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More staff in at the back 00:10 - Jun 24 with 431 viewsKeithHaynes

Tom Barnden has joined Swansea City as head of performance and has his sights set on putting a structure in place that will ensure the club presents a clear pathway from academy to first team on and off the field.

Barnden has joined the Swans following spells with Coventry City, Tottenham Hotspur, Brighton & Hove Albion, Manchester City’s academy and Nottingham Forest. During his time with those respective clubs he worked in the company of players such as Gareth Bale, Phil Foden and Callum Wilson.

He has joined up with the first-team coaching staff and squad for their week-long training camp at Pennyhill Park as preparations get under way in earnest for the 2022-23 season, and Barnden is already feeling at home in his new surroundings.

“I feel I have settled very quickly,” he said.

“The club from Julian Winter to the board, to Josh Marsh, Russell and staff have been very friendly and welcoming.

“I am delighted to be here and I am looking forward to getting going.

“Things have been going well this week, we’ve had some good team bonding sessions today (Wednesday). You can tell this is a tight group anyway, but it was enjoyable and a great experience.”

Barnden’s career across a number of clubs and managers with different philosophies and outlooks had given him a wide perspective on the challenges of making sure all elements of the performance hub complement each other.

Notably his time with Brighton saw Barnden work at academy and senior level as they rose from League One to the Premier League, and the south-coast club – now managed by former Swan Graham Potter – are widely respected and admired for their joined-up approach that runs through the Seagulls’ football operation at all levels.

And Barnden sees similarities between the two clubs.

“I have had some wonderful experiences at all the clubs I have been at,” he added.

I was fortunate to join Brighton in those early days where it took a big collaborative effort to get us to the Premier League, and what a journey it was, and you can see how the club is flourishing.

“They are another club with a clear identity and philosophy. I also learnt a lot from the academy and first-team set ups at Manchester City. It was a great piece of jigsaw and it was a wonderful place to work, they were two brilliant clubs to work for.

“I definitely see similarities here to what I found at Brighton; the welcome, the family feel of the club and a fantastic supporter base.

“I have a good feeling here. It is really positive.

“I have been fortunate to work with a variety of different styles and philosophies at my previous clubs.

“The key is to have that adaptability, and to understand how every piece of the puzzle fits together smoothly so we can be effective as a club.”

Barnden also outlined how his role will dovetail with the various medical and sports science departments within the Swansea City set-up.

His responsibilities will not be so much in on-field day-to-day delivery, but more about ensuring the framework is in place for departments to work effectively together – from academy all the way to senior side – in order to provide head coach Russell Martin with players in the best possible condition to play ‘The Swansea Way’.

“The role of head of performance is different across many clubs and that umbrella, if you like, of performance covers a number of different areas.

“For example, Matt Willmott’s role (head of physical performance) is to lead the physical conditioning along with the other staff as a day-to-day operation.

“My role is to lead the performance function of the club, and that includes physical performance, sports science, sports medicine, nutrition, psychology; we want to ensure elite high performance development is delivered through an effective and clear strategy across the first team and academy.

“The big thing is to have that consistency and stability of performance across the club.

“Essentially, I am the hub if you like, looking to stitch together all the different elements.

“A big factor for me coming here was that there is a clear identity and a clear vision of how we want to build the club and develop players.

“To do that it is so important to have the right framework and strategy to ensure that happens. We want to push players right from the academy through to the first team with a consistency of approach.

“Our purpose is to ensure the players are available and in the best position to deliver on the head coach’s tactical strategy to win together and win consistently.

“You have to know how your programme integrates with Russell’s clear idea on how he wants to play. That was there at Brighton and Manchester.

“So, my short-term goal is to build relationship and to listen and understand and analayse how we work as a department, and then adapt.

“Long term it will be about having a structure and plan in place that runs from the first team to the academy and provides that consistency of delivery.”



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More staff in at the back on 06:51 - Jun 24 with 352 viewsWhiterockin

Another example of what it costs to run a football club. Anyone who thinks that it is just a matter of paying players wages and looking at the cost of players coming in and leaving needs a rethink. A club our size needs to sell at least one player every year just to balance the books.
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More staff in at the back on 13:52 - Jun 24 with 219 viewsReslovenSwan1

Russel Martin is fully in control of all football aspects of the club. Luke Williams has left for creative differences and the DoF left after an apparent lack of clout and poor signings according to Martin (Williams Burns Ogbeta not picked).

Neither have been replaced by Winter and the recruitment fellow is well and truly sidelined with all incoming having MK Dons links. Martin call the shots and appointments are low key background positions.

Wise sage since Toshack era

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More staff in at the back on 13:55 - Jun 24 with 217 viewsQJumpingJack

More staff in at the back on 13:52 - Jun 24 by ReslovenSwan1

Russel Martin is fully in control of all football aspects of the club. Luke Williams has left for creative differences and the DoF left after an apparent lack of clout and poor signings according to Martin (Williams Burns Ogbeta not picked).

Neither have been replaced by Winter and the recruitment fellow is well and truly sidelined with all incoming having MK Dons links. Martin call the shots and appointments are low key background positions.


Martin was singing Allen's praises at the last fans forum in Port Talbot so that doesn't add up...
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More staff in at the back on 14:07 - Jun 24 with 203 viewsReslovenSwan1

More staff in at the back on 13:55 - Jun 24 by QJumpingJack

Martin was singing Allen's praises at the last fans forum in Port Talbot so that doesn't add up...


Recent signings suggest Martin is "de facto" head of recruitment. Players not picked by him as signings did not get picked by him to play. (Williams Burns Ogbeta, Whittaker).

Allen has been scouted by Martin (possibly at the instigation of Britton or KoL) and therefore is a Martin pick. It adds up completely.

My concern is the worry that due to lack of time and capacity the ability to sign brilliant players like Piroe (not known to Martin) will be lost as the scouting become more parochial.
[Post edited 24 Jun 14:10]

Wise sage since Toshack era

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More staff in at the back on 15:19 - Jun 24 with 162 viewsQJumpingJack

More staff in at the back on 14:07 - Jun 24 by ReslovenSwan1

Recent signings suggest Martin is "de facto" head of recruitment. Players not picked by him as signings did not get picked by him to play. (Williams Burns Ogbeta, Whittaker).

Allen has been scouted by Martin (possibly at the instigation of Britton or KoL) and therefore is a Martin pick. It adds up completely.

My concern is the worry that due to lack of time and capacity the ability to sign brilliant players like Piroe (not known to Martin) will be lost as the scouting become more parochial.
[Post edited 24 Jun 14:10]


Mark Allen was at the club well before Russell Martin.
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More staff in at the back on 15:32 - Jun 24 with 143 viewsReslovenSwan1

More staff in at the back on 15:19 - Jun 24 by QJumpingJack

Mark Allen was at the club well before Russell Martin.


So you were referring to Mark Allen not Joe Allen. Whatever Martin said about "his notional boss" was not reflected in his team sheets. Martin might have sung his praises but did not play his signings. Winter was not impressed with this situation and move MA on evidently.

Wise sage since Toshack era

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More staff in at the back on 18:05 - Jun 24 with 80 viewsKeithHaynes

More staff in at the back on 15:32 - Jun 24 by ReslovenSwan1

So you were referring to Mark Allen not Joe Allen. Whatever Martin said about "his notional boss" was not reflected in his team sheets. Martin might have sung his praises but did not play his signings. Winter was not impressed with this situation and move MA on evidently.


I think the move by Mark Allen for Ogbeta was the final nail.

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Blog: Would you like to appear here as a Welsh football writer?

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