|view Gurney's match-by-match record
Gurney joined the club on a Bosman free transfer during the 2001/02 pre-season - one of Andy King's last signings before his first spell in charge came to an end.
Gurney began his Swindon career as a sweeper - a position where he never really looked safe, and from which he provided a number of dodgy backpasses. A change in formation to 4-4-2 saw Gurney move out to a right-back slot, and the Town began to benefit from his ability to get forward. his first season brought six goals - a good return - though unfortunately this was outweighed by the number of cards he received - twelve yellows and one red put him at the top of the division's disciplinary table.
His 2002/03 campaign started late, due to a suspension carried over from the previous season, and when he did return to action, it coincided with a club record run of defeats. This led to an argument between some Town players and fans during a match at Cheltenham, in which Gurney was heavily involved, and it left some Town fans to question whether Gurney would be able to play for the club again. Gurney made a public apology, and continued in the side, and went on to produce some of his best form for the club.
Another change in formation part-way through the season moved Gurney to the right-side of a back three, and he discovered an ability to take free-kicks - and though he possessed a very powerful shot, his best efforts came with curled efforts, which resulted in goals at away games with Plymouth and Tranmere. His tally at the end of the season was an impressive nine, which made him joint second top-scorer, behind Sam Parkin and level with Danny Invincibile.
Gurney moved back to a sweeper role at the start of the 2003/2004 season, and was also utilised in midfield, before a switch to a 4-4-2 formation, coupled with the arrival of Sean O'Hanlon, saw him move back to the right-back spot. He bagged eight more goals during the season, including a great effort at home to Wrexham in September which proved to be the winner, and a brilliant, curling 30 yard free-kick in the Carling Cup tie at Leeds. After misses by both Parkin and Tommy Mooney, Gurney also found himself installed as the club's penalty taker - and though he scored in games against Rushden and Wycombe (twice), he had no luck in two penalty shoot outs - hitting the post with crucial spot kicks in both the Leeds game and in the Play-Off semi-final at Brighton - both of which condemned the Town to defeat. Gurney also rediscovered his petulant streak during the season, picking up fourteen yellows and one red card, and completely lost it on occasions - most notably in the FA Cup defeat at Wycombe, the 2-1 loss at Plymouth (when it looked as though he might attack the linesman after being sent off), and in the defeat at Q.P.R..
Gurney seemed to suffer a dip in form toward the end of that season that carried forward into the 2004/2005 campaign, and he found himself as a bit of a fans' scapegoat for a period - not helped by both his petulance and his intent on shooting speculatively from long range when there were better options ahead of him. Still though, his departure from the club was a complete surprise - as a first-team regular, he joined Swansea on a free transfer in September 2004 - but with manager Andy King explaining that the Town couldn't afford to match Swansea's offer (despite him still having a year left on his deal), rumours began to circulate on the internet that an alleged personal feud with a team-mate was the real reason for his departure.
Surprisingly though, it was less than a year before Gurney returned to the County Ground. Though Andy King denied rumours that he would attempt to re-sign him when he was transfer-listed by Swansea in May, he did admit that he had kept in touch throughout his time there - and at the end of August, he moved to bring him back on a four month loan deal. Gurney was very quickly back to his usual ways - giving the Town some steel, but at the same time some disciplinary issues - conceding a penalty and getting booked on his second debut against Yeovil, before becoming the first loan captain of a Swindon team when he took over from the injured Sean O'Hanlon in his second game back. It took just five games for Gurney to register his first sending off, when perhaps harshly, he was adjudged to have committed a professional foul at Bournemouth.
By the time Gurney returned from his three game ban, King had been relieved of his duties as manager, and new boss Iffy Onuora used Gurney to strengthen the centre of midfield - something King had been criticised for doing in the past. Nevertheless, though Gurney marked his return with a booking for which he was lucky not to see red at Brentford, results began to improve - and Gurney himself chipped in with a couple of goals - a penalty at high-flying Huddersfield that earned the Town a draw, and the opener in an FA Cup tie with Boston.
A fifth booking of the season forced Gurney out of a relegation battle with Rotherham in early December - then, an Achilles injury kept him sidelined for a longer period - and by the time he returned, he'd missed almost the whole of the last month of his loan deal. With Gurney opening admitting he would like to stay at Swindon, his final chance to impress came against his own employers Swansea, who bizarrely allowed him to play against them on the final day of 2005. The Swansea supporters jeered him throughout the 0-0 draw - the following day, his loan period expired, and he returned to Wales. He was widely expected to sign a permanent deal quickly, but it was over two weeks later when he did finally confirm his return to the County Ground, settling his contract at Swansea before rejoining on an eighteen month contract.
As soon as he was available, Gurney took up a central midfield position, until a switch in formation to a 3-5-2 in March saw his drop back to the sweeper position he occupied at the start of his Town career. A two game suspension followed at the end of the month, after he picked up his tenth yellow card of the season. With the Town struggling, Gurney was one of few players who were willing to attempt to play football - often coming back to pick the ball up from goalkeeper Rhys Evans - but with little movement in front of him, he often had no other option than play a longer ball upfield. With the Town struggling at the bottom of the table, some fans rather harshly turned on Gurney again, and in a match against Brentford at the end of the season, with the Town 3-1 down and almost assured of relegation, Gurney reacted to a band of fans in the Town End. He was dropped to the bench for the next match at Bristol City, and missed the final game of the season against Huddersfield.
Over the summer, Gurney underwent ankle surgery, and a long recovery period prevented him from playing a full part in new boss Dennis Wise's pre-season fitness programme. A visit to a specialist highlighted the need for an injection in the ankle, which took place late in July. A failed attempt at a return to reserve team action resulted in another operation for Gurney, who was forced to go through the pre-season routine again. This attempted return came to an end in November, when Gurney admitted defeat and hung up his boots, retiring from the game through injury.
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