May 082018
 

I had considered holding this back until the morning, and perhaps making a more measured assessment of the situation. But I just want to get it off my chest.

Tonight’s game against Southampton, which we lost 0 – 1 was an appalling display that deserved to end in defeat. Hoofing balls into the box when there’s nobody above 5′ 8″ in a white shirt anywhere near just about sums up where the Swans are at. The Ayew brothers are tricky footballers . . . who seem to exist in their own little world, divorced from the rest of the team.

But let’s talk about the owners, Americans Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan, who see sport as a business like any other, know little about football/soccer and fuck all about Swansea City. All they see is a club in the richest league on earth with lots of money coming in, much of which can be siphoned in their direction.

Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan. Picture courtesy of WalesOnline.

Because beyond buying a controlling interest in a valuable asset I doubt if they have put any money of their own into the club. For example, during the protracted transfer of Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton last summer the club desperately needed money to sign other players.

But we had to wait until we finally sold our most influential player, the one who’d saved us from relegation the previous season, which didn’t happen until close to the deadline.

We also lost our top scorer, Fernando Llorente.

So who did we replace them with? Well, there was Renato Sanches, on loan from Bayern Munich. That worked out well, didn’t it? Then there was Roque Mesa from Las Palmas, another success. Erwin Mulder from Heerenveen . . . Yes, of course, there was Wilfried Bony, who the fans were glad to see back, but he’s been injured almost the whole season!

Of the players who’ve represented us this season, some have made massive efforts to keep us up. Federico Fernandez comes to mind, he deserved the captain’s armband. But none deserves praise more than Lukasz Fabianski, without whom we’d have been relegated by February.

What can be said in favour of Kaplan and Levien? Well . . . they did a deal with the council over the stadium, leasing it for 37 years at £300,000 a year. A good deal for the council and the council tax payers of Swansea (who’d been subsidising the stadium), but unless they have ambitious alternative uses for the Liberty Stadium it’s a bad deal for a Championship club.

Though even after signing the deal it was made clear by Kaplan and Levien’s commercial manager in Swansea, Chris Pearlman, that the lease agreement was the extent of any investment in the stadium.

So the Premiership dream is over. It’ll come round again in another thirty years, by which time I’ll be watching the eternal contest between Heaven United and Hell Rovers. (Though I’m not sure who I’ll be supporting.)

So, off you go Jason Levien, Steve Kaplan and Chris Pearlman. Thanks for nothing, you were a complete disaster. You bloodsuckers can sod off pronto.

Huw Jenkins and the rest, we’re all grateful for what you did, Huw, rescuing the club and all that, but in the end you got well paid for it when you sold out to Kaplan and Levien. So your time is up.

Carlos Carvalhal, our manager; you seem a tidy bloke, Carlos, but I’m naive enough to believe that games are won by scoring goals. And next season Swans will need a manager as naive as me. Oh, yes, and goal scorers. You know, players who can place the ball in the opponent’s goal.

The only blameless ones are the fans, the poor buggers for whom relegation would have been hard enough to bear at any time, but for it to happen the same season Cardiff get promoted to the Premier League!

Of course there’ll be crocodile tears from the ‘Welsh’ media, but for most people in Cardiff this is how it should be in Wales, this is the ‘natural order’ of things – Cardiff on top, Swansea playing second fiddle, Newport somewhere below us, then Wrexham, Merthyr, and all the other provincial towns.

Yes, I know, there’s still a remote, mathematical possibility we can stay up if we beat Stoke and Huddersfield lose their last two matches. But do we deserve it? And if we do stay up, with the same people owning and running the club, wouldn’t we just be postponing relegation for another season?

The best thing for the club now, and the city, would be to get relegated, have a major clear-out of owners, board, manager and most of the players, then start afresh next season.

Come on, you Swans!!

♦ end ♦

UPDATE 10.05.2018 21:49 : After Huddersfield’s dogged draw against one-touch-but-going-nowhere Chelsea at Stamford Bridge tonight Swans are definitely relegated. The fightback starts now!

  6 Responses to “Swans as good as relegated (Update: ARE relegated)”

  1.  

    Not a good day at the office for you Jac. I got a bit of a sinking feeling myself, but as a dedicated Llanelli Scarlets man of 50 years or so, I won’t dwell on it, especially as we stand a good chance of being Pro 14 league winners for the second year running.

    The Swans had a good run. The fact that they stayed up for what is it? Eight years was a miracle in itself. They can hold their heads up high. Cardiff will probably be back down with them at the end of next season

    Cheer up – there’s always politics to put a smile on our faces!

  2.  

    We are relegated because I simply don’t see us being able to score, even against relegated Stoke. As my Friend put it : wrong formation
    wrong tatics
    no game plan
    next to no fight
    terrible

    Sums up last night

  3.  

    I’m not hugely analytical when it comes to round ball but it’s been amply evident for last couple of seasons that the inability to score goals has been a major flaw. Thus flogging Sigurdsson to a team like Everton was very bad business especially as it was evident there was no-one coming in with his flair and motivational powers. His key role in last season’s great escape was clear for all to see. Maybe he wanted out so fair enough, but to leave it to last minute and not have a class replacement or a hungry “beast” to organise and lead on the field showed a naivety that was very likely to lead to an unhappy outcome.

    Football is no different to other team games in that it involves team building. Yet many clubs, not just the Swans, seem to pick up odd players on the global market and expect them to gel together in some mysterious way. Sometimes I get the impression that guys are attractive just cos their names are exotic ! and get bought with little or no appraisal of key attributes and how they might fit into a bigger pattern of team play and function.

    Rugby also has its similar behavioural characteristics with “big names” proving to be expensive duds when put into harness alongside local lads. Big Boks with unpronounceable names seem to turn into heaps of lard when rubbing up against the likes of AWJ, and fliers from OZ or other farflung sources failed to give or take a pass when inserted into the Pieman’s Blues backline, while boys from Ponty or Aberdare found it hard to get recognition. The improvement in the Blues is much down to more Welsh boys breaking through, even Anscombe finding it hard to get his preferred shirt, or any shirt at times.

    Back to the source of your private grief. With a bit of planning and serious commitment from those Yanks the Swans could get back up. Whether they do so a la Bluebirds, QPR, Hull & sundry others i.e up & down in regular repetitive pattern, or manage to build for another 5 – 10 year sojourn will depend on that commitment. To get into the top 8-10 on a sustained basis, which may give access to top 4-6 occasionally requires yet another step change and a bigger financial commitment which seems to escalate yearly.

    •  

      “Commitment from those Yanks”!!! Now you are taking the piss!

      •  

        Now they aren’t operating at top table, the Yanks might be persuaded to let it go to a consortium or individual more in tune with the nature of the game and the English Leagues (Prem & below ) in particular. Whoever has the club will have to “Commit” otherwise there will be a rapid rush to the bottom and they will not realise value if they exit at a later date. That rule of business applies to all groups who invest in sport. Frankly I’m surprised that bigger bubbles haven’t burst already in the crazy world of football finance.

  4.  

    […] a miracle, Swansea City are relegated from the English Premier League and Jac o’ the North analyses what went […]

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