We can’t help but see this summer 2022 signing as a bit of a coup; defender Dan Sweeney coming to us from Forest Green Rovers. If you read that in isolation, you’ll think we’d taken a negative poke at our standing in the world. After all, how did FGR rise above us in the grand scheme of things? Well, they did that by winning the 2021-2 League Two title. Given the lad was a part of that odyssey, he was giving up a shot at League One football by joining us. That’s quite nice to know, innit. And it’d be lovely if he could share some of that magic with us going into the 2022-3 campaign.
“Tall, muscular and athletic, Dan Sweeney plays with guts and determination” – so said FGR of their former charge. We think that first bit is the modern variation of big, strong, and physical. And we’re no stranger to those attributes. In fact, they served us quite well once upon a time. Anyway, the defender said after signing for us: “The manager has said what he wants to achieve at this club, and I want to be a part of that. His ambitions match mine as a player. I had a successful season last year, and I’m hoping my time here can be successful too. I want to be at the top again.”
Dan Sweeney: Before Boro’
FGR were actually Sweeney’s first real taste of Football League action. While he started out with AFC Wimbledon as an academy prospect, he didn’t get beyond training with the first team. He left the Dons in 2013 and moved to Kingstonian for a couple of years, followed by Dulwich Hamlet. It was a brief spell at the Hamlet, however; Maidstone United coming in for him just two months down the line. At the Stones, he’d last slightly longer. In fact, it was about a year until Barnet came zooming around the M25 looking to snap up his services.
Sweeney really came into his own at Barnet. We’d argue that you don’t have to do much these days to look good down there, but let’s not do the defender a disservice. You can also argue that it takes a lot to stand out for the Bees in a way that’ll earn you a move upwards. Sweeney did just that; signing for Forest Green on 1 July 2020. And it started a highly successful two-year stay with the club. The first year saw them challenge in the playoffs, while the second saw ’em go even better and win the division. If his only taste of Football League life is promotion-chasing, we’re all for it.