Showing posts with label Laudrup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Laudrup. Show all posts

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Michael Laudrup: Thank you and goodbye


By Matthew Jacob

Swansea City have parted company with Michael Laudrup, with long-serving defender Garry Monk and club legend Alan Curtis placed in charge for the foreseeable future.

I speak with my hand on my heart when I thank Michael Laudrup for the sterling work he's done at my football club. Leading the Swans to a major trophy and into Europe is a superb achievement and a level that many thought the club could never aspire to.

He continued the good work of his predecessors and has certainly added considerable talent to our playing squad with the likes of Michu and Wilfried Bony, while overseeing the development of Ben Davies from youth academy product to Welsh international.



There was a mutual acceptance by fans that Laudrup would not be in charge by next season, given that he had always made it clear that he intended to look for a new challenge when his contract came to an end. Yet it is hard to imagine that anyone envisaged this sequence of events that has led to the Dane's dismissal.

I was at the West Ham game on Saturday and can honestly say it was the worst performance I've seen from a Swansea side in the last eight years. The writing was on the wall and it all felt wrong.

Laudrup is highly rated and I'm sure clubs will queue up to bring him in and rightly so, yet there can be no doubt that since securing the Capital One Cup, Swansea have simply not been good enough.

We have played 35 Premier League fixtures since that day at Wembley and only managed eight wins, losing 18 times. That's relegation form, pure and simple. So where did it all go wrong for Michael's men? What caused the slide from ninth in the league to two points above the trapdoor to Championship football barely a year later?

It boils down to several things which have created a shroud of uncertainty around the players, the club and inevitably the fans. There's truth in the argument that Laudrup has been a little unlucky with injuries. Michu and Vorm have been a massive miss for the side, while a couple of results this year have swung away from Swansea at pivotal moments.

There have been some truly bizarre issues particularly around transfer dealings. I can't honestly say I ever agreed with the idea of a 'streamlined' squad and having to battle on four fronts has really taken its toll on the players this season.

I rate Ki Sung-Yueng as a footballer and was disappointed to see him leave on loan, yet I don't believe anyone would have thought he could make the kind of impact he's had at Sunderland. To not recall him felt shortsighted, whether the blame lies with the board or the manager on that one is a real conundrum for me.

The excitement of the transfer window evaporated to be replaced by a feeling like Christmas had been cancelled in Swansea. The signing of David N'Gog and Marvin Emnes plus a handful of youngsters on deadline day was hardly going to get the East Stand bouncing, while Cardiff snapped up Wilfried Zaha and sides like Crystal Palace, West Ham and Sunderland all strengthened their hand for the relegation battle we now find ourselves in.

For a club that has always put team spirit and togetherness in the face of adversity at the heart of what it stands for, can any of us honestly say the on-pitch shouting matches between the players have gone unnoticed? Or #Brickgate? Think of it what you will but did we ever hear of this under Martinez? Or Rodgers? Even Sousa! I'm not suggesting that there were not training ground bust-ups between players and management while they were in charge, but the majority seemed to slip the media's gaze. Not so under Laudrup.

The Dane is an ice cool character. I could never imagine him head-butting the changing room door before matches or chucking bottles around screaming at the players, yet I never imagined him as a timid character either - just a man who spoke with experience. While I believe that certainly serves you well during the good times there must be the ability to pull it out of the bag when it's not going your way.

I'm not sure Laudrup knew how to change it at Swansea or, if he did, whether he could have changed it to drag us out of the mire. Some say he lost the dressing room - the body language of the players certainly has not been positive of late.

Now Swansea need to go back to basics.

Monk and Curtis are Swansea City through and through and I do believe that they can lift the squad. They must get Laudrup's signings like Pozuelo and Canas onside now and ensure all the playing staff are pulling towards one common goal. I believe they'll do that.

Huw Jenkins is a shrewd man, and will not have made this decision lightly. Yet the Premier League demands instant success, leaving teams with little option but to turn to drastic measures to boost their chances of survival. It is the nature of the beast as they say and to keep up in the high stake games, you have to roll the dice. That's what Swansea have done here. Let's hope it pays off.

I'm right behind Garry Monk and Alan Curtis to see us over the line this year. I felt really strongly about the club's 'Wear Your Colours' campaign (as some of you reading this may have seen on Twitter). I wear my colours to every game - talk to the players about wearing the shirt with pride. And who better to install that in them than Garry Monk?

So thank you Michael Laudrup - for the free flowing football, for Michu, for the Capital One Cup and the Europa league. And good luck to Monk and Curt - good job they've got a nice easy game to start with, eh?

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Swansea's severed ties with Tutu... and Laudrup?

In this short blog post ForzaSwansea editor CHRIS CARRA takes an unsure look at the issues surrounding the ongoing Michael Laudrup saga (...he comes to no concrete conclusions).


Will he won't he? Will he... won't... he...? Yes I'm talking about Michael Laudrup.

Swans fans tried to shrug off the rumours as the post-season began, but things are now sticking and with the ties between the club and Bayram Tutumlu finally severed, it seems Swansea City's managerial future is once again uncertain.

But despite reports of these problems, Laudrup has come out and said, via the Evening Post: "...my intention is to stay."

Now, in football, those words don't mean that much. Just look at Brendan Rogers and his "Swansea is where my heart is" poetry and you'll know what I mean, but Laudrup seems a little more straight talking. He's made it clear he would leave the club in a few years, but seemed set on staying for a while.

Naturally he is going to be more loyal to his agent of 25 years than a Welsh football club, but he would know he has a lot left to achieve in Swansea.

But what if he does go? Let's take a step back. As Swansea fans we are probably looking at the Dane through glossy eyes - and who can blame us. He took the club to their highest finish since 1982 and won the Capital One Cup in great style. And he's a cool character who we all love to be associated with.

On the "flip-side" as I'm sure the cool kids say, is it the end of the world?

While I've just outlined what a sterling job he has done, the board would look to bring in a manager with a similar philosophy which would suit the players already at the club.

And he wasn't perfect - some could say his epic first half of the season was cancelled out by the concerning second half. I mean, it wasn't cancelled out, but the performances after the Wembley trip left a lot to be desired.

I've started this blog post with no conclusion in mind, so sorry if you were looking for answers - they will be hard to come by and, in this situation, only time will tell. He will either go in the next week or he'll stay for another season.

Stay tuned because we'll bring you all the gossip and speculation (and maybe even a few concrete facts) throughout this interesting summer.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Swansea City's not-so-merry-managerial-go-round!

THE unrest that shrouds Swansea City over the summer is now almost a tradition. In this article ForzaSwansea blogger ALEC JOHNSON takes a look at the current situation and outlines potential Laudrup replacements, should the worst happen.


It’s summer and that means another media assault on Swansea City. Let’s have a look at the facts surrounding the uncertainty within our club.

It is impossible to criticise Huw Jenkins and his team - they have collectively transformed the fortunes of the Swans, risking so much yet remaining private in their ambitions with the beautiful line "it is our duty to the people of the city". You’ve got to love this.

However we do need a summer of love not this perennial challenge of departures and mayhem.

Firstly, I find it strange that the people responsible for player recruitment at the club take holidays the second the season ends. During my days as a football agent I found that May is the second busiest month of the year and requires constant attention. Taking a holiday in late July seems like a sensible option as we always seem to be playing catch up, even though we do it very well.

The statement from Huw Jenkins last week was again very polished and honest, in the face of the media he gets better and better and deserves huge credit. However as a leader of people, running a business with revenues exceeding £70m, surely there is a feeling that relationships should be stronger internally. Successive managers have run for the exit at the first option with Wigan and Leicester hardly being the greatest attractions - deeper relationships create stronger bonds.



Laudrup is also known to be a quiet and infrequent communicator and this had led to recent comments being taken out of context. It is a statement of fact, not opinion, that we need to spend £200m to improve on our position. That is a fact and impossible to disagree with. What Laudrup wasn’t saying was "I need £200m or I’m off" which is the warped interpretation from certain sections of the media. His frustration lies in the pace of the activity to date with a provisional list of five players close to being closed off yet only Canas signing, not the budget.

It’s a risky game delaying closures at this level as little Swansea City cannot compete with three quarters of the clubs in the premier league. Our ‘home bargains’ happy shopper approach - which has served us well - can only go so far under the radar, the key to its success being getting business done early.

In spite of all of this, I do believe that Laudrup will stay for one more season. But, let’s consider plan B as there is deep level of uncertainty from within the club, not just the media onslaught.

Zola is a serious contender and fits the profile but had a rough ride at West Ham - can he cut it at the highest level? I believe so. Would he come here? He’d be mad not to as I cannot see another Premier League club giving him the opportunity anytime soon.

I had the privilege of speaking with Gus Poyet weeks after he was unsuccessful in his previous application at Swansea. His words: "I called my wife and said that I had found a perfect job for this stage in my career and that the Swansea chairman will be easy to work with, only to find out the next day that Sousa had the job". He was genuinely gutted. The reason then and the probable reason in future is that Poyet's family refuse to move outside London and this doesn’t go down well at Swansea. Nor should it.

I have always admired Roberto Di Matteo, a Champions League winner just twelve months ago and now scrapping around for media work. It is considered that a level of personal baggage is attached to this fella and I cannot see any legs in this.

So what about Morten Wieghorst? The second he arrived I tweeted that this is a ready-made replacement for the big man. The feeling is that he is a top class coach and is being groomed for a top job.

Anybody else? Certainly not in this country - previous contenders like Dean Saunders and Paul Tisdale have seen their stock plummet. The only other contender within profile is Eddie Howe, back at Bournemouth and doing magic for a second spell. Surely this is a step too big, too soon but his moment will come.

So, assuming the rottweiler named Bayram Tutumlu [Laudrup's agent] doesn’t get his way none of this will be necessary. Many will say that none of this should have happened if a few people had handled a few matters very differently.

Feel free to vent your feelings on this situation below or tweet @71_alec for a discussion!


Monday, 25 February 2013

From Landore to London: Swansea City Champions!

Once again we came, we saw and we conquered Wembley!

Swansea City are champions of the Capital One Cup 2013 - quite a feat for Michael Laudrup's first season in charge!




Around 30,000 Swans fans made their way from South Wales along the M4 to London for their second Wembley final in three seasons. After a frosty early start, the beer (on my bus anyway) was cracked open at around 8am, along with chants, singing and a hefty case of sausage sandwiches!

We made it to Harrow at around 11:30am and continued drinking in the warmth of The Moon on the Hill, which was rammed with Swans fans. Maybe a little too rammed, so we eventually moved to the slightly more manageable one a few streets away - The Junction. The atmosphere was superb - I can't imagine the Bradford-designated pubs were as loud as our ones!

I made my way to Wembley via tube and arrived at 3pm and found my seat which had a great view. Only as I sat down I realised how cold it was... any energy I had left was knocked out by the icy chill that swept the stadium. I knew I should have bought a half/half scarf...

The interesting opening ceremony was atmospheric as you would expect, as were the fireworks and dramatic music. And the flags left on the seats were also a nice touch.

With the long build-up over, the main event - the 90 minutes of football - was actually a bit of an anti-climax for me. Not the five goals or Swansea winning, but the actual feel of the match. It felt more like the first round of the cup, only at Wembley.

Unfortunately this was down to Bradford not really turning up. Unlike their fans - who were superb throughout, out-singing Swansea at times and celebrating until the end - the actual team seemed burned out and/or overawed by the situation. Probably the case of one massive game too many. Even though I wanted Swansea to win, a couple of nerve-wracking Bradford chances - similar to the play-off final vs. Reading - would have made for a little more excitement. But it felt a little bland.

Still, 10,000/1 at the start of the cup, Bradford surpassed the expectation of their fans to get to the final, but it was always going to be Swansea City's day and the team thoroughly deserved to lift the cup.

From what I remember, Swansea dominated possession and territory, outplaying Bradford in every aspect. Take nothing away from Swansea though, who would have probably beat any opposition yesterday, such was the quality of football they played.

The goalscorers were a little unexpected. At no point did I have Dyer to be on a hat-trick - I don't think many would have. It's a shame he didn't get his third goal. It's undecided whether de Guzman should have surrendered the ball to him for the penalty, but de Guzman was in his right to want a goal on a plate at the final and therefore was probably right to take the kick.

Ashley Williams lifting the trophy with Garry Monk was another nice touch of the day - both men deserved it for their service to the club.

We shuffled out of the stadium and found the way to the mini-bus that would take us back to Swansea. Five hours later we arrived - knackered, hungry, cold but happy! A great day and one which may not be topped for some time!

Europe, here we come!

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Check back soon for an important announcement about the future of ForzaSwansea.com.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Swansea City round-up at the end of silly season!

As we head towards the closing of the transfer window, most of us will be religiously checking Twitter, NewsNow and Sky Sports simultaneously, even though the rumour-mill is in overdrive and 80% of what we read will turn out to be nothing of any truth!


Example of the general bollocks we have to put up with!

I don't think there will be much more action for Swansea City in the next few hours. In reality, we've already been spoilt quite a bit this summer and anything we get now will surely be surplus.

So, overlooking the rumours, lets look at the confirmed (or 'most probable') comings and goings of South Wales' favourite football team!


Going, going... still going... probably going... GONE.


The first big mention goes to one of the most significant names Swansea have moulded over the past two seasons: Scott Sinclair. That first season was a dream for him and fans alike, punctuated by the hat-trick in the play-off final. However, since that mental day in London, Sinclair never looked happy at the club.

His departure to Man City is actually fine for Swansea - £8million (or £6.2million plus add-ons) for the winger is, yet again, superb business from Huw Jenkins. But I can't help feel that for Sinclair it's a stupid move. A youngster who spent most of his early career moving from one club to another, until he found his feet at Swansea, where he was the first name on the team sheet during that final Championship season.

Now he's off to Man City - clearly a club oozing with world-class talent and with no obvious need for him. Man City is a club where Sinclair will be lucky to make the bench for most games. So, why is he moving? Money? A whiny girlfriend? Probably a mixture of both. One thing I can guarantee: it's not to further his career. Good luck Sinclair. See you when you're loaned out to QPR a year down the line.

Elsewhere, we've recently said our goodbyes to Andrea Orlandi (to Brighton for an undisclosed fee). While it's refreshing to see a player like Orlandi leave with no long, drawn out negotiations, it seemed a little abrupt as there was some sentimental value with Orlandi.

He had been with the club for about five years, across four different managers. However, he's not done much in the grand scheme of things for Swansea City. I feel he had much more potential than some in midfield and showed sparks of brilliance at times (including his diving header which produced one of the fastest Premier League goal's ever!). Realistically though, he's not achieved that potential and is rightly gone.

Fede Bessone has left to Swindon to vast cries of “I didn't even realise he was still part of the squad!?”. Rodgers dived for ex-Swan Bessone in the 2011 summer transfer window as cover for injured Alan Tate. He wasn't used that much apart from one or two games and a substantial amount of bench-warming. He took wages, played a little for the reserves and ultimately did nothing much for the club. Best wishes Bessone, but please don't return a third time!

The ongoing debate of 'is Stephen Dobbie good enough for the Premier League?' has been solved: he's joining Orlandi at Brighton on a three-year contract. One of those players who never made the step-up to the current level. He'll do well at Brighton, I have no doubts about it!

Others likely to leave, but with no confirmations yet are Leroy Lita, who is rumoured to be loaned out to Crystal Palace, while Garry Monk is set to go to Bristol City on loan (though this is to be delayed for a few weeks after a back injury). Meanwhile, Curtis Obeng is likely to head to Fleetwood Town - again, on loan.


Welcome to Swansea City!


I'm not going to re-mention the likes of Michu, de Guzman and Chico Flores as there is plenty written on them and we've already seen them in action two or three times so far this season. All three are superb signings - let's leave it at that.

A player we will talk about is one of the biggest names of the summer and one who has finally signed - Pablo Hernandez. After much speculation and uncertainty, he's come from Valencia for £5.5million on a three-year deal, linking up again with Laudrup, who managed Hernandez during his time at Getafe. What a good replacement for Sinclair, especially with money left over from his sale!

Maybe having Hernandez is a little rough on Wayne Routledge who has been surprisingly brilliant over the first two games, but wing is one area where Swansea are pretty bare and needed beefing up. Anyway, I'm sure we'll see plenty of rotation and plenty of Routledge as the year goes on - we all know Dyer can tire himself out!

Record signing Ki Sung-Yueng has now played one game for the Swans after coming from Celtic for £5.5million, bringing with him big support from Korea. He'll probably immediately replace Jonathan de Guzman in the centre for now. There's a decent article on another Swans blog, summing up Sung-Yueng, including some words from a Celtic supporter, which is worth checking out.

Elsewhere, Kyle Bartley from Arsenal for around £1million on a three-year deal helps beef up the defence, and Itay Shechter on a season-long loan from Kaiserslautern gives some much needed competition to Danny Graham.

All things considered, I'm sure you'll agree that this has probably been the best summer transfer movement for Swansea in a good while!

As we head into autumn (that's right, all that rain and thunder was actually summer in disguise), Swansea are really looking a solid team, almost unstoppable.

Check out my Swansea vs. Sunderland preview, posted earlier!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Not a bad start, Swansea... not bad at all.

Swansea City 5 – 0 QPR
Swansea City 3 – 0 West Ham

That's a good start isn't it?

We've seen two impressive displays from the Swans in the opening week. Eight goals, two clean sheets and now second in the Premier League!

However, it's still early. Plenty of time for Vorm to get injured, the team to lose ten in a row and us to watch as Dyer signs for Liverpool. Yet, so far it's all reassuring stuff from a team tipped for a disastrous season and rock-bottom relegation.

Briefly top of the league, until Chelsea spoilt it.

We knew from the pre-season that Laudrup is a manager with plans to attack. While many - including myself - knew there would be more goals for Swansea this season, many - again, including myself - also assumed there would be more goals against Swansea. So far, in the second aspect, we've been wrong.

Defence, therefore, is doing it's job. Chico Flores has come in and is providing the team with the same stability Steven Caulker offered, though with a little more fire (this may lead to a few cards along the way, but who cares about the Fair Play league if Swansea qualify for Europe the proper way!). Angel Rangel and Neil Taylor look as dangerous as ever going forward, and Williams is as assured as always. Though mistakes have been made at the back, Michel Vorm has been solid enough to clean-up what the defenders leave behind. All looking great.

Going forward, Swansea are already more entertaining to watch. It took the Swans nine games to score eight goals last season under Brendan Rodgers, where it's taken just two this time around. While I thoroughly appreciate everything Rodgers did for the club (apart from pissing off to Liverpool), I found the football last season a little... pointless at times.

While I don't think passing football is boring, the game played under Rodgers was at times frustrating - all pass, pass, pass and incredible possession stats, but not as much end product to get excited about. With Laudrup we are still seeing decent possession (50% in the QPR game and 62% against West Ham), but are also seeing chances made and goals scored, with some exciting counter-attacks thrown in.

Michu is clearly a key figure. For £2million, he's been the signing of the season - no contest. Again, just two games in, but the Premier League's top scorer. He has replaced Allen and Sigurdsson in one hit for literally pennies in this league.

Elsewhere, Wayne Routledge has come alive in the first two games. The ongoing Scott Sinclair moody, pointless move to Man City (until he's loaned out to QPR) has allowed Routledge two starting places and he's done a lot with them; running, cutting inside and offering plenty for Danny Graham and Michu to work with. Though Pablo Hernandez may eventually sign, Routledge is showing he has enough for a permanent first team place.

Little Nathan Dyer - man of the match against West Ham - is looking dangerous as usual. I'm surprised there weren't many rumours/offers from other teams for Dyer this summer. The transfer window is still open, so I won't speak to soon - Rodgers' the thief still has money in the bank. For now, it's nice to see Dyer shooting more.

We are yet to see Ki Sung-Yueng in action. With Britton, Michu and de Guzman all offering plenty in midfield, who will make way for the record signing? I'm guessing it will be de Guzman.

Ultimately it is too early to say Swansea will repeat these exciting scorelines for the rest of the season. There will be tougher games against opponents who actually want to win (both QPR and West Ham haven't looked that up for it). But for now, Swansea still have a nice run of teams where similar comfortable wins are possible - Aston Villa, Stoke, Reading and Wigan are all coming up soon enough.

If Laudrup can keep up a decent run, Swansea can go into the bigger games in November - those against Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool - with no real pressure, already comfortably mid-table. We said before the season started that the Swans must take as many points from the opening games as they could, and things are going exactly to plan it seems!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Swansea City 2012/13 - back to the Championship?

Please rest assured that the title of this blog post in no way reflects my personal prediction of Swansea City's destiny this season. But it does reflect what I'm reading elsewhere.

Recently flicking through the new FourFourTwo Season Preview magazine, I noticed they predict Swansea will finish in 20th. That's right, propping up the table. A 'Wolves' if you will. On the first read I was a little surprised, considering how well Swansea did last season.

However, the relegation predictions don't end with FourFourTwo. The American sports site, Bleacher Report feature Swansea in their 'Five favourites to be relegated this season' article, while The Independent suggest the Swans may 'struggle to keep up' in their preview.


FourFourWrong?

They key reasons behind the relegation predictions become obvious when you read on. Issues like the fact that the Premier League is all new to Michael Laudrup, a manager who hadn't been successful with all his previous teams. Also if Laudrup plans to stick to the same attractive, passing football (which he does), he won't have the element of surprise that Brendan Rodgers had last season - the rest of the league may have the Swans all figured out. This is worrying with no definite 'plan B'.

The other issues addressed in these articles focus on the players. If Sinclair leaves the club (which seems 50/50 at the moment), the Swans will have lost three of their five top scorers last season in this transfer window: Sinclair (8), Sigurdsson (7), Allen (4). This means Swansea may well be lacking the fire-power FourFourTwo warn about.

Personally I don't feel the Swans have that much to worry about. Not as much as the media make out anyway. However, points will be needed from the very start; there won't be as much room for trial and error this season.

Away form must be sorted out too, and points have to be ripped away from the new arrivals in the league as well as potential relegation rivals. This season, it should be these vital games that draw the crowds, not the Man Uniteds, Chelseas and Liverpools of the league (okay, maybe not the Liverpool one - that is a must win game!).

Swansea supporters, myself included, are more optimistic than the media, but with understandable caution. Last season we predicted a realistic finish of 16th or so in the untested waters of the Premier League, but thankfully our caution wasn't needed with the superb 11th finish. This season, we all seem to be predicting around the same (15th seems to be the magic number), with as much caution I guess.

Though praise from national media last season was nice, I'm sure we'll all admit that being the underdog is an equally enjoyable way to approach some games, so this assumption that Swansea will do poorly shouldn't get us down. We all enjoyed saying 'told you so' last season, and it'll be nice to do it again the second time around (especially to Brendan Rodgers).

Friday, 22 June 2012

A very brief Swansea City news round up!

Welcome to a very (very) brief round up of this week's Swansea City news!

The Michael Laudrup press conference
As some have said - you know you're a Premier League club when your manager is unveiled live on Sky Sports, and yesterday afternoon Huw Jenkins spoke to the world to introduce Michael Laudrup as Swansea City manager.

The Dane (Laudrup, not Jenkins...) came across very well, as we expected. He spoke about the club matching his own philosophy, the now unlikely move for Sigurdsson, and how changes to the club won't be made for the sake of it. However, he did say they will be looking to make signings.

It seems his big ideas are more about developing the club than about winning trophies. When first hearing this I thought 'no ambition...', but on reflection it will be a while until Swansea are contesting a league title and any shot at glory in Europe, so his aspiration to build the club instead of chasing trophies should please most Swans fans. 


Gylfi Sigurdsson
I'm getting really bored with this, to the point that even if Sigurdsson does come to Swansea the news will be received by little more than a shrug of the shoulders from me. Mainly because he's spent too much time waiting to see if a bigger club will come along and snap him up for more money and higher wages. Selfish.

Controversial as it may be, I'd rather Swansea say - "you know what Gylfi, forget it!". The Swans should use the £7million on something a little less fickle. Don't get me wrong, he was superb for the club in the latter stages of last season and would be a fine addition to any team (apart from Liverpool), but the current situation is just putting a bad taste in everyone's mouth.


Marvin Emnes 
Rumours have appeared this week that Marvin Emnes is being pursued by Swansea for around £3million, though the club have been quick to say that it is just old talk resurfacing and there are no new developments.

Emnes, while able to work hard in several roles across the forwards, seems to be a very good Championship player, but it's hard to speculate how he'd make the step up to Premier League again. He's had a few games at that level, but I can't help feel he'd spend more time on the bench if he signed for Swansea.

I'd be happy to give him a go - maybe another loan deal? - but £3million seems a little steep for a gamble.


Dobbie to Celtic?
Stephen Dobbie has been linked with a move to Celtic today. But, with no idea if he will be used more frequently under Laudrup, it would be best for him and Swansea if he waits to hear the plans.


Jack Army membership scheme
I had a little rant on Twitter about the scheme last week. You all know my thoughts on the many, many flaws, but I've heard a rumour that a new scheme may be announced soon.

Whether it is completely new or just an adaption of the existing one, I guess anything would be better than what is currently available. Very briefly, here are just a few things that would make it more Premier League and less Blue Square Premier in my eyes:

  • A rule that season ticket holders would not be able to purchase additional tickets to home games (they already have a home ticket, why on earth would they need another one?!) 
  • A new website where it is easier to log in and see your points
  • A membership card (just something physical to hold, to justify the £10/25 you've spent) 
  • A clearer points system, where points are known in advance (i.e. QPR away = 3 points, Sunderland away = 10 points)
  • Most importantly, a clearer system in general, where questions like “if one person has 15 points but doesn't have a season-ticket, does he have priority over the season-ticket holder with 13 points?” would not have to exist! 

That's the round up for this week. Look out for my review of the new Swansea City home and away shirts coming up next week! In the meantime, if you enjoyed this blog, why not follow me on twitter - @ForzaSwansea

Friday, 15 June 2012

A sensible look at the newest addition to Swansea City

For my last birthday I received South Park Season 14 on DVD and some moisturiser. Michael Laudrup got a Premier League football team for his... He wins.

You should be well aware of the news by now: Michael Laudrup has been confirmed as the new Swansea City manager on a two-year contract, replacing Brendan Rodgers who left the club two weeks ago.

A recent photo... 2011 I think

It's not much of a surprise as Laudrup has been the bookies favourite for a while, with numerous 'leaks' and media chatter backing it up. Still, it's superb to have confirmation, after the two manager-less weeks. Even one day without a manager is a day where the club can't move forward.

Firstly, let's take a moment to consider the shrewd moves by Huw Jenkins over the past fortnight - he's secured £7million for Brendan Rodgers and brought an exciting new manager to the club for free. Add that to the £7million that we won't be spending on Gylfi Sigurdsson and Swansea theoretically have £14million to play with. Nice one Mr Jenkins.

So, while Michael Laudrup has been described as the best player ever by many through the years, what do we know about him as a manager?

He has held the reins of four other clubs in the past ten years and was assistant manager of Denmark for a couple of years before that. While his playing career saw him well decorated - with medals for league wins with Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid and more, in addition to many Player of the Year awards - his managerial career hasn't particularly wowed anyone (but neither did Brendan Rodgers', and we all know what he achieved...).

Laudrup did well with Br√łndby over four years, revamping the team and winning the Danish Superliga and the Danish Cup, before moving to Getafe. He stayed with the Spanish side for only one season, but implemented a similar easy-on-the-eye style of passing football there and took them to the UEFA Cup quarter finals. He then moved to Spartak Moscow where he flopped and was sacked after just seven months, before spending a season with Mallorca where he kept them from relegation, but resigned in September 2011 after his assistant was sacked.

So a colourful ten years for the Danish manager, all of which has led him to Swansea City.

The good news is he'll be bringing a similar brand of football to the Liberty Stadium and fields a 4-2-3-1 formation, so very little tinkering with the squad will be needed (though be sure to read my Swansea City Summer Shopping List article for what should still be considered this summer).

There is little in the way of bad news in this appointment. If you need a point of view from Mallorca, who were supposedly glad he left, read this article.

The only real thing I'm worried about is trying to find another manager two years from now, when Liverpool ultimately steal him from us (in this scenario, Brendan Rodgers was sacked after his first season with The Reds. He is now the assistant manager of Dagenham & Redbridge).

We've all discussed loyalty, and it may seem a little pessimistic – even inappropriate – to discuss this on the day he's been appointed, but is Laudrup in it for the long run? Early indications seem to say... no, he's not.

It's hard to predict, but we'd be fools to believe that loyalty to a team - for players and managers alike – is anything more than a bonus these days. I guess, as long as he is able to keep the team playing as they are, or better, and continues to build on the work of the past three managers, we will be satisfied.

Whether this scenario is more than fiction, and whether he does a brilliant Br√łndby or a sluggish Spartak Moscow with Swansea City will be revealed over the next few seasons. But for now Michael Laudrup has the full support of the Jack Army behind him.