Swindon Town 2014/15 Review – Player of the Season
In the final part of our 2014/15 season review, five writers give their verdict on the player of the season and we ask for your vote on their nominations…
David Squires @squires_david
Player of the season – I’m based a long way from The County Ground, so can only base this on match reports, YouTube clips, staying up late for the occasional live commentary and the rare occasions that Swindon matches are shown on satellite television, so my vote should only count half. That said, I’d go for Nathan Byrne. His performance at Sheffield United typified what a great talent he is; mentally tough, quick, skillful and completely determined. A lesser player would have been intimidated by the home crowd, but he used it to power him on.
Nick Judd @nickjudd78
Player of the season – Wes. The way we play, he has singlehandedly taken us into the playoffs. Few keepers are as good as him on the ball. Shame he won’t be here next season.
Iain Watkins @mightygwah
Player of the season – Louis Thompson. I don’t think it’s any coincidence results suffered after his injury at Crewe. Will be a big miss next season.
Jonny Leighfield @jonnyleighfield
Player of the season – Considering his form has dropped considerably over the past couple of months, you can’t ignore the fact that Massimo Luongo was a huge factor in our successes this season. He will undoubtedly go on to bigger things at QPR and good luck to him because without him, I’m not sure we would have reached the play offs at all.
Honourable mentions to Nathan Byrne who has been a revelation at right wing back and Yaser Kasim who – for me – is the best technical player I’ve ever seen at the County Ground. At times it looks like he has the ball glued to his feet. I hope we are able to keep him for at least another season because we’re a far better team with him in it.
Daniel Hunt @dphunt88
Player of the season – If Michael Smith and Andy Williams had carried their pre-Christmas form into 2015, then I think Swindon Town could have been automatically promoted and I would be facing a very tough choice between them for player of the season. Similarly, but for his international exploits for Australia, the fatigued Massimo Luongo could have been in the running. Louis Thompson too, has been robbed by an unfortunate shoulder injury at Crewe Alexandra. So I’m left with two outstandingly consistent candidates fighting it out for the award – Jordan Turnbull (51 apps, 1 goal) and Nathan Byrne (48 apps, 4 goals).
To frame Turnbull’s achievements, he’d never played a game of professional football before this season and he came to the club in the significant shadow of his predecessor from Southampton Jack Stephens. Mr Stephens rejoined Town in the final moments of the August transfer window but Turnbull continued to outshine his club-mate with a string of fine performances on the left hand side of Swindon’s back three. I think Turnbull will end up playing for the Saints in the Premier League – he’s a good enough footballer to fit in at a side as capable as them. He’s from Trowbridge, was involved with the Swindon Town youth set-up until he was 15 and you can tell from the way he plays that he cares greatly for the cause.
Nathan Byrne has always been promising but massively frustrating since joining Swindon from Tottenham. He floated from position to position – right back, right wing, left back and left wing – without ever finding a place to call his own. The change of formation to 3-5-2 this season has benefited Nathan Byrne the most of the entire playing squad, he’s been absolutely terrific going forwards, a man reborn! People will point to his lack of defensive responsibility but I genuinely believe this is the plan from Cooper. Byrne is almost completely unshackled down the right hand side and his link up play with his good friend Massimo Luongo has torn many sides apart this season. By my reckoning, Byrne’s got 12 assists to go with his 4 goals and his performances over the two playoff legs are what’s sealed him as my player of the season. That last minute goal at Bramall Lane was the deciding goal and will live long long in the memory.