Wednesday 22 June 2011

Loyalty: no longer playing for the badge

Dorus De Vries has left Swansea City.

For me this is a bigger shame than Darren Pratley and (possibly) Neil Taylor leaving, as it seems to have cropped up from nowhere. I know he was out of contract, but I must have just assumed he'd sign another one. Football lesson #1: Never assume anyone will be playing for your team next season.

I think I'm more confused than anything.

It might be more understandable had Swansea failed to achieve promotion last season, or were in a Cardiff-type state (complete disarray), but that's not the case. Swansea were promoted, have been gifted £90million, have a great team and management in place and have some of the best supporters in the land. Dorus will know this.

Maybe his departure was a lifestyle reason? Unlikely though; I've been to Wolverhampton and, despite what the Wolverhampton tourist board may claim, it has no charm or beauty. Well, none compared to that of Swansea. So we can rule out “change of scenery”.

Could it be the manager? I've never been managed by him personally, but Brendan Rodgers strikes me as an excellent boss, one who you'd struggle to dislike and one who let's the players play their own way. I can't see the appeal of Mick McCarthy over the Kilimanjaro conqueror, so it can't be a reason.

Maybe we don't have to look further than De Vries himself who said (speaking to Wolves club website): "Wolves are a club with all the fundamentals in place to grow and expectations are higher than at Swansea at this moment in time.”

This, again, is odd. I think expectations are very high in Swansea. Higher than they must be at Wolves. A team still flying on the promotion high (I know the crash will come soon enough) against a team who avoided relegation by a point on the final day. I may be a little disillusioned, but I predicted (before this news came to light) that Swansea would probably finish on par, if not higher than, Wolves. Maybe De Vries knows something I don't?

After discussing all these points, it should be clear by now that money is the reason De Vries left Swansea. (I would like to point out that while I am naturally focussing my attention on the Dutchman, it is generally the same story for Darren Pratley and any others that choose to leave now).

In football, money overtook loyalty years ago. Gone are the days where a player will spend his entire career with one club (bar a few exceptions – Giggs, Del Piero, Scholes) and it's such a shame for the sport.

As we all know, the joy of having 20,000 fans chanting your name is nothing compared to the sheer bliss of that extra few grand a week. Forget the kids who save up pocket money for a new kit and have your name sewn onto their shirts, only for you to leave the next week. Forget the fans in stands similar to the Tesco Stand all over the country who will now have to co-ordinate another chant for their star keeper.

Player loyalty (the lack of it) is almost enough to put you off football.

Why can't more players be like Alan Tate? Can anyone remember Alan Tate holding up his Swansea shirt for the camera's when he signed? No, because it was so long ago! One of those rare players that will probably stay with the club for his entire career (and it's not just because no-one else wants him).

So the departure of De Vries leaves a big space to fill. Swansea are currently being linked with Poland international Grzegorz Sandomierski (a lovely name for the commentators to get wrong). However, the 21-year old has impressed a number of top clubs, including Man City, Juventus and Chelsea, so don't hold your breath on this one.

I felt Swansea already needed another keeper before this happened; as a back up in case De Vries got injured. I don't feel Yves MaKalambay is Premier League material yet, though worth hanging on to as a third keeper.

Now Rodgers has another mountain to climb in getting two good quality goalkeepers into the squad; at least one of them with enough experience to face the likes of Rooney, Tevez and Drogba next season.

I guess Alan Tate could take the gloves again?


  1. Bang On.. couldn't be more accurate

  2. this sums it up -

  3. Once again Chris, your bang on!!

    I'm fed up of players saying they're leaving for any other reason other than that of which they are... Wages!!

    DDV will get far more cash next season for sitting on the bench (If he makes the bench)rather than being the number 1 and having fans chant his name.

    Shame, but that is the way football is heading. Money talks and players walk

  4. i coudn't agree more!!!!!!

  5. Thanks for the comments guys, glad you've enjoyed the post. That pic by the way, Ferris, is pretty funny! Seem to be a few going around now - Swans' fans are quick on Photoshop these days!

  6. Wolves stayed up on goal difference not by a point, the point made about one club men like giggs and scholes- would they have been one club men if they weren't playing for one of the richest teams in the world? DDV was offered a contract at Swans with a pay rise but had a stipulation that it would decrease back to it's current rate if they got relegated, in my eyes he is only going to be at the top level for a short time and needs to make the most of it, he is a good keeper, not a great keeper though, we will get over him as we have with all the rest

  7. Hi Chris.
    Good blog and like the way you eliminate all the reasons why he would want to leave.
    I think you are right on the money side of it, but there's probably more too it but from the club side of things.
    I think you can assume that if Swansea City really wanted Dorus to stay then they would have offered him a good financial package over a number of years. They have demonstrated in recent years that they like to sign players on long term deals and also offer decent contract extensions to existing contracted players - you can probably confirm this if you look back through Swans news stories.
    So we can establish that Swansea City like to tie up their valued players with decent contracts lasting several years.
    It seems as though Swansea offered Dorus a contract which they felt he was worth. No doubt offers have been made over the last year, but Dorus's bargaining for a better contract was no doubt improved by the Swans promotion. We don't know the figures involved, but it comes down to that Dorus was not happy with the contract offered by Swansea. Now take the club's view - if he was viewed as an essential part of the team then they would have met his contract demands.
    The club has not given him what he wants and has made the decision to let him go. Swansea would not enter into this decision lightly - a goalie is critical and their reserve keeper is certainly not able to step up yet. So it leads to one conclusion - they have someone better lined up to take over.
    If we look at the whole picture of the club and the way it is run and we consider the history over the last few years then I think we will see that every major decision that has been made has been for the improvement of the club. There have been crises over the years with Martinez, Sousa, Trundle, Robinson going. At each time the fans were questioning why and worried about the future. But every time Huw Jenkins has pulled through and the club has been better off for the decisions that have been made.
    I'm sure the Dorus decision is the same. In a few months we'll be praising the new keeper and wondering what all the fuss was about at the time.
    Give it a week and I think the picture will become clearer.

  8. Great comments guys, thanks for spending the time to write them!

    As you say, the club aren't stupid - any decision on his contract offer would have been well judged. It may well be a good thing to happen to the club. A young, yet big game experienced keeper would be ideal at the moment. A Fabio Borini with gloves!

    Would also like to point out to any Wolves fans reading: I have nothing personally against Wolverhampton or the team, just don't see Dorus's decision to move there.

  9. Good blog. I agree with what Ade has said, while I'm very disappointed that Dorus has gone (along with Pratley), many a player and manager have left Swansea over the past few seasons, but we've got over it and improved. I remember Robinson's departure was seen as a huge blow at the time, which seems funny now.

    Yet, while the club have moved on, many of those who have left (Sousa, Scotland, Trundle, Robinson and going further back in time, Richard Duffy), for whatever reason, have found that things haven't quite worked out as they probably hoped.

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  11. 1,200 tickets for the QPR game to be shared between 9,000 Jack Army Members something wrong hey ? What,s going on, all the 1,200 tickets sold within 10 minutes of the opening of the internet sale. Surely it would be only fair that the Jack Army Membership equaled the ticket availability ? Surely something has to done ?