Firstly, apologies to the loyal readers of this column for the prolonged wait for this much-anticipated update but work and family commitments have prevented me from putting pen to paper (or to put it more accurately, finger to keypad) for some time. It has genuinely been extremely touching to be approached by so many people over the past months and asked when I will once again be bringing smiles to their faces and joy to their lives.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the board in finally plucking up the courage to fire Kenny Jackett and in bringing Roberto back to the club. The controversial appointment of everyone’s favourite Spaniard seems to be an absolute masterstroke, even though many people still believe he was the cheap option. Let’s all hope the fantastic sequence of results at the end of last season (was it only two defeats in 11 games?) continue into the new season as we push for that long-awaited promotion. I know Robbie is a big fan of this column and I look forward to bumping into him at Paco’s and buying him a San Miguel.
Although I was sorry to see the departure of both Bayo Akinfenwa and Izzy Iriekpen something Roberto said recently kept ringing in my ears (and please imagine this in a Spanish accent): “I only want players here who want to play for Swansea City”. I totally agree with Robbie and this is so important. Now there are some who may argue that the offer of one year contracts was a disgrace so here’s my view. Although Izzy has obviously upset a few fans in the past by publicly harbouring a desire to play in the Premiership where he apparently belongs and despite the fact that he had some well-documented personal problems last season I believe he should have been offered at least a two year deal. Bayo’s situation was different in that he has been recovering from a broken leg and the club had also secured the signature of a more than capable replacement in Jason Scotland. There is a conspiracy theory doing the rounds that the club had hoped all along that the duo would leave and there may be an element of truth in this. Despite everything I genuinely wish both players the very best for the future and hope they receive fantastic receptions if or when they return to the Liberty with their respective clubs.
With regard to our new signings I believe both Scotland and Ferrie Bodde will prove to be inspirational acquisitions. Yes, before anyone reminds me how poor the standard is in Scotland my Auntie Elsie could probably bang in 20-odd goals if she played there but the fact that several clubs actually wanted to sign Jason Scotland convinces me that he is half-decent. The same applies to Bodde; surely he must be a quality player if he’s played regularly in the Eredivisie? The missing pieces in the Martinez jigsaw must now surely be a ‘keeper, a centre half, a flying winger and Darryl Duffy, who continues to split opinion amongst some of my mates and I. You see, I rate Duffy as a fox in the box but some of my cronies (and they know who they are) reckon he’s lazy and simply not good enough. Sorry, but I’ve seen enough to convince me to splash out the best part of £200K as the ideal replacement for Leon Knight.
I hope that our superb attendances continue next season and this brings me on to a long-standing discussion that has taken place in pubs and clubs throughout Swansea for several years – should the kick-off times of the Swansea Senior League be changed? As somewhat of a Swansea League journeyman myself (I’m not going to list my clubs as it’ll fill this page) I’ve sat on both sides of this rickety fence but my opinion remains the same – change them.
When Sunderland play on a Saturday afternoon there (apparently) are no other footballs kicked anywhere else in the city and it should be the same in Swansea, even if the amount of teams who kick off at 2:30pm has dramatically reduced in recent years. Yes, we may only be talking about a few hundred boys but don’t tell me that, deep down, every one of them isn’t a Swans fan? Isn’t it about time that representatives of Swansea City FC and the cobweb-covered, blazer-wearing hierarchy of the Swansea Senior League actually sat down together for a cup of tea and a cucumber sandwich to sort out a deal?
I suggest that the kick-off time for the reserve matches across Swansea (usually 12:45pm) is brought forward to 11:00am and that the 2:30pm starts are moved to the 12:45pm slot. This would enable every Swansea League player to play for their club and watch the Swans.
Anyone who is unable to play earlier due to work commitments, etc. could always play on Sunday instead and the junior matches are on smaller, bespoke pitches so they wouldn’t be affected by this change.
Something else I would introduce is a discount on all Swans match tickets and/or season tickets for anyone who signs for a Swansea League club as any initiative that will help boost attendances should be embraced.
The breaking news today is that the Swans have signed striker Guillem Bauza Mayol from Espanyol. My contact on the Iberian Peninsula informs me that he’s a tall, old-fashioned centre-forward who is superb in the air. It’ll be interesting to see how this will affect Pawel Abbot’s position at the club.
I promise to write again sooner rather than later. Enjoy the summer!