Julian Winter Update - July 2022
With our 2022-23 season getting under way tomorrow I wanted to take this opportunity to update supporters on a variety of matters across the club.
I’m sure you are all looking forward to the new campaign and the excitement that that opening day feeling always brings.
For football fans up and down the country it is the start of 10 months of ups, downs and everything in between – and I want to start by saying how fantastic it is that Russell, his staff and the players will be backed by a large travelling support at Rotherham tomorrow.
Last season saw the Jack Army travel a staggering 8,968 miles to follow our team and this season we will travel further than any other club in the Championship in terms of mileage, clocking in at 9,930 miles.
So to see just over 1,500 supporters making the trip to Rotherham is incredible and I’m sure you’ll add to what will be a terrific atmosphere.
As we look towards any new season it is always important to reflect on the previous one and the great strides that I feel we have made both on and off the pitch over the course of the last 12 months.
Almost a year to the day since Russell took over as head coach, we have experienced a transitional period in terms of playing style and personnel, as well as a shift in our culture and identity.
We have returned to a way of playing that is synonymous with a successful period in this club’s proud history, while we have an exciting group of young players mixed with some fantastic senior professionals who are proud to wear the shirt.
There is a real sense of togetherness within the playing squad, but also across the whole football club.
Everyone is pulling in the same direction and we need that identity to be with the supporters too – because when that all comes together it can be incredibly powerful.
With the summer transfer window still open, I’m sure supporters will be keen for more news regarding transfers with a month to go until the window closes.
As always, there are so many mitigating factors that come into play with regards to a transfer – so many variables – but I can assure supporters that as a club we are working hard to further improve our playing squad during this window.
But I feel our work in this window has been hugely encouraging. We have a clear plan in terms of recruitment and profile of player, and the early additions of Nathan Wood, Harry Darling, Matty Sorinola and Joe Allen were extremely positive.
While we were disappointed to lose a player of a calibre such as Flynn Downes, it was a deal that hugely benefits the football club. We have made no secret about the fact that we are a trading club, but to sell Flynn for the price we did – and what that figure could eventually rise to – made complete financial sense and is a great example of our recruitment model at play.
It isn’t just on the pitch that we have made positive additions. Andy Parslow, Tom Barnden and Kris O’Leary have all joined Russell’s backroom team, and I’m sure all three will make positive contributions to help achieve results.
Russell identified set-pieces were an area that we needed to improve on from last season, so Andy’s arrival as set-piece coach will hopefully bring about positive change in that area because the marginal gains can make a real difference across the course of a season.
Likewise, Tom Barnden has arrived as our head of performance having garnered a wealth of experience at clubs such as Tottenham, Brighton and Manchester City. His role dovetails with the medical and sports science teams as well as ensuring the club presents a clear pathway from academy to first team on and off the field.
Kris O’Leary is a name that is synonymous with Swansea City supporters after a 15-year playing career at his boyhood club, and his appointment as first-team coach is another sign of developing our staff from within and giving them opportunities. Kris is also someone who cares deeply about this club and what it stands for, and those types of football people are crucial to have when you’re trying to build something successful.
We also welcomed Josh Marsh to the club this summer as head of football operations and, most recently, Andy Goldie has arrived as our new academy manager.
Josh has already played a key role in our summer recruitment, while Andy arrives here with a strong CV and a proven track record of improving players and staff.
He will bring a fresh approach to our academy operation, which is a fundamental part of our football club, while we are extremely grateful for the job that Jon Grey did before him and we are pleased that Jon is still with us and back out on the grass helping to coach and nurture our development squad alongside Anthony Wright.