2021 was a wild ride for Swindon Town Football Club and, with a New Year nearly upon us, we decided to take a look at the Top 5 moments from a crazy last 12 months.
The world is preparing to wave goodbye to 2021 and usher in 2022 so, to join in with the celebrations, we decided to count down the five best things to happen to the Reds this year.
Clue - No. 1 is an easy one...
1. The Town Got Our Club Back
It just had to be, didn't it?
After a sustained period of darkness had enveloped the Football Club, and with the Club's very existence under severe threat heading into the 2021-22 season, a saviour was needed.
Well, forget a knight in shining armour and his horse, Town were saved by an astute businessman and his Kangaroo with Clem Morfuni riding in to save the day.
The long-awaited and needed Takeover was made official on July 21st 2021, a day Swindon fans will always remember as the day we got our club back.
Led by Clem, the new ownership group, featuring, Zavier Austin, CEO Rob Angus and General Manager Matt Waters, have set about rebuilding the Football Club piece by piece, and a very bright future now awaits.
As soon as the new Ownership was made official, so too was the news that Ben Garner was appointed as the Club's new Head Coach, with Scott Marshall and Scott Lindsey coming in as Assistant Managers, Ben Chorley being appointed as the Director of Football and Steve Mildenhall remaining as Goalkeeper Coach.
Working closely with Ben Chorley to construct a squad from scratch with hardly any time to play with, Garner quickly implemented his philosophy and an attractive brand of passing, attacking football that has taken Wiltshire by storm.
Fostering an unbreakable team spirit, Garner has overseen a remarkable resurgence which has seen the Reds transform from relegation favourites into legitimate promotion contenders over night.
Playing arguably the most attractive brand of football in the EFL Sky Bet League Two, Town have a real identity under Ben Garner and it has been a match made in heaven between the two parties.
3. Opening Day Delight
Having had no preseason under their belt, legacy issues still being dealt with off the field and a brand new team still trying to gel, Town were heavy favourites for relegation at the start of the 2021-22 season, and they were also underdogs for the opening day trip to Scunthorpe.
However, what transpired was a gritty, resolute and superb performance by the new-look Reds, who bounced back from going a goal down just after half-time to run out impressive 3-1 winners.
There was a goal from Ben Gladwin on his return to the club, a debut goal by Harry McKirdy and a first of many penalties for Jack Payne, while there were jubilant scenes in the away end with Owner Clem Morfuni joining the large travelling contingent to celebrate what was arguably one of the Club's most meaningful and special away days in recent history.
4. Magic Of The Cup
Not since the 2011-12 season had Town made it into the Third Round of the Emirates FA Cup, with over a decade's worth of disappointment in England's oldest cup competition following.
However, that all changed this year when an impressive 3-0 win away at Sky Bet League One outfit Crewe Alexandra was followed up with a 2-1 win at Walsall in the Second Round, with Kaine Kesler-Hayden's first goal for the club ensuring they would be in the hat for the coveted Third Round draw.
Then, with the football gods smiling down upon Town, the dream draw took place as Premier League Champions Manchester City were handed a trip to The County Ground.
With a sell-out crowd and the ITV cameras in town, the Reds are now gearing up for a plum tie against one of the biggest teams in world football, and it should be quite the night at SN1 on January 7th 2022.
5. It Always Shines On TV
In what was an early top of the table clash, Town made the short trip to league leaders Forest Green Rovers in October and put on a show for the Sky Sports Cameras.
Lewis Ward excelled against his former club, pulling off a number of fine saves including a penalty stop to keep a clean sheet, while Harry McKirdy continued to highlight his ability with a superbly-taken goal and a sublime assist for Tyreece Simpson's goal.
It came just a week after Town had dismantled Bristol Rovers on the road, and it remains the standout result in a season where the Reds have excelled away from home.