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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
As I was reading the results, I was unsure how to gauge how you were faring, but the brilliant thing is that you were managing to pick up 'draws' and not 'losses' ultimately. That draw against Harrogate must've been a right kick in the teeth, but then you've thumped Forest Green later on!

I'm guessing once you're able to get the team used to your formation/tactics and they find their consistency: you're going to do very well in the league. I think you'll make the playoffs, and you might even sneak that 3rd automatic promotion place...

Swindon’s new manager Neil Godwin has won his first League Two Manager of the Month award for November.

Godwin, who took over in July 2021, has presided over 3 out of 6 wins this month, going unbeaten throughout November in the process.

His first win of the month came against James Rowberry’s Newport County with Jack Payne leading Swindon to a 1-0 win, shortly followed by a second consecutive win away to Sutton United where Jonny Williams scored the decisive goal.

Swindon’s third league win of the month came at Exeter City’s St James Park with midfielder Jack Payne scoring two penalties within one minute of each other.

The other three results throughout the month were all draws against Scunthorpe United, Bristol Rovers and Carlisle United, with the latter being an eight-goal thriller at the County Ground.

Swindon goalkeeper Joe Wollacott was impressive alongside Jack Payne as the Ghanaian #1 was able to keep 4 clean sheets this month.

As a result of this month’s successes, Swindon have now climbed up into 6th place with four points splitting them from falling out of the Play-Off spots. They also sit just two points behind the automatic promotion spots as Northampton stay on 39 points at the end of November.

Godwin beat Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver and Northampton’s Jon Brady to this month’s award.

James: They've done pretty good since the season start! As you can see, it has progressed somewhat into consistency but you're right about the losses. I only noticed it midway through October that we were actually picking up a point rather than outright losing them all. Yes, we've lost 3 points for a 1 point on the odd occasion but you'd take the rough with the smooth

Some magnificent results in there, and as expected: you'll be in the promotion race. The game against Carlisle must've been quite a rollercoaster, and to come out of it with a point, it shows the character that's within the squad. Keep up the good work mate :D
Jack's avatar Group Jack
1 yearEdited

Payne joins Peterborough on Deadline Day

Swindon Town midfielder Jack Payne has finalised a transfer to Peterborough United in a £80,000 transfer on the English deadline day.

Payne has been Swindon’s second top scorer this season with a 100% conversion rate from 9 penalties, adding up to his 15 goals this year.

The 27-year-old reportedly made his intentions to leave the County Ground known to manager Neil Godwin in late November and now joins the relegation-threatened Championship side in a hope to bolster their survival hopes.

His deal at Swindon ran out at the end of this season and Darren Ferguson saw the midfielder as a solution to his current midfield problem which consists of Irish trio Jack Taylor, on-loan Conor Coventry and Sammie Szmodics.

This now leaves Godwin’s transfer embargoed side with 20 fit senior players in the team, with star winger Ben Gladwin out with injury until June.

Payne’s deal with Peterborough was believed to have been agreed in the first week of the January window, but with the agreement between the two clubs that the midfielder would see the remainder of the month playing for Swindon, backing up their automatic promotion hopes as they sit in 3rd place in League Two following a 1-0 win against Forest Green Rovers.

James: I hope so! The loss of Payne will be interesting to see the impact that he has on the overall squad. Still a lot of work to be done!

It's so hard to gauge where you're at as a club at times, as there's wins where I don't expect them to be, but then there's losses where I expect wins to be! It must be such a fun save for you atm, with a few rage induced episodes thrown in to boot.

Shame to see that Oldham's struggles irl are also in the game, and I'm a bit surprised to see Exeter occupying the other relegation spot atm. You're exactly where I thought you might be on the table, and I've got my heart set on promotion, so you better not let me down!

Godwin jubilant following FA Cup win

Swindon Town manager Neil Godwin has praised his side following their 2-0 win over Coventry City in the FA Cup 4th Round.

Loanee signing Tyreece Simpson was the star of the show at the County Ground as Quinton Fortune’s side were knocked out of the cup.

Almost 12,500 piled into the stadium to see their side play as they progressed.

Alex Gilbert linked up with Simpson to score the first past Moore in the second half as the 19-year-old Ipswich striker slotted home in the bottom right corner

The recently departed Jack Payne was clearly not missed in the midfield as Ryan East chipped a ball over Dominic Hyam’s head into the path of Simpson to complete his brace.

After the match, former Swindon defender and now manager Neil Godwin was full of praise for his players.

“I can’t speak highly enough of this group of players. They remind me of the teams that I played alongside, the teammates, the fans, the whole vibe around the place is bouncing at the moment and we really want to carry that through to as many competitions and successes as possible.” Godwin said.

Swindon have drawn their third consecutive Championship side in the FA Cup in the 5th Round as the Saturday draw placed them at The Den on 2nd March to play Gary Rowett’s Millwall.

Neil Godwin defeated League Two leaders Northampton on Saturday as their promotion push continued.
James: It's been disappointing not to collect more from the weaker sides of the division, but you have to be happy holding a place in the top three automatic spots! As for Oldham, the seem doomed. They have a couple games every now and then where they play up but I can't see them staying up at all.

Mid-Month Catch-Up

Swindon’s first-team squad had just finished their first session of the day and the first training session since the 4-0 win over Scunthorpe on the weekend. Godwin and coach Scott Lindsey had been putting them through the paces with some physical training.

Today was the day that owner Clem Morfuni would attend the training ground in order to have a catch-up with the manager about progress and so Godwin left Lindsey and goalkeeping coach Steve Mildenhall in charge of the second session of the day which was just after lunch time.

“Morning, Neil!” said Morfuni as he embraced Godwin, something that the pair had begun to do more often as their relationship grew working together.

The two asked each other how they were getting on personally. It had turned out that one of the directors had left Morfuni’s building services company in Australia but that it hadn’t really impacted the business. Godwin was reasonably steady away.

“So, Scunthorpe - what a result!” Morfuni said with a big smile on his face.

It was a terrific win for Swindon, even if the side in question were knee-deep in a relegation battle to not go down to the National League next season. The emphatic scoreline had pushed Swindon to the top of the league for the first time this season.

“I’ve got to say, you keep impressing me more with every month here, Neil. You’ve been tremendous with developing and restoring confidence in this group of players that ultimately, you had to play, you’re pushing expectations to a point that I didn’t see achievable at the start of the season and we have had one hell of a cup run.” Morfuni explained, his smile still beaming.

“It’s been a great year so far. We’re just working hard to not let anything get out of our hands, really. The FA Cup run is an exciting thing, too. I’m really looking forward to that trip down to The Den next month.” Godwin said.

Next, Clem Morfuni pulled out a file from his briefcase which showed graphs and calculations all over.

“I am just mesmerised, not only with our performance on the pitch, but the balance sheet too. Since you arrived, we have made a profit of almost £1.7million for the season.

“You have been bringing fans through the gates in their thousands, season tickets went through the roof just by knowing you had arrived, the FA Cup prize money as well as making us appealing enough to be shown on TV a couple of times - excellent work.

“I’m a businessman, of course I realise that not being able to sign players does make the figures look better. I will be putting together a transfer budget depending on how next season looks because we will resolve the transfer situation. I realise that financial performance doesn’t have much bearing for you as it does for me, so you just need to work with Ben Chorley [the DoF] and see what kind of players you want to look at next year.”

“Thanks, Clem. It’s good to work with someone as professional as yourself.” Godwin said.

“It is for the previous reasons that I would like to extend your contract by an additional year until June 2024, we can only really look at increasing your wage by £100 a week at this juncture, but we will add a 15% wage rise on promotion, so it will reach around the £1,850 per week mark at that stage.” Clem offered.

“I think I am earning enough to be happy at the moment. I realise that you can’t overstretch budgets at this stage but I would be very happy to accept. I appreciate your belief in me and I really look forward to continuing this partnership with you.” Godwin smiled as he stood up to shake Clem’s hand as a formal sign of acceptance.

Neil has more than earned an extension to his deal, and it's always nice for positive reinforcement from your boss. As the money flies into the club's coffers via your cup run and ticket sales, it'd be absolutely scandalous if the transfer/wage budgets aren't boosted next season.

With that being said... it'd also be a brilliant plot twist!

Swindon march into the FA Cup Quarter-Final

Swindon Town’s FA Cup dream continued with a 2-0 away victory at The Den against Millwall today.

Almost 20,000 fans crammed inside the stadium to watch the FA Cup 5th Round tie between the Championship Play-Off hopefuls and the League Two title hopefuls, including 1,000 fans from Swindon.

Neil Godwin’s plucky outfit were able to bury the Lions with two first-half goals with Jonny Williams at the center of them both.

The Welsh midfielder threaded a beautiful pass through to on-loan Tyreece Simpson who was able to take it around the flailing Bartosz Białkowski before slotting it into an open goal after 10 minutes on the clock.

Williams, fresh off a new one-year contract extension was then seen playing a long through ball over the head of Cresswell and into the path of Jayden Mitchell-Lawson who slammed the ball beautifully into the top-left corner on the 25-minute mark.

Rowett’s side could feel like they deserved more out of the game as they pummelled Swindon throughout the game with 35 shots (14 on target), compared to the clinical visitors who only managed 10 shots (7 on target).

Following the first and second goal, it was clear to see Godwin’s game management tactics of smothering the opposition in their own half, but it was a Man of the Match performance from goalkeeper Joe Wollacott who kept his side two goals up on many an occasion throughout the game, finishing on a 9.60 match rating with 14 saves to his name.

Swindon are now the only club outside the Premier League left in the competition, reaching further than the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and West Ham United.

Swindon Town have been drawn against their first Premier League opposition in Southampton in the Quarter Final at St. Mary’s Stadium, set to be played on Sunday 20th March.

Other ties include: Manchester City vs Liverpool, Everton vs Manchester United and Chelsea vs Leicester City.
James: A very good performance so far and Clem Morfuni has let off all the right impressions thus far. Really enjoying the time at Swindon!

East - 90’


On the bench, Godwin celebrated like a madman, but recollected himself just as quickly for the final four minutes of the match.

Neil Godwin pulled over his goalscoring captain Ryan East as well as his most experienced centre-back Mathieu Baudry once the goal celebrations had ended.

“Ryan, you and Reed are going to protect that back four like you have never known now, you pull Ricky [Aguiar], Hayden and Jonny [Williams] into that, too. Mathieu, absolutely nothing gets past you and Romoney [Critchlow] for these next few minutes, just head the fucker away. COME ON!” Godwin exclaimed, with East and Baudry responding with the same passion.

Swindon were 2-0 down against 2nd placed Leyton Orient, giving up their top spot to the O’s. However, Hayden’s 65th minute goal got one back, followed by the equaliser from Alex Gilbert in the 85th minute before Tom James brought down Gilbert in the area to prevent him reaching an incoming cross. Ryan East buried it in the bottom-left corner to turn the game upside down at Brisbane Road.

The result put Swindon 3 points ahead at the top of the league and 10 points away from 4th placed Salford City, who were pushing for automatic promotion. After this, there were only six league games remaining.

As Baudry headed the ball away from a long attempt from right-back, the referee blew the final whistle and Godwin could finally let loose. He ran onto the pitch and went around every single one of his players, holding them in the tightest hug they were likely to receive.

His side had shown the desire and winning mentality to completely turn this season’s fortunes on its head.

Godwin knew inside his mind that the result may well have got them promoted automatically, but he would never celebrate that openly until the deed was done. And it wasn’t just about the promotion now, Godwin wanted the title.

The manager collected his players, substitutes and staff and took them all down to the 500-strong away support and celebrated with them, throwing their shirts into the crowd as they partied and chanted like promotion had already been secured.

But this wasn’t all for Swindon. Those fans had an FA Cup Quarter Final to attend on a week on Sunday against Premier League opposition, which had the potential to be just as enthralling as tonight’s efforts.
Those moments that you've described [extremely well, I might add] are what can 'make or break' a save on FM. The ecstasy of winning those games, or bottling and losing them: they're brilliant. It's great to see that good times seem to be just around the corner, and with a new owner who's got a closer eye on the finances: Swindon could be in safe hands. Neil is doing a magnificent job, and I'm penciling him in for 'Manager of the Year' already!

Southampton stunned as Swindon book Wembley spot

Swindon Town’s dream FA Cup run has continued with a last-minute extra-time winner from Jonny Williams against Premier League Southampton.

Over 1,600 Swindon fans made their way down to help sell out St. Mary’s Stadium for the FA Cup Quarter Final and they were repaid enormously by their side.

Welsh international midfielder Jonny Williams single-handedly bagged the Wembley Semi Final spot with a brace, including a last-minute winner in extra-time.

Williams curled a beautiful free-kick around the Southampton wall from around 25 yards just before half-time to take Swindon into the break with a 1-0 lead over the 15th placed Premier League outfit.

However, it took a leaping header from Italian striker Andrea Petagna to level the scores near the hour mark to make the scores level for the last half-hour of action between the two sides who are separated by 64 league positions.

Things were made slightly more difficult for Southampton after Deadline Day signing Karim Rekik received his second yellow card for taking out Harry McKirdy after the 24-year-old dispossessed him and was about to go one-on-one with Alex McCarthy in the 82nd minute.

The game reached full-time at 1-1 and with no replays, the sides were required to play extra-time and if necessary, penalties.

For a while, things seemed to be heading to penalties despite Southampton’s continued dominance whilst being down to 10-men. With both teams geared up with the mindset of penalties approaching them, Williams had other ideas.

Taking advantage of the extra space on the pitch, Louis Reed played a pass out wide to Harry McKirdy. Despite Romain Perraud’s pressure on the winger, McKirdy was able to spot and pick out Williams’ surging run behind Diallo where he met the ball at the penalty spot to send past McCarthy’s near post in the 120th minute of the game.

The winner was met with rapturous celebrations in the away end, along with a select group of Swindon employees breaking protocol and entering the field of play to celebrate with the goalscorer and Swindon’s 11 heroes.

Swindon’s win has set up an exciting pair of Semi Finals as they drew Chelsea to play at Wembley, meanwhile a Merseyside Derby of Liverpool vs Everton will take place a day after on Sunday 17th April.

Swindon’s opponents are currently searching for a new manager following Thomas Tuchel’s sacking after a 1-1 draw with Leeds United sent the Blues out of the top 6. Manchester United manager Ernesto Valverde is the current favourite to take over at Stamford Bridge.
James: It's honestly been one of the best season's I've had playing FM, possibly due to the jeopardy involved with having to work with what's in front of me and succeeding. Moments like Orient and this against Southampton are truly great moments.
WHAT DID I JUST READ!? The finances are going to go through the roof, [especially] now that you've got a date at Wembley booked, and Clem best watch out: bigger clubs will come calling for Neil at this rate. As I alluded to in chat, Jonny Williams was an absolute GOAT for me in a Crystal Palace save years ago, and although his career irl hasn't had the same trajectory... he's almost certainly a GOAT at Swindon after his heroics.

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