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Neil Godwin: The Next Episode

Started on 16 April 2022 by Jack
Latest Reply on 8 August 2022 by Justice










James: We're still adjusting to the league - L1 to CH is a much bigger jump than what L2 to L1 was last season, with relegated Premier League clubs visibly doing well (Bournemouth, Watford, Norwich) as well as established Championship clubs like Forest, Reading and Stoke. That said, simply staying up would be an achievement given how quickly we've risen and the lack of time we've had to build up our resources over time.
Rhythm is a Tanser
October was a very tough month results-wise, but November was a great recovery. You still have more 'points' than 'games played', which means that atm you're well on course to survive. It's not a proper method of measuring survival, but it seems a decent indicator imo.

Godwin suitors circle as January beckons


Swindon manager Neil Godwin could swap The County Ground for The City Ground as Nottingham Forest are just one of the clubs interested in bringing in the 40-year-old during January.

Godwin’s contract at Swindon Town runs until June 2025 but several clubs have shown an interest in taking the manager away from his boyhood club.

Before the appointment of John Terry, 20th placed Premier League side Crystal Palace were apparently shunned by Godwin at the interview stage.

However, following Terry’s departure to Selhurst Park, Nottingham Forest are keen to bring in the Swindon man along with the likes of Motherwell and perhaps one of the more appealing propositions - Premier League side Everton.

Godwin has guided his side to back-to-back promotions to reach the second tier so far in his two-and-a-half year spell at The County Ground and has now reached 9th place in the Championship at the halfway stage of the season following a 2-1 victory over Peterborough United.

The club last rewarded their manager with a new deal during League One which runs until 2025. However, Godwin’s reported £2,500 per week wage would make him the lowest-paid manager in the league by some distance.

It is true that the League Two title-winner could be tempted away by the promise of more money elsewhere along with bigger budgets to work with than his current budget, of which he has spent just £1million this summer.

Despite the reports, nobody in Neil Godwin’s camp has decided to respond to the rumours regarding the interest in the manager.
Justice: Getting rid of him in case that starts in the stands
James: It's a good level to be at, not ideal of course. We're almost halfway through the season but with Huddersfield struggling as much as they are, it already seems like one of the relegation spots have been taken up.
Ngl, I'd be EXTREMELY interested to see Neil at either Forest or Everton, though it'd be tough to leave Swindon considering his connections there via his playing days. For me, if he can emulate what Brian Clough did at Forest, that'd (probably) make him the best British manager of his generation.

Two in, Three out at The County Ground


Neil Godwin has made a few changes to his squad in the first two weeks of January, confirming the signings of two centre-backs Max Taylor and Kristian Dimitrov.

After players Dion Conroy and Adam Clayton made their desire known to leave the club for regular football, both were placed on the transfer list.

Adam Clayton was unable to find a club through permanent means, so has agreed to join Vanarama National League outfit Yeovil Town on loan until the end of the season in the final year of his contract.

The 34-year-old midfielder made 36 appearances in last season’s promotion season but has only managed to appear four times in Godwin’s teams this year.

Dion Conroy’s departure is much more emotional for the Swindon fans, with the centre-back being part of the club since 2016 following his move from Chelsea.

Conroy went on to make 169 appearances for Swindon Town, captaining his side to three promotions, including two promotions that came under Neil Godwin’s leadership.

With his deal out of contract at the end of this season, League One side Portsmouth were able to pick up the defender for £160,000 as they look to push on with their promotion charge, sitting just 3 points behind 2nd placed Bristol City with four games in hand on them.

Fellow centre-back Will Nightingale has also left for Shrewsbury Town for £45,000 after making 23 appearances for Swindon since joining from AFC Wimbledon for £65,000 last season.

Max Taylor was the first to be confirmed as an incoming signing for Swindon Town, signing his deal on the 7th January. He joins the club following the activation of his £475,000 release clause in place at his former club Rochdale.

Over the past three seasons, Taylor has made 118 appearances at Spotland Stadium, helping them to their 2023 promotion to League One and has been a rock at the back as he leaves his club in 14th place in their new division.



Swindon’s next arrival took many by surprise as Kristian Dimitrov became Neil Godwin’s first-ever first-team signing to come from overseas.

The 13-time Bulgarian international joins the club from current Prva liga holders Hajduk Split after making 7 appearances for them last season.

The centre-back is known in his home country and across Eastern Europe as a towering defender with great ability in the air as well as with the ball at his feet.

Following the two defenders' arrivals and Conroy and Nightingale’s departures, Taylor and Dimitrov have taken the departing players’ squad numbers as Taylor takes the number 15 shirt while Dimitrov takes Conroy’s old number 26 shirt.


James: It's an entertaining prospect, a lot of time has gone into building up this Swindon club and I suppose the interest is a testament to that. We shall have to see as this period of time carries on.
















Your form has picked right up now, and there are some tremendous wins in that update! You're beating a few of the teams in and around the promotion chase, and that FA Cup tie at Molineux must've been so damn exciting to watch. A real shame about the replay, but these things happen!

Keep it up, you're doing so well right now! :D













James: We really managed to shoot up the league with some great results. It was a shame not to replicate our previous FA Cup form but who knows? Maybe the big boys have finally found little old Swindon out ;)
Your form in February was pretty damn good, but your fixtures in March were a bit tougher. It's been a successful season, and the big question is: will Neil remain in the dugout at the County Ground next season!?








James: I would put it down as a great season, to finish two points behind a play-off spot is fantastic for a new Championship team. That's the key question, though!

Changes afoot for Swindon Town


After consolidating a second season in the Championship, Swindon Town have made a few key internal changes at the club.

Following an offer reportedly around the £30,000 per week mark from Premier League outfit Everton, Swindon agreed a new deal for Neil Godwin at around £5,000 per week running until June 2027.

Godwin discussed his new deal with the press shortly after the announcement was made public by the club.

“It’s another great feeling for me, the reports of Premier League interest were genuine throughout this season but I hope that all of those reports are put to bed for the foreseeable future in the light of Clem and I’s renewed vision for the club after signing my new contract here.” Godwin said.

“We have had a really special few years at the County Ground with promotions, Wembley trips and solidifying a great position in what is a very high-level division and I want to build and improve on that. I think this club can join the ranks of the elite but we must persist with our plans.”

Shortly after the new contract was announced, Swindon Town then came through with confirmation that the club had purchased the County Ground stadium that has been home to Swindon Town Football Club for 132 years out of its 145 year existence.

The stadium was previously in Borough Council ownership, but with a joint-venture between Clem Morfuni and the Swindon Town Supporters’ Trust agreed, the ground was purchased for £6.25million with the help of a bank loan.

Along with the announcement was the news that the club’s youth category will increase from Category 3 to Category 2, meaning next season the club will face better youth opponents as the club looks to push on with its self-sustaining plans.
Well you certainly crushed my hopes of a move quickly! Not to worry, it makes sense for Neil to stay, and all the moves being made off-the-field are reasons that make staying a smart decision. Clem's ownership offers quite a lot of stability, and owning your own stadium is a luxury that many clubs worldwide are unable to accomplish.

Now... time to get promoted ;)

Transfers


This summer we focused our transfers on nine first-team players to replace the nine first-teamers that departed the club this summer. Of the initial £2million budget handed to us by Clem Morfuni this summer, we spent only £1.4million of that as we also utilised our ongoing affiliation with Chelsea to bring in three players on loan.

On the outgoing list, we let go of a few fan favourites from previous years as the likes of Jonny Williams, Rob Hunt and Ben Gladwin all departed after helping to guide the team from League Two all the way into the Championship.

No doubt the biggest departure on paper was the £8million fee brought in from the sale of youngster Carl East who registered only one first-team appearance for us following his 2022 arrival from Bamber Bridge on a free transfer. East has had two very successful loan spells with Chester and Barrow in the lower leagues since, and Burnley have clearly seen a budding talent enough to splash out on the attacking midfielder. We placed a clause handing us 50% of any income from a future transfer of the player from Burnley.

With our improvements to the first-team and East’s deal being completed late in the window, we will keep the money brought in for both the January window if necessary and investments in the club later down the line.

Defence


With the £100k departure of Sean McLoughlin to Coventry City this summer, Swansea City’s Jake Bidwell has come in to replace him at left-back. We have Scott Tanser who will battle for his starting position, along with Jordan Thorniley and Luke Badley-Morgan who can also play in the position as well as centre-back.

Bidwell spent part of last season on loan at Wigan in League One despite the first part of the season playing a big part in Swansea’s start to the season with 19 league appearances before January. With that Championship experience, we hope he can use it to push us on this time around.


I was delighted to interest Luke Badley-Morgan in our project as he is someone we tried to bring in last season but he did not want to join us until we had consolidated our place in the league.

Instead, last season Badley-Morgan had a great season in the Eredivisie with Vitesse Arnhem as he helped them on their way to reaching UEFA Europa Conference League qualification in 4th place along with AZ Alkmaar. He has experience beyond the rest of our squad which could prove to be incredibly useful and it is great to have him here.

Midfield


We are really happy to have brought Aaron Ramsey back on loan from Aston Villa for the third consecutive season now after two hugely influential years with the club previously, earning him a new contract at Villa Park in the process.

Last season, Ramsey was outstanding, improving on his League One performance with 12 goals and 4 assists from 38 starts in the Championship, joining Jake Scrimshaw and Jude Soonsup-Bell as our top scorers last time.

We hope to bring Ramsey in permanently one day, but with his new contract at Aston Villa, it shows an interest to keep him in the long-term.


In central midfield, Daniel Adshead comes in to fill the void left behind by this season’s retirements and departures for Jamie Allen, Adam Clayton and Ben Gladwin.

The 22-year-old failed to make too much of an impression at Carrow Road, with his best spells coming at Gillingham and Telstar in the Netherlands during loan spells from a couple of years ago. We hope that we can mutually benefit each other with some good performances throughout this year as that central midfield spot becomes a tough one to break into.


We were shocked to hear of Oli Burke’s transfer listing in Croatia with Dinamo Zagreb, but we certainly feel like we have got a great deal as the winger only cost us £650,000.

Once rated as one of the hottest prospects in Europe, triggering big transfer fees of £12million and £15million from RB Leipzig and West Brom respectively, Burke has struggled to show the promise demonstrated early in his career. We hope to give him a great chance as one of the club’s star players to really provide us with some great performances in the Championship and spearhead us to glory.


Prior to Burke’s transfer listing at Dinamo Zagreb, we planned for Lewis Morgan to form a key part of our squad via his wing play but I believe that he can still be a useful rotation option throughout the season, as used by Coventry City last season where he made 22 starts and appeared 7 times from the bench.


Juninho intrigued me with his ability to play both in the centre and out on the right wing during his time with Gremio where he impressed in Brazil’s top tier, playing a key part in some impressive campaigns in Brazil where Gremio even finished runners up to champions Flamengo.

We have the option to sign Juninho for £1million at any point during his loan spell here, but I wanted to test him in the English league system before making any kind of solid investment in a player that looks good, but is still young enough to find himself stuck in a league that he can’t perform in.


Another benefit of our link with Chelsea has been the ability to finally interest Harvey Vale in our project at Swindon Town and he joined us this season following an initial attempt last year, like the situation with Luke Badley-Morgan.

Instead, Vale had an impressive season with Sunderland on loan in the Championship last season, scoring 6 goals and assisting 2 times in 25 games. His ability to play almost anywhere on the pitch is also something that could become very useful this season.

Forwards


We are also extremely delighted to welcome back Jude Soonsup-Bell after an incredible debut season with us last season on loan.

Soonsup-Bell finished as our club top scorer and the division’s 2nd top scorer with a phenomenal 20 goals from 39 appearances as he fought for his position well with Jake Scrimshaw and we expect the same from both once again this season.

Squad 2024-25


Our investment in the youth has meant that we can begin to supplement the first-team squad with our own products, namely Lawal Omoregie who is looking very impressive in recent weeks and months.

We will also look to use Ethan Flowers as our back-up to the outstandingly consistent Joe Wollacott this year, rather than bringing in a back-up from another club as has happened previously.

We have established an U23 side for the upcoming season with the intention of creating a direct pathway through the club to reach the first-team and a lot of our foreign summer signings of younger players will experience that for the first time with names such as Tomás Cunha and Mamadou Konaté looking to make the step up at some stage.
James: I'm afraid Neil is too loyal for your liking ;) A lot of great stuff is happening around the club, it's building a great foundation for the future.
You've done some sensational business in the transfer market, and it's great to see that players that have rejected the club before are now giving Neil the 'seal of approval' by agreeing to come this time around. I'm a big fan of signing Burke, and I'm pleased to see Soonsup-Bell back at the club too. Vale is an interesting one, Ramsay is a familiar face, and the other lads look like they'll do a job too.

Can we have promotion this season... please? :D

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