Archie Matthews has spent three and half years with Swindon Town’s academy and, after being called up to the first-team squad towards the end of the 2018/19 season, has been rewarded with his first professional contract.
Three others were given their first pro deals – all outfield players unlike goalkeeper Archie; Luke Haines, Ralph Graham and Jacob Bancroft. The stopper and Bancroft are the only two to have featured in first-team squad thus far.
Last week, Matthews, alongside his family, fellow graduates, Academy manager, Alan McLoughlin and first-team manager Richie Wellens signed their deal, and the young goalkeeper expressed his delight at his achievement as well as how much he has learned from being in and around the first-team squad.
“I’m very, very proud to have signed. It’s something everyone dreams of as a kid so to do it for real at 17, 18 is a very proud moment for me.”
“It’s been a really good experience to play with such experienced pros – you learn off these blokes that have been around it for 20-odd seasons. They know what they’re on about so to pick up details and bits you would have missed. It’s really good to learn and see what it’s like in the game.”
Matthews said that when he returned to the youth team after his stint away with the first-string, he was able to take things he had learnt back down with him
“From between the sticks, you see and get used to what it’s like at first-team level and when you come back down to the youth team, you try and implement what you’ve seen and learnt. For example, you’d start to organise the back four in the same way the first-team goalkeepers do, communicating a lot more and with the same intensity to try and get the same result.
“Nine times out of ten, it worked really well when I went back to the youth team and tried to do things differently.”
Former Town goalkeeper and now-coach, Steve Mildenhall will be in charge of Archie’s development this season and the young pro can’t wait to work with a goalkeeping team of such rich experience.
“Mildy came here at the start of the season and I didn’t see much of him but, towards the end of the year, we sort of build up a relationship and I’m really excited to be up with him training every day.
“All that experience; Mildy who’s played God knows how many games and he’s a great coach, and Luke McCormick who’s done the same with so many games. The you’ve got Will (Henry) who has done this step more recently but got a lot of games under his belt in the mean time.
“I’m just looking forward to working with them all and learning.”