End of season player ratings – Part 2

Score 2

Neil Evans is to give his perspective on everyone who put on a Red shirt in our amazing record-breaking season, part two.. 

18. Mark Scott. The young goalkeeper didn’t really feature and has been released by PDC..we wish him well 5 out of 10

19. Luke Rooney: Is it just me, or were we all expecting a lot more from Luke? if you compare his impact to say Lee Holmes it doesn’t really compare. I guess now isn’t really the time to judge him…lets see him after a PDC pre-season..and then decide if he is the real deal 6.5 out of 10

21. Lander Gabillondo: I have, I confess, something of a soft spot for the Spaniard. However his performances haven’t justified a new deal sadly though he set up the winner at Ashton Gate which alone gives him a 5.5 out of 10.

22. Lee Holmes: We simply have to buy this player from Saints…knows our club and on the evidence I saw, loves being here. He couldn’t get away from the Kassam quick enough! Great dribbler, a real edge of the seat player..crossing is better than Rooney’s too. I am a fan 8.5 out of 10

23. Raffaele De Vita: A real conundrum of a player. The best first touch at the club but must work much harder on the next ball after that…God-like status because of his goal at City..”who put the ball in City’s net….etc”. He can deliver, but next season will be make or break for Raffa…a Len Goodman style SEVEN!

24. Jonathan Smith: A bargain from York City..warrior and artisan in midfield…never shirks a challenge and compliments Ferry’s more creative tendencies. Another with a blistering shot and yes I do think he is better than Risser 7.5 out of 10

25. Jonathan Tehoue: His accusations (long after being discarded are a disgrace)…as a footballer he might have been OK…but bad attitudes we don’t need..
3 out of 10

26. Phil Smith: Loyal servant who’s penalty saves v’s AFC paved the way for JPT success…I’m sure everyone wishes Smithy well for the future…Made more mistakes this year than before but a sentimental 7 out of 10

27. Alessandro Cibbochi: I increasingly warmed to the combative Italian and though he was first class against Leicester away and benefitted from a run in the side…then he disappeared again…confusing but worthy of a solid 7 out of 10

28. Miles Storey: Barely featured so a default 5 is the best I can offer

30. Leigh Bedwell: Seemed to do well when with the squad and out on loan…so a mark of 5.5 out of 10

31. Billy Bodin: The dynasty continues with the offer of a new deal. Richly deserved for a player sent out, mystifyingly on loan the second time, after playing his best game for the Town. I rate Billy and the fact he has wanted first team footie shows commitment and desire…8 out of 10

32. Chris Smith: I missed his game so another default mark of 5 out of 10

34. Ronan Murray: Frustrating player to watch much of the time. Pacey and can clearly finish but never seemed to run where Benno flicked the ball or where midfielders passed it. The worrying thing is he didn’t seem to learn and often lost heart during a game. 6 out of 10

35. Wesley Foderingham: A tremendous acquisition at the right time. Thanks to his defence, Wes often had little to do. When he was called upon he was flawless. A class act in the making….9 out of 10

37. Louis Thompson: Another default mark of 5 for the youngster

39. Medhi Kerrouche: I know it is highly unlikely he will stay but I like the way he plays…and his goals to game’s ratio for us was very good. But I don’t manage the team and saw how PDC mercilessly hauled him off at Colchester in the cup for goodness knows what…7 out of 10

The Rest

Liam Ridelhagh: Solid enough performer and make a good contribution to our backline. Did OK 6.5 out of 10

Jake Jervis: Like the song..I wish he could have stayed just a little bit longer…best goals to game ratio and kickstarted our memorable JPT run at Exeter…8 out of 10

Lukas Magera: Struggled with the English game…but I’m not gonna give up on the giant Czech just yet. A good pre-season may see some useful returns in FL1 6 out of 10

Leon Clarke: So Leon how’s your career then?..Not so good? Shame, you had the talent but not the team-ethic or discipline…ability? Absolutely? Still a winners medal…it’s your loss mate…3 out of 10

Cristian Montano: West ham youngster who simply didn’t cut it..a waste of a loan 3.5 out of 10

Ahmed Abdullah: Never got a look in and has since been released…default mark applies.

Daniel Boateng: A huge disappointment. Big central defender who was knocked about far too easily…as anyone at Hereford can testify…I suspect he won’t have a huge future at A.senal, his parent club. 4 out of 10

Michael Timlin: One game at the season’s start and then an excellent campaign with Luggy at Southend…For services rendered 6 out of 10

Nathan Thompson: New deal offered so evidently rated..rightly so from what I’ve seen 5.5 out of 10

Catching up on the ‘Retained List’, Caddis, McCormick and the rest…

Lyme Regis and Amelie's first visit to the the beach 1

You may have noticed we’ve been a bit quiet responding to the latest Swindon Town news recently, Ron Smith has been on holiday…

A week without the mod-cons in rural Dorset, in an isolated place where the only signal known to locals is morse, has undoubtedly been the relaxing break that me and the young family sorely needed.

The only thing ‘football’ about the week was finding out our nearby market town of Bridport was where the goal nets of the ’66 World Cup Final were made.

Having returned to civilisation – although many outside Swindon would dispute that – the unexpectedly busy flow of post-season news while I was away yielded several key nuggets. So I might have well have my say a little later than usual…

Lyme Regis and Amelie’s first visit to the beach

First we had the ‘Retained List’. This was presented almost as if football had returned to the feudal hierarchy days of retain-and-transfer pre-1963. Although today there’s no certainty you can keep those you want to retain.

Town announced they sought to retain the services of two out of contract players – Billy Bodin and Nathan Thompson – and have shown the door to Phil Smith, Mark Scott, Callum Kennedy and Lander Gabilondo.

Smith surely has more sense than to stay around and warm Foderingham’s gloves. Instead Phil deserves to find the first team action elsewhere at this late stage in his career. Fellow ‘keeper Mark Scott departs having never been allowed to prove himself, save for superb performances for Supermarine 18 months ago in their FA Cup run. Long serving left back Kennedy departs, which is fine by me considering that he blocked me on Twitter several months ago for no apparent reason. Gabilondo leaves – as expected – proving he’s another of Paolo’s failed foreign imports, although one who fortunately joined on a single year deal.

I’d be surprised if either Thompson or Bodin refuse to sign new deals given their rise through the youth ranks. However Bodin’s stock has risen in recent months after excellent loan spells with Torquay and Crewe, leading to a turned-down full international call up. So unless he knows guaranteed first team action awaits at SN1 they’ll be suitors waiting to pounce.

Next up we had the club taking out their option to extend Paul Caddis’ deal until June 2014. The qualifications for this decision are obvious, however as it was likely Simon Ferry joined on similar terms in the summer of 2010, the lack of a similar extension highlights Ferry remains yet to convince his third manager that his long term future is worth securing.

True to form more controversy follows Town around every corner. Midweek news emerged that convicted drink drive killer ‘keeper Luke McCormick has long been training with Town on day release and is set to join on trial in July. Cue the typical posturing from some supporters, treating football as a special case and all too quick to write off anyone with a criminal conviction from earning a living again. Its simple, I don’t like the situation anymore than you, however he’s been convicted, been through the justice system and served his time so move on – even how heinous the crime, and what a horrendous tragedy he was responsible for. What next, should we call for any Town fan with a criminal conviction to be banned from entering the ground..?

Paolo Di Canio has finally returned Alex Cooke’s copy of Inverting the Pyramid by Jonathan Wilson. Not content with plans ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ or ‘D’ for 2012/13, the Italian has vowed to add to the alphabet to provide sufficient options to tackle the many Guardiolas, Bielsas and Sacchis in opposition dugouts next season. Also I must take this opportunity to apologise for us exposing Town’s only tactic as the season progressed, leaving Di Canio with no choice but to seek alternatives. At least Alex will have plenty to get his teeth into…

Could our first signing be Yeovil striker Andy Williams? After scoring enough to secure the Glovers’ League One status he’s going to depart ‘Bosman style’. Like many Town fans I’ve also not be paying enough attention to League One highlights reel on the woeful Football League Show so, for now, I’ll also fit into the “never heard of him so he’s probably crap” category.

Oh wait! Yet another flop is on his way. Etienne Esajas departs to free up much needed wages for Di Canio’s expected summer signing spree. If only Mattia Lanzano would follow suit and learn the phrase ‘mutual consent’…

This summer promises to be as busy, if not busier, than the last. That’ll keep me occupied…

New deal…or no deal?

Following on from the release of Alan O’Brien and Thomas Dossevi, there are nine other Swindon Town players out of contract at the end of the season.

We all know about Alan Sheehan’s lack of commitment to the club after going without permission to play for Preston North End in a trial match, but what about the rest, do they deserve a new contract at Town?

Scott Cuthbert - So often lost in the centre of defence since the departure of Gordon Greer, Cuthbert has certainly made his fair share of mistakes this season, but of course he isn’t the only one in the team to suffer that fate. What can you put that down to? Well an unsettled back four throughout the season hasn’t helped. Cuthbert is certainly a player for the future and one to build the team around. Also given that we paid £100,000 for him, this is money the club need to recoup if he were to go, so can’t see the board not exercising their option for an additional year.  NEW DEAL

Jonathan Douglas - By his own admission hasn’t played his best this season. Douglas has been asked to play too deep, often the sole outlet for a pass from our panicking defenders and quickly closed down by the opposition, leading to possession being given away in our own half. Despite all this I couldn’t imagine the team without him and if he doesn’t stay at Swindon many Championship and League One teams will be tracking his progress. NEW DEAL

Lecsinel Jean-Francois - The Haitian is a very useful and versatile defender, who on the rare occasion, puts in a stella performance and shows his quality. I like Lecsinel, he’s professional, gets on with the job and never gives up. Aparently Swansea were interested in signing Lecsinel earlier this year, which shows he has ability to possibly play at a higher level. A good League Two player and a worthwhile squad player for the new season. NEW DEAL 

Jakub Jesionkowski -  With David Lucas and Phil Smith (why?) signing new contract extensions, I’d be surprised if the Polish keeper stays around for another season of reserve football and loans to Oxford City. He cam to Swindon with great promise having been called up for the Polish u21 squad. Deserves first team games, but isn’t going to get the opportunity here. NO DEAL

Vincent Pericard - Where do we start with Big Vince… immobile, can’t jump, can’t score, painful to watch  etc. to name only a few failings. I can’t really see Vinny making a mark on League Two and we really need a better option upfront to hold up the ball. Vincent’s wages can be better saved or spent elsewhere such as on a sack of spuds or a bag of cement. errrr… NO DEAL!

Mark Scott - Of the two out of contract keepers, Scott gets my vote for a new contract. Still to make his league debut for Town, I was very impressed with his superb performances for Swindon Supermarine in their FA Cup run earlier this season. Excellent shot stopper and a local lad who came through the youth team. NEW DEAL

Nathan Thompson – Nathan was finally given his chance against Torquay United in the FL Trophy after coming on as a substitute. An excellent attacking performance in the cup secured a start at home to Charlton a few weeks later, however whilst Nathan didn’t discredit himself, the match highlighted the need for Nathan to get more first team football under his belt. Various injuries held him back from being sent out on loan, so deserves the chance to impress and a season in League Two provides that. NEW DEAL

Michael Timlin - Our second longest serving player at the club (behind Phil Smith), who played an instrumental role in the second half of our last campaign in League Two. With opportunities limited earlier this season I expected him to be sold, however he’s forced his way back into the reckoning, but failed to impress with an inconsistent campaign. If Douglas signs up and Prutton stays, is there really a need for another defensive minded midfielder? With the two youth graduates (Matt Clark and Abdul Said) providing further midfield options next season, I’m afraid you’re surplus to requirements…NO DEAL

Macklin Flies The Robins’ Nest

from swindontownfc.co.uk

Back on the 1st June, when Town released details of the out of contract players who were either offered or released from their contracts before the start of the 2010/2011 season, there was one exemption, our explosive and sometimes frustrating right winger Lloyd Macklin.

Today the club announced Lloyd will need to search for a new club and will not be offered second year professional terms at the County Ground.

This seems to have been a tough decision for Wilson and the backroom staff to make, otherwise a decision would have been made three weeks ago. The comments from the club puts the decision firmly down to what first team opportunities, if any, where to be available to Lloyd to aid his development.

Macklin is clearly a talented player in the making. Lightning fast with and without out the ball and never afraid to get forward. This talent contrasts with how he fared throughout his rare first team opportunities during 2009/2010, which have seen him severely exposed. He frequently exploited his only attribute, his pace, running at speed, often directly at the opposition and not finding space and beating his man to put in the cross. He had suffered from just trying too hard, seeking to replicate what he had been able to achieve and deliver when he shone in youth football. This poor decision making and concentration is typical for any youth rising through the ranks, although watching Lloyd on many occasions was just frustrating as he never seemed to learn.

These failings are only down to experience. I’ve no doubt that a good run in league football whether at Town or away on loan, would have done wonders for his ability, concentration, decisions and importantly his confidence.

2009/2010 had seen Lloyd ravaged by unfortunate injuries which limited any first team action in League One with Town or during his loan spell at Torquay in League Two. I’m very surprised he was not offered a new one year deal, he’s a young lad still with so much to learn and the potential to offer us in the future.

If Town’s decision to let him go is solely as he needs experience, then why offer 19 year old goalkeeper Mark Scott a new contract, when there are already 3 older and experienced pros on the books? Obviously Mark isn’t going to get first team games soon, so I don’t understand the decision and apparent contradiction? Surely we need a group of good development players?

It’s a shame Lloyd has gone and I wish him good luck in finding a new club.

Home Grown?

Yesterday the Football League AGM ratified rules for the 2010/2011 season. From next season clubs are required to name 10 “home-grown” players in a squad, with a maximum squad size of 25 players aged over 21. There are no to be restrictions on players under 21.

To be “home-grown” players must be registered in domestic (English) football for three seasons before their 21st birthday.

So which players in the current Town squad over 21 at the start of next season will qualify as “home grown”?

  • David Lucas – Youth at Preston North End
  • Phil Smith – Youth at Millwall
  • Kevin Amankhaah – Youth at Bristol City
  • Jonathan Douglas – Youth at Blackburn Rovers
  • Michael Timlin – Youth at Fulham
  • Alan O’Brien – Youth at Newcastle United

There are seven first team players over 21 that are not “home grown”; Scott Cuthbert, Gordon Greer, JP McGovern, Craig Easton, Lescinel Jean-Francois, Jakub Jesionkowski and Vincent Pericard. Gordon Greer spent time at Blackburn before he was 21 but was not registered for three seasons.

On the basis Easton and Timlin sign their new contracts for 2010/2011, Town already have 6 first team players over 21 who fulfil the League criteria. Younger players are needed to fill the remaining 4 slots. There are five Town players who have been registered for at least three seasons; Charlie Austin, Sean Morrison, Callum Kennedy, Mark Scott and Nathan Thompson. New professionals Billy Bodin and Will Evans have been registered for 2 seasons.

So at the moment, Town can just about meet the minimum 10 “home grown” player squad requirement.

The League’s intention to improve domestic football and youth player development is certainly a good idea. In recent years Town have been successful in developing youth players and given them first team opportunities. So with David Byrne and Paul Bodin in charge of youth affairs, we can be confident that the club itself can produce “home grown” players meeting the League rule, as well as taking this a step further by developing local Swindon and Wiltshire talent.