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|Can we get the “Swansea Way” back ?|
at 23:18 14 May 2018
We all bemoan the loss of the “Swansea Way” on the pitch, which started with Martinez, and taken on by Rogers and Laudrup in the Premier League.
This being a combination of crisp accurate incisive passing all over the pitch, lots of triangles, players always looking to move into space; decent defenders who were comfortable on the ball; playing out from the back with solid hold up play - bringing midfielders, wingers & full backs into attack; then finished off more often by the likes of Graham, Michu & Bony ; plus a patient acceptance from fans that even passing around the back would soon build up to something exciting and positive.
And of course the legend Leon - the glue holding it all together. Plus some shrewd transfers – especially at the start of our Premier League adventure under Rodgers & Laudrup – with everyone buying into our consistent style of play.
Can we ever get that back ? I’d like to think so, but I was reminded of its fallibility tonight by Gordon Strachan on the radio, as part of a discussion about who of the relegated clubs might have the best and earliest opportunity to get back to the Premier League.
Strachan rightly extolled the virtues of the way we played, though he was mistaken in saying that the “Swansea Way” was only for a couple of years. Yes, we had the first three great seasons in the Premier League (including the Cup/Europe) but Strachan forgets that - although in the leagues below – we had developed that passing style of play since 2007 when Martinez was appointed.
But Strachan was right when he said that it was a no brainer for Premier League Clubs to soon work out how to combat our style – “so you like to pass – well, we ain’t gonna let you – we’re going to get into your faces all the time – and unless you’re Barcelona or Manchester City (who have quality players who can cope with close pressing) - then let’s see how you cope”.
And after the first couple of years, we were found out. In fact, my recollection of this first happening, was by Everton under David Moyes at the Liberty – can’t remember when exactly, but I remember thinking – oh oh, our guys aren’t handling this pressure too well, passes hit hurriedly under pressing opponents, not given time to build from the back etc . Normally, teams just stood off us and allowed us to pass and play, waiting to break us up later.
I guess that led us into the Monk Plan B – which should have been an option to our Plan A – but turned into a permanent Plan B. And the rest is history… Plan A disappeared totally, compounded by many shockingly poor transfers (wasting millions); a ridiculous turnover of managers; and the off-field mis-management & sale etc etc. Leading to the inevitable relegation, and the worst football we’ve seen for many many years.
So while I would like to see a return of the “Swansea Way” on the pitch – has that era passed us by ? Have too many others caught up ? Do they bother ? Will we be sussed out again ?
I admit I don’t know the answers – but surely there has to be a way which will be more attractive than those last three years of really poor football (a particular low point for me seeing Fabianski regularly punting as far and as high as he could to the Ayew brothers up front FFS).
Fulham play attacking flowing football, and they reached the play-off final tonight - though unlike our hedge fund investors, they do have a Billionaire owner !! Plus Burnley have done brilliantly this season – what’s their secret ?
Anyway, a first basic for me - on the pitch - is to get back to some attractive and effective wide play with fast wingers and supported by attacking full backs. Plus finding hungry players through a revamped scouting system. And while the original Plan A (“Swansea Way”) is a lovely thought, we do need a pragmatic Plan B or C – but as OPTIONS (not permanent) depending on opponents and circumstances.
What do you guys ideally want to see ? (Apart from Jenkins out, and new Investors !!)
|Transfer dealings |
at 13:27 7 May 2018
Stoke City's Jack Butand isn't holding back ......it isn't just us then who are crap in the transfer market !!! Though let's hope what we have got, can get us over the line in the next two games. And next season, let's also hope for a complete overhaul of our scouting/transfer system, but I'm not holding my breath....
"Relegated Stoke City need to look at their "farcical" transfer dealings before signing the players needed to mount a return to the Premier League, says goalkeeper Jack Butland.
England keeper Butland blamed "players you cannot rely on" being signed by the club.
"The whole recruitment process needs looking at, to be honest," he said.
Former Real Madrid forward Jese Rodriguez scored one goal in 13 appearances during his loan spell from Paris St-Germain and has taken unpaid compassionate leave for the remainder of his contract.
Forward Saido Berahino has started just 11 games since being signed from West Brom for £12m in January 2017 and has never scored for the club. He is now training with the under-23s, as is defender Kevin Wimmer, an £18m signing from Tottenham last summer.
Record signing Giannelli Imbula, a midfielder who cost £18.3m from Porto, has spent this season on loan at French side Toulouse
Meanwhile, two former Barcelona forwards, Ibrahim Afellay and Bojan Krkic, have been frozen out at the Bet365 Stadium, with the latter spending this season on loan at La Liga side Alaves.
"There's been transfers that aren't even part of the squad for all kinds of reasons, whether it be discipline, whether it be lack of performance," Butland, 25, said.
"You've got to look at that - what decisions are being made and the type of characters."
"But you look at others and they're not even here to have an input. It's not because they were playing at the top of their game, because if they were they'd be here," he continued.
"Too many of the recent investments, and over the years, are completely unused and that's unacceptable. So before anyone is signed and any changes happen that's got to be looked at because it's been farcical really."
|Oh for the "Swansea Way"....|
at 14:00 6 Nov 2017
After watching (correction - enduring) that awful match on Saturday, I couldn’t believe how far we’ve plummeted since the “Swansea Way” of Martinez- Rodgers-Laudrup (with a bit of Sousa thrown in).
It got me reminiscing (over a few commiseration drinks ! ) of what was the “Swansea Way” (especially in the Premier league) - and where has it gone. Btw, this post turned out longer than I planned, so opt out now if you want :)
Started by Martinez, it developed into crisp accurate incisive passing all over the pitch, lots of triangles, players always looking to move into space; decent defenders who were comfortable on the ball; playing out from the back with solid hold up play - bringing midfielders, wingers & full backs into attack; then finished off more often by the likes of Graham, Michu & Bony ; plus a patient acceptance from fans that even passing around the back would soon build up to something exciting and positive. And of course the legend Leon - the glue holding it all together. Plus stalwarts like Tate, Rangel , Dyer and Williams (even Monk in fairness as a player). Anyone want to add anything ?
And of course shrewd transfers – especially at the start of our Premier League adventure under Rodgers & Laudrup – with everyone buying into our consistent style of play.
In the Rodgers regime , the likes of Sinclair, Borini and Britton had already been signed up in our promotion year. Then in 2011/12 - our Premier league start - Vorm, Graham, Caulker, Sigurdsson & Routledge were in.
In 2012/13, in the Laudrup (and his agent ! ) regime, in came Flores, Michu, Ki, Hernandez, De Guzman & Bartley.
For me, I especially remember two games where the “Swansea Way” was at its peak. Yes, we also have the wonderful high profile scalps of the likes of United, City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea , plus the League Cup triumph (where have those days gone !! ) – but the two games against WBA and Fulham especially stand out.
The 3-0 at Fulham in March 2012 under Rodgers was breathtaking , two Siggy goals and a cracker from Joe. I was privileged to be there - Match of the Day speeded up our fantastic passing display all over the pitch, highlighting loads of zippy triangles. And on leaving the ground, I remember talking to some old-time Fulham fans who said that was the best away performance they had ever seen at the Cottage.
And of course , the win against WBA 3-1 at the Liberty (first half especially) in November 2012 under Laudrup. Two goals for Routledge (he was decent then !) and Michu. But the performance – wow, even Laudrup the master footballer was purring.
There will be other similar games fans will remember eg the 5-0 at QPR. Arsenal away with the Michu goals. The Teams then did not cost many millions (just the right players for our system). Were the transfers influenced by Rogers/Laudrup (& agent) ? – possibly, but it worked. The Laudrup regime also bought in Bony & Shelvey.
So…in 2013/14, with Laudrup losing interest unfortunately (clashes also with Jenkins I guess), we entered the start of the Monk era, going then into 2014/15. The pragmatic, diamond style …the start of the decline of the “Swansea Way”. And coming in - Gomis, Barrow, Emnes, Fernandez, Grimes, Naughton, Cork , Montero, & Carroll/Oliveria (on loan).
And in subsequent years we have the transfers in of the likes of Eder, Tabanou, Paloschi, Baston, Fer, Van de Horn, Narsingh, Ayew (J), Mesa, Clucas, Sanchez. Also Bony ( a Laudrup re-signing – but will he be the same as before ?) Plus issues like keeping Naughton and letting Kingsley go, and not replacing (as near as possible) the likes of Sigurdsson & Llorente.
A string of many terrible (often very expensive) dealings.
Though since 2014/15, some other plusses in (in fairness) – Fabianski, Llorente, Olssen, Kingsley, Abraham,…maybe Mawson , A. Ayew. Plus Sigurdsson of course, but a re-signing from the Rodgers era.
Btw, even in the Rodgers/Laudrup eras, we still had the likes of Lita, Bessone, Mc Eachran, Tiendelli, Schecter, Lamah, Amat, Canas, Gorre, Pozuelo, N’Gog & Vasquez brought in. Whose purchases were they ? But fortunately they were balanced out by more than decent signings elsewhere. Nowadays there is very little in the way of a good balancing act.
But we can’t get away with so many perpetual poor signings, year on year. Nor desperate managerial changes.
How many of those listed above from 2014/15 onwards (non Rodgers/Laudrup eras) would have added quality to these “Swansea Way” teams v WBA & Fulham. Only Fabianski & Llorente for me (Bony as well of course at his peak) :
Against Fulham (btw beating City the week before) it was Vorm, Rangel, Caulker, Monk, Taylor, Allen, Britton, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Graham, Sinclair.
Against WBA, it was Tremmel, Rangel, Flores, Williams, Davies, Hernandez (sub de Guzman), Britton, Ki, Dyer, Routledge, Michu.
A golden era indeed. And I wonder if we will ever get back to the “Swansea Way” which brought us so much success and pleasure. Probably not under our current structure …ah well, back to reality in 2017/18 unfortunately.
|Guidolin - are we really unhappy he's gone ?|
at 21:07 5 Oct 2016
Judging by “social media”, it suggests that much of the Swansea fanbase is unhappy with the sacking of Guidolin.
But I don’t believe this is the case.
In summary, here’s my take (and of others I know):
1. When he arrived, his only task was to keep us up. And I amongst many was willing him to succeed. He did that in fairness – though it can be argued that Alan Curtis might well have done the same. Guidolin is often credited with the crucial Arsenal result –but Curt changed that game. Ditto Guidolin with the great West Ham result – but arguably they were on the beach that weekend & waiting primarily for the last Boleyn game v Man Utd.
2. Tbh, if Guidolin at the end of the season had been offered the Italy job, many would have been pleased to see him leave us. While he is undoubtedly a really nice guy, his tactics, communication and leadership were not really convincing. But as he was not offered the national job, then the Club had no option but to offer a new contract – we would rightly have been pilloried if we didn’t renew !
3. So...trying to look positive for the upcoming season, we hoped that Guidolin could refresh the squad (hopefully using his contacts), work with them pre-season and develop a way forward that wasn’t primarily defensive. And improve his English for better communication.
4. But the reality turned out to be different :
• The Club itself identified transfer targets …and worse, Guidolin seemed not to be bothered at all, nor in pursuing any contacts he surely would have had on the continent.
• From what we are hearing, pre-season (and the end of last season) found various difficulties between Guidolin and some players.
• Then the style of play in the new season hardly excited - despite Guidolin previously saying that he had loved watching the “Swansea way”; in fact some of the games were quite appalling, and also no-one seemed clear on what our tactics were.
• The communication had also not really improved . How frustrating to continually hear things like “ I am appy with squad, we play good game, we maybe deserve better, but this is football” etc etc. (I for one would have liked him to speak in depth in Italian with a top notch interpreter, so as to get a real insight to his thinking… but I don’t think this has ever happened). I suspect communication on the training ground was not good either.
5. Plus we had the Taylor and Ki issues, not saying this is all Guidloin’s fault, but clearly there were issues behind the scenes. No-one outside knows the details, but those within the Club would have known- and yet another factor in reaching the decision to let him go.
6. The support for Guidolin through “social media” also seems inextricably influenced by the vitriol towards the Club hierarchy over the takeover issues, and the (crap) Jenkins transfer window. The latter I agree with btw ! But Guidolin should have been stronger in that window !
7. So on balance, there was good reason to remove Guidolin. Pre the Bradley link, you could hear the discontent over Guidolin in the “bars and terraces”. Fans were definitely not happy and there was a real feeling of – relegation with this guy in charge. Despite player limitations, surely he could have got more out of them, plus better tactics/formations ?
8. And let’s not get too sentimental either …yes it was his birthday, but with an “x million” pay-off ! Once a manager has been appointed to a Premier League Club, it’s a win-win for them whatever happens.
So we are where we are. Not everyone is unhappy with Guidolin going & he’s got a nice pay-off. Not everyone is opposed to Bob Bradley. Hopefully it will be a good move (despite the obvious US marketing link). He seems like a breath of fresh air. We should give him full support from day one and – like Guidolin - judge him on results/performances. STID
|Martinez on Saturday .....|
at 23:03 17 Sep 2015
I honestly think Martinez does not deserve the vitriol from some on this Forum and elsewhere. And I hope that is not the case on Saturday.
As regards Flynn and Jackett, I have nothing but thanks for them in setting us on our way. But let’s be honest – it was Martinez who changed the whole ethos and culture of the Club into what we are today. Does anyone really believe that we would be where we are now without his vision and style of play. (Do we also all remember the long balls to Rory Fallon pre Martinez ! )
And I am not taking anything away from Huw Jenkins and the Board who saved us in the first place, and who had the foresight to appoint Martinez ..…nor am I taking anything from the later Managers (shrewdly appointed by the Board) who have tweaked and cleverly built on Martinez’ ethos.
But that fundamental shift introduced by Martinez has been absolutely crucial to our success.
The vitriol against Martinez is primarily based on his words that he would only go “if forced out”. And in hindsight from his point of view - those were unwise words. But he also had said that while the Board made a very brave decision to give him the job at 33, then as long as “both have the same ambition” it won't be a problem (ie should other clubs come knocking).
This second comment by him is often conveniently missed by critics. As Wales on Line recently reminded us - Martinez had wanted to build on the first season in the Championship and had eyed two midfielders at Hamilton as potential signings. James McCarthy was available for £2m and James McArthur for slightly less but it appeared Swansea couldn't quite stretch themselves to a deal, also unable to turn the loan deal for Jordi Gomez into a permanent one. It planted seeds of doubt in Martinez (about the Club’s ambition). That - plus the lure of his first club Wigan (playing in the Premier League) – was the tipping point.
Now, I am not going to criticise the Board either for that apparent “lack of ambition” at that time – they have been rightly cautious in always looking after the Club’s finances. And maybe things at that moment were moving too fast for a crack at the Premier League - Martinez has previously alluded to this also.
So I won’t be heaping abuse on him when he returns on Saturday. Equally with the passage of time, I won’t be clapping him either – he is after all simply an Opposition Manager now. And though I was gutted at the time when Martinez left, I reflected - after the period of mourning, and looking objectively at Martinez’ reasons - that it’s only us fans who have long term loyalty to their club ; players and managers always move on, one way or another. It’s the simple reality of football life.
But as my Team walks out against Everton in the most exciting League in the world on Saturday , I for one will give a silent and sincere appreciation to Martinez for his absolutely fundamental contribution in getting us there. Thanks Roberto - though I really hope we finally stuff your Club in a League match !!
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