|view Ward's match-by-match record|
A member of the Millwall side that beat Swindon in the League One Play-Off Final in 2010, experienced defender Ward joined on a four month loan deal with a view to a permanent move on transfer deadline day in August 2012 - stating that he joined the Town for a “new challenge”, and that he was impressed by the club’s ambition. Ward was one of four players that made their debuts in a 1-0 defeat at Oxford in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, and having been involved in a mix-up with fellow centre back Aden Flint that led to the winning goal, Ward harshly took significant criticism from a section of the Town’s support who blamed him for the defeat to their local rivals.
Despite his less than impressive start, Ward soon became a mainstay of the centre of defence - missing just four games in the two months after signing (all of which ended in defeat for the Town), he partnered four different players at the heart of the defence - Alan McCormack, Aden Flint, Troy Archibald-Henville and Joe Devera all selected alongside him. From the end of October, Ward was ever-present until the end of the season - missing only the Carling Cup defeat at the hands of Aston Villa, having played for Millwall in an earlier round of the competition.
In mid-November, Ward netted his first goal for the club - a close range strike to reinstate a two goal lead in an eventual 4-1 victory over Yeovil, and he soon stated that he would like to remain at the club on a permanent basis - eventually signing an eighteen month deal on a free transfer just before his loan period expired in January, Town boss Paolo di Canio calling him a “very good professional” and that he had proved to be the “player that we want”. Soon after, Ward revealed his relief at leaving the Den - stating that he had not been enjoying his football there for a while, having been treated “like a schoolboy”.
The following month though, circumstances took a surprising twist for Swindon and Ward in particular - with the club in the middle of a takeover deal, di Canio resigned - his backroom staff following him just after leading the Town to the top of the League One table - and with no board to appoint a new boss, Ward agreed to become joint caretaker manager with fellow senior pro, Tommy Miller. With significant turmoil behind the scenes, the experiment wasn’t particularly successful - Swindon taking just one point from their two games in charge - but after the newly installed owners appointed Kevin MacDonald as their new boss, Ward stated that it had been a “great experience”, and that he would do it all again if asked. The weight from his shoulders was lifted further in MacDonald’s first game in charge - Ward netting an injury time winner as Swindon came from behind with two late goals to win at Coventry. Unfortunately, over the coming months, Swindon were unable to maintain their push for the automatic promotion slots, and their season eventually ended in the Play-Off semi-finals, losing to Brentford in a penalty shoot out.
With the Town going under austerity measures during the close season, it seemed that Ward would leave the club over the summer along with a number of other senior professionals - interest coming from a number of different clubs, the most notable being Brentford themselves , whom the Swindon Advertiser reported that Ward was set to sign for. By the end of July though, it was revealed that Ward had turned the Bees down in order to stay at Swindon - and shortly after being named as the club’s new captain, Ward signed a fresh two year deal - accepting a pay cut in the process - Swindon committed to helping Ward through his UEFA badges in preparation for a future career in coaching.
Ward remained a stalwart of the Town first team through the 2013/14 season in which Town narrowly missed out on a second successive playoff finish under Mark Cooper, who took over after Kevin McDonald’s surprise resignation. Most often, he was partnered with Tottenham loanee Grant Hall and asked to guide a young team form into a cohesive unit, a job that was done pretty well. One perhaps unusual part of his leadership role seemed to be evangelism for the then popular Paleo diet, which became a regular topic of conversations in his media obligations as he credited it for his longevity in the game. It seemed to work as Ward played 45 games across all competitions before March, his final start in a Town shirt coming in the 4-1 loss to Wolves on 11th March. Ward was replaced by young loanee Jack Stephens for the rest of the season.
Ward’s third season at Town saw him frozen out of the first team squad before joining Crawley Town on loan in January. He carried on playing well into his late thirties with Yeovil and Hemel Hempstead, and went on to run his own soccer school in Hitchin.
date of birth