What had seemed impossible back in the summer was confirmed on the final day of the season – by lifting the League 1 title on the closing day, we sealed a dreamy back to back title succession, having only lifted the League 2 title the previous season. Expected to fight bravely against relegation, we defied the odds throughout the footballing calendar by maintaining a top 3 spot from mid-season onwards, before a final push (and a little bit of luck) to steal top spot from Rotherham in the very last 90 minutes of a gruelling League 1 schedule (46 games). And so, the Championship awaits!
Swindon came along better than anyone would have expected and carried that mid-season form all the way to promotion.
Andrew Curtis, The Football Ramble
Matt Smith, also defying the odds at 35 years old, finished the season with 23 goals. Following a contract extension on a new player/coach role, he’ll be strutting his stuff in the Championship, as well as teaching some of our academy players how to put the ball in the back of the net.
We were able to add a few reinforcements during the January transfer window, which boosted our title challenge greatly. Dan Nlundulu (free transfer) was signed outside of the registration window and had to bide his time in the under 21s, before chipping in with some decisive goals in the second half of the season (12 in total). We also brought in one for the future, a potential Matt Smith/target man replacement in the shape of Tom Bloxham (also a free transfer).
Finances and Facilities
- Overall finances are on the up and at a comfortable £2.8M
- Our youth recruitment networking budget has been improved to ‘exceptional’
- Training facilities are now only deemed as adequate and need significant investment
A fantastic run in the FA Cup had a significantly positive impact on our income. We reached the 5th round, only to be knocked out on penalties by West Brom (who finished 9th in the Championship) after a close fought 2-2 draw:
- £100K for reaching 4th round of the FA Cup, after beating Blackburn Rovers
- £120K for reaching 5th round, after beating Wimbledon
- £566K in total prize money from the FA Cup only
With more assists than anyone else (11), Lewis Hall (on loan from Chelsea), was instrumental, but Chelsea feel he should be ‘tested in a different environment’ next season. The same is true of on-loan George Hall from Birmingham, so we could be a little light in central midfield, in both numbers and quality. Loan deals might be our only means of attracting that kind of quality again with a fairly modest transfer kitty.
A lack of decent cover for Jacob Wakeling means he once again became very jaded towards the business end of the season. Another advanced forward would definitely help.
A decent centre back for the first team would also give us a boost. Failing that, 17 year old Portuguese academy graduate, Nuno Telmo, made a couple of appearances from the bench for the first team this season, and completed his first full season in the under 21’s. He’s our ‘one to watch’ from the youth ranks.
Other than that, and assuming we don’t have any major outgoings, I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for talented youngsters with high potential.
We’ve been allocated a scouting budget of £179K and we’re using about £50K of that on the ‘surrounding divisions’ package, leaving a reasonable amount for induvial player scouting and assignments.
Summer Transfer Window
The big transfer news was that we did eventually manage to resign Lewis Hall on loan for another season, when it had seemed that door had been closed. A total on 8 incomings boalstered the squad nicely for a season on Championship football.
|Right wing back / playmaker
|£170K (loan made permanent)
|Loan (returns for a 2nd spell)
A slight modification to our 352 gegenpress tactic saw Louis Reed drop into a deeper, more defensive playmaking role during our League 1 campaign.