Swansea City looking for a return of a favourite player ?
Friday, 29th Jan 2021 11:21 by Steven Carrol / Swansea Independent
Steve Carrol of ‘Swansea oh Swansea’ fanzine comes up with some very relevant points for this time of year. From issue 53 of his September 2019 zine we reflect and maybe look forward to what might have been - and what may yet come true.
Players going back to their former homes has always been a staple of football and you can see the appeal. The return of someone who was successful in a previous spell at a club who was likely to have been popular with the supporters sounds like a match made in heaven. But it doesn’t always work like that, as the Jack Army will testify. But there are usually telling factors that give you a firm idea of whether or not the return of a player is a shrewd move.
Let’s start with the example of Wilfried Bony - a real favourite with the fans in SA1. He scored 34 goals in 70 appearances during his first spell at the club, but in the two and a half years since he’d left things had gone badly. He failed to make an impact at Man City, but when he moved on loan to Stoke he was expected to fire again. But in the end an ageing Peter Crouch and the useless Saido Berahino we’re keeping him out of side, which should have sent alarm bells ringing. Signing him for £12 million looked a huge gamble after that and it was hardly a shock when it backfired.
What we should have done if we really wanted him was sign him on loan, that would have given us the option of seeing if the old magic was still there. Much like what we did with Lee Trundle. The showboating sensation scored 86 goals in a previous four year spell in South Wales.
Returning on loan looked a good move as it gave the club and the player the chance to assess each other before making a decision on what to do long term. In truth, he didn’t stand out like he had previously, but I wouldn’t call scoring five goals from two starts and a number of sub appearances a failure either. And as we weren't tied into a long contract it proved that this was a deal worth doing.
Alan Curtis is another who made a return to the club after departing. He’d been a key player for a number of years before departing for top flight Leeds United. Manager John Toshack said at the time he’d put half of the transfer fee to one side to buy him back and 18 months later did just that. Curt was even more of a star the second time around, as he played a key role in the club’s promotion to the first division and subsequent 6th place finish.
Alan Curtis MBE
He left again in 1983 but returned to finish his career at the club in late 1989. That final spell was less successful, but the romantic notion of a player returning to his club to see out his career was there for all to see.
Speaking of club legends and it’s almost hard to believe now that Leon Britton’s Swansea City career was interrupted by a six month spell at Sheffield United. Having spent seven and a half years here, he left for Bramall Lane as he didn’t get on with Paolo Sousa. The Portuguese manager would depart within weeks of him leaving himself and new boss Brendan Rodgers brought him back home for a nominal fee. Leon was even better the second time around and starred for the club in the Premier League before retiring in 2018.
Mel Nurse is more famous to my generation for the role he played in ousting Tony Petty with the fans and community suppor. However, those from yesteryear will remember him as the tough centre half who appeared more than 300 times for the club over two different spell and on his return played a part in a promotion campaign.
Moving back to the present day and it’s impossible to look at Andre Ayew’s return to the Liberty as good business financially. Yes over the last 18 months he has contributed a lot, but when we signed him it was to help us remain in the Premier League and he didn't score a single goal as we were relegated. In truth we did well to get £20 million for him as he didn't really suit us, and bringing him back for a club record transfer with him having not excelled at the London Stadium always looked like a huge gamble. It may yet be a gamble we get away with though if he helps us go back up this season.
It was another deal that seemed like a strange one at the time and struck of desperate and limited scouting knowledge. But what's been the most baffling in recent years is that the former players we should have brought back were the ones we passed on!
Yes it's been four years ( at the time of writing ) but I'm still talking about Joe Allen, there's a big difference between being unable to start regularly for Liverpool than for Stoke and Man City. He wanted to come back and not only would he have improved the side he was exactly the right type of character.
Speaking of character and I cannot mention Brendan Rodgers, another potential returnee we passed on and another who was up for coming back to the club. Had he got the job I think we'd be looking at a vastly different club right now.
So what do we draw in conclusion? Bringing back former players is fine, but we can't let what's happened previously cloud our judgement. Each signing should be judged on what they can bring at the current time, as well as in the years to come and whether it makes sense financially. Fortunately the man who was at the helm for most of our poor deals is no longer calling the shots so hopefully our business will drastically improve in the next few years.
Steve Carrol of SOS fanzine
Check out all his back issues on the website
Swansea Oh Swansea Fanzine
Reproduced with permission, contributed by SOS Fanzine 2021
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|ReslovenSwan1 added 12:47 - Jan 29|
Huw jenkins had 15 years at the club 14 of them complete sucesses with one bad season. Bony 2, Clucass, fat Franck and Borja were poor signings but there were plenty of good ones to more than compensate. Sigurdson, Llorente, Fabianski, Fernandez, Gomis, AyewA1, Ayew J , Shelvey, Mawson, Fer. HJ gave laudrup his way for Michu Hernandez De Guzman Chico. The worst recruiter was Potter with 4 duff signings McKay, John, Celina and Asoro. Celina did have his good days admittedly but did not fit the club ethos.
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