As the full-time whistle blew on Wednesday night to mark the end of 2021 it was apt that the last game at the County Ground was such a bore-fest as those moments have been few and far between, as Swindon Town have endured such a tumultuous twelve months on and off the pitch.
As the year started with a club only looking in one direction, when it became clear the former owner had no interest in trying to save the club from relegation, as the man he put in charge to oversee this debacle wasn’t up to the job, but twelve months on things have completely changed in every department, with the club looking in the opposite direction to twelve months ago.
Game of the Year – Scunthorpe United 1-3 Swindon Town – 7th August
Since the beginning of the 2021/22 season, Town’s away form has been incredible, until earlier this month, we enjoyed a long undefeated away record which raises many potential candidates for this category.
I’m sure fans all have their performance and result they could point to as the best of 2021, but in my opinion, the game that kicked off this season was not only a special performance from such a new side but an incredibly special moment for our club, with this game being the first league game under the ownership of Clem Morfuni and a fresh start for everyone at Swindon Town.
I don’t want to go over the whole court case and entire mess of the summer as we all know about that time, and if you don’t visit NatterFootball.co.uk for my piece on the situation.
But this game stands out for me not only as of the first game of our new owner but the simple fact the side that stepped out onto Glanford Park that afternoon hadn’t long been put together and put on a performance all fans could be proud to see, a complete change from the previous season.
We also got to witness how our new Head Coach Ben Garner would instruct his team to play, it was a joy to behold as after Jack Payne calmly put away Town’s first goal of the season to level up the contest a superb strike from Ben Gladwin put Town ahead with future cult hero Harry McKirdy adding a third late on.
It was a special day for the visiting fans and Town fans all over the world as it was clear, we had our club back.
Moment of the Year – Clem Morfuni’s takeover is confirmed
Despite this category being called the moment of the year, it was a whole week of events that deserves a mention, as from Monday 19th July it had become clear to everyone Clem Morfuni had become the majority shareholder at Swindon Town.
This moment will also turn out to be one of the most important in the club’s history, as years of underachievement will hopefully be a thing of the past under the guidance of Clem Morfuni, Chief Executive Rob Angus, Head Coach Ben Garner and all the team at Swindon Town.
Hero of the Year – Clem Morfuni
I’m sure everyone saw this coming from the previous two categories but after sticking the course and not giving up in his single-minded pursuit of becoming the owner of Swindon Town Football Club, who else comes close?
But it’s not only the fact he has put his money where his mouth is but the fact, he gets so involved with the fanbase in many, many areas is wonderful to witness, whether it’s playing football with fans or reading out questions at the Official Supporters Clubs Quiz, or trying to shake as many hands as humanly possible, it’s clear he’s here for the long haul and under his ownership, I’m excited to see where our club can end up.
Player of the Year – Jack Payne
When looking at 2021 as a whole and taking into account who managed to play well during the first half of the year, and has kicked on in this campaign to be the best player at the club it could only be Jack Payne.
That’s not dismissing players who have played throughout the year such as Akin Odimayo, Dion Conroy, and Anthony Grant, all of whom played their part in trying to help the club survive relegation, but Payne has been the most consistent performer since he arrived at the club.
Amazingly after falling back into League Two, it was shocking to see Payne declare he would be sticking around in Wiltshire for this season, after it was made public he had a clause in his two-year contract stating he could leave if the club were relegated.
His decision to stay at SN1 has played a huge role in the club finding themselves 7th in League Two with the halfway point insight, as the former Lincoln City man already scoring eight goals and consistently picking up the man of the match awards.
If he can stay injury-free and the club can keep potential suitors at bay he will be essential in helping us bounce back to League One at the first time of asking.
As we say goodbye to one of the most eventual years in the history of Swindon Town, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who made sure our club is still here today, your hard work in ensuring our survival means everything.
Happy New Year to everyone, and here’s to success in 2022!