SWINDON Town's history books are littered with accounts of players who have represented the club for years on end. This lot haven't. For good or for bad, here are 17 Swindon Town one-appearance wonders.
1. Mauro Almeida vs Brentford, September 2007
The Portuguese was one of the “Three Amigos” signed by Town as part of the BEST Holdings takeover saga six and a half years ago, making his debut within hours of penning a deal at the County Ground.
He was a defender but couldn’t really defend and managed to get on the bench on one further occasion, three months later, before riding off into the sunset to fabulous Sligo Rovers.
2. Adrian Bakalli vs Stoke City, March 2001
The Belgian produced perhaps the most forgettable debut in living history. He joined on a short-term deal and knew he had to impress to earn a longer stay in Wiltshire.
That he was part of a back line that conceded four first-half goals at the Britannia Stadium, was booked, got substituted at the break and never featured for the Robins again was probably not part of his grand plan.
3. George Ephgrave, vs Clapton Orient, April 1939
You spend all week preparing for your big break in the Swindon Town first team, get a hold of your nerves, dust off your goalie gloves and get ready to make an impression. And then you concede five goals.
It was the worst possible start to life with the Robins for the goalkeeper. Ephgrave was part of the Town team beaten 5-0 in London and that was the beginning and the end. He never played for the club again.
4. Ray Barlow, vs unknown, 1945
Barlow went on to make over 400 appearances for West Bromwich Albion and also played for England. Thanks to www.swindon-town-fc.co.uk we also know he played for Swindon once at the end of the Second World Ward – scoring twice from left half-back.
5. Chris Smith, vs Bradford, May 2012
The second winner of Samsung’s Win A Pro Contract competition went one better than his predecessor Jordan Pavett, in that he actually played for Swindon, but his run-out in the dead-rubber final game of the season at Valley Parade was his only appearance for Town.
6. Dean Casserley, vs Brentford, January 1987
Only 1,100 fans pitched up at Griffin Park to watch the centre-back, in illustrious company with the likes of Colin Calderwood, Steve White, Fraser Digby and David Hockaday, concede four goals as they were beaten in the Football League Trophy.
Casserely, a product of the club’s youth academy, took the traditional route out of the pro game after that – with spells at Cirencester Town and Swindon Supermarine.
7. Geoff Crook, vs Bath City, November 1960
As a goalkeeper, you’d rather not concede four goals on debut. Crook did just that against the might of Bath in an FA Cup tie. Thankfully for the stopper, Town managed six to win the tie but, on the flipside, Crook never played for the Robins again.
8. Andy Lonergan, vs Hereford Utd, November 2006
What is it with goalkeepers and one-appearance wonders? Lonergan was drafted in as caretaker manager Ady Williams’ only signing, figured between the sticks as Town were beaten by the might of Hereford United.
Lonergan was soon sent back to parent club Preston after suffering blurred vision in a Wiltshire Premier Shield clash with Salisbury. A worthwhile loan, then.
9. Billy Brewer, vs Cardiff City, December 1913
Brewer’s is a tragic one-game wonder story. The centre-forward made his debut against Cardiff but not long after was conscripted by the British army.
A sergeant in the Wiltshire regiment, Brewer was killed in action within weeks of the outbreak of the Great War, in November 1914.
10. Ronald McDonald, vs Bournemouth & Boscombe, September 1934
Not many people know this but the fast food clown was once a left-back and, 80 years ago, he made a solitary appearance for Town in a 3-0 defeat at Bournemouth. Reports suggested that his oversized boots and giant red nose got in the way.
You’re right, it’s all nonsense, but we like the idea.
11. Arnold Broadhead, vs Gillingham, 1924
How Swindon would kill (not literally, we hope) for a goals to games ratio of Broadhead right now. The forward registered twice against fierce rivals Gillingham, back in the days when the Gills were just another team in Kent, in his only match for the club.
12. Danny Blanchflower, vs unknown, 1946
Blanchflower went on to play for Northern Ireland and captained Spurs to the double in 1961, so the fact he was drafted in as a ringer at the end of the Second World War by Town probably didn’t feature high on his list of career achievements.
13. Alex Meechan, vs Wolves, October 1997
Meechan must hold the record for the fewest number of minutes on the pitch of all of our one-appearance wonders.
The Town youth academy product came off the bench in the final minute of a 3-1 defeat to Wolves, barely got a touch, and never saw the light of the first team again, released as he was the following summer.
14. Lloyd Opara, vs Rushden & Diamonds, August 2004
Opara impressed in the reserves, earned a pro deal, played once for an hour in victory over Rushden and then left the following month saying he simply couldn’t settle in Swindon.
15. LNT Pearce, vs Marlow, October 1888
The earliest example we can find of a one-appearance wonder, Mr Pearce (no one knows his real name) was part of a Town team that lost 5-2 to Marlow in the FA Cup.
16. Alistair Sperring, vs Bristol Rovers, August 1984
Sperring came in on loan three days before this League Cup clash against local rivals Rovers and subsequently let in five goals in a 5-1 defeat, didn’t play for the club again and went back to parent club Southampton the following month.
There really is a trend of rotten luck for keepers at Swindon.
17. John Sutton, vs Crewe Alexandra, December 2002
The younger brother of former England international Chris, Sutton was only on Town’s books for 10 days – during which time he proved that goalscoring talent isn’t necessarily genetic, Sutton came off the bench against Crewe, didn’t score, barely managed to hold the ball up and was quickly discounted as a feasible option.