After yesterday’s article, where we looked at each player and their contributions to our overachievement this season, I want to look at a couple of players who deserve special recognition for their performance this season.
Before we look at these players, news from the South London Press broke last night that Head Coach Ben Garner seems all but confirmed as the new Charlton Athletic boss, we will look at this after celebrating at our Players of the Season.
DTF Player of the Season
Usually, when it comes to deciding who stood head and shoulders above their teammates and is worthy of being named Player of the Season, it’s pretty clear, but in this campaign, it could have easily been one of three players.
Harry McKirdy, Jack Payne, and Louis Reed all had amazing seasons, they were not only the best players at the club but the best in League Two this season.
In the end, I’ve gone for the most consistent and reliable player I’ve seen at Town for many years in Louis Reed.
When he signed last summer, I was shocked like most Town fans, how on earth have we convinced a player of his talents to drop a division and put his faith in a brand-new project? But clearly, we should never doubt Ben Chorley.
From minute one, it was clear this guy would be the first name on the teamsheet each week, as he became the cornerstone of Ben Garner’s side and pivotal in Town’s possession style of play.
His passing stats are excellent, averaging 70.06 passes per game, and 60.03 of those are successful, the best in League Two. He has also received the second most passes in League Two, showing that he’s keen to get on the ball.
He also averages 4.28 successful long passes per game, the third-highest in League Two.
Despite him being contracted for next season, I predict Town will find it tough to keep hold of him this summer, hopefully, we can keep those clubs at bay, as if we keep him, that makes us one of the favourites for promotion.
(All stats came from thelowertiers.com)
DTF Young Player of the Season
Two players under the age of twenty-one stood out to me this season, and sadly, they both had their times at the County Ground cut short.
This award could go to either Tyreece Simpson or Kaine Kesler-Hayden, but I’m going to go with Kesler-Hayden.
As I said in my player rating piece released earlier this week, Kaine didn’t waste a second in introducing the Town fans to what we were in for each week, as the Aston Villa loanee was the best player on the pitch for his debut away at Scunthorpe United.
The Irons defence couldn’t handle his pace or quick feet throughout the game, resulting in him winning a penalty to put Swindon level in the game, with Town going on to win 3-1.
In the next game, he did show his naivety and lack of experience by being sent off for two yellow cards, but he bounced back and become an important part of Town’s 3-5-2 system.
Being only eighteen when arriving in Wiltshire he, of course, had parts of his game that needed improving, he’s brilliant at finding space to take on a shot, but more often than not, his effort would end up in the Town End.
We all know how his time at Town ended, but despite only playing 21 games, he played a huge role in our sixth-place finish in League Two.
Despite us all enjoying a good season, the news of Ben Garners’ departure does taint everything he achieved during this time at Swindon.
Some Town fans will scratch their heads at the notion Ben Garner achieved something at Town.
I would say, moulding a team from almost nothing, implementing a style of play in a few weeks, building on that throughout the season, and taking his side, who weren’t supposed to be near the playoffs, to sixth-place, is achieving something.
This news has left me incredibly disappointed as he’s abandoning a job after only recently signing a new deal, and in the middle of building something memorable at Swindon Town, I understand that could continue with Ben Chorley staying at the club, but I now don’t see Jack Payne sticking around in League Two.
Also, despite being under contract, I fear both Jonny Williams and Louis Reed will want to follow Garner to League One, then we’ll need to rebuild our entire squad once again when we had the perfect midfield trio to take us one step further next season.
I expect this will end up being a mistake for Garner, as he leaves a safe job with big potential, for a club that will have no problem sacking him in late September if results haven’t gone the way the owner expects.
Hopefully, Clem Morfuni and Rob Angus will act quickly and appoint someone to keep this squad together, and can build on the work Ben Garner leaves behind.