Friday 31 January 2014

ForzaSwansea - January Highlights

YES! January - the most depressing month - is finally over!

The first month of 2014 has been pretty busy on ForzaSwansea - the busiest in the history of the site in fact!

Below are a few of the articles I've singled out as highlights, in case you missed them the first time around:

  • My favourite piece of the month is our exclusive interview with Alan Curtis, where the Swansea City legend answered questions about the squad, expectations and what he likes to drink on his night off!

  • Matt wrote a brilliant tribute to our legendary captain Ashley Williams.

  • Gavin summed up the now infamous #Brickgate saga and profiled Chico as a player.

  • I gathered expert Sunderland opinion on how Ki Sung Yeung has been performing for the Black Cats - he's been doing brilliantly it seems, which may make for depressing reading knowing we won't get him back until the summer!

  • And, finally, I tried to beat the other Swansea City media by getting in my early predictions for who may be heading to the World Cup from the Swans squad this summer!

Check them out, leave some comments or have a chat by joining us on Twitter or Facebook. See you soon!

Tuesday 28 January 2014

It's in our hands! (Part 2): The next six games

In Part 1 Matt gave us his opinions on why Swansea City were wallowing in the relegation zone and what was needed to get us out of the rut.

He now runs us through the crucial next six games and gives us his predictions on how many points we can (and should!) get from each. Take it away Matt...


By Matthew Jacob

With players beginning to return from injury we now face the biggest run of games since promotion was secured. It's time for Swansea to rise and fight back.

There are 16 league games left to play, each one very significant. The next six, however, have the potential to make or break this season:

FULHAM - HOME (Tues, Jan 28th, 7:45pm) 
The perfect opportunity to get on the front foot in this sequence of games. Fulham were held to a draw on Sunday at Sheffield United and a replay is no good for them. When Berbatov doesn't play Fulham don't play, and the Bulgarian has been off form of late.

From a Swansea perspective De Guzman and Rangel should return to give the squad a timely refresher and with Bony firing I think we'll have too much for them. Our comeback against Birmingham was also a timely confidence boost.

Prediction: WIN

WEST HAM - AWAY (Sat, Feb 1st, 12:45pm)
As the Six Nations kicks off the Swans travel to East London to clash with Sam Allardyce's West Ham. The Hammers have been on the receiving end of some terrible results of late (although they have faced Manchester City's goal machines twice in that period).

Swansea lost at Upton Park last season thanks to a goal from Andy Carroll and they held us to a credible draw in October last year at the Liberty. Allardyce has added to his squad at a crucial period including the classy Italian pair Antonio Nocerino and Marco Borriello from Serie A. It'll be a tough place to go - I'd take a draw but I think they'll have the edge.

Prediction: LOSE

CARDIFF CITY - HOME (Sat, Feb 8th, 5:30pm) 
Boy to we owe them one. Malky Mackay finally made way for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the Norwegian wasted no time in proclaiming his desire to finish above Swansea and that they were the capital and therefore should be bigger than Swansea. Solskjaer hasn't impressed the Jack Army with his comments but he continues to say the things Cardiff fans want to hear, and he's making great strides in the transfer market signing a clutch of players from his former club Molde and making bold moves for Zaha and Fabio from Manchester United. He has also secured the services of former Swansea target Kenwynne Jones.

This game needs no introduction. I believe man for man we're a better side than them. It will take more grit and determination than was shown in the first derby, but I think a partisan Liberty Stadium crowd can see us to victory this time.

Prediction: WIN

STOKE CITY - AWAY (Wed, Feb 12th, 7:45pm)
To the Britannia, a ground where Swansea have previously struggled to cope with the aerial bombardment that Tony Pulis championed in the Potteries for a number of years - a style of play often criticised, yet it saw Stoke into the Europa League and has helped them become an established Premier League club.

However Stoke have a very different appearance now in the shape of Mark Hughes, who has made efforts to alter the style in favour of more passing, attractive play, which may have contributed to their league position. Having never been asked to play that way, Stoke have struggled to make the Britannia the fortress it has been in previous seasons. I expect us to go there and be positive, hopefully with an almost fit squad, and come away with a draw.

Prediction: DRAW

LIVERPOOL - AWAY (Sun, Feb 23rd, 1:30pm)
It will take a special effort to prise something away from Anfield as the business end of the season approaches, with the red men chasing a top four spot and Suarez and co playing some spectacular free flowing football. Swansea were demolished 5-0 at Anfield before the Capital One Cup final, so it's fair to say we owe them one.

Were it not for our own mistakes in the home fixture we could well have taken the spoils then and I expect us to put in a much better performance than last year. However I also expect us to get nothing from the game, but I am a natural pessimist. Perhaps Swansea will surprise me once again. Of the next six games this is the 'free' if you will, one where we will not be expected to get a result and many will have written off already.

Prediction: LOSE

CRYSTAL PALACE - HOME (Sun, March 2nd, 4:30pm) 
The last game of the next six that I've earmarked as crucial. I have a hunch we'll know what we have to do between this point and the end of the season. A few months ago I was saying we'd be the club to relegate Palace yet Tony Pulis, to his immense credit, has turned them around. However, struggling to add to a weak squad, they may slip into the bottom three again by the time we meet. I'm confident we'll put them to the sword.

Prediction: WIN

There you have it. 10 points from the next 15 on offer would see us up to 31 points and, with our bottom half rivals facing tough opposition in the coming games, this would make a massive difference.

Our FA Cup tie with Everton comes the weekend of February 15th and there's also the small matter of a Europa League tie in the middle of those games with Napoli coming to the Liberty Stadium on February 20th (not to mention the return leg in Italy on February 27th), but the league must be our focus now.

I still believe it's in our hands - win our games and we'll pull clear. We've got a good squad and a strong identity, so let's get behind the boys. Back the new arrivals (whoever they are), lift the players and let's make the Liberty a fortress again, together!

Monday 27 January 2014

Swans On Film: N'gog's N'skills

David N'gog is now officially an N'Swansea City N'player!

I had a browse to see if we should be getting excited and... well, there does seem to be some skill level there (more so than Vazquez I guess). Whether or not it will pay off for Swansea will need to be seen, but at least there has finally been some transfer window activity.

Below is a video which highlights an array of N'Gog's skills and a few goals. It's worth checking out if you haven't seen much of him before.

(Please note: I highly recommend you MUTE THE VIDEO - the soundtrack is absolutely terrible!)

Remember to like ForzaSwansea on Facebook for occasional updates. If you do I will think you are pretty cool!

It's in our hands! (Part 1)

In this special two-part article, ForzaSwansea blogger MATTHEW JACOB gives us his opinions on why Swansea City are wallowing in the relegation zone and what is needed to get us out of the rut. Then in Part 2 (scheduled for tomorrow morning) he'll give us a run down of the next six Swans games and how many points we can expect to take!


By Matthew Jacob

I think it's safe to say that there was a feeling throughout the summer among the Jack Army that this season always promised to push our club to the limit like never before.

As Michael Laudrup prepared to steer the Swansea City ship into the uncharted waters of the Europa League I admit to a having a strong feeling of trepidation - would the squad be strong enough to battle on four fronts? Will being in Europe take the focus away from the Premier League?

You could argue that we are suffering a similar fate to that of Newcastle United and Stoke City when faced with playing Sunday and Thursday and travelling all over the continent. It was never going to be a breeze for a club like Swansea.

Let's tackle one issue first of all. We're in a relegation battle, no question about it.

The Premier League is a cruel and unforgiving place for a team low on confidence, yet the way this season has taken shape every club from Cardiff in 20th to Aston Villa in 10th is battling to survive, and will be from now until May.

That's how tight it is, where a mere six points separates the bottom club from mid-table 'safety'. And good performances count for nothing. It's all about results now, and Swansea need to start getting them (though I do not believe it should come at the expense of our style, as Alan Hansen suggested a few weeks ago).

The tactical genius himself.

Issue two is expectation. Swansea City have had two heartily successful Premier League campaigns and secured the Capital One Cup while capturing the imagination of professional pundits who suggested we would be nothing but relegation fodder following our promotion. Our dip in form since that cup win is well documented and it has left journalists to suggest we're having a tragically poor season and that teams have 'found us out'.

"Found us out!"

That phrase always makes me smile - is it a major shock to teams now that we choose to pass the ball out from the back rather than hoof it forward? We've been doing it since 2007, so to those teams who have found us out, you took your time.

For the record, Southampton are only ten points ahead yet are being heralded as having a great season? They are, and I love the football they play, but three decent results for us and a couple of dodgy results for them would see us much closer. It's a tight league after all. What would the pundits say then?

Finally, the issue of reinforcements and adding to the side.

The squad needs new blood and the fans would welcome the lift. We've been linked with Anthony Pilkington who is a lovely footballer with a bit of grit about him and someone who would certainly add to our group. A centre forward to help Wilfried Bony in Michu's absence would certainly lift the mood (I'm not sure David N'gog would immediately settle nerves, but he does have a point to prove).

Meanwhile the bizarre issue of Ki Seung Yeung has everyone scratching their heads. Laudrup has been forced to utilise Jordi Amat in midfield yet the mercurial Korean is pulling up trees on Wearside! There were calls to get him back. Those calls were ignored, Ki stays with the Black Cats and we move on.

With the squad bare and a difficult run of games to come, we as fans need to get behind the boys more than ever, the time for moaning at not being mid-table is over. We're in a scrap and we need to pull together. Our destiny is still in our hands.


Check back tomorrow morning for Part 2, where Matt will profile the next six games and give his predictions on how many points we can hope for.

Friday 24 January 2014

Ashley Williams: From Stockport to Stamford Bridge

He puts his body on the line for Swansea City week-in, week out: Ashley Williams. While the captain of Wales has suffered periods of poor form in recent months, there are few others that make it onto the team sheet before he does. To celebrate our captain, ForzaSwansea blogger MATTHEW JACOB brings us a passionate tribute.


By Matthew Jacob

"Well done Ash!" - a sentiment echoed by Jacks everywhere time and again over the last six years since Ashley Williams joined Swansea City from Stockport County.

And back then, when the Swans were in League One, even the most optimistic fan could not have anticipated the player we had just acquired. It took £400,000 to bring him to South Wales - a club record fee at the time - yet Williams has repaid that sum ten times over.

Ashley Williams was born and bred in the West Midlands and began his career at West Bromwich Albion in the youth set up at the Hawthorns. Yet like so many footballers his age Williams was released at sixteen having failed to convince the hierarchy at Albion that he was worth a senior contract.

The defender slipped into non-league football, plying his trade at Hednesford Town and working part time at Drayton Manor theme park to make ends meet - humble beginnings for a man who now proudly wears the captain's armband for club and country.

He eventually moved on to play for Stockport in 2003 and made his international debut while captain there, finally moving to Swansea City in 2008 initially on loan. Then on clinching promotion to the Championship under the leadership of Roberto Martinez the move was made permanent.

Williams is an imposing figure. At six foot tall, his broad shoulders carry the hefty expectations of the Jack Army. My first impression was how mobile would he be? He stood enormous, even at 24-years-old when he first joined the club. Thankfully that concern was driven from my mind as Williams conquered all who came against him as Swansea took the League One title and then stood firm in their first foray into the Championship.

It's hard to nail down Williams 'strength' because he's such a complete all round defender. A strong mental attitude and bravery, coupled with pace, physical strength and tactical nous - Williams possesses all of these traits. Most importantly he's an excellent footballer in defence, but he also has an attacking attitude towards the game, namely his ability to play superb cross field passes to the wingers and the obvious threat he poses from set pieces.

Williams has courted the attention of top clubs since our arrival into the Premier League and following the end of the 12-13 season it seemed Arsenal would make a move for the Welsh international. To the delight of the Jack Army no offer materialised and Williams remained a Jack.

But it's not just on the pitch where he shows dedication and selflessness for the cause. He uses his status as a professional footballer for the benefit of others and is often commended for doing so. One example is WillsWorld, the charity he started to benefit under-privileged children with his wife Vanessa, along with his community soccer schools which are very popular with children in Swansea.

He commands the respect of the crowd and his team mates. When Williams is absent you cannot help but feel our cause is weakened. But with him Swansea always have a chance. With the current rough patch we are going through, the Swans will need the influence of Williams more than ever if they are to remain a Premier League side come May.

The story of Ashley Williams is one of a man cast into the football wilderness, rising to lead a club that were faced with bankruptcy and relegation into non-league a little over ten years ago. He now battles for Swansea at grounds like Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge and typifies our bold playing style and bravery against the odds.

Let us hope he continues to lead the club for many years to come.


You can pick up Ashley Williams' book, charting his first year in the Premier League. It's available in all good book shops and online.

Wednesday 22 January 2014

#Brickgate - The rise, fall and rise (and fall) of Chico Flores

We all cringed when we saw that Swansea City had made the back pages yesterday morning for the wrong reasons - all thanks to our hotheaded defender Chico Flores and 'the brick'.

ForzaSwansea's newest blogger GAVIN TUCKER takes a look at what happened, why it happened and tries to examine Chico's escalating unstable nature.


By Gavin Tucker

Every team has 'bust-ups' from time to time.

From infamous incidents involving Craig Bellamy, a sleeping John Arne Riise and a golf club; to player and manager coming to blows on the training ground (most notably Balotelli and Mancini).

The Daily Mail was the first to post the story of an altercation between Chico Flores and Garry Monk - an outlet that has a history when it comes to tales of unrest in the Swansea camp. But these stories don't get run without there being at least some truth in them. They will, however, sensationalise it and try to make it more than it may have been. After all, that's what sells.

Our fiery Spaniard in a moment of deserved glory

We as Swansea supporters are naturally sensitive to any negativity aimed at our club by national media. The fact remains though that an altercation did happen and (maybe unnecessarily) police were called to the scene. It was most likely an accumulation of little things that led to this point with neither party completely innocent.

If you look at the wording of the original Mail article they do not actually say Chico threatened to harm Monk with a brick - they leave the reader to assume that. The diablo is in the details. When Chico responded via Twitter I believe he was being truthful when he stated he did not threaten anyone with a brick.

So what happened with the brick? Where did this brick come from? What made him snap and want to brick things?

There are rumours strewn across the internet. There are allegations that it all started over physio comments on Chico's breakfast diet of Coco Pops and too much sugar in his OJ. It may have been property (i.e. Garry Monk's car) Chico threatened to damage with a brick? Or maybe he just snapped and had it in for that horrendous pink jeep somebody had parked in the space reserved for his Ferrari... who knows?

We'd rather have a bowl of Chico Pops!

Social media goes crazy with things like this - calls for him never to play for the club again, denial of any incident, a media conspiracy against Swansea, mixed in with a tidal wave of humour about building defensive walls, photoshopped Chico pictures, links to Pink Floyd songs and, of course, its own Twitter hashtag.

I like Chico and he has been a good player overall in his time at Swansea. He has has made some superb last ditch tackles and regular diving headed clearances millimetres off the floor more times than I can remember. Also not forgetting his almost unsurpassed ability of perfectly controlling a ball with his chest whatever speed it's falling through the air.

But, I never feel completely comfortable.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I'm praying there's not an unnecessary rash challenge around the corner, some slightly embarrassing play acting or a lapse in concentration that costs us a goal.

His form has notably dropped this season and if it wasn't for our current injury crisis in midfield then there is a fairly strong case to start with Jordi Amat at centreback given his pretty consistent form and reassuring performances.

What matters most now though is that whatever the finer details of the incident, it's best for players involved and supporters to move on. Whatever tensions and pressures that built up to the incident have hopefully been vented and any damage repaired because Swansea need the good side of Chico more than ever with some massive fixtures approaching.

We've had more than our fair share of negative press and pundit opinion since promotion to the Premier League. Our first season we were universally tagged as going straight back down. The following campaign losing our manager and some important players was only going to add to the mythical second season syndrome that we would apparently suffer from.

The media have seriously stepped up their soap opera narrative this week - an early relegation scrap, team bust-ups, manager and player falling-outs and Laudrup leaving whatever happens (okay, we kind of guessed that one anyway...).

Swansea can hopefully take this negativity and flip it into something positive. We do better when the world is against us. We need to get back to that siege mentality, back into underdog mode and prove to be as good as we know we can be.

Monday 20 January 2014

Swansea City: Who else has a rallying call?!

Today is the day dubbed 'Blue Monday' by the media - supposedly the most depressing day of the year for an array of reasons. And if you are a Swansea City fan you'd be inclined to agree!

It's a frustrating time for all Swans supporters: the club have been pulled into an early relegation scrap, 50% of the first team are out with injuries, Swansea have the worst home record in the Premier League this season (just two home wins), they've picked up just three points in the last eight games, Laudrup and the team are showing no fight and some fans are seriously questioning the manager's immediate future with the club... it makes for bleak reading, doesn't it?

Looking at the back pages of the Evening Post over the last few weeks there seems to have been a constant stream of "rallying calls" issued by the players, but no-one seems to be listening to these calls when on the pitch. The displays are dull, passionless and frustrating.

Although it's not the only problem, injuries aren't helping. Currently the first team looks like this:

Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies
Lamah, Amat, Britton, Pozuelo, Routledge

In fairness that wouldn't be so bad, but the fact that nobody is in form makes it painful to look at. In fact the only player who seems to have grown in confidence while the others have become shells of themselves is Wilfried Bony.

Many fans - myself included - are questioning why there has been no activity in the transfer window. There have barely been any rumours this Janurary, let alone fresh faces at the club. With the injury list growing by the day (with the current casualties being Michu, Shelvey, Vorm, Dyer, de Guzman, Hernandez and Canas) and defenders having to replace midfielders, it wouldn't be unrealistic to say Swansea need at least three new players to help out.

What this all means is Swansea are now 15th and three points from the bottom of the table. Yes, it's been a hard winter of tough fixtures and the injuries have made a serious impact, not to mention the extra games, but something has to change.

Before you start crying, what are the positives?

As I just mentioned, Bony is in great form. It seems he has found the spark that was missing earlier in the season. He almost looks like a £12million player. Maybe it's just because other players are feeding the ball to him more, but his shots are the only impressive thing in Swansea's game at the moment and it looks like he could score another ten this season.

It's a shame it's happening now when the rest of the team are so poor, but at least it is happening. 

Another positive is Swansea's defenders are all fit, even if they are out of form. Chico seems terrible at the moment and it's a shame Amat has to play in the midfield because I'd much prefer to see him start alongside Williams at the back. But this is good - at least defence is one of the areas we still have a choice in.

So looking on the bright side, we have defenders, we have Bony and it's also not just us who are looking poor - there are nine other teams all in this scrap for the Championship. But it's up to Swansea to start winning games and sending themselves up the table and the others down.

While it's a shame we didn't beat Man United or Spurs, the reality of it is that those games are much less important than the upcoming ones against Fulham, West Ham and Cardiff, which are all six pointers (apart from the Cardiff game which is a nine pointer!).

Forget about the FA Cup - put out a full team of reserves. I don't want to see Bony, Britton, Tremmel, Williams or Rangel near the midlands on the 25th! They all need time to rest and, hopefully, by the time the Fulham game comes around on January 28th we'll have a few of the other first team players back.

While this doesn't guarantee a win, it does give us more hope.

Then it's up to us as fans to support the team and make some noise. Three wins in three games is a big ask, but against equally poor opposition it's not impossible. An extra nine points would probably see us back in the top ten and give everyone a much needed boost of confidence.

The next three weeks and the action of the management, players and fans will all be vital in the survival of this fine football club.

Thursday 16 January 2014

Swans On Film: "Alan Tate scores a stunner"

He scores when he wants! He scores when he waaaaants... Alan Tate, he scores when he wants!

This one's a real blast from the past - Swansea City legend Alan Tate scores a superb volley in the 1-1 draw against Tranmere Rovers in March 2008, when the Swans were back in League One.

Take note Vazquez!

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Brazil 2014 - "You're only here to watch a Swan!"

While it's constantly pissing down in Swansea, the prospect of the summer is absolutely wonderful at the moment. And although it seems a world away, June - and with it the 2014 World Cup in Brazil - will swing around in no time at all.

The summer may mean no Swansea City footballing action, but this year we may still see our favourite Swans players take to the field as we have an array of fine international talent in the squad.

It may be a little premature, but who cares? The World Cup is a big deal and I'm getting my thoughts in before everyone else!

So, from the Swans squad, who is likely to be travelling to Brazil?


Spain are again one of the favourites going into this tournament and with good reason - look at their squad! We all know Swansea's beloved Michu made his international debut last year, but has he done enough to warrant a place in the World Cup squad? At this stage of the season... probably not. This is mainly thanks to his injury, although even before the injury he seemed less groundbreaking than last year. And with the likes of Torres, Negredo and Villa battling for spaces (not to mention Spain's attacking midfielders) Michu will have his work cut out to impress in the next five months.

Likelihood: 5/10

Wilfried Bony
Ivory Coast

There's plenty of attacking talent in the Ivory Coast squad for Brazil, including Didier Drogba (their captain) and Roma's Gervinho, but they'd be stupid to leave Wilfried Bony in South Wales this summer! While he's been slow starting for the Swans, he's now knocking them in on a more regular basis. His strength in holding up the ball and his shot power alone should see him on the plane.

Likelihood: 9/10

Michel Vorm

Vorm - like Michu - has been blighted with injury this season (hasn't everyone in the Swans squad?), so he's not had as many chances to shine as he would like. But he's still likely to be heading to Brazil in the summer as he's one of the best goalkeepers Holland has to offer (possibly after number one choice Maarten Stekelenburg). Providing he stays injury free in the next few months and gets some more first team action with Swansea until May he should be in the squad.

Likelihood: 7/10

Ki Sung-Yeung
South Korea

As it stands, Swans fans are desperate to get Ki back to the club. However it seems neither Michael Laudrup nor Ki are keen for this to happen. Regardless, Ki is still a Swansea City player and he will be going to the finals in Brazil this year. The 24-year-old already has 55 caps for his country and is very likely to add another few this summer. Hopefully he'll be picked ahead of Cardiff's Kim Bo-Kyung!

Likelihood:  9/10

Jonjo Shelvey

This is a tough one. Shelvey has been a revelation for Swansea compared to his time at Liverpool and surely it has caught the attention of Roy Hodgson. Then again we know the mentality of the England management over recent years and because Swansea are not a 'big' club, their players are often overlooked - Nathan Dyer and Leon Britton to name two. And, with the likes of old hands Gerrard, Lampard and Milner in the running for the central midfielders, Shelvey won't be the frontrunner. However Shelvey has played well at England's Under-21 level so you never know.

Likelihood: 5/10

Roland Lamah

He made his senior international debut in 2009 but has played only 11 times since. The 26-year-old has impressed during the limited game time he's had for the Swans (mainly in the Europa League), but he hasn't played enough to warrant an assumed place in the Belgian squad. With other wingers such as Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne it's unlikely he'll be first on the plane. Still, as with all the players on this list, you never know!

Likelihood: 4/10

Fast forward to the World Cup Final... Spain vs Holland. Penalty shootout. "Michu steps up against his Swansea City teammate Michel Vorm for the chance to win the final..."

We'll see!


AGREE? DISAGREE? Your comments are appreciated! You can quickly leave your opinion below, or on our new Facebook page.

Friday 10 January 2014

Swans On Film: "Goals from the Beast"

We've always been fans of Wilfried Bony on this blog, despite his slow start for Swansea City.

Well, I call it a 'slow start' but he's already knocked-in 10 goals in all competitions, and has taken the most shots this season. He's now looking strong, fit and growing in confidence with each passing game.

So I dug out a video which features an array of his goals for past clubs (and a healthy dose of dancing in between the football!)

Check it out and leave a comment if you think there's a better Bony video out there.

Like us on our new Facebook page... go on. It's free and you get updates when new blog posts, videos and competitions are released. And we'll like you forever. Win win.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

ForzaSwansea Exclusive: Alan Curtis interview!

From time to time we have some great interviews on ForzaSwansea, and today we have a true Swansea City legend grace the pages of this fine blog.

I've interviewed former Swans player and now club coach Alan Curtis over topics such as the Cardiff game, his favourite memories and this season's expectations, along with some fun quick-fire questions. Enjoy!

Chris: You've been a player and a coach, but which have you enjoyed more?
Alan: Coaching is a close second but nothing beats playing. That's why I tell everybody to play as long as they can.

What is your favourite memory as a player for Swansea?
My two favourite games were playing against Preston and Leeds - both great occasions.

And what has been your favourite Swans game as a coach?
It would be both Wembley appearances (play-off final and league cup final) and wins at the Emirates and Stamford Bridge. A special mention goes for the first 45 minutes against West Brom last season!
Alan playing for Swansea City back in the day

In the current squad, who do you enjoy working with the most?
I can't pick anyone out individually, but I enjoy working with all the forwards and the attacking players.

Who's usually the first and last out on the training field?
Both first and last are Ben Davies and Jazz Richards - they're always practising.

What are the main differences between Michael Laudrup's coaching style compared to Brendan Rodgers?
Both managers are very similar in footballing principles - lots of possession drills and small sided games.

We've had a tough winter but have got through it intact - in May, where would you be happy to see Swansea finish the league?
I'd be happy to try and finish in the top ten again, and hopefully we can have another good cup run in both competitions.

If we survive Napoli, can we go all the way in the Europa League?
Absolutely - if we play to the top of our game we can beat anyone.

What went wrong in the last South Wales derby?
We underperformed badly and talked too much about the occasion, rather than concentrating on the game itself.

So, despite Solskjaer's intentions, do you see us finishing above Cardiff?

Some fun ones to finish - if Swansea could sign any dream player (from today or anytime in history), who would you choose?
Diego Maradona - he was an unbelievably good player.

Who's going to win the World Cup this year?
Playing at home will give Brazil a massive advantage but I wouldn't discount Germany.

We have readers from countries across the world - but can you speak any foreign languages?
Not really... but I can order a round of drinks in six languages!

Okay so you're at the bar - what are you drinking?
I'm a beer and lager man.

And, finally, what's your favourite blog?
Forza Swansea!


A massive thanks to Alan for taking the time to answer our questions - it's proved a very enjoyable read!

To read more about Alan and his brilliant career, you can buy his book Curt: The Alan Curtis Story in good bookshops or online.

Monday 6 January 2014

In case you missed them first time around...

We're all busy people and some articles are easy to miss. So here are some highlights from ForzaSwansea over the past few weeks:

(The links will take you to the relevant blog post)

  • To complement the season of copious booze and football, our American writer Jacob Cristobal gave us the rules to The Jonjo Shelvey Drinking Game (enjoy at your peril)!

  • Our newest contributor, Gavin Tucker, put together a brilliant game-by-game recap of Swansea City's Europa League adventures so far.

  • Former Swans player, football agent and now ForzaSwansea writer Alec Johnson gave us his expert opinion on the Swans at the half-way stage this season.

  • I spent ages setting up a vote and collating the results to bring you the Swansea City Team of the Season so far, as voted for by you the Swans fans.

  • And to finish it all off, the contributors and myself collaborated our opinions on the upcoming January transfer window with an always popular Blogger Q&A (titled "Vazquez is this season's Shechter").

Save them, read them, share them and - as always - let us know your thoughts via the comment form below or the Facebook page.


If you have a small business and don't already have a free blog, check out this new blog which offers free small business blogging advice.

Sunday 5 January 2014

Swans On Film: Pratley... 60 yards

I bet the majority of you knew exactly what this video was before you even clicked on it!

In 2011, when Swansea were battling a last minute effort from Nottingham Forest in a game that would decide who would be heading to the Championship play-off final at Wembley, something mental happened. Forest pushed their keeper up for a corner that was punched away by De Vries and the ball eventually found its way to Darren Pratley. The midfielder ran to the halfway line then hit it as far as he could...

Seconds later Swansea City were on their way to Wembley! Just watch the crowd in the background!

If this doesn't give you goosebumps...

Friday 3 January 2014

Exclusive Sunderland POV: "Ki has been a revelation"

The transfer window is open and Swansea City are desperate for something to freshen up a tired squad. But who exactly are we looking for?

Apart from a goalscoring striker to take the pressure off Bony, we are after someone strong, someone with good feet and someone who can pass the ball. But who?

The answer is actually pretty obvious - Ki Sung Yeung! He's already a Swansea City player, but he's currently on a season-long loan to Sunderland (with a mid-season re-call option, which may prove to be important).

So how has Ki been doing up north? By all accounts very well. But who wants to hear all accounts? We want a concrete answer! So I've recruited David Boyle from the popular Sunderland website The Roker Report to give us the Sunderland perspective on Ki and how effective he's been for the Black Cats:

Ki has, quite simply, been a revelation on Wearside, especially under Gus Poyet. That may that sound like a ridiculous thing to say given Sunderland’s current predicament but Poyet has pretty much set his side up around your man and has given Ki licence to dictate play from the middle of the park with basically every attacking move we make going through the South Korean’s feet first.
It is no secret how Gus Poyet likes his teams to play - very much a style which is especially reminiscent to that of your own which won Swansea many plaudits over recent seasons and given the freedom to play in a central midfield of three, Ki has flourished.
Obviously transfers are a hot topic up and down the country at this time of year and I would not be exaggerating when I say that Ki would be top of my shopping list such is his importance to the side.
Quite whether or not a deal can be agreed either now or in the summer remains to be seen and would ultimately hinge on whether or not the club can beat the drop come May, but either way, we look incapable of playing possession football without Ki in the middle of the park.
Ultimately I fear the Ki situation on Wearside may well play out just like Danny Rose’s loan stint last year where he too caught the eye and won the admiration of the home fans for his superb performances at left-back only to play his way back into contention at White Hart Lane.
Selfishly, I’m desperate to see Ki make his spell with Sunderland a more permanent arrangement, although I could perfectly understand if Swansea were to give their man a second chance given the level of performance he has put in of late.

That's some praise! Perhaps we at Swansea didn't see the potential of Ki when he was sent out on loan, but it seems he's one loan player who would be in our best interests to get back as soon as we can.

A big thanks to David for taking the time to give us his opinions on Ki. You can follow David on Twitter.

Thursday 2 January 2014

Swans On Film: "Leon is King!"

Swans On Film is a very simple new feature for ForzaSwansea, where we show a Swansea City themed video! It could be a fan-made tribute, an amazing goal, a funny off-field skit or a blast from the past. Basically anything to do with the Swans!


Today's Swans On Film is: "Kings of Leon - Leon is King"

This is a parody of a famous Kings of Leon song with a Swansea City twist - it's a dedication to our legendary midfielder Leon Britton! It was originally created for and performed by Swans fan Dan Edwards.

Leon! Leon! Leon!

If you've got a video you'd like to nominate for Swans On Film, just tweet me, leave a message on our Facebook page or just comment below!


Are you a Pescetarian? If you've given up meat or want to read about a Welshman who has, check out a new blog made by a friend of mine, charting his meat-free adventures for the next six months!

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Blogger Q&A - The Transfer Window (or "Vazquez is this season's Shechter")

It's that time of year again! The Christmas tree is being taken down, the hangovers are settling in and football managers are making changes to their squads - it's the transfer window!

And what better way to judge what kind of action Swansea City need to take than by a quick-fire Q&A with the ForzaSwansea bloggers. I've set three questions and we all have a go at answering them:

Chris's dream signing - Juve's "atomic ant" Sebastian Giovinco

Q1: What kind of player do Swansea really need to sign this January?

Alec Johnson: We need a nuisance with a creative edge - somebody to pop around the final third and wander into the gaps. A young player without fear to add the same edge that Borini and Siggi did.

Gavin Tucker: Firstly - an option that would cost Swansea nothing - I'd like to see Ki return. His consistency at maintaining possession in the middle of the park would surely be of value to our heavily rotated squad. As signings go, a pacy winger who can beat a defender, delivering an early, accurate cross or reaching the by-line and cutting it back for Bony or Michu would give an added dimension.

Jacob Cristobal: We need a striker!

Jules Price: Ideally another striker and a wide player. Unfortunately, Laudrup seems to have his favourites and this has meant limited time for Routledge this season. However I'm intrigued by the possibility of Luis Alberto being linked to Swansea. Judging by the reaction of some Liverpool fans, they really don't want to see him leave Anfield.

Chris Carra: Where do I start... a striker is vital as Vazquez is not much use and if Bony gets injured we are pretty much buggered. Elsewhere another assured goalkeeper could be a good investment. Anyone with some quality that we can get our hands on as the squad is suffering from so many games.

Gavin's dream signing - Alfred Finnbogason

Q2: Your super-cool Swansea City dream signing?

AJ: Cesc Fabregas. He would slot right in and add 20 extra goals together with a corner that beats the first man.

GT: Icelandic striker Alfred Finnbogason. 17 goals from 15 games so far this season, the 24-year-old currently plays under Marco Van Basten at Dutch side SC Heerenveen. A product of the youth team of Breidablik playing alongside Gylfi Sigurdsson and a recent transfer target of Celtic. He is available for around £5 million and would offer a quality alternative up top to Bony.

JC: Alvaro Morata - this kid is going to be special!

JP: I would like us to sign a big-name player who has played at the highest level but may be slightly passed his very best. Such a signing could lift the team and certainly the supporters. Just look at how well former Swans target Marcos Senna has done for the New York Cosmos this season. Del Piero is still a hero of mine and fits the bill nicely, however I think Falcao of Monaco would suit Swansea and Swansea would suit him.

CC: I always say someone Italian and 2014 isn't going to be a change of habit... I would love to see someone like Sebastian Giovinco (Juventus and Italy) who would offer a completely different attacking threat to Bony. He's tiny, fast and could change a game when needed (which is quite often with Swansea if we're being honest!)

Q3: Who wouldn't you really miss if the Swans let them go? 

AJ: Vazquez has offered nothing more than giving Bony a rest for parts of a game - he's nowhere near good enough for this level.

GT: Tiendalli - he just doesn't seem up to the job that Laudrup is asking of him. When he pushes up in support it's usually too slowly, and once he does he usually fails to track back if the move breaks down. I'd like to see him go, but in reality nobody paying attention would buy him.


JP: Dare I say it but would we miss Tate or Monk if they left the club? It is quite apparent these two players will not see any first team action while Laudrup is in charge. You only had to look at the body language between Laudrup and Monk at Wembley in February to see there isn't a close relationship between them.

CC: Vazquez isn't great - he's basically this season's Itay Shechter (or is that too harsh?). Either way he is giving the illusion that we have a qualified striker on the bench when we really need someone more capable of scoring on demand.


So there we go, that's the ForzaSwansea blogger's opinions on the transfer window. What are your thoughts? Who should we get rid of and who should we grab with both hands? Let us know in the comments box below (just leave your name and write a comment - simple!) or via our new Facebook page.