Once model club now taking its medicine - Interview
Friday, 28th Sep 2018 08:59 by Clive Whittingham
Swansea City are trying to arrest a decline several years in the making, with swathing budget cuts and a promising new manager in Graham Potter. Phil from Planet Swans talks us through the latest.
Swansea were once a model club held up for others to aspire to, but seemed to have been in decline for a little while before relegation was confirmed last year - where did it all go wrong?
If you were to pinpoint the one moment in time then it was probably the sacking of Michael Laudrup and the appointment of Garry Monk. Maybe it wasn't obvious at the time but that was the point where the playing style seemed to change and it has gone gradually back over several years until - as you say - relegation came last summer. It wasn't all that simple though, the local board that had served us so well sold up to some hedge fund investors and they did it behind the back of the supporters’ trust which created bad feeling that has never completely gone away. Nobody was ever going to begrudge them cashing in on the basis that they put their money in when the club was on its arse but to do it against the philosophies that had stood us so well will always leave a bad taste in the mouth.
How did the post relegation summer go?
Simple, we sold lots and bought very little. Relegation left a massive hole in our cashflow and it was never going to be easy. We came out with players with bad attitudes and a desire to move on and, as I suspect you know too well, when that happens they hold the aces and things never go to plan. There is very little left in our first time from last season (many will tell you that is no bad thing) but it was painful to watch especially when we didn't spend a great deal even to look as if there was ambition. Balancing the books needs to be done but there was a feeling that it went too far
Assess your start to the season for us...
We have performed better than I think we expected. Some good wins, good grittiness amongst the team and a superb spirit. Some of the youngsters we have bought in from the academy have stepped up and whilst we may not challenge at the top many are relieved that we are probably not going to struggle at the bottom and become this season's Sunderland. Hopefully not anyway!
What did you make of the Potter appointment at the time and how has he done so far?
This was a real sign that we were going back to what we did well. A hungry manager with good philosophies and a belief in youth and not the Premier League mentality of spend spend spend, largely on mercenaries. As said before he has done brilliantly so far with a tight budget but we now need to build on what is a decent enough foundation
Is an immediate return likely? The parachute payment system kind of pressure you to get back as quickly as possible but what's the general feeling at Swansea?
No I don't think it is. The club needs to stabilise and ensure that we put some of the spends of the Premier League behind us. The view seems to be we are doing that all in one go and it’s frustrating to watch. But we have been at rock bottom twice, we cannot afford to go there again. It will be interesting to see what happens in January if we are pushing around the play offs whether we may take a different view
Stand out players and weak links in the side?
Joe Rodon has come in at the back and done brilliantly and stands out for me at the moment. Up front McBurnie scores goals but can fade in and out of the game (he isn't helped by our lack of cutting edge at times). Our midfield because of that lack of cutting edge is not as strong as we need it to be sadly.
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