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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

Swindon Town net record sale as Osigwe joins Inter

Swindon Town today confirmed the sale taking 19-year-old Fidelis Osigwe to Rafa Benitez’s Internazionale for a £12million fee, a club-record fee for a departing player.

Due to the United Kingdom’s post-Brexit work permit rules, the 17-time Australian international was unable to play for Swindon Town and was placed in the U23s side throughout all of his time at the club.

However, the youngster's scintillating form for his country where he has scored 11 goals in 17 games so far has attracted many interested parties around the world, starting a bidding war with some of Europe’s biggest clubs including both of Milan’s teams as well as some of the Premier League’s leading clubs.

Osigwe was known to sources within the club as a tough character to deal with as he struggled coming to terms with being unable to play first-team football for his club, but simultaneously rejected loan moves away to bidding clubs in Sweden and Norway last season.

“We are sad to see such a clear talent being denied the opportunity to play for Swindon Town and this has unfortunately led to his departure.

“However, we believe that Fidelis has all the qualities to go on and be a star player with one of Europe’s biggest clubs and we are proud to say that we played a part in his development on the training ground.” said Neil Godwin, Swindon Town’s manager.

It is reported that Inter Milan offered the option for an immediate loan back to the County Ground this season as part of the deal, but the Robins rejected this over concerns that continued uncertainty over Osigwe’s work permit in the UK could affect such a lucrative deal for the Championship side.

The Australian youngster has spoken of his pride having joined up with his new teammates at Giuseppe Meazza and thanked Swindon Town for their help in his career journey.

The transfer means that Swindon Town have now brought in just over £20million in transfer fees this summer, with Carl East leaving for an £8million fee to Burnley earlier in the summer along with Sean McLoughlin and Euan Henderson also leaving the club for much smaller fees.

James: A lot of our team were brought in before the sale of East which gives us a lot more room to manoeuvre, along with the sale of Osigwe! We certainly aren't done in the market for this season. I was surprised that Burke's career had taken him away from the hub of European football and almost casted away to Croatia, so it's good to see him back in the country.

Swindon Town seal 3 internationals on Deadline Day

As the English deadline for transfers closed in, Swindon Town secured the signings of Éder Álvarez Balanta, Andrea Conti and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

All three players are full internationals for their country, with the first - 16-time Colombia international Balanta - signing for a fee of £230,000 from Club Brugges.

Despite being on loan to Krasnodar last season, the 31-year-old impressed in Belgium, making 86 appearances over his four years in the capital.

Starting his career at River Plate, Balanta rapidly became one of the world’s highest-rated young centre-backs early on in his career and some could argue that he still became a quality player, with a Copa Libertadores, Club World Cup, Argentine Liga Profesional, Swiss Super League and three Belgian Pro League titles to his name.

Second to join the club was one-time Italian international right-back Andrea Conti with a £500,000 fee paid to Málaga for his services.

Once linked with some of the biggest clubs in the world whilst at Atalanta, he moved to Milan for £21million in 2017 and became a key player for them where he won the Coppa Italia and the Supercup in 2018 and 2019.

In 2023, Conti helped his new team Málaga to win the Spanish 2nd tier title, before their unfortunate relegation the following year.

Swindon hope that Conti can provide much needed experience to the squad despite having not played in England.

Finally, possibly the biggest transfer in the history of Swindon Town occurred as they bagged the signature of 88-time Cameroonian international Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

The 35-year-old attacking midfielder first moved to the country in 2017 with Stoke City where he made 30 appearances in the Premier League during the Potters’ relegation season.

In a shock move, he signed on a free transfer for French giants Paris Saint-Germain where he won two Ligue 1 titles, one Coupe de France, one Coupe de la Ligue and finished as a runner-up in Paris’ 2020 Champions League Final.

Choupo-Moting kept winning trophies in his next move on a free transfer to German giants Bayern Munich as he won two Bundesliga titles and one FIFA Club World Cup winners medal.

Following his two most recent successes, he returned to England with Championship side Norwich City for £1.7million where he scored 23 goals and assisted 11 times in 72 games before his release this summer and so Swindon have been able to pick the player up on a free transfer.

Manager Neil Godwin commented on the closing of all three deals, praising his new squad members’ winning mentality throughout their careers and welcomed their experience in the game.

“We already have players who have played at a lower level, in the Championship and even in the Premier League. We now have three players who have proven time and time again that they are born winners, shown in their respective careers with trophies following them wherever they went. We’re immensely proud to have them here and I can’t wait to work with them.” Godwin said.

In other Deadline Day news, Swindon also welcomed three more youth players in Nasreddine Youcef, Ousmane Konan and Felipe Henrique.

First-teamers Scott Tanser and Lawal Omoregie also made their way out of the club on loan deals to Perth Glory and Enyimba Aba respectively.
Fidelis leaving before being able to play a game is a real shame, but the £12m fee that he's brought in shows the Neil was right to bring him to the club all along. It's also a relief to move him on if he's been a bit unhappy due to his work permit situation, as it doesn't allow the unhappiness to fester within the squad.

The 3 international signings offer a bit of nostalgia from FM's gone by: especially Álvarez Balanta. It'll be interesting to see how they handle a 50+ game season in the second tier, but they should (at least) help set the standards within the squad, on the training pitch and so on.

James: When they paid up £12m I was pretty stunned, I know he'd improved in the academy and he has bags of potential but for a man who hadn't played, he's given us the opportunity to build to a point I'd never thought of previously. As for Balanta, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a twig of older FMs that influenced his signing ;)


Neil Godwin had called a meeting following the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Birmingham City on Saturday which had sent his side into 14th place. Those present were Godwin, his Director of Football Adam Ward and the club’s Chief Scout Danny Sonner.

Godwin had been thinking about the ambition of the club over the long term after an impressive 9th place finish, finishing only two points behind a Play-Off position in his first season in the Championship.

This ambition only increased following the injection of cash from the sales of Carl East and Fidelis Osigwe, generating £20million to use in the transfer window and proving the attraction of Godwin’s project to high-profile internationals such as Choupo-Moting and Álvarez Balanta.

“I want to talk about January, guys. Adam, how much do we have for the winter window?” Godwin asked Adam Ward.

“Clem has said he’d offer up £20million maximum, adjustable of course to shrink so that we can pay more in wages if necessary. I think an £18million budget gives us £70,000 in weekly salaries if that helps.” said Adam.

“Right, Danny,” Godwin began. “We can tell the difference in general quality on the training field with Balanta and Choupo-Moting hanging around the rest of the guys, but on matchdays, they’re not mixing as well as I’d hoped, I’m sure you can see that.

“We need players who know the English game. It’s nice having those guys around but what has worked since I started here is having players who in particular know the league that we are playing in.” he finished.

“What are we looking for, position-wise?” Danny asked.

“Every outfield position. With £18million, a few heading out the door theoretically, we can build a good-quality Championship team.” Godwin said. “Joe Wollacott is great in goal as we know, so every other position, whatever improves us the most, you and your scouts need to rearrange your assignments to find me those.”

“We’ve been looking at a few, Taylor Richards, Tashan Oakley-Booth, maybe Jack Simpson. They all have English league experience, whether it’s top-end League One, mid-level Championship or low-end Premier League. I’ll set that as our focus and get right on it though, boss.” Danny Sonner said.

More suggestions were mentioned by the Chief Scout, but it outlined a new vision and possibly a world of change for Swindon Town as Neil Godwin looked toward a new era.
Mid-table isn't a bad place to be in your first season in the Championship, though it's not a surprise to see Barnsely-Barnsley in 21st place: they seem to be having an identity crisis! ;) I really like that you're now showing the player stats as the season goes on, and it'll be interesting to see how the squad performs in terms of their stats and ratings. For me: Vale has been a disappointment so far.

£18m is a hell of a lot of money to have available in January, and I'm interested to see who you might bring in with it. Best of luck with it :D

James: Just because I pointed out Rivas/Vivas, no need for revenge ;) I wouldn't say Vale has been a disappointment: not lived up to expectations, yes, but we're not paying a penny for him so at the very least he's a good squad player. Looking forward to the window!
Some impressive form which sees you not too far from the playoffs, although the number of late goals conceded may prove to be an obstacle. I reckon you’ll be able to cut them out though.
You needed me to criticize Vale imo, he's scored 4 goals since I did! Anyone else you'd like me to pick out!? A tough period of fixtures, but you're currently 8-points clear of the drop, and that's the end of the table that we'll be looking towards this season. Consolidation in the Championship is all we need, we can build towards the Premier League in years to come.


The January window was a general reset and clear improvement on our current first-team playing squad. We brought in eleven new players for the first-team, selling or loaning out six of our previous squads which have done so well to get us to the point where we are now, but unfortunately don’t have the quality to take us to the next level.

The focus has been on players who have played excellently in the English leagues, either in the Championship or Premier League. We have only spent just over £5.3million of the available budget left from the East and Osigwe sales and we are seeing incredible improvement in results already, winning every game throughout January.


Jayden Bogle has come in to replace Osman Kakay and the long-term injured Andrea Conti. From Sheffield United, he has played a good part in his side’s campaigns in the Premier League and Championship and Bogle is also returning to his boyhood club by joining us after graduating from Swindon’s academy before his 2016 move to Derby County.

Left-back Josh Tymon joins us on a free transfer from Aston Villa with an agreement that Villa will receive 50% of any transfer fee that we receive for Tymon in the future. Although he has not played much in the top flight at Villa Park, Tymon has great experience with Stoke in the Championship, making 127 appearances in the league for the Potters before his £4million sale.

Following his transfer-listing at Old Trafford, the opportunity to sign 21-year-old Fernández from Manchester United could not go amiss.

Starting his career at Real Madrid before his move to the North West of England, the centre-back has had experience in League One and the Championship with Crewe Alexandra and Birmingham City respectively, becoming a star performer with both clubs.

Following the 11 month injury sustained to Andrea Conti’s cruciate ligaments, we needed somebody to compete with Jayden Bogle at right-back and Vitória’s Sacko seemed like an excellent option to have, particularly at his cost of £350k.


It was fantastic to hear that Taylor Richards would be interested in joining us on a free transfer following our earlier attempts in the summer when his wage demands were much higher.

Richards made 29 appearances in the Premier League last season as Brighton finished 12th, proving himself as an asset to any lower-end Premier League side and certainly for a Championship club like ourselves.

We needed a more aggressive approach to our midfield this season and I think Ben Pearson is exactly the man to provide that, particularly with the amount of experience he has had in this division.

He joins us after getting Crystal Palace a Championship promotion in 2023 and we are hoping that he can replicate something similar with us during his time here.

John Buckley also joins our midfield as Daniel Adshead and Louis Reed both depart, with Harvey Vale and Aaron Ramsey also being recalled to their parent clubs from their loan spells.

Buckley is Blackburn born and bred and has played consistently in the Premier League with his club before in the 22/23 season. He has helped his club to two Championship promotions before and like Pearson, we hope he can help in that regard.

Nathan Tella joins us for £1.4million - our biggest signing so far at Swindon - from Premier League Bournemouth after helping them to the Championship title last season. After being pushed out of the starting eleven in the top-flight, he was placed on the transfer list and we acted the quickest to tie down the winger.

On the other wing, Demarai Gray joined us after Southampton’s relegation left him out of a place in their squad and we were able to snap him up for a bargain £245k. It has been a while since Gray got consistent first-team football and so far, he has looked excellent for us.

Lewis Travis was the final midfielder to join us at Swindon, joining on a free transfer from Aston Villa with 50% of his next fee going to his former club when he moves on in the future. Travis never lived up to his £12million fee that Villa paid for him two years ago, making only four Premier League appearances after an impressive Premier League campaign with Blackburn Rovers in 22/23.


Finally, Oli McBurnie returns to English soil with us after a good spell in France with Lens in Ligue 2 where he scored 22 goals in 46 games. We hope that he can continue his good form upon his return as we desperately need someone up front to decide games on their own.

Justice: A lot needed solving in this window and I think we've got it right in all positions, hoping it can push us up further!
James: A little slagging off is all my boys need ;) With the new signings, Vale and Ramsey have left because I felt that Richards would be able to occupy their positions just as well. We're steady away, but with this investment in the playing squad my expectations have been slightly heightened.
Really impressed with the moves you've made in the window, though I'm not pleased in the slightest that Ramsay has returned to Villa. Hopefully the plan is to still (eventually) get him when it's financially viable to do so, as he's a player now synonymous with the County Ground. That being said: Taylor Richards is a handy replacement.

It's interesting that you've gone with a '£0 + 50% n.s' transfer strategy, but I'm guessing you've only done it with players you're confident won't be sold for monstrous fees?

James: Very happy with the window, I feel that it's our best so far and likely the best that we will have relative to the situation that we're in. I don't mind halving future fees on good quality players that will get us to the next level as if they do well, we might just break even on the fee in the future. If they get us to the top-flight, it's an incredible investment.
Some not so great results in December, but it's like you flicked a switch on Boxing Day and the lads came out firing after that. Some tremendous results in January, and the early performances from Taylor Richards, Nathan Tella, and Oli McBurnie are quite incredible really. You've gone from being (pretty much) mid-table to just outside the playoffs in a 2-month period!

Do I dare to dream? :)

January influx the difference for Swindon Town

Neil Godwin’s transfer spending spree in January has shown to be an inspired decision as Swindon’s 4-2 win over Millwall sent them into 5th place in the Championship.

Since the January window opened and five new players arrived, Swindon have accumulated 57% of their points total in just the past three months.

The likes of Oli McBurnie, Taylor Richards and Josh Tymon have had a great impact since joining, with McBurnie and Richards bagging 21 goals combined.

As a result, Swindon have risen from 12th place into a 5th placed Play-Off spot with just seven matches remaining in the league season.

Neil Godwin recently spoke of the effect that the new players have had on the team in a recent post-match interview after the 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.

“We wanted to move to the next level and these lads have clearly taken us there.

“They have the experience, the talent and the belief in our system to give us a go in a play-off race this season. We hope that we can build on having players of their ilk moving forward, whether it is in this division or the next.” Godwin said.

Swindon are now two points ahead of 7th placed Luton Town but 16 points behind the automatic spots which Watford and Southampton currently hold.

James: The attacking trio have sparked a fuse at Swindon, they've been absolutely tremendous. Who knows, it might be on the cards? ;)

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