players, we can discuss bonuses such as promotion over the phone. What are your thoughts?” Clem asked, lifting his head to look directly at Godwin.

“Then you have my verbal acceptance pending the arrival of the contract offer.” Neil said, standing up to shake Clem’s hand.

James: They have perhaps had a similar cycle to a lot of L1/L2 clubs, just as you say with the added craziness of Di Canio, plus their fans are slightly more on the wild side than most!

Neil Godwin named Swindon Town manager

Neil Godwin has been appointed at the County Ground as rumours of Clem Morfuni’s takeover of the club reach new heights.

Neil Godwin will be given a similar brief to the one he was entrusted with at Swindon Supermarine after being confirmed as the new manager of Swindon Town.

Godwin has been named head coach, with former Portsmouth and Leyton Orient defender Ben Chorley joining him in Wiltshire as Director of Football, after seven months out of the game following his departure from Swindon Supermarine.

The club have been working hard to increase the number of contracted first-team players from 10 to now have 22 players for the upcoming League Two season.

Former manager John McGreal and assistant Rene Gilmartin both left Swindon in June, one month after being appointed and without taking charge of a game.

Godwin, 37, made 233 league appearances for Swindon Town as a centre-back across three different spells.

He graduated from the academy as a 17-year-old following the club’s relegation from the Championship in 2000 before joining Walsall in 2005. After a promotion from League Two with Walsall, Godwin joined Luton Town and Cheltenham Town before returning to the County Ground on loan in 2012 and making the move permanent ahead of the 2013-14 season.

Known and applauded as being a tough commander at the back during his playing days, he emerged as a fan favourite with fans of the club during and after his spells.

His work as a coach begins at one of his former clubs as a player, rejoining Boreham Wood in 2019 - two years after his departure to St Alban’s City - as a first-team coach before moving to local side Swindon Supermarine in the 7th tier, winning 14 in 29 games during a tough time for lower league football.

Godwin is scheduled to meet the press as new manager of Swindon Town on Tuesday 6th July.

EFL confirms Clem Morfuni as majority owner of Swindon Town

Clem Morfuni has become the majority shareholder of Swindon Town, the EFL has confirmed.

The league body has confirmed it consented to Morfuni acquiring the club’s shares and it will continue to investigate events under Swindon’s previous ownership.

This paves the way for a change in ownership at the club following a lengthy takeover battle between Morfuni and Lee Power.

Morfuni has been involved in a legal battle with Power over the ownership of the club — with Power ordered to sell Swindon to Morfuni.

Swindon have been facing significant financial troubles and were relegated from League One last season.

A statement read: “The EFL is today in a position to confirm it has issued consent to the acquisition of the additional shares in Swindon Town by Mr Clem Morfuni in accordance with EFL Regulations, and it is now a matter for the shareholders to conclude any associated transactions.

“The EFL is looking forward to working with the new ownership as they seek to ensure a successful and viable long-term future for the club.

“In addition to these developments, the League continues to review a number of matters relating to the previous ownership arrangements at the club.”

Morfuni is an Australian businessman. He is a minority shareholder who owns a 15 percent stake in Swindon’s holding company, Swinton Reds, and has been attempting to buy the club.

Morfuni, who owns the building services contractor Axis, has successfully won a High Court legal battle with Power to take full control of the club, with the latter required to transfer his shares in the club.

Swindon Town recently appointed former Swindon defender Neil Godwin to replace John McGreal, who was appointed the club’s manager in June, but left after just a month in charge along with his assistant Rene Gilmartin.

The club are also under a transfer embargo after not paying players and staff their full wages for June.

Overturning the club’s fortunes will be a significant challenge but it is understood that Morfuni is well trusted by the local council and supporters, as well as the EFL.

Manager Neil Godwin’s opening press conference had been delayed until takeover proceedings had concluded and will now take place tomorrow at Swindon’s County Ground.

Meet the Manager: Neil Godwin

Welcome to the club, Neil, it’s good to see you back at the County Ground. How are you feeling to be back?

I just can’t seem to leave can I?! It’s an absolute pleasure to be back. I enjoyed my time at the club, I grew up with Town, I’ve lived Town and now I want to be the man to bring back the good times that I just missed with my arrival.

The club seems to be going through a period of change after several years of turbulence on and off the pitch with Clem Morfuni and yourself arriving at the club. How confident are you that you are the people to turn things around here?

We obviously had conversations before my arrival, to talk about strategy, direction, plans for the club and things. We both liked how it sounded and ironed out any difference in opinion by meeting a compromise. I think that Clem can be trusted with the club and he deserves the fans’ support.

As for me, the fans know me from my playing days here, my spells as captain of Swindon so I hope that that can give them some confidence in me. As for my managerial qualities, I have been working hard to finesse my tactics, match plans and generally adjust to life as a coach. I’m here to improve players, improve the club’s stature and with those two can only come a positive outlook for the future.

Could you give us any indication as to how Swindon will set up for matches this year?

I think that going into too much detail would harm us against other managers. However, some fans may have seen my Supermarine side and they know that I like a solid defence and to make allowances for individual talents to express themselves on the field.

I think the individuality side will be more prevalent than ever this season. With our transfer situation - which I hope can be resolved soon - I still think that we have a more than capable side to achieve something this year.

You mentioned wanting to “achieve something” this year. What would achievement look like to you?

With anything, there is a short-term plan and a long-term plan. Swindon Town direly need stability in the league system after dipping in between leagues for what seems like decades now. Solidifying our spot in a good league whilst remaining sustainable as a club is a long-term goal.

For this season, with the transfer situation a clear hindrance, I believe in this squad that is here already to record a Play-Off finish and give ourselves a starting shot at making our way up the divisions.

Your predecessor John McGreal left within a month of joining, without managing a single game due to uncertainty. Can the fans rest easy knowing that things are stable at management and board level?

There is a good team already here, some familiar faces, too. Morfuni has impressed me in our conversations and I would not be taking this role if I felt that I was not supported or that I didn’t think that I had the available facilities to be a success. As a young manager making his way into the game, I wouldn’t want to stain my CV with a short term stay and I am certain that I am here to stay.

You face Vauxhall Motors in your first preseason fixture, what are you expecting from this preseason?

We have been working on some systems in training since their return from the break, I want us to show some of that in the friendlies to show that we have a receptive bunch in practice, rather than just doing well in training which they have been.

You may have memories of a much more successful Swindon Town and you could be seen as a figure included in those good times for the club. Do you believe as manager of the club, you can bring back some of those memories some day?

Absolutely, I’m extremely excited to see how my aspirations of becoming a good football manager pan out. Moreso that I will be doing it at this club. I want to take them all the way up to the top, but it must be done sustainably and pragmatically. We can’t afford to live a dream that we can’t sustain for a lengthy period. It must be done methodically and that is what Clem and I are looking at long-term.

Thank you Neil, welcome back and good luck in your first preseason with the club.

Thank you!

Neil is far too well spoken for a former defender, he needs to up his aggression! Maybe he'll implement a Swindon Town "Crazy Gang" over the course of the season? ;)

Hopefully this transfer situation is resolved in the near future.

Our first preseason went fairly successfully. The only easy game as such came against Vauxhall Motors where we were able to smash them out of the park with a stomping 7-0 victory as Jayden Mitchell-Lawson scored a hat-trick.

Our other fixtures all came against clubs who are in higher divisions and we did remarkably well, defeating Plymouth and MK Dons (League 1) with relative ease before facing a Liverpool U23s team with a few familiar faces.

Our final fixture against Crewe Alexandra did surprise me as our defence was completely non-existent in the first-half, relying on our attacking prowess to stop our only defeat of preseason.

The Squad

Despite our transfer ban, we have a highly promising group of players. We are strong in defence, strong in midfield and strong in attack. The only real issue is our lack of depth - particularly in the striker position leading to me having to play with only one striker.

Our central midfielders Jordan Lyden and Jack Payne have already discussed looking for new opportunities further up the divisional ladder following last season’s relegation, so that could hit us hard if there are interested parties.

Crichlow, Simpson, Gilbert and Hayden are all on loan from different clubs for the season but they are all very talented and could prove very useful this season.
James: He might just be portraying a friendly image to the media as it is early days on the management scene ;) I can't think why our ban will be lifted before the end of next season to be honest, seems to just be the way it is sadly.
A more than solid pre-season, along with some impressive graphics! Your presentation is always something that impresses me, and I'm sure this story will be no different. In regard to your squad, and Jordan Lyden potentially wanting to leave... you might be helped by the fact that he's quite injury prone. On the other hand... you may be paying wages to someone constantly injured!

Here's hoping he stays fit, and fires the club to a promotion :D

Wantaway Lyden makes move to Australia

Swindon Town midfielder Jordan Lyden had his move to A-League side Macarthur FC confirmed by the club.

The Perth-born centre-midfielder had reportedly discussed his desire to move away from Swindon following their relegation in a joint meeting between new manager Neil Godwin and new chairman - and fellow Australian - Clem Morfuni.

The transfer fee was announced at around the £30,000 mark by the club as Swindon’s new management continue on their promise of more transparency when it comes to transfer fees.

However, this means that due to the club’s ongoing transfer ban, the club cannot sign a senior replacement and will have to use what they currently have at their disposal in the current squad to replace the 25-year-old.

Lyden did give his thanks to the Swindon Town supporters for their backing over the past few years at the club since his 2019 arrival from Aston Villa following a successful trial period at the County Ground.

James: Always come prepared with every story ;) Lyden has left! It's one thing off the wage bill but equally one thing that we can't replace until June 2022, so we'll see how that goes.
Well... everything I said in my previous post is now moot! A real shame that you only got a £30,000 fee for him, was his contract expiring at season's end? There's big pressure on whoever takes his place in the starting-11 to reproduce the same level of performances as his.

James: For a player that wants to leave, it's better to pick up £30k than have him rotting the morale of the squad. Personally think we are well equipped in midfield to cover his departure.

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