Swansea City : Falling from grace right in front of us ?
Tuesday, 28th Nov 2023 11:33 by Keith Haynes
There should be considerable concern that the Swans attendances are falling dramatically since the first home game against Birmingham City. Today on The Indy we have a look at the stats and reasoning for this dramatic fall.
The first game of the season always comes with hope and the beginning of this season was no different with just over 18,000 in the ground was as expected, maybe a little disappointing with all the ‘positive’ changes the club had made in the summer. Saturday games have higher stats than midweek games which have a 14,000 plus attendance figure. Those games were against Norwich City, a win, and Watford, a loss. Even by any standard these are poor stats for the Swans.
We can see where the attendances have fallen above. And even with healthy away supports they are very much down. To some this signifies the slow decline in attendances on top of what has been a constant decline over last season all told. Once supporters start to find a different leisure pursuit or start to pick and choose their games ( even season ticket holders ) they are very difficult to bring back in to the fold. Many Swans fans are stating this, some season ticket holders are saying they will not be renewing when the costs are revealed by the club in December for early bird season tickets for next season. Not even if there is a fall in the price.
Of course, we haven’t included the league cup games, they are traditionally poorly attended. That competition only really gets the interest of supporters come the later rounds. It isn’t about comparing attendances to last season it’s about the obvious fall in interest for Swans fans on a Saturday - this season. There have been seven Saturday games, last weekends attendance was again very poor. With all season ticket holders accounted for whether they are at the game or not it’s possible only 13,000 or so were at the game. Under fifteen thousand was the official attendance which overall seems to signify a 1,500 drop over seven home games. That Saturday attendance has fallen to equal our attendances for midweek games. Even when you reference the games that were better crowd wise you see that only happens with the likes of the Leicester City game, as an example.
The other clear reason is the poor performances we see each game, and all games this season have a period where the team looks lost, even if they put in a good performance as they did on Saturday against Hull City during the first half. It all ended up frustratingly negative and the Swans were really lucky to have not lost that game. The fall is evident and with just two home wins out of nine this time around that of course affects the desire for fans to give up a whole day to attend a football match.
There also seems to be a clear mistrust in the ownership yet again. The formation of an LLC in the USA has raised eyebrows. We still don’t know what that LLC contains, how much is in it, what it is being used for or indeed why there is a need for an investment separate to the clubs normal revenue streams - which can be seen by way of the annual statement of accounts. The LLC wont or it seems will not be included in the official HMRC tax return. This creates suspicion with so many questions remaining unanswered.
Why would a person invest in the club and then put it in a pot that nobody can see or have some clarity on what that is all about ?
So, coupled with those poor on the pitch performances there will be a reluctance for fans to attend games. There has always been issues with the American majority ownership. Thats always been the case. Some fans believe there has been no progress, just a slow decline since the change of ownership occurred. The current introduction of a more American business based philosophy is in its early stages, however that has also been met with questions. The squad has seen a number of signings this summer, however as it is now transpiring we have what can only be described as an average squad in a below average situation in the Championship. There comes a time when references to how far the team are from the top six becomes how far they are from relegation.
This season we have a squad of players who let’s be honest are average. The squad contains no real star players as we have seen in previous seasons, just a whole load of players who don’t seem to capture the imagination of the home support. Each season we have seen star players sold on, but this season produces evidence that the ‘player trading model’ is stuttering, and there are no players worthy of the title ‘star player’ That in itself is concerning. The signing of Yannick Bolasie a point in case. With so many u21 players busting a gut to get first team recognition it seems the aforementioned ‘player trading model’ is no longer a thing.
The signing of Bolasie is a fire brigade response to the clear issues the team has.
Swansea supporters will always react to what is happening on and off the pitch, good results merely cloud the suspicion of those working off it. Personally I have seen a number events that have seen numerous Chairmen and owners leave with their tails between their legs. I include Silver Shield and then the work we did to oust everyone connected to the club in a perilous 2001. It worked itself out with a very much fans board running things at Swansea. The most successful period of time in the clubs history.
That spirit seems to be long gone, the fans are disinterested and the odd fans protest against the current majority ownership doesn’t bother the current incumbents all. They won’t be interested in a few hundred fans walking through the city to demonstrate their dislike of how the club is being run. They will shake it off unless a concerted effort is made with a practical game plan that increases the pressure on them. People are ‘talking’ about this, and they are very much not just a handful of supporters. How that pans out remains to be seen. However, with such a feeling of negativity clearly being marked out in the dramatic fall in attendances it will require some dedicated action by the fans. Otherwise all I see is a further decline in interest in supporting the Swans for all the reasons mentioned here.
It’s a glaring red flag for the ownership, and a situation that they have little time to address. Offering a form of ‘intimate’ dialogue where the fans submit their personal details and the question they want to ask for vetting is hardly going to help. That again raises suspicion. Having seen the history of the club go from good to bad over many years this issue needs arresting quickly.
If it isn’t and it’s ignored, and unless Michael Duff can get to grips with his squad, sadly, there is only one direction we are travelling in. It took people eighteen months to see the agenda of the likes of Silver Shield, if that’s the case in this scenario I’m certain attendances will drop further and a squad playing average players resulting in an average league position.
The easy things seem so hard at the moment.
Artwork by Swansea Independent
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