Swansea City in-depth ! CEO speaks out on Roberts, the owners, the future and ambition.
Monday, 13th Sep 2021 12:00 by Keith Haynes
Julian Winter, Swansea City CEO has spoken to Radio Wales in a revealing interview on the clubs position on Connor Roberts, and the majority owners position regards their commitment to Swansea City as a club, and their ambitions for the future.
Speaking just minutes before the swans took to the pitch for their home game against Hull City on Saturday, Julian Winter CEO of the swans, a position he has held for twelve months was questioned on the sale of Connor Roberts to Burnley. On the price agreed with the Lancashire club he was very clear “ For these things to come together you need the buying club, the selling club, the player, the players agent to be in alignment or it just doesn’t work. In Connor’s case these things did all come together” The sale was always going to be an issue for Swansea City fans, the amount of money especially a topic of discussion. On that Winter said “ We didn’t know if Connor was going to stay and run his contract down, which means we would lose him on a free transfer at the end of the season, that was the problem. We did have discussions with his agent regards a new contract as well”
Twelve months of carful planning for Julian Winter
The conversation became slightly more confrontational when Ian Walsh, an ex Swansea City player and BBC pundit for thirty years alleged the USA part owners were ‘potential’ cowards for not attending swans games. It was a harsh question. Walsh said “ Do you think they have ambition ? “ Winter remained calm as he responded, but reaffirmed he had only been at the club for twelve months so he could only comment on that timeframe “ Jake ( Silverstein) has been over twice this season, the Covid situation obviously stopped everyone travelling for over a year, but we expect Jake to return again this season “ It seemed to calm Walsh down who moved on to club expenditure and commitment in that area. Walsh’s questions for a BBC employee of some thirty years didn’t seem too well constructed, however, he did get his points across. Again Winter referred to the amount of money aplced in to the club and the ‘10 million’ loan note, the amount of which seems to be under constant speculation, and indeed the terms of repayment. “ We as a club are in a healthy position” replied Winter. “ As a club we don’t have the financial stresses of many others, the loan aside we are solvent, and continue to create situations where finance is available to the club” That comment cannot be argued with, several Championship clubs are in debt to the tune of millions, even hundreds of millions.
Swansea City are not.
Ian Walsh, BBC Wales football co-commentator for some thirty years
It was an open conversation, Winter seemed comfortable with his answers, he never once responded negatively, and stated he and the club as far as he is concerned have the full support and cooperation from the interested parties in the USA. He is in regular contact with them and that hasn’t changed since he arrived at the club. For us here at Swansea Independent it’s difficult to point the finger at anyone at the club at all since the coalition in the USA became involved. They made huge PR mistakes at the start, and Huw Jenkins being given such a free reign when they took over was a clear mistake. However, since relegation the club has played a very important financial long game. It cannot be questioned on that. Yes, the Americans are protecting their investment in Swansea, and sales like Connor Roberts have to be made. It is inevitable.
Winter made it very clear there are hard choices ahead for the club, but their financial health was good. On ambition he was very clear “ No club starts a season not wanting to win their competitions, that’s the aim for every Championship club. I have seen and heard nothing in the last twelve months that would indicate nothing other than full interest and support for the club from America” It’s very hard to disagree, this close season the swans have invested reasonably well, the loss of Connor Roberts and Jamal Lowe were not that much of a surprise, the quality brought in maybe was.
There’s nothing to be alarmed about as far as we are concerned, It was a needed PR move by Swansea City for Winter to appear on the radio, and in this way. The clarity in which Winter spoke was reassuring, it’s very obvious the club is being run in a positive way and will continue in that vein. Investment will continue, and the clubs overall financial health is of extreme importance. Supporters who continue to question the honour of those parties concerned at the club, for us, can’t be further from the mark. We have had years, in fact 35 years experience of what real ‘football criminality’ looks like. We have seen it at Swansea on numerous occasions, I personally have fronted supporters organisations that have taken on these people, and at times won. We have never been afraid to call out any individual or group of people who run our football club. And that won’t change. We know what snakes look like, and we’ve heard on many occasions that hissing sound that causes alarm.
Jason Levien & Jake Silverstein, no concerns from Winter at all regards their ambition
Julian Winter and his club hierarchy are well paid individuals, I personally expect them to be one hundred percent on the ball with everything they do at the club. We are always watching matters, and are always persistently fact checking the many bits of information we get on the internal goings on at the club. And there are many bits of information, they come from all types of people from disgruntled ex employees to those ‘ in the know’ of certain situations. The openness of Julian Winter in the interview, and yes okay, he didn’t spill many beans, and was clearly being very thoughtful in his answers, you can’t blame him, but you know a wrong un’ so to speak, and he isn’t one of those characters. What he does and says today determines where he goes and stays in the future. He knows scrutiny is both a dear friend and enemy. This isn’t the new Mike Lewis, Peter Day, Tony Petty clown show, and far from it.
The club is secure and we all should be safe and secure in the knowledge we are being run as best as possible under the circumstances. There’s no financial drip leading to a river in the USA, it’s impossible. Even those with a basic understanding of arithmetic can see that. There is a process at the club today, and it’s a clear one. Success won’t be bought, but it can be obtained cleverly with measured day to day business dealings. And long may that continue. We all have our opinions, and may be we can debate yours out on our football forum today ?
Keith Haynes is the author of numerous Swansea City and football related books and publications. Over the past 35 years he has written for 442 magazine, The Mirror, Total Football and been on many Swansea City related media broadcasts. For years he oversaw the Midlands, Avon & Gloucester Swans, the recognised supporters club in England during the 1990’s
Photographs licensed from Reuters or © Swansea City & Open Source
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