RELEGATION has delivered a nasty sting in the tail of John Goddard’s first full season in League football, but the Town midfielder is determined to be at the vanguard of the County Ground rebuilding process next season.
While squad upheaval is inevitable this summer once the formalities of today’s final League One engagement at Charlton Athletic (noon) are out of the way, the 23-year-old will be part of a rump of players remaining to try and orchestrate the campaign to get out of the bottom tier next term.
With 47 appearances to his name in this campaign - only goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux can match that tally - the former Reading youth ace has enjoyed a successful reintroduction to the full-time game, but accepts Town’s drop has cast a huge shadow over any sense of personal achievement.
Goddard though, has committed himself to ensuring the club is not still wallowing in grief by the time the 2017-18 season kicks off in August.
“(There are) no regrets at all,’’ he said of his decision to sign for Town from Woking last summer.
“It’s a good club, it just needs to get back in the right direction.
“I think you could look through any club and it’s history and there are ups and downs, there are promotions and relegations.
“It’s the cycle of football and it’s not pretty.
“It’s not nice and, of course, as players and staff and supporters, you want to be on that upward curve the whole time.
“It just doesn’t happen like that sometimes.
“I’ve enjoyed my season here. There are a lot of good people at the club trying to do good things and it’s just important now that, in my opinion, we use relegation as a chance to regroup in League Two and change the mentality and try and turn it into a winning dressing room and a winning club.
“I’d have liked to have a more successful first season, but there’s still time to turn it around and have a good career here.’’ With the likes of skipper Nathan Thompson and striker Jonathan Obika seemingly heading for Wiltshire exits, Town will likely be shorn of experience, but whatever the shape of the squad next season, Goddard is determined to be at the forefront of a new outlook.
“Because of the situation in the changing room, there is going to be a big turnaround in players, so it will be important that we get the group together and try and install a winning mentality in the group, try and lead it to a successful season,’’ added the former England C player, who is contracted until 2019.
“Although it’s not good when you lose players, sometimes it can freshen things up and give a bit of energy to the club.
“It’s important for myself that there is no hangover from the relegation.
“As far as I’m concerned, you regroup in the summer, you go to the gym and you work hard with a clean slate and go again and try and do you best next season.
“It will be up to players like myself, who will still be at the club, to try and get the (new) group of players together in League Two and change the mentality a little bit so we can get wins and build on them and get those consecutive results you need.’’