With our promotion hopes coming to an end last week, it’s time we said goodbye to the 2021/22 season, a campaign that started in ruins and uncertainty but ended with the fans being proud of their club again and excited for the future ahead.
With the retained and released list announced yesterday, we have some idea who’s around for next season. Today, let’s look through the whole squad and their contributions to a memorable campaign.
(First-team player needs to have played at least five league games to be included)
Jojo Wollacott – 7.5 (out of 10)
Town’s predominant number one for the season enjoyed a superb campaign, establishing himself as a first choice for the first time in his career and became a full international for Ghana, and will now go to the World Cup as their number one. We have to hope he signs an extension to his current deal, and repays Swindon for the faith they showed in him last summer.
Akin Odimayo – 7
After winning, Player of the Season in 2020/21 rumour circulated the right-back would be leaving Town, but he signed a new deal and enjoyed a good campaign, a first-team regular until February but lost his place, mainly used from the bench from then on.
Ellis Iandolo – 7.5
Swindon’s Mr. Versatile and longest-serving player enjoyed his best year with the club as he was asked to play several positions, starting the season in midfield and ending it at left-back, pleased to see that he will be with us for next season.
Dion Conroy – 7
The club captain again enjoyed a mixed season at the club, as his form took a dive at times, but he always answered his critics in the right way and returned to form as he rekindled his partnership with Baudry and ended the season on a high. Sadly, it was confirmed yesterday that Dion would leave the club after nearly five years at SN1, he’s linked with a reunion with Richie Wellens at Leyton Orient.
Romoney Crichlow – 7
The young defender started the season well, with his pace at the back his biggest attribute, he enjoyed a long spell in the first team, until the end of October, the Huddersfield man lost his place and never regained it, was recalled, then sent out to League One Plymouth Argyle.
Mathieu Baudry – 7.5
Started the season as a backup and looked far from his best, after suffering an injury away at Crewe, he was away from the first team and didn’t make his comeback until early March, but the rest and recuperation did the trick, as he returned in the best form of his Town career, finished the campaign as a key player, he looked set to retire, but he’s been offered a contract extension, hopefully, he has one more year left in him.
Ben Gladwin – 6.5
His campaign started perfectly away at Scunthorpe Utd, with a superb half volley but never quite hit those heights again, due to ongoing injury problems he wasn’t expected to play a huge amount, but managed to fit in 24 starts, his style of play hasn’t always been fully welcomed by some Town fans, but he will be an asset for Garner next season.
Jordan Lyden – 7
Due to picking up an injury in pre-season, the Australian’s season didn’t start till October, but when in the first team, those injury issues never left him, reducing his playing time. When fit, you’d struggle to find a better DM in League Two, would be a shame to see him leave over the summer, but with his injury record, Town could have no choice.
Tyreece Simpson – 7.5
Town’s first number nine enjoyed a successful spell at the club, scoring eleven goals and playing a vital role in Garner’s side, but after his goal against Bristol Rovers, his time at Swindon was abruptly ended due to a contract dispute with his parent club, Ipswich Town. There is no doubt he would top over 20 goals if he had stayed, and we could’ve been looking at the top three in League Two, and not the playoffs.
Josh Davison – 7
After Simpson’s sudden departure Town brought in Davison to fill that void and despite never being as consistent as Simpson in front of goal he did a good job, finishing the season with nine goals, sadly his time at Town did end on a sour note with him enduring a torrid time in his final game.
Jack Payne – 9
One of the biggest surprises of last summer came from Jack Payne’s decision to stick around after relegation, this played a huge role in our success this season, as he was once again head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch. He could easily ply his trade much further up the pyramid, I’m sure he’ll have plenty of offers on the table already, we have to hope he signs an extension and can lead us to automatic promotion next season.
Harry McKirdy – 9
By far the biggest surprise of the season has been the emergence of Harry McKirdy, after impressing on trial and given a chance at Swindon he has repaid the manager’s faith tenfold, scoring twenty-four goals and becoming a household name with his talents in front of goal and ability to get under the skin of opposition players on the pitch and social media. He’s firmly become a cult hero at Town, having him sign an extension to his deal will hopefully put off potential suitors, but I’m confident we can hold onto the talented striker, and he’ll again show his former clubs what they’re missing.
Lewis Ward – 7.5
The 25-year old goalkeeper enjoyed a rollercoaster first season, as he started on the bench last summer as Player A, earning himself a contract, due to Wollacott’s early season form, he found himself on the bench, but was always a safe pair of hands, as proved away at Forest Green Rovers, staring in front of the TV cameras, again lost his place and made sporadic appearances when Wollacott was on International duty, but after Jojo suffered an injury in late April, he took the chance to stake his claim and more than proved he was up for the job and finished the season as number one. I’d be more than happy to see him start next season as the first choice, with Wollacott possibly moving on.
Brandon Cooper – 7.5
The Welsh U-21 International looked to be one of the signings of the season after his impressive debut, superb on the ball and a powerful defender, but after eight games injury struck, and his time at SN1 was over, I’m sure he’ll play at a higher-level next season, but if Town could persuade Swansea City to send him back, he’d become a vital first-team player.
Jake O’Brien – 7
With Ben Garner still playing three at the back and Town nursing injuries to certain players, a new centre-back was needed, which saw the arrival of Jake O’Brien on loan from Crystal Palace, after joining the club Jake became an instant first-team player, whether, in a three or two-man defence, and impressed time and again, he lost his place with a change of formation and the form of Conroy and Baudry.
Jayden Mitchell-Lawson – 6.5
The former Derby County winger was used throughout the season as an impact substitute, and sometimes to great effect, starting just six games across the season, two in the league and four in the Papa Johns Trophy. Yesterday the club confirmed he would be moving on, hopefully, he’ll find a new club. I can see him lighting up the National League next season.
Mandela Egbo – 7.5
After training with the club for several months, his name started being talked about by fans, then after more injuries to key players, the former New York Red Bulls defender signed for Town, and since that moment he’s been a natural fan favourite, with his performances, interaction with fans, and most importantly his ability on the pitch, he needs to sign an extension, as with a full pre-season behind him, he could be a real star for Town next season.
Alex Gilbert – 6.5
Signed on loan from Brentford and started his time with Town as a first-team player, but a disappointing appearance away at Bristol Rovers saw his playing time reduced, was then used as an impact sub, a good player but didn’t seem ready for first-team football at this level, the loan ended in January due to a lack of playing time.
Louie Barry – 7
The Aston Villa loanee hit the ground running at the County Ground, his best performance coming against Walsall as he scored a brace, but sadly injury saw him miss March, and with a couple of exceptions, he didn’t quite seem the same player, this being obvious in the second leg of our playoff semi-final, but despite his slight dip in form, It’s clear he’s an incredibly gifted player, who should have a great career.
Jonny Williams – 8.5
When news first broke of Welsh International Jonny Williams signing for Town, I wasn’t the only one who had to double-check, why would someone who had just enjoyed a good spell at Championship club Cardiff City sign for League Two Swindon? The Ben Garner factor played the biggest part, and despite the reservations over his fitness, he ended up playing a huge role in the season, and thankfully he’s around for the 22/23 season.
Kaine Kesler-Hayden – 8
Another superb piece of business from Ben Chorley, as from minute one in his debut against Scunthorpe Utd you could see an incredibly gifted player. That didn’t change over his time with Town, sadly his performance against Manchester City on prime-time TV saw Aston Villa act, recalling the talented wing-back, and sending him to Milton Keynes, like his Villa teammate Barry, he has a huge future in the game, and I’m pleased Swindon played a role in that process.
Joe Tomlinson – 7.5
With the departure of Kesler Hayden, Town needed another wing-back, and they responded with a great piece of business in signing Tomlinson on loan from Peterborough Utd, like the already mentioned Kesler Hayden, he enjoyed a wonderful debut, as despite being on the losing side, he dominated throughout and scored the goal to put Town ahead. Sadly, he only managed to play ten games due to injury, if the opportunity becomes available to have him return next season, I’d snap it up in a heartbeat, but this might be unlikely with his first-team chance at his parent club improved due to their relegation to from the Championship.
Rob Hunt – 7.5
Another impressive season for Town’s Mr. Reliable as he played on both flanks throughout the season, rarely putting a foot wrong, he’s been offered a new deal at Town, hopefully, he’ll accept, but like Conroy, Richie Wellens is rumoured to be interested at Leyton Orient.
Louis Reed – 9
One of the stars of 21/22 as he was the engine room in midfield throughout the season, and never disappointed, the most consistent player at the club. Thankfully he’s contracted for next season, but I’m sure he’ll attract interest from higher divisions, Town needs to resist, as having a player of his quality next season is vital if we want to achieve automatic promotion.
Ryan East – 6.5
The 23-year-old midfielder did the job he was called upon in midfield without much fanfare, made five leagues and five cup starts in his time at Town, and was announced as a player leaving the club yesterday, like Mitchell-Lawson, he would do job in the level below.
Ricky Aguiar – 7
Another surprise hit this season has been Aguiar’s emergence as a first-team player, a very successful loan spell at Chippenham in 2021 saw the attacking midfielder given his chance in the first team and went on to make eight starts, we all look forward to seeing him progress next season.
Harry Parsons – 6.5
The 19-year-old striker made 20 appearances for Town this season, three-quarters coming from the bench, it’s clear to everyone he has a future in the game, hopefully he’ll sign a contract extension and he’s given a chance next season, or he’ll need another loan, as cameos in the 90th minute won’t help his progression.
Anthony Grant – 6.5
The General seeks into this list-making seven appearances, after being re-signed, he started August as the first choice in midfield and didn’t look out of place, but by the end of the month, he lost his place, and despite making one showing in a Town shirt in the Papa Johns Trophy, it was clear his time was done, leaving the club in January, joining Scunthorpe.