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It was shockingly awful, and where are the missing players, Fulton included ?
Sunday, 28th Nov 2021 08:40 by Keith Haynes

It was a surprise, even for the most downbeat of Swansea City supporters, yesterday’s result was a jolt to the system. And possibly for the first time this season we will have to examine the way this game went on the pitch, and ask what was the thinking off it for it to go the way it did ?

The start was fine, it was as expected, and to be honest when Jamie Paterson scored the opener for the swans on three minutes things seemed to be going just fine. It was after that and for the next eighty seven minutes of the game that we have to question the tactics of the manager and the effort from the players. We are not afraid to examine and question our football club, team or those involved in it. Be that positively or review matters when things aren’t going right. Or seemingly so. This won’t be a dissection or a blow by blow account of the game, match reporting etc. That’s been done. This is different.

Despite Russell Martin stating (again) he had a fit squad to choose from this wasn’t entirely accurate, as he then divulged post match that Ben Cabango wasn’t fit on Friday morning, This is the third time this has happened. Now, that’s fine, if it’s some form of a tactic, whatever that is, then so be it. The inclusion of Rhys Williams was wise and brave, and it wasn’t down to any pressure, yesterday’s game was prime for his inclusion, regardless of Cabango’s fitness or otherwise. We reported this in the week, and felt confident enough in our sources to state he would be selected. The same goes for the exclusion again of Morgan Whittaker and Michael Obafemi.

Now this is an area which is beginning not to sit well for us. And we’ve all discussed it here. Between them the two excluded strikers are in the region of 2.8 million pounds worth of investment. If they are so dismissive of Russell Martin and his training schedules then they should be fined continually as much as is allowed. And then when the time is right to get rid of them, get rid of them. Maybe they should be given remedial training in respect, and educated as to what is expected of young adults who earn more in a week than many Swansea fans earn in a year. Or are we experiencing a small rebellion amongst certain players who are not able to understand the in depth teaching styles of Russell Martin and his coaching team ? Some are now asking the question are the new management team at Swansea dabbling in a form of teaching that they too are struggling to deliver appropriately, and manage the fall out they are getting.

For me we are seeing all the hallmarks of young adults rebelling against a style of training and teaching that is seriously challenging them. And also potentially with the educators not having anywhere near the skills ( or qualification ) to even come close to being able to manage it when it goes chips.

Yesterday was screaming out for Liam Walsh in the second half, the introduction of Flynn Downes was a decent shout, but Ntcham or Grimes needed hooking as well, and Walsh given an opportunity to turn the game around. Steve Cooper wasn’t afraid to drop Grimes, and also not afraid to sub him, is this the case with Russell Martin ? Why won’t he take Grimes off the field of play if he isn’t performing ? Granted in the second half Grimes did look better, but he was responsible for the first Reading goal, and although he got back to cover before the goal was scored, it was half hearted. In fact it was not good enough at all and little effort was put in to resolve the situation.

The second goal by Andy Carrol, offside or otherwise was down to Rhys Williams. I don’t want to hear him being praised when he is in the wrong, just don’t mention him. He wasn’t clearly up to the mark yesterday, and his inclusion, even though we agreed with at the time was a mistake. Carrol destroyed him for that goal. An aged, slow, injury prone striker out gunning a young, fit and well versed defender who excelled in the premier league last season. Russell Martin has said publicly twice now, no matter what happens Rhys Williams will return to Liverpool a better player. Why not just say he’s going back in January and be done with it, because that’s exactly what will happen. Then we won’t expect to see him again, as we don’t expect to see Jay Fulton again.

For me Russell Martin got away with it post match yesterday, he wasn’t challenged on Obafemi and Whittaker, and should have been. The swans were desperate for a focussed Obafemi yesterday, and once again he isn’t included. Swansea City fans who invest thousands of pounds watching their team, and giving hours and hours following them every day deserve to know the truth. Joel Piroe can’t be the answer every week, and we as a football club can’t be expected to field one striker, the same striker, every week whilst a few million quids worth of talent is either sat at home in Swansea or sat in the stands on the naughty step.

It won’t wash with me, and it won’t wash with many swans fans.

With all due respects to MK Dons they don’t compare to Swansea City and they never will, there’s more to this management lark than convincing the majority we are on a journey. I agree we are, that’s not the issue. But I’m not happy, as are many others why we haven’t seen our two missing strikers, and with all due respects, why do we have to put up with second best in Liam Cullen. He isn’t having the best of seasons, yesterday he looked like he was well off the pace, almost lost, and I’m pretty tired of seeing him included and Morgan Whittaker excluded.

Okay, yesterday was an afternoon of frustration but the players misplacing passes and continually slowing the game down negatively, especially when urgency was required was annoying. Ben Hamer’s distribution from his feet, in the air is excellent, but his animated suspension with the ball at his feet has to stop, let’s get some urgency in to some of these players. We do understand the clubs philosophy is to build from the back, retain possession and dominate the ball, even I get that. But when the game needed taking by the scruff of the neck yesterday Liam Walsh was on the bench, Ntcham was tired and became ineffective, Grimes was still on the pitch, and two strikers were sat in the stands having been training all morning.

And is Dan Williams that bad a player he doesn’t get a look in ? And Brandon Cooper ?

We seem to be arrogantly sticking with certain players at times, almost refusing to acknowledge what went before, ignoring the talent in reserve. This side would be far better with Jay Fulton in it than doing whatever he does these days, because he isn’t playing football. Yan Dhanda I agree, his time is up, but Fulton would have been a far better option for the last fifteen minutes yesterday than a tired Ntcham or ineffective, slow and ponderous Matt Grimes.

We haven’t seen Jay for weeks and weeks. It’s criminal that he is allowed to disappear without even a mention. Okay it’s no secret he is off in four weeks to Forest for a few quid, it’s hardly scoop of the season, but his exclusion again needs explaining, Whittaker and Cullen will no doubt be farmed out to whoever in January, I couldn’t care really. What I care about is what happens on the recruiting front because we seem to be limping towards January hoping nobody notices large holes are gradually appearing.

Ethan Laird needs a rest, Manning for all his superb ability in any position you like is being over utilised, and Ryan Bennett looked like a shot horse at times yesterday. Kyle Naughton for all his good games this season seemed far too casual playing a game he hasn’t really played all his career. That was very evident when instead of hitting the ball in to Row Z yesterday he chose to nonchalantly scoop the ball cross field to set up Reading’s third goal.

When Russell Martin said post match yesterday, there wasn’t enough intensity we knew that, when he said we can’t manage three games in a week we saw that as well. We even agree that our lack of conviction in front of goal that could have brought at least an equaliser was missing, But what is not being answered is why so many players aren’t featuring, why aren’t they being seen, and why are they being ignored to the extent as in Jay Fulton's case he isn’t any where near match fit anyway. For me, that’s mismanagement, for a player to be so involved last season, to signing a new contract, and not being involved this season isn’t right.

And no I’m not turning against anyone, I’m asking questions, and I’m asking them appropriately In the right forum to the right people. I’m asking you as well. We are comfortable in ninth place today, that’s decent for me. And we are being taken in a direction by an extremely intelligent manager who has a clear vision, and faith in his ability and team. I agree, it’s been an exciting time. With six days to work out what went wrong yesterday, and to many it was more than evident. Most of the swans players had drunk too much ‘wandering about juice’ and believed they had the game won before they kicked a ball. However, if this journey is all about development and action planning for a better outcome, then let’s see it, and not only on the field of play with young professionals entrusted with our clubs jersey.

Let’s see it everywhere, from everyone, and especially those who preach it. This last week isn’t the end of the world, but five points at home have been dropped, and to be personally truthful, that isn’t good enough. As I said this isn’t MK Dons.

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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