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Son of Town legend Paul, striker Billy Bodin was first called up to the Town's first team squad when an injury crisis left manager Danny Wilson with only one fit recognised striker to take to Southampton in March 2010. Bodin had already made his international debut a year previously, when he appeared for the Welsh under-21 squad against Northern Ireland in February 2009. He signed his first professional contract - a one year deal - in April 2010.
He went on to make his debut the following season, as a late substitute in a 2-1 defeat at Dagenham and Redbridge in October 2010 - and after two more appearances from the bench towards the end of the season, it was actually his father who handed him his first League start - with both Wilson and then Paul Hart departing as manager, and with Swindon's relegation to League Two confirmed, Paul Bodin took over as caretaker - promising to blood some of the club's youngsters, Bodin featured in the final two games of the season, at home to Oldham and away to Tranmere.
There was a huge turnaround in the playing staff over the pre-season, and though Bodin was obviously closer to a first team place, it was widely expected that new boss Paolo di Canio would choose from his new signings (especially when di Canio stated that he saw Bodin as more of a winger than a striker) - and Bodin himself admitted that he may need to go out on loan for regular first team football. However, after impressing the Italian in pre-season training, Bodin was surprisingly handed a starting spot in attack on the opening day of the 2011/12 season in a 3-0 win at Crewe, only to miss a Carling Cup tie at Bristol City on Wales under-21 duty.
After that opening day appearance, di Canio stated that he was unlikely to send Bodin out on loan after all - but when Swindon lost the following two league games, and di Canio's search for strikers seemed to be complete with the signings of Leon Clarke and Lukas Magera, by the end of the month, Bodin had joined Torquay on a temporary deal until January. Bodin stated that he wanted to use the loan to prove himself to di Canio - and he impressed in a Torquay shirt - after registering his first senior goal in mid-September, he said though it was nice to score, it was a shame that the goal wasn't for Swindon.
When the loan deal expired, it wasn't renewed despite obvious interest from the Gulls - and Bodin was handed a start immediately, pairing up with Paul Benson for a trip to Rotherham - di Canio stating that he knew that the home defence was slow, and that Bodin's pace could hurt them, the game ending in a 2-1 victory. At the end of the month, Bodin came off the bench in a crucial promotion clash at Southend, and netted his first goal in Town colours, in front of the away support, helping Swindon to a superb 4-1 win that saw them move into the promotion places. Bodin's second goal came in his very next game - another top-of-the-table affair against Crawley - where he scored the Town's second with a delightful diagonal dipping effort from outside the area, as they went on to win 3-0.
Once again, di Canio warned off any offers for the forward - putting a £250,000 price tag on his head when Torquay boss and former Town favourite Martin Ling said that he would make one final effort to clinch his signing - Bodin also seemed keen to stay, saying that his aim was to be offered a new contract when his expired at the end of the season. A month later though, after Bodin netted his third of the season against Dagenham, Jonathan Tehoue arrived on loan, and Bodin was allowed to leave again, joining Crewe until the end of the season. Bodin admitted his disappointment that he may miss out on experiencing promotion with Swindon, but once again reiterated his desire to stay at his hometown club. As it was Bodin did get to celebrate promotion after all - as the Alex made a late dash for the final play-off place, winning the final against Cheltenham - a game which clashed with Bodin's first call-up to the senior Welsh squad, and though he opted to go to Wembley with Crewe, he failed to get off the bench - a decision he later expressed regret for.
When he returned to the County Ground, di Canio offered Bodin a two year deal - but without a guarantee of first team football, the forward delayed his decision - when the deal remained unsigned, Bodin was not called back for pre-season training, prompting his father, Town youth team boss Paul, to complain to di Canio. The Town manager was scathing in his response - after Billy agreed to join Torquay in a £70,000 switch, di Canio said it was likely that his father had advised him to move, and that he didn't see why Swindon should train a player that didn't want to sign for them. Billy later confirmed that the reason he left was for more first team football, and that he felt he could have made more of an impression at Swindon if he had a better relationship with the Town boss - it later emerged that a large chunk of his transfer fee had been donated by an elderly Torquay fan, specifically to bring him back to Plainmoor.
date of birth