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AFC Bournemouth 5 v 0 Swansea City
FA Cup
Thursday, 25th January 2024 Kick-off 19:45
Swansea City : The legend returns and he’s ready to drink your blood !
Sunday, 28th Jan 2024 08:00 by Andrew Winfield

I have witnessed the fearsome loathing and biting coastal weather that would freeze the ghouls of the night. The glowing up and down - turning into the black squall of death. I’ve got galley news for you, those deadbeats of men, if that’s their real terms. No pirate from any seas would fall so easy, they would rise up and fight for their lives, but these days, the generational texture is pure wool and water.

Jack Butty says we should never have surrendered !

Use any other adjectives of a similar nature to describe that FA Cup mess. Many already have on the forum. It was abject, lacking in passion, skill, and nous – an abysmally lousy performance. It showed an evident lack of learning. Bournemouth repeatedly sliced through our midfield and defence, similar to how Southampton took us apart last Saturday.

Is anyone surprised that Bournemouth coach Andoni Iraola watched the video of our demolition by Southampton? No, but it appears that Luke Williams did not. Setting us up with a back three and a limp midfield put us on the back foot from the outset. And so, it turned out. They sliced through us like a knife through butter almost at will, and our team could do nothing about it. Does anyone seriously think the scores last night and Saturday couldn’t have been much higher? That our second-half performances held glimmers of hope? Russell Martin and Iraola’s half-time talk would have been like, “OK, the game is won. Let’s conserve energy for games coming up. Keep a clean sheet and shut them out.” If Bournemouth and Southampton had played at full throttle, as they did in the first halves, the scores could have easily reached double figures. That makes it even more shameful.

What do we learn from this? We shouldn’t play with a back three with our current players. Some players are now past their sell-by date – although I thought Kyle Naughton was one of our few better players alongside Liam Cullen. Some players have to be cut to build for the future. That is an assessment that Williams must make by the end of this season. Similarly, Williams needs to ask searching questions about whether Matt Grimes has the leadership skills to lead what will be a rocky second half of the season. For me, he plays, but we need a more assertive personality as captain.
The coach needs to go beyond being a nice guy. Some of these players need a rocket, and when circumstances merit it, the hairdryer treatment is essential to let them know that they need to pull their fingers out. It looks lethargic and casual all too often, and to fans, it seems, not surprisingly, as if they don’t really care.

Searching questions need to be asked by the coach and the club. The squad needs a clear-out and rebuilding. Not taking this seriously would demonstrate complacency; while we may avoid relegation this year, we could easily be likely candidates next year. There must be a planned rebuild. Without it, the club will appear to lack a strategy and direction, spiral into decline, and not be a club that good players will want to come to.

Recruitment needs to be overhauled. How can it happen that we had four left-back players (including Nathanael Ogbeta and Kristian Pedersen) and had to resort to sending Nathan Tjoe-A-On on loan to get game time? Or Ogbeta, signed for £300k, has also not started a game and is now being shipped out. Yesterday he made his debut for Bolton, a minute later he scored. While at right-back, we are knackered when Key and Parker are injured.

How can it happen that Mykola Kukharevych, reportedly signed for £2m has yet to start a game when we are crying out for a big striker to work with Jerry Yates and score more goals?
We should review current loans and the future strategy for loans. Bringing in five loan players in the summer, four of whom are now regular first-team players, builds loan dependency and creates future problems once those loans end. Furthermore, it shows a lack of faith in the academy and closes down opportunities for its players to progress. Having said this, it must be acknowledged that Carl Rushworth has been outstanding. Bashir Humphreys has much to offer, as does Charlie Patino.

The rest?
Getting players in this transfer window is essential. Last summer's transfer dealings generated a healthy net credit of nearly £13m, so the money to deal during the window should be guaranteed.
With preparations made by Paul Watson, Sporting Director, since September, it is reasonable to assume that there is a short list of players judged to have the necessary skills while ticking all the boxes regarding their suitability. We need three incoming players who can come straight into the team with pace, skill, and hunger to be successful. That should include one pacy goalscoring winger, a creative advanced midfielder who can chip in with goals, and a goalscoring forward.

The rebuild must start here.

The club’s future depends on it, as does the chairman, Andy Coleman’s reputation, and Paul Watson’s credibility.

Artwork by Swansea Independent

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