|view Douglas's match-by-match record|
In what was seen as a major coup for Swindon, Douglas signed for the club in July 2009, though he was widely expected to sign for a Championship club after his contract at Leeds United expired. Douglas reportedly left Elland Road despite having been offered a new deal, with the club stating that there was a difference of opinion on the valuation of his services. Despite a debut hammering at Gillingham on the opening day of the season, Douglas was quick to install himself as a firm fans’ favourite, with his no-nonsense approach injecting a steel into the Town’s midfield that has been missing for some time. Following the debacle at Gillingham, Swindon went on a fourteen game unbeaten run - it was seen as no coincidence that the defeat that ended the run - a 2-0 home reverse against Hartlepool in October - coincided with the first game that Douglas had missed, after he was controversially sent off for violent conduct in a home draw against Millwall. As manager Danny Wilson admitted that he was missing Douglas’ influence in the centre of the park, Town’s appeal against the decision brought further anger - his original three match suspension being upgraded to four games, the appeal was deemed as frivolous by the FA Appeal Committee - leaving chairman Andrew Fitton slamming the FA’s behaviour as "appalling".
After a month out, Douglas returned to action in November, and played in every minute of the Town’s push for promotion - the only time missed being the last five minutes of the FA Cup tie at Wrexham. Come the end of the season, despite his failure to score becoming a talking point for Town followers (his only goal coming in a pre-season game at Luton), in a competitive season, Douglas scooped all three of the player of the year awards, as the Town reached the Play-Off Final. With regular captain Gordon Greer suspended, Douglas led the team out at Wembley, but having lost two previous finals at the national stadium, it proved not to be third time lucky - Douglas turning his back on the celebrations as Millwall triumphed over the Town 1-0.
When Greer departed over the summer, Douglas was the natural choice to succeed him as captain, and he continued in this role in the heart of the Town's midfield for the 2010/11 campaign. After starting every game up to mid-October, Douglas was forced to retire injured midway through the second half in a topsy-turvy match at Peterborough, with the Town 4-3 down in a game they would eventually lose 5-4. Douglas was later confirmed to have broken his toe - the injury keeping him out of action for a month, when, as soon as he was fit, he returned for a 2-1 win over Colchester. His season was further interrupted in December, when after missing an FA Cup tie at Crawley with a groin injury, he was sent off for a crunching challenge on the stroke of half-time in the replay - the tackle taking place right in front of the away dugout, prompting Crawley boss Steve Evans and his backroom staff to react - behaviour that Town boss Wilson felt led to the referee's decision. The resulting suspension, along with the bad weather, meant that Douglas was sidelined for another month, over the crucial Christmas period - and in the final game of his suspension, the Town gave arguably their best performance of the season, a 4-2 televised win at Charlton in early January. Not wishing to change a winning side, manager Wilson named Douglas on the bench for the game at Oldham the following Saturday, but when that resulted in defeat, the midfielder was quickly reinstalled to his position. Douglas also dismissed rumours that he may depart the club during the transfer window, stating that he was happy to stay at the County Ground.
Unfortunately, the Oldham game was the start of a run of eighteen games without a win for the Town, as they plummeted down the league standings - and Douglas was one of very few players who kept their place throughout. Early on in the run, Douglas branded some of Town's performances as "pathetic", and as the club slipped into the relegation zone in February, he stated that the players "got what they deserved" for a series of defeats. When the run finally ended in April, the Town were firmly entrenched in the relegation places - and Douglas came close to sealing a second victory in three games, when he struck the crossbar in the home game against Notts County, with a volley from outside the area, described by County boss Martin Allen as "the best he had ever seen". Within minutes, County had drawn level, and they eventually snatched the win having been second best for most of the game - all but ending any hopes Swindon had of survival. The following weekend was a bitter-sweet one for Douglas - though he finally broke his Town duck with another superb strike from outside the area at Sheffield Wednesday, Swindon lost 3-1, and relegation to the fourth tier was confirmed. Douglas later came out to apologise to the Town's supporters - history repeating itself for the Irishman, who had also got to a play-off final with Leeds, only to suffer relegation the following season also.
With the Town's fate sealed, and manager Paul Hart relieved of his duties, after playing in the penultimate match of the season against Oldham, caretaker boss Paul Bodin opted to leave Douglas out of the final game at Tranmere - speculation rife that this was to avoid having to pay a bonus to Douglas if he reached a certain number of appearances - which was later denied by the Town management. Despite the relegation, Douglas stated that he wanted to remain at the club, but with his contract up for renewal, it was up to the club to trigger the option they had of an extra year - and with no manager in place, his contract was allowed to expire, rumours saying that the club wanted to renegotiate the deal following demotion. By the time Paolo di Canio was appointed at the end of May, Douglas was on holiday in Australia, and it was still unclear as to whether he had a future at Swindon - that was until the end of June, when it was reported that Swindon were on the verge of finalising a deal to keep him at the club. Days after di Canio stated that he thought he could get the best out of the Irishman (comments seen by some as an indirect criticism of his performances the previous year), Douglas decided against re-signing at the Town, instead joining Brentford on a two year deal.
date of birth
defensive central midfield