|Time For The Monk Doubters to Get Behind the Team|
Written by BarneyLW on Wednesday, 13th Aug 2014 18:03
As a club, Swansea have never minded being written off by the rest of the football world. Its fun. For the last decade or so, it meant a smug feeling around the club for fans and players alike when promotion has been followed by promotion, which was followed by a European campaign and three successful seasons in highest tier of English (and Welsh) football.
Knowing fans who support various clubs often leads to fun debate. The usual topic of conversation leading to the same outcome: 'Your lot are going to struggle under Monk'.
Although, and there are some people who won't like to hear this, but when such a high proportion of Swansea fans I speak to share the same view, it can be sickening at times. Every fan is entitled to their opinion, so it is foolish to assume that the appointment of a 35 year old in his first management or even coaching job will have hardly been met with optimism by everyone. Monk himself admitted in an interview yesterday that people think he is destined to fail. Yet, one can assume he made such an assumption with not pessimism, but a burning desire to prove the doubters wrong. The unfortunate thing is, he may have to start with fans of his own club.
The temporary appointment was met with as much skepticism as his appointment as full time manager at the end of the season. Yet, it is worth baring in mind this is the same man who took over a relegation threatened club in February and guided them to a 12th place finish, with a higher points tally than the previous season, which is seen by some as the best season the Jacks have had in a generation. With a win over Cardiff in his first week, impressive performances against Liverpool and Napoli, a draw away at Arsenal and a win to all but seal Premier League survival at Newcastle. All of which he did while expecting twins!
There has always been love and respect between Monk and the fans, so the bad feeling is not an issue with the former skipper, just his credentials to keep Swansea in the league yet again. Experience (or lack of it) is an undoubted problem. Yet couldn't the exact same be said when previous managers Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers? The former, like Monk, had gone straight from playing into managing his first club, while the other, by his own admission could not get an interview at a League One club when he started his tenure in South Wales. Not only were both these managers met by nowhere near the amount of scrutiny as the current boss, but their credentials were certainly not still being questioned 8 months into their respective terms.
Every fan is a manager; everyone has their own views about what should be done and what shouldn't be done at their club. So before I am accused of treating Monk like a sort of Bedfordshire Mourinho, there are certain things this summer I have questioned.
Anyone who went to the Villareal game last Saturday will have been disappointed to have been so badly swept aside by the Spanish club, whilst admitting they were by far the better team on the day. While all Monk's signings this summer have been met with approval from the fans, certain departures are to be questioned. I for one was disappointed with Vorm heading to Tottenham. A clear out is fine, as long as the players leaving are replaced, but I am sure many will be hugely disappointed with the news that the re-signing of Jonathan De Guzman is unlikely. Also, the lack of faith shown in Jose Canas, who has shown he can do a job in the holding midfield role. The small squad we still continue to have is likely to be a problem later on in the season when injuries and suspensions kick in. Also, Saturday confirmed to me that Gylfi SIgurdsson has the potential to be a star man in midfield, but he is wasted on the right wing. He was completely out of the game and spent a lot of time trying to come into the middle anyway. So undoubtedly some of Monk's moves so far can be viewed as counter productive.
Although the friendly did answer one personal trepidation for me: all the footballing armchair experts will tell you 4-4-2 doesn't work in the modern game. So it was pleasing to see the link up play between Bony and Gomis, who could be a lethal pair in the league. Accommodating Gylfi should be a high priority for the new boss. Ideally now, the transfer of Argentine defender Federico Fernandez will be confirmed this week, with a new full back and a midfielder to follow. In an ideal world of course.
It is true that the footballing world expects Monk to fail. Although I feel this should be met not with gloom, but with a hot prospect of once again defying the odds. If fans go into the season with such pessimism, when there are days which will inevitably not go our way, it will lead to an ugly atmosphere around the Liberty. So, take this as a blog, but also a rallying cry to the Jack Army to let the new boss have his time to sink or swim. He is, after all, part of the reason it is now only 4 days away from starting the club's fourth consecutive season in the Premier League...
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Although not an avid collector, I recently catalogued my collection of football memorabilia and I have 175 items, mostly programmes, some fanzines, and a few ticket stubs which aren’t accompanied by anything else. I have no idea how many more may have been misplaced during house moves, clear-outs etc., but the collection spans nearly 30 years (the earliest is the programme from our 1990 Boxing Day game against Barnet at Layer Rd), and is almost universally Colchester United related (though not quite all of it). I have decided to try and put this to some use, by choosing one at random prior to each match and writing a short article about the match, maybe the programme, and even any personal recollections I have of the game (notwithstanding enforced enfeeblement due to excessive libation). I will try and do this ahead of each game this season, but my apologies in advance if I don’t quite achieve that.