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Swansea City : The confusing decision making for a whole season
Sunday, 5th May 2024 08:00 by Keith Haynes

It was a pretty poor end to what can only be described as a disappointing football season for Swansea City. The defeat to Millwall yesterday was a display that has frustrated Swansea City supporters all season. A lack of effort, intensity and desire rewarding the home support with yet another home loss.

In fact the season as a whole at home hasn’t been a pleasant watch. The Swans won a third of their games (8) drew (5) and lost (10) Yes, ten games lost at home. In fact that’s an awful return for all the talking and none delivery from Chairman, Andrew Coleman. When he came to the club he stated that his father told him,”Don’t tell them what you are going to do, show them” Well, there has been little if nothing of that, the home record is pretty dismal. Talk is cheap, and the Chairman has fallen foul of his father’s advice since his arrival as Chairman on May 5th last year. In fact congratulations Andy, it’s exactly a year ago today. Yes, oh boy does it seem longer. Whether it’s Russell Martin departing, Sporting Director Paul Watson joining, or a host of signings which really were ill thought out - his steering of the ship just avoided the rocks this season. And I’m hearing had the Swans been relegated some real in your face action was planned.

How anyone thought it was a good idea to put in place a Chairman with absolutely no experience of the British game whatsoever. Then endorse his life long friend in Ken Gude to join the top heavy salaries the club pays is still a mystery. And we still await the work that Gude does at the club and what it is producing. The closest we have got is he keeps Coleman on the straight and narrow when he goes off like a bull in a china shop. If that’s the case there can’t be much china left in the stadium. As we have always stated we will never question his commitment to the cause, but it just hasn’t worked this time around. I’m pretty sure the Swansea support didn’t want a man learning on the job this past season. A campaign that threatened relegation at one point.

And we have to say due to his openness when talking (he doesn’t say anything and takes too long to say it) means the Swans faithful have to give him another season before making a final assessment of his work at the club. Russell Martin leaving was a shock as much as Michael Duff joining as head coach. An appointment the Chairman made and endorsed if it is to be believed he ‘calls the shots’ at Swansea City football club. Another one of those can’t have it both ways conversations.

The appointment of Luke Williams in January seemed a shrewd move, it hasn’t worked out as well as he or the club would have liked, but there are slight signs of improvement, again talk is cheap. Luke looks settled in place at Swansea with the coaching team he brought with him from Notts County. There have been some excellent displays but they have been far too infrequent. The team slipping backwards just when it looks favourable. The home losses have been pretty dismal, the games Luke has presided over have returned ten losses, four draws and eight wins. That’s half a season of twenty three games. His win rate just thirty six percent. Yes it is better than Michael Duff who was on his way to relegate the Swans with a twenty eight percent win rate.

But none of those two managers have really tore up many trees.

Alan Sheehan steadied the ship after Michael Duff was sacked, he took over as caretaker manager for seven games. Sheehan won three, lost two and two games were drawn. The recruitment of a new manager took five weeks with Sheehan actually stating publicly the club needed to get a new man in and quickly. Yes it was far fewer games that Sheehan took over at the Swans but he has a far better win rate, somewhere in the mid forties. See that below. An appointment made by the club in an emergency situation created by the club themselves.

This may read as a critical review but these things need saying, social media is full of a sentence or two, but that’s not writing. To analyse and then offer an opinion you need to have studied and experienced the subject matter. Social media doesn’t do that, and as for the Welsh press, they hardly turn up at Swansea City games. The club haven’t performed well this season and the players in the main have done the same. We do have an interesting short break before the transfer window opens in a month’s time. Due to the financial losses revealed this week a lot of departures are to be expected and further attempts to lower the outlay on salaries a certainty.

It’s s hard to believe there were any offers in the region of ten million pounds for Nathan Wood last summer. Looking at the club debt I’m pretty certain he would have been sold a year ago. Okay, there were offers, but ten million pounds ? He will leave for sure this summer, if he doesn’t then it’s an even stranger decision to the one I witnessed yesterday in that team selection.

On that we have to congratulate Filip Lissah (signed after leaving Chelsea) Azeem Abdulai (rejected by Celtic and Leicester City) Aimar Govea (academy product joining 2018) Kyrell Wilson (rejected by Chelsea) and Maliq Cadogan (rejected by Crystal Palace) They’ve had a superb season, first team recognition, and will surely feature more next season. There really needs to be more awareness that youth recruitment is the future. Especially for a club like the Swans, When at the club head of academy recruitment Jack Chapman proved this - and also that you don’t need to be born within the roar of the north bank to sign for a top Welsh football club. These players are success stories, not everything goes right, however Gavin Levey (below) who leads the academy now doesn’t have to be told that. We are still to see the true impact of the ex Aberdeen man (clue there) at the Swans, but he does need to dig out the very best there is or at least that he can. Success stories this season are Josh Tymon and Ronald, the latter needs more time to develop in to the British game, the former a true warrior this year. He has taken games by the scruff of the neck since the turn of the year, and of course both are signed players. Josh Key can be added to that list, although he definitely needs to bulk up a bit, he does excite at times.

There are positives, of course, and there are negatives but this season hasn’t been about success. That’s where a critique is needed. There has been no back slapping this season, in fact in some of the longest journeys the fans have made they have seen an appalling Swansea team. Even Luke Williams lost it after the loss at Middlesbrough. If you want to read about a positive club earning plaudits then shoot off to our sister site TWTD, they are bubbling about their team Ipswich Town. That’s a success story that deserves incredible positivity.

The selection yesterday by Luke Williams was baffling, much the same as the direction the club has taken during Andrew Coleman’s one year at the club. I didn’t get it. Selecting players who won’t be at the club the next day, and not playing a striker who is a signed Swansea player much the same as he has done, as have others all season. It didn’t make sense. That’s where some supporters do not get Luke Williams mindset. It’s contradictory at times and he is managing at a Championship club who have been the very best in Wales over the last fifteen years. I personally love his attitude, and genuinely believe he has a better chance than most of giving the Swans a good season. To achieve that he needs support, and the club needs to be ruthless in who leaves and stays this time around. That will become clear over the coming days. The players leaving know their fate already, those staying as well. That is those who are out of contract or have been on loan to the Swans. As we have said already this week, it’s is going to be a busy closed season, let’s get the decision making right and maybe losing ten games at home next season won’t be a concern.

Photographs licensed from Reuters & Open Source

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