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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
Well it was nice to finally catch up. Those first couple of seasons in League Two and then League One with the FA Cup runs was just incredible. Managing those runs with the promotions whilst under embargo's is an incredible achievement.

I think Clem's questions on how Neil would do with recruitment has also been answered, especially in the last couple of windows, and the profits turned on some players. Really like the signing of Balanta for obvious, nostalgia, reasons. Also, no surprise you would sign Pearson! Great job and I look forward to keeping up to date.
Right, I'm going all in: it's time to book tickets for the playoff final at Wembley AND organize a promotion party. What a season it's been, and the January signings have been class too. It's always risky making big moves in January, but it's paid off, and the moves made have pushed the club right up the table as a result.

Having been trusted with a (reasonably) large transfer budget, it's been proven that if Swindon were to reach the Premier League, Clem could trust Neil to spend an even bigger budget wisely.

Godwin secures new contract and play-off spot

Swindon Town confirmed their place in the Championship Play-Offs with a 1-0 win over Stoke City today, securing Neil Godwin another three years at the club.

Both Watford and Southampton have got their spots in the Premier League confirmed this season, with outstanding seasons from both teams.

Swindon Town have been in scintillating form since the 13 January arrivals in the transfer window. In particular, Oli McBurnie with 16 goals in 18 games since his signing from RC Lens.

It was McBurnie who scored today as a through ball from Demarai Gray ran through to Ben Wilmot, who passed back to goalkeeper Josef Bursik. The 24-year-old goalkeeper took too long to get the ball out of his feet, leading to a safe challenge from the forward to finish off into an open net for the only goal of the game.

The confirmation of Swindon’s Play-Off spot gives Godwin the opportunity to win his third promotion in the four seasons in charge of the Robins.

East Anglian outfit Ipswich Town were also able to confirm their Play-Off spot against the odds today after finishing 11th and 13th in their two previous Championship campaigns.

Seb: Good to have you all caught up :D Pearson had to be done, I'm sure you know well enough how I like players to have that tinge of aggression in their game!
James: Well, we have that Play-Off spot secured, just time to try and do all of the rest!

Norwich demolition sends Swindon to Wembley Stadium

After an edgy first-leg, Swindon came out all guns blazing to win 5-1 against Play-Off opponents Norwich in the the second-leg.

After finishing 4th in the Championship, Swindon played the first leg of the Play-Off at Carrow Road which held host to a tight 1-1 draw with Sepp van den Berg opening the score with a header from a Manu corner. It then took a missed header from McBurnie to fall to Demarai Gray’s feet inside the box just after half-time for the equaliser.

The second leg at the County Ground also got off to a worrying start for Neil Godwin’s men as Álvaro Fernández gave away a penalty to Norwich in the 12th minute, bringing down Patrick Bamford in the area for the former Leeds striker to convert to make it 1-0.

However, Swindon didn’t need long for an equaliser as Oli McBurnie latched onto an Oliver Burke through ball, slotting it past Angus Gunn in the 16th minute.

Oli McBurnie bagged Swindon’s second and his 19th of the season as Josh Tymon swung a corner in and the striker nodded home into the bottom right corner of the goal in the 39th minute.

Norwich City went down to ten men just before half-time as Allan went in with two feet on attacking midfielder Taylor Richards.

The extra man advantage was exploited almost immediately with Tymon once again putting a great cross in for Richards to nod down to midfielder John Buckley to give Swindon a two-goal lead in the tie.

Oli McBurnie sensationally capped off his hat-trick and sent the tie beyond all doubt with a penalty into the bottom-right corner just past the hour mark.

Excellent interplay in the centre of the pitch led to Demarai Gray cleverly sending Oliver Burke through on goal for the fifth goal for the Scottish winger to put across the keeper and into the goal with 10 minutes remaining.

The result was a testament to Godwin’s 2024-25 recruitment as all five players he signed in summer and January were all involved in the goalscoring.

Swindon Town will now face Ipswich Town at Wembley for the Play-Off Final in a week's time. Neil Godwin has only won once in the three times that his side has played at Wembley, with an extra-time 2-0 win over Fulham in an FA Cup Semi-Final in 2023.

Christ, what a season it's been! The January signings have taken the club to a whole other level, and if things go well against Ipswich at Wembley... it would literally be another level! I'm looking forward to seeing if McBurnie the jump to the PL (provided you get there), because he's been an absolute delight for you since signing :D

The Big Time

Swindon Town were leading 2-0 against Ipswich Town as the Final headed into the 5th minute of the five added minutes of injury time and the 32,000 strong Swindon following were whistling for the referee to blow for the final time.

Taylor Richards had been the star of the match, scoring both of Swindon’s goals with a tidy piece of play finished off with a near-post smash into the back of the net in just the 2nd minute of play.

His second came just before half-time with an outstanding free-kick from 30 yards away from goal, placing it at Hladky’s near-post again.

Right now, Swindon’s assistant manager Scott Marshall had his hands placed on Neil Godwin’s shoulders as he mentally prepared himself to celebrate. In contrast, Neil Godwin kept his arms folded, watching on with a straight face as the ball rolled out for a goal kick as Joe Wollacott went to collect the ball slowly to the right of his goal.

The towering presence of English duo Josh Pask and goalkeeper Ethan Flowers also stood together, awaiting the final whistle. Swindon Town were seconds away from the first top-flight football at the County Ground since 1994.

Joe Wollacott prepared his goal kick for a big kick upfield and as soon as the ball met his boot, the decisive final three whistles went. The whistles indicated that Swindon Town were going to be a Premier League football club for the first time in just under 30 years.

Some of the playing squad ran to grab hold of the nearest red shirt, meanwhile others simply fell to their knees both in exhaustion and relief that this long campaign that had highs and lows ended with one of the biggest prizes of all in what is the most rewarding fixture in English football.

Neil Godwin was piled on by about five of his staff members, including former Luton manager Nathan Jones who was a first-team coach at the club. After the pile-on on the touchline began to fall away, his assistant pulled him up so that he could celebrate with all of his team before heading towards the Swindon Town end of the stadium to show his appreciation to the fans.


chanted the Swindon Town fans in a noise that Godwin had barely heard before.

Inside, Neil Godwin was burning with pride, hearing his name chanted all around Wembley Stadium - the national arena - was something that he had long dreamed of even as a child, before his playing career aspirations even came to fruition.

A Swindon lad, born just ten minutes from the County Ground, becoming a club favourite during his playing years and now becoming a club legend for taking the club back to the top-flight after so many years in the doldrums, yo-yoing between the third and fourth tiers of the game. The experience was overwhelming for everyone involved, but especially for him and the local players involved who had grown up with Swindon throughout their childhood.

As the entire coaching and medical staff teamed up with the playing squad on the pitch, dancing up and down in front of the deafening sound of the jubilant Swindon fans, the owner who had been able to reorganise the club from the beginning of Godwin’s era, also joined them on the field to the sound of more cheers from the fans and the staff.

This was only the beginning, though. They all had to go up the 107 famous Wembley steps to lift the Play-Off trophy awaiting them at the Royal Box.

As they queued up to receive their winners’ medals from the Football Association and English Football League representatives, the trophy shone in the midsummer sunshine and it was beautiful.

It was the captain and star goalkeeper that had been with the club from League Two and now to the Premier League Joe Wollacott who would lift the trophy with the entire squad around him. There was no better individual to raise the trophy for Swindon and he received the second biggest roar as he did it, with the fans saving their voices for the last man to lift the trophy, Neil Godwin.

As Godwin made his way back onto the field, Sky Sports reporters surrounded him for a post-match comment and he stopped by to speak.

“The feeling I have right now, it will struggle to be topped. I’m a Swindon boy, a Swindon Town fan, a Swindon Town player and I have taken my club back to the elite footballing hub of the world and there is nowhere else I would rather achieve this with.

“I’ve worked with some of the best people in my career over the past four years, from the board to the players and staff at the club. I believe that the way we have kept the atmosphere consistent throughout all of these years, from the rare low points to the more frequent high points, that is what has carried us through to become a Premier League club.

“I’ve had interest, I’ve had offers that other managers at the levels that I have been at would have immediately taken, but there’s something about this place for me that goes beyond even my personal attachment to Swindon as a hometown, as a fan of the club. I think my judgement and passion for this project has now been rectified and I can’t wait to discuss the next stages of the club now that we are mixing it with some of the biggest clubs in world football.” Godwin said to the media, though he was cut short of continuing as Oli McBurnie popped a champagne bottle right behind his manager, pulling him back into the celebrations.

The night would continue into the very early hours for all involved as they would parade around London in the knowledge that they were all Premier League players and staff.

James: What a ride it's been! This save has been simply incredible throughout and I'm delighted with where I have managed to take this team, with a group of misfits from the lower tiers along with some experienced players. We've managed to turn the odds into our favour from January and now we can look to build even further! :D
EE-I-EE-I-EE-I OOOOOOH! What a result for the club, and after so long in the wilderness of the lower leagues, it'd be an incredible feeling for the Swindon Town fans to see their club back in the top flight. For many of them: they mightn't have even seen the club in the PL before!

I can't wait to see the signings made during the off-season :D

James: It's been a long but amazing journey, I can't wait for the new season!

We have been busy in the transfer market for our first time back in the top-flight since the early 1990s, bringing in no less than nine new faces to replace the 14 players that helped us on our journey up the footballing pyramid up to the Premier League.

This summer has been the only window that our expenditure has vastly exceeded our incomings from transfers, with a total net spend in the region of £25million.


Our first signing to replace the departing Max Taylor and Éder Álvarez Balanta was the £3million purchase of Liverpool’s centre-back Adamo Nagalo.

The 23-year-old 3-time Ivorian international joins us shortly after his loan spell at Championship outfit Bristol City expired following 33 appearances, 2 goals and an average match rating of 7.10 throughout the previous campaign.

We began to look abroad more and more in this window, beginning with the £1.7million signing of Hellas Verona’s Caleb Okoli who had been struggling for consistent football in the Italian top-flight for a while now.

Making only three league appearances in Serie A last season, we hope that Okoli can find his way into a team that will almost certainly be desperately fighting off relegation this season and will be used rotationally with other centre-backs at the club.

The signing of Benevento’s Alessandro Vogliacco came with lots of expectation, given his fantastic debut season in Serie A following his promotion with Benevento in 2024.

However, his signature has been greatly marred by his horrific injury sustained in our first preseason match against King’s Lynn Town that has put him out of action for up to 7 months with damaged cruciate ligaments. We hope to see him have a significant impact in the second part of the season.

With our previous right-backs Falaye Sacko, Andrea Conti and Lawal Omoregie all departing the club, we have brought Jonjoe Kenny back to England from his spell in Germany with Gladbach for a £2.6million fee.

Kenny has been out of the country since his 2022 move to Arminia Bielefeld where he won promotion to the Bundesliga before subsequently heading straight back down and signing for Gladbach in the top-flight but struggled to make an appearance under David Wagner. We hope we can rejuvenate his career in this country once more.


The opportunity to sign Wolves’ Louie Sibley came through our Chief Scout Danny Sonner being made aware that he was available for the small fee of £550,000 and despite only being given a handful of Premier League appearances at Molineux, I believe that he could be a shrewd buy with even a bit of potential to work into.

Next up, Álex Blesa joins us from Roma for £1.6million after impressing in some of Europe’s top-flights with Levante, St. Gallen and Roma. Still only young at 23 years of age, Blesa can offer us slightly more flair in the middle than the current bunch in midfield as well as those midfielders that have departed such as Adshead and Kasumu.

Ajax’s Kenneth Taylor is a player who also caught my eye not only for his value and quality, but also his incredible versatility all over the pitch. The 23-year-old can play in defence, defensive midfield, anywhere across the midfield and can even slot in at #10 if necessary.

Taylor has gradually broken into the first-team at Ajax since 2021 and has won three league titles with the club, demonstrating his winning mentality at the same time, making 61 appearances for the first-team over the years.

I was delighted to see that we could secure the signing of Héctor Nieto for such a reasonable fee as he has so much room to grow, as well as be an integral part of the team out on the wing at this current stage.

At just 18 years old, he has made 27 appearances for River Plate, scoring 11 goals. I can’t wait to see how the Argentine fits in with our current squad and eventually see how his career progresses with us later down the line.


Yacine Bouziane was our final and most expensive signing of the window (and a club-record signing) when he joined us for just over £11million from Anderlecht.

The striker has incredible pace and finishing ability and has proven that at the top level at the age of 19 where he scored 12 goals in 32 appearances in the Belgian Pro League for Anderlecht. He came to light this window after winning the U21 European Championships for Belgium where he scored two goals for his country.

Success after success. Some things never change when it comes to your stories ;)

Incredibly rough luck with Vogliacco but I'm very impressed with the business across the window.
Really impressed by the signings you've made, with a decent amount of money being spent too, without going too overboard. What you paid for Sibley was a bargain tbh, he was a gem in my Derby save, and is (easily) good enough to be a Premier League player. I really like Nagalo and Okoli for your backline too, and look forward to seeing how they fare.

It's quite a big jump: good luck! :D

Scott: Maybe spoke slightly too soon on the success part in our first couple months in the top-flight :)) I was gutted to see Vogliacco out for so long in what was a nothing game, but that's the risk with trying to build fitness and familiarity across new signings in preseason. Hopefully our other centre-halves can put in better performances down the line.
James: Sibley came across as one of my scout's highest rated signings if we bagged him, I assume due to his untapped potential even at 24 years old, we'll see what we can do with him. That leap from the Football League to the Premier League is clearly kicking in as it stands, though :/
congralutions for the promotion!! amazing journey i hope you achieve the champions league!!
The start to your season has been... devastating :( But... if there's anyone that I'd back to turn things around: it's Neil. The jump to the PL is always the toughest to make, and honestly, I'm quite stunned to see Villa where they are atm. That being said, it's still so early in the season, and there's plenty of points to still be won.

PLEASE turn it around ;)

Swindon finally secure first Premier League win

Swindon Town have bagged their first top-flight win since April 1994 as Yacine Bouziane guided them to a 3-2 win over Fulham.

Neil Godwin’s team had previously gone nine league fixtures without a win as their torrid beginning to the season finally saw some relief in the tenth fixture at the County Ground.

Things got off to another shaky start for Swindon though, with Harry Wilson scoring a 4th-minute penalty after he was brought down in the area by Álvaro Fernández.

However, Fulham’s lead didn’t even last a full 60 seconds as club-record signing Yacine Bouziane latched onto the end of Demarai Gray’s blocked shot to head into the open net in the 5th minute.

Swindon Town rapidly got the ball back from Fulham’s kick-off as some nice work down the right wing from Demarai Gray played in Nathan Tella who squared it across goal for Bouziane to bag his second goal of the game in as many minutes.

Harry Wilson was able to join Bouziane with a brace in the same game just before half-time, bringing the score level with a beautifully curled free-kick right on the edge of the penalty area to make it 2-2 at the break.

The man that clinched all three points was Nathan Tella in the 66th minute with some nice play around the final third finding its way to left-back Josh Tymon who played a low cross in for the right-winger who slotted home to make it 3-2, handing his side all three points.

The victory lifts Swindon Town off the foot of the Premier League table despite only winning 4 points in total all season, in doing so shoving Burnley to the bottom on goal difference instead.

“The first win is a huge relief, particularly for a team that has been so used to winning over the past few years,” said manager Neil Godwin after the result. “We just need to use this as a big marker for us and try to pick up as much as we can, whenever we can. Even if we do need a bit of luck.”

Swindon Town will face Everton at the new Bramley-Moore Dock Stadium next Sunday.
deadzpool: Thank you mate! The CL might be a bit of a stretch for our current position, but who knows in future?!
James: It's not a nice time at all when you're not winning and every team seems to outclass you despite the incoming quality into the team. Despite the money spent, the squad is still only Championship Play-Off level in mine and my scouts' opinions but we are seeing what we can achieve with it - which at the moment, isn't a lot. As for Villa, they're doing incredible! But Southampton - who were promoted alongside us last season - are in 4th and are doing wonderful work!

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