1999/00: Frank Talia
One can only sympathise with Talia with what he experienced in his final season with Swindon.
It was, as we know, a disastrious campaign. Close to bankrupt, in administration, selling players, losing lots of games.
However, Talia saved Swindon from bigger loses.
The Australian managed to keep 6 clean sheets including the 1-0 win over Fulham.
Frank Talia was sent-off in his final appearance – the 3-0 loss at Stockport County.
2000/01: Steve Mildenhall
Another season, another goalkeeper, another post-award departure!
Locally born Steve Mildenhall was a product of the Swindon Town youth team. The keeper had to be patient with Fraser Digby and Frank Talia ahead of him for much of his Town career.
However, his opportunity finally arrived during the 2000/01 season but even then he would have to wait until the New Year when he replaced Bart Griemink as Town’s No.1.
With Swindon struggling to beat the drop into Division 3 – Mildenhall’s arrival in goal coincides with Town’s successful campaign to avoid relegation (famously clinched by Danny Invincible against Peterborough United).
In the close season, Mildenhall signed a new deal but was sold to Notts County shortly afterwards for £150,000 and 50% sell-on fee (he would leave County on a free transfer in 2004).
2001/02: Matt Heywood
Chatham born Heywood signed from Burnley in January 2001 from Burnley. His first full season saw the central defender awarded with the Player of the Season title.
The 2001/02 campaign was a lacklustre one for Swindon – never looking like getting relegated but nowhere near good enough to compete with the Play-Off pack. Town were also devoid of a crowd favourite – Giuliano Grazioli finished the teams top scorer with only 8 goals.
So it comes as no surprise that a defender won the Player of the Season award.
Heywood was a bit of a old fashioned lower league centre back with barely any pace whatsoever but he endured himself to the Town faithful with committed displays throughout the season.
He also scored 4 goals that season –
1 vs. Hartlepool United (Home) – FA Cup
1 vs. Wrexham (Home) – League
1 vs. Port Vale (Home) – League
1 vs. Wycombe Wanderers (Home) – League
2002/03 & 2004/05: Sam Parkin
The only person to have won it twice during the decade.
Prior to joining Swindon Parkin had a mediocre season long loan spell at Northampton Town where he scored only 5 times in 40 league games.
Any thoughts of worry from Swindon fans were immediately wiped away when he grabbed himself a debut hat-trick on the opening day of the 2002/03 season against Barnsley.
Another goal followed in the 4-2 victory over Chesterfield. However, Parkin failed to score in his next 8 appearances, each game resulted in Town’s failure to win. This included a red card away at Cheltenham Town.
When he returned from suspension, Parkin ended his goal drought and Town recorded their first win in well over a month – obviously it had to come against Northampton where he was goal shy.
A goal in the 6-1 LDV Vans Trophy win over Southend sparked a run of 6 goals in 5 games. For the remainder of his first season Parkin scored 15 more – including his second hat-trick, his victims were Notts County who leaked 5 goals with no reply. Former Town Player of the Season Steve Mildenhall was in goal for the Magpies that day.
Parkin’s first campaign with Swindon concluded with an impressive 26 goals in all competitions – a personal record he would not beat during his stay in Wiltshire.
That’s not to say he wasn’t off form though. His second season resulted in 23 goals but he missed out on the accolade.
His final season saw Parkin’s goalscoring exploits continue. Sadly the side couldn’t capitalise on his goals as the team fail to recover from the hangover from the heartbreaking Play-Off failure the season before.
Highlights for Parkin include a brace in the 4-2 home win against Hull City and his third and final Swindon hat-trick. With Swindon trailing 2-0 at home to Wrexham (themselves struggling) Parkin pulled one back before Half-Time. Constant pressure was finally rewarded as Parkin got the equaliser on 76 minutes. Grant Smith scored the third before Parkin grabbed his hat-trick with an injury time penalty.
Parkin found the net for the final time in what was to be his last game for the club – the 1-1 draw with Chesterfield.
In the Summer of 2005 Parkin went to Australia on holiday to plan his future. His return resulted in a switch to Ipswich Town.
It didn’t work out at Portman Road and was shipped off to fellow Championship outfit Luton Town. By the time of his release from Kenilworth Road, the Hatters had found themselves in Non-League football. Parkin has never recaptured his goalscoring exploits to the same degree as what he achieved at Swindon. It’s doubtful that he ever will but he remains a firm favourite of the Town supporters.
2003/04: Tommy Mooney
The epitome of going from hero to villian in one year.
Tommy Mooney’s signiture was a stroke of genius from Andy King when he brought the veteran striker to the County Ground in 2003 on a free transfer after his departure from Birmingham City.
He scored his first goal in the 3-2 League Cup win over Southend United.
This ignited a scoring run of 5 goals in 4 games scoring against Colchester United, Notts County, Bournemouth and a brace against Blackpool.
Goals did try up somewhat but he again exploded back into life in the New Year with 8 goals between January and February. By this point Sam Parkin was still banging them in and Rory Fallon was contributing too so any dip in form that Mooney would experience was covered by his team mates.
Mooney scored his last goals for Swindon in March, a brace in the 2-0 win over Grimsby but Town marched into the Play-Offs.
Heartbreak followed and Mooney’s last kick in a Swindon Town shirt was a missed penalty at Brighton. But his popularity was strong throughout the season and he was rewarded with the Player of the Year title.
In the close season a local media frenzy began with clubs like Bristol City reporting an interest. Swindon appeared to be unable to match Mooney’s own valuation of himself and duly shocked Town fans by signing with bitter rivals Oxford United.
He would only spend one season in Oxfordshire before moving to Wycombe and also becoming a victim of jeers at the Kassam ‘Stadium’ too.
2005/06: Rhys Evans
The second Swindon born goalkeeper to win the award during the 00’s. Evans showed much promise as a youngster within Chelsea’s youth system, during loans spells elsewhere and playing in the England youth sides (including 2 Under-21 caps).
Evans returned to his hometown club and produced several reassuring displays during his Swindon Town career.
Keeping with the tradition of the decade a goalkeeper won the award during a season of struggle and in this case relegation.
As far as appearances are concerned this was Evans’ worst at the club with injuries and the likes of Tom Heaton keeping him out during the early stages of the campaign.
By the time Evans had became No.1 in December the writing was already on the wall for Swindon as the edged ever closer to the 4th tier for the first time since the 1980’s.
Evans made some decent displays and often kept scorelines down. His final appearance came on the final day of the season and he kept a clean sheet in the dull 0-0 draw with Huddersfield Town.
Despite winning the award, Dennis Wise only offered Evans a one year extention which was turned down. He then headed north to play for Blackpool.
2006/07: Lee Peacock
Lee Peacock was recognised by Swindon Town supporters for his enthusiasm and hard work throughout the campaign.
The mega-tattooed forward only scored ten times but his work rate was phenomenal during the brief Dennis Wise era.
Paul Sturrock kept faith with Peacock when he took over which surprised many due to the fact that Sturrock had released Peacock from Sheffield Wednesday.
01 vs. Hartlepool United (Away) – League
02 vs. Chester City (Away) – League
03 vs. Chester City (Away) – League
04 vs. Accrington Stanley (Away) – League
05 vs. Grimsby Town (Home) – League
06 vs. Macclesfield Town (Away) – League
07 vs. Wycombe Wanderers (Home) – League
08 vs. Milton Keynes Dons (Away) – League
09 vs. Macclesfield Town (Home) – League
10 vs. Lincoln City (Away) – League
Peacock not only bagged the Player of the Season award but also won the PFA’s Fans’ Player of the Year in League Two.
2007/08: Miguel Comminges
Not many would have anticipated the this random free transfer signing by Paul Sturrock to be so effective but Guadeloupe international Comminges’ one and only season at Swindon was certainly worthy of the award.
Comminges was more-or-less a regular throughout the whole campaign making his debut as a substitute in the opening day 1-1 draw at Northampton Town. He would have to wait until the 1-1 draw at Hartlepool United in mid-September for his full debut. After that he was regular impressing througout.
The defender showed his appreciation to the Town fans for making his opening season in English football feel ‘like home’.
Swindon tried desperately to keep hold of Comminges but chairman Andrew Fitton blamed agent power for his move to Cardiff City.
2008/09: Simon Cox
A stunning individual season stuck in an awful team effort. Simon Cox was quite simply the only reason to watch Swindon Town during the 2008/09 campaign.
Despite he fact that Cox had endured two goal droughts of 7 and 6 games during the seaon tells you that when this striker was on form he was unstoppable.
He started from the off scoring in the 3-1 win over Tranmere Rovers on the opening day. As results kept going against the side, Cox kept on scoring.
Coxy scored three hat-tricks during the season ALL away from home!
01. 3-3 draw at Hartlepool United
02. 3-3 draw at Scunthorpe United
03. 4-3 win at Northampton Town
The latter triple was crucial in Danny Wilson’s effort to keep Town up.
01. 3-0 win at home to Southend United
02. 3-0 win at home to Hereford United
03. 2-1 win at home to Bristol Rovers
04. 2-2 draw at Peterborough United (his final match).
It was inevitable that Cox would leave the club. The winning bid came from West Bromwich Albion who had just been relegated from the Premiership.
Only Matt Heywood, Sam Parkin (first win) and Lee Peacock stayed with the club after winning the accolade!
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