Between them, former Wales, Swindon Town and Reading full-back Paul Bodin and son Billy have shared almost 30 years at the County Ground. Paul served the club on two occasions as a player and he scored a penalty in the Play-Off final in 1993 that sent the Robins into the Premier League before assuming a coaching role and, at one stage, a caretaker manager role. Now, son Billy is looking to follow in his footsteps.

"I've been at Swindon since I was eight-years-old," explains Billy. "Before that I would go and watch my dad play and he's now been a coach at the club for about eight years. When I was younger I always wanted to play for the club and having been there since a young age it was always my aim to break into the first-team and do as well as I could."

There have been several occasions this season that will have given Billy good cause for thinking he had finally made a mark on the club in his own right. He enjoyed a run in the team at the beginning of the season and showed glimpses of promise, a smart brain coupled with a delightful touch. Yet it wasn't until he returned to the club after a successful spell at Torquay United, when he scored a spectacular goal that remains on his Sky+, that he felt he had truly arrived in his own right.

Against Crawley Town in February in a top-of-the-table clash, Bodin received the ball from a throw-in. He turned his defender with a neat dummy before unleashing a 25-yard half volley that rocketed into the net and doubled Swindon's advantage. The result saw them leapfrog Crawley in the table.

At full-time, a beaming Bodin was met by his proud dad in the players' tunnel.

"It's nice for him to come and watch me. He has been in the game so long he knows everything there is to know, but to score that night was great because he hadn't seen me play in previous games; it was a nice moment. I love it when he watches me because he used to be my manager when I was younger. Hopefully he can keep watching me, continuing with the Play-Offs this weekend."

That Bodin has impressed in the sporting arena should come as no surprise. "My mum played basketball for Wales," he admits. His dad played for Wales, too of course, and while he admits the ability to play with the ball in his hands wasn't passed down from his mother - "I'm not the best at basketball!" - a passion for football existed from an early age.

"My mum and dad always said that from the age of two I was always wanting to kick a ball about. As soon as I could walk I had a ball at my feet. I was about five or six when I started going to games most weeks to watch dad play. I remember we went to watch him at Reading, that's when I remember thinking that he was playing at a good level."

Now a footballer in his own right, Billy is still reminded of his dad's achievements. "Whenever we go out for a meal people are always stopping him," he admits. "They always tell me what a player he was. I can only really remember him at the end of his career and he wasn't the quickest by then! I always have a bit of banter with him about that. But I know what a good player he was and how much the supporters love him.

"It was quite cool having a dad as a footballer, even more so when he became a manager. People always ask me questions like whether or not I know who the best player was he ever played against. I never asked him questions like that, he's just always been my dad.

"But being a footballer is the greatest job in the world and to know my dad played at a high level doing that is great. For me to follow him would be a great achievement and I'll always try and do as best I can."

Images of Swindon's most successful moments hang in the players' tunnel and act as a further reminder of what his dad achieved.

"Some of the lads used to take the mic out his moustache... saying I'd have one. But it's always good to see what he achieved. I walk past those pictures every day and it brings back memories not only of how well he did, but also for me going to watch him."

Bodin junior has a way to go before he can say he has followed successfully in his father's footsteps, but this year has been a step in the right direction. Before joining Crewe Alexandra on loan, for whom this weekend he'll be attempting to defeat a number of former Swindon contacts at Southend United, Bodin enjoyed a successful spell under the watchful eye of one of his dad's former team-mates, Martin Ling, at Torquay.

"Martin watched me a few times when I was younger. When he heard I was available to go on loan he called me straight away and it was a great opportunity. I enjoyed it there and I can't praise Martin [Ling] enough for what he has done for Torquay. He gave me the opportunity to play games and gain some valuable experience."

Bodin returned to Swindon a better player and now he has two - potentially three - games to leave his mark at Crewe.

"My dad has played a few Play-Off games in his career and obviously went to Wembley once or twice. The most memorable moment was the penalty that took Swindon into the Premiership and I'd love to make him proud by helping Crewe go up as well."

If he's successful Bodin can lay claim to have had a hand in three successful campaigns in one. Swindon were crowned League 2 champions while both loan clubs Crewe and Torquay finished in the Play-Off positions. Success in the next three games remains Bodin's immediate target before the quest to secure an extended contract at Swindon. Yet the holy grail remains an international cap, of which his dad won 23. Just don't mention THAT penalty! [Paul missed a crucial penalty against Romania on a World Cup '94 qualifier.]

"It's a bit of a sore subject! I don't bring it up anymore. I used to and I'd get a clip round the ear!" he laughs. "But I've played about 15 games for the Under-21s and if I can have a good season next year I'll be trying to push for the senior team. That would be one of the greatest things I could achieve in my career. If I could get into the team at a young age it would give me a great opportunity to try and stay there."

One for thing's for sure, whether it's for club or country Billy doesn't have to look too far for inspiration.

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