The end of an era
Friday, 11th May 2018 08:00 by Planet Swans (follow us on Twitter @swansnews)
It was 30th May 2011 when we first entered the Premier League after a famous win over Reading at Wembley Stadium in the play off final and now, 2540 days later, our stay will end barring the most unlikely double result of all time on Sunday.
A ten goal swing involving a side that has found the back of the net just twenty seven times this season is probably akin to the UK winning this weekend's Eurovision Song content given the very nature that we appear to have meekly surrendered our place at the top table for next season.
It looked for all the money in the world two months ago as if we would have enough about us to stay in the top flight after an excellent run of form that left us probably within just a few points of safety.
Eight games, two goals and just three points later we are effectively down, the victims of poor management from the top downwards and a recruitment policy that has let us down so many times in the past few years that it is difficult to see how anyone with oversight or a part of it can retain the chance to put it right.
From the moment we decided that we would concede 81% possession and 30 shots to Huddersfield in a 0-0 draw in March through to giving up on a first FA Cup quarter final for over 50 years the writing should have been on the wall. And the fact that we have failed to score a goal for over four games again tells you all there is to know about a side that will be relegated and rightly so.
The lessons of the past two seasons were not learned despite the promises that said that they would be. We survived last season because of the goals of Fernando Llorente and the creativity of Gylfi Sigurdsson. Selling them was not the biggest crime that we committed, it was the sub standard way we spent the money that replaced them. Sam Clucas, Roque Mesa, Tammy Abraham, Wilfried Bony and Renato Sanches were simply not suitable replacements.
I watched the game against Chelsea and looked to our bench that contained Nathan Dyer, Wayne Routledge, Leon Britton and Angel Rangel. I won't knock any of these players as all have played a significant and valuable part for us over the years but simply, seven years on we should have moved on with a stronger bench.
The ramifications of the sale of the club almost two years ago remain in place and cast a cloud over the club at all times. Former directors take court action, the Trust position on the share sale still hasn't been completed and - as one betting account told us on Tuesday night - our vice Chairman was retweeting about Turkish Delight cheesecake as Huddersfield secured the point that sealed our fate for the season.
The owners have an invisibility act that matches those provided by Ki in a challenge and it is noticeable that nobody has been prepared to speak about the position since the winning run started. Nobody seems to be prepared to take accountability for the problems that Swansea City have created for themselves.
We can have no complaints about the end result of this season. From the opening salvos back in August at Southampton we simply have not been good enough. Paul Clement was a defensive manager, Carlos arguably even more so. Another transfer window (January) went by with odd signings - Andy King and Andre Ayew have added nothing to the side that have improved us and our form at the end of the campaign was as bad as anything Clement oversaw at the start.
The club needs to pick itself up, dust itself down and start again. Connections with the past need to be cut and we need to have a clear business plan of what we need to do and that should involve no past players being resigned, dreadlocks being banned for any future signing and anybody that has played any part in the recruitment policy of the past three years being shown the door as the policies and strategies have failed.
Relegation isn't what hurt. What hurt is the way that we gave up so easily on something we spent so long working towards. We went down without a fight, without a whimper. Southampton were not just better than us on Tuesday they were much better. Forget the 1-0 scoreline, every clear cut chance went their way and if Charlie Austin had decided not to hit every chance straight at Fab then we would have been well beaten and we deserved to be.
2540 days ago we came into the Premier League as a team with our own style. A team that was admired by many pundits and we retained that style whilst continuing to upset the bigger boys. We won a major trophy, we competed on the European stage we won at Anfield, the Emirates, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and the Mestalla. We made some excellent purchases - Michu, Pablo, Bony (first time around), De Guzman and Gylfi and we looked a set side as we competed in the top half of the Premier League.
Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup were top class managers and we had the chance to continue to build on that and then we allowed it all to go wrong with bad signings and bad appointments. And what we will witness on Sunday is the final result of those decisions, the end of an era.
We leave the Premier League as a side with no style whatsoever, In fact I am not even sure we have a coherent game plan sometimes let alone a style. We have a team that will not see many picking over many of the players in the summer and one of our early social media hashtags is wide of the mark - we are just another football club and not a very good one at that either.
Grit and Beauty was what the marketing team served up this season for us and they just couldn't be further from the truth. There was no grit and it certainly wasn't beautiful.
Goodbye to the Premier League. For now anyway.
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