Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Tuesday 30 December 2014

Why losing to Liverpool really wasn't that bad.

Swansea were embarrassed last night by Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool at Anfield, deservedly losing 4-1 after a scrappy first half and a lacklustre second.

A couple of defensive mix-ups, a bizarre mistake from Lukasz Fabianski and an unfortunate own-goal from Jonjo Shelvey (who had an overall dreadful evening) saw the Swans pretty much dead and buried with over 20 minutes left to play.

It's annoying, but is it that bad?

In a 'grand scheme of things' kind of way, no - it's not that bad at all. Garry Monk - still only half-way through his first full season in charge - has navigated his team through a tough few months of fixtures and injuries, and is ending the year ninth in the Premier League.

Right on cue: Shelvey played his part in an awful game.

And having already played teams like Liverpool, Man United, Chelsea, Man City and West Ham away from home, the second half of the season should be a little smoother, fixtures-wise at least.

Of course, losing Wilfried Bony and Ki Sung Yeung to their nations for respective national competitions is a big blow considering the impact both those players have had; Bony with his creativity and goals, and Ki with his strength and composure in the middle of the pitch.

But their absence will allow Bafetimbi Gomis - who looked pretty good against Liverpool - some time in the spotlight, while midfield is deep enough to cope without Ki for a month (providing Shelvey pulls his finger out a bit). And of course we'll finally be able to see Nelson Oliveira in action.

So it's been a good year; certainly ending better than it started (I need not remind any Swansea fan of the way 2014 began, with Michael Laudrup slowly guiding the team towards relegation). In reflection, losing to Liverpool - and Brendan Rodgers - was in no way desirable, but it's not the end of the world.

All that's left to do is say Happy New Year and see you all in 2015! (And don't waste those Christmas vouchers on something boring - instead, buy your copy of Swansea City's Greatest Games today!).

Monday 18 August 2014

The Swans' first game: a brief chat between Chris and Alec

After the first game of the season producing three fantastic points for Swansea City, I thought it would be a good idea to have a chat with ForzaSwansea's resident former Swan and football agent Alec Johnson for his reaction and to see what we can expect from the season ahead.


Chris Carra: So, a 2-1 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford... I can't say I knew of anyone who thought that was very likely to happen, especially after the poor showing against Villarreal the week before. Was it a shock three points for you?

Alec Johnson: Well I wasn't confident until I saw the team sheets, then it all changed. I actually tweeted that we would score a late winner, believing that Gomis would get the important goal. United were also very poor and lacked movement and pace, which helped our cause. We caught them at the right moment in the season.

CC: Yeah, United were quite ordinary on Saturday, although I don't want to sound like I'm taking anything away from the Swans' performance. What do you think we did right against van Gaal's men?

AJ: It was our shape. We were back to our solid best. Protect the back four, get the wingers working within ten yards of the fullbacks and be patient. It paid off in the end!

CC: It certainly did. It wasn't a flawless performance though, especially the opening ten minutes where nerves seemed to play a part. But I guess that was to be expected. What do you feel could have been improved on?

AJ: Our ball retention. We certainly panicked for patches and kept giving it back to United, which is understandable for the season kick-off. Plus I felt our wingers didn't have a go at their vulnerable full backs when given the chance, especially Nathan Dyer against young Tyler Blackett.

CC: On to next week where Swansea will take on the 'new boys' Burnley at the Liberty Stadium. After the first game do you reckon this will be an easier three points?

AJ: Not necessarily - it will still be a very difficult game and they will be right up for it. Sean Dyche will allow no easy ride. However if we approach the game with the right attitude we could get a decent win.

CC: Can we get an early score prediction? 

AJ: I'll say 2-1 or 3-1 to Swansea.

CC: That sounds about right. I'm going to say 2-0 to Swansea. Now, more generally speaking, let's look at our key players this season. I'm enjoying Montero from what I've seen of him - the kind of kick and chase player I've always loved to watch. He'll be very important I feel. What about you?

AJ: The most important for me will be Siggi, as Michu was in previous seasons. Playing the system we play relies so heavily on the 'ten' floating between the lines and he can do just that. As for the player I'll enjoy watching the most, I'd say Gomis edges this over Siggi, simply because we haven't had pace up top for two decades. Suddenly we have speed, which will force teams to sit deeper against us, opening up pockets of space around the park.

CC: Taking a great leap nine months into the future and the season is coming to an end. Where are Swansea City in the Premier League table?

AJ: I believe we will be in our usual spot of top of the middle bag, hovering around mid-table all season. We'll be safe by Easter. If I'm being more specific we'll be 8th with 49 points by the end, beating our best finish and points tally in the Premier League. I also fancy an FA Cup run - that trophy is a missing piece for us and I'd love us to have a right go at it.

CC: I think most Swans fans would happily take that! I'm going to say we'll be around mid-table too - these days that is the safest bet! I think I learnt my lesson when I had a fiver on Swansea to finish in the top six last season... 


Thanks to Alec for having this little chat - make sure to follow him on Twitter. We'll be catching up again very soon. For now get in touch with your season predictions via Twitter or on our Facebook page!

Friday 16 May 2014

Blogger Q&A - "Goodbye 2013/14"

Swansea City's 2013/14 season is finally over! It's been eventful - happy, sad, angry and proud, the emotions were all over the place this year.

So, to end the season, myself and the Forza Swansea bloggers are answering a few questions to round it all up, including the best and worst games, goals and players!

Q1) What was Swansea's best game this season?

Jules Price: For me the best game would be the draw at the Emirates Stadium. Bony's headed goal was sublime, underlining his increasing confidence. What was so pleasing was how the Swans were able to put up a solid resistance for most of the game against an Arsenal side that were completely dominating the match.

Alec Johnson: It has to be Cardiff at the Liberty - beating your fierce rivals so comfortably with so much at stake. The six point swing was crucial for momentum and it could have gone horribly wrong had we lost.

Gavin Tucker: It has to be my trip to the Mestalla and our 3-0 annihilation of Valencia. Perhaps it didn't have the historical significance of a play-off match or cup final but it's up there with my all time favourite game. Quite possibly the best away trip ever.

Jacob Cristobal: It's a tie between these two: September 16, 2013 against Liverpool. You have to look back with a sense of humour and appreciate that Jonjo Shelvey was MOTM for both sides - that's special talent right there. And February 27, 2014 against Napoli. All Swansea fans should be damn proud of their Europa League campaign. To be 35 minutes away from the Round of 16 is nothing to scoff at.

Chris Carra: The Cardiff game was of course superb, but I enjoyed the penultimate home game against Aston Villa. It secured safety in the league with four good goals, and the players did it with the drive that had been missing for much of the season.

Probably the worst game...

Q2) What about the worst game?

JP: The early season defeat against Man United at the Liberty. It was the most watched game in US history and I know Swansea's performance that day ensured we gained many new followers and admirers from the other side of the Atlantic. The scoreline flattered United because for the first 25 minutes we were on top.

AJ: West Brom at home was the most frustrating. The manner of the defeat turned the majority of our supporters into predicting certain relegation. We rolled over and let them tickle our soft centre in a must not lose game.

GT: West Ham away was my lowest point of the season, as I'm sure it was for many. The apparent lack of preparation and so many simple errors... Chico. There was just nothing positive to take from that performance.

JC: That would be November 3, 2013 against Cardiff. One, it came on at some ungodly hour here in the US (time zone differential) and two, losing to rivals just stinks.

CC: I'm agreeing with Jacob and probably thousands of other Swans fans - the Cardiff loss was terrible. No fight from anyone and Cardiff deserved their one moment of glory.

Q3) Apart from Bony, who was the stand-out Swansea player?

JP: Pablo Hernandez. He had an average season but the increase in his confidence and match performances were evident to see once Garry Monk was installed as the manager. Without doubt he seemed a much happier player in the centre of midfield.

AJ: Jonjo Shelvey. I was one of the excited few when he arrived last July. A genuine Steven Gerrard type that doesn't exist at many clubs. He's scored key goals at key times - Fulham away, Villa at home and, of course, the two against the scousers.

GT: I really want to say Wayne Routledge, but I'll go with Jonjo Shelvey - he still needs some refinement but his potential is clear. Lately everyone has raved about Everton's Ross Barkley but if you look at the stats over the season Jonjo has scored as many in less games, assisted more, created more key chances, passed, shot and tackled more successfully. Get him on the plane to Rio Roy!

JC: Jordi Amat - who I had as the player to watch this season. Simply put he should always be starting over Chico.

CC: Jonjo Shelvey would also do it for me. He wasn't everyone's first choice when he arrived, but showed exactly what he is capable of!

Celebrating one of the goals of the season!

Q4) For you, what was Swansea's goal of the season?

JP: I think the De Guzman goal at the Mestalla was an incredible piece of skill in front of a very large crowd and an even bigger European television audience watching. Even the home fans were stunned.

AJ: A few ways to look at it! The biggest relief was West Brom away when Pablo scored the second in front of us in the away end - we knew we had our first three points of the season after two nasty defeats. The most celebrated was Nathan Dyer's header against Cardiff, while the sexiest was de Guzman's against Norwich: Bony's back heel to set up the delicate chip from our Canadian Filipino Dutch international!

GT: You can't really look much further than THAT goal by Shelvey, but there were many others I loved. Ben Davies' laser guided left foot volley away to West Brom is probably my next choice.

JC: I'm going with Jonathan de Guzman's brilliant free kick in Valencia.

CC: The first goal against Cardiff in February was brilliant - Hernandez's cutting pass through to Routledge who took it superbly.

Q5) With Swansea not in it for obvious reasons, who will you be supporting in the World Cup? And who's going to win it?

JP: South Korea or Ivory Coast for the Swansea connections. Probably South Korea as I enjoyed watching them play during the 2002 World Cup. I also went to watch them play against Japan during the Olympic Games at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and they play some attractive technical football.

AJ: The Ivory Coast - it's a long shot, but you never know. We made a promise to our next door neighbour [Bony - who lives next to Alec] that we would back him in Brazil and you never let the beast down with a promise!

GT: I'll be supporting the Ivory Coast and our human battleship Wilfried Bony (150/1 for tournament top goal scorer!). I think Brazil would be the safest bet to win but there are so many excellent players and teams it's hard to say. I just can't believe Tiendalli didn't get a call up!

JC: The United States and I'll consider it impressive if they get out of the group. The winners will be Argentina as this is where Lionel Messi shows why he is the best in the world.

CC: ITALIA! Of course I am supporting Italy and I reckon they are in with a good shout! I do have a bet on Ivory Coast too though - not just for Bony, but their team is full of potential match winners. Should be a great tournament!


Many thanks to the bloggers for their answers. We'll be back soon! In the meantime, like us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter for updates.

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Swansea City 2013/14 - "Thank f**k it's over!"

May... we knew this month would come.

Swansea City's eventful season is finally over. In equal parts it's made us happy, sad, angry, proud and, at times, even a little horny. However I am sure you'll agree that there is a part of you that's glad we can put it all behind us?

With European football, Premier League survival, derby glory and some stunning goals, Swans fans have ultimately enjoyed a successful season, which I am going to run through briefly.

It all started with the Europa League in August, which produced some incredible early season moments. First Swansea shrugged off Malmo and Petrolul Ploiesti before an emphatic victory against Valencia at the Mestalla. The Swans thoroughly deserved to win the game 3-0, including a lovely free-kick from Jonathan 'Pirlo' de Guzman.

Progression through the group was less comfortable, with Swansea making a meal of qualification to the knock-out stages. Who can forget dropping a point with Kuban Krasnodar in the final minute, before doing the very same again in the return leg! Mental.

Swansea at the Stadio San Paolo

Still, the Swans made it out of Group A, where they would find Napoli waiting. The Italian giants proved tough opponents, but Swansea gave it a good go and, in reality, should have won the first leg considering the chances they had. The game in the San Paolo was equally as enjoyable, but Swansea ran out of steam and gracefully fell out of Europe. (Read Gavin's brilliant round-up of the group stages, and Alec's travel journal from his trip to Napoli).

Between all this, Michael Laudrup had been sacked. In early February rumours circulated that a backroom shuffle was taking place. The following day the announcement was made that Swansea had parted ways with the Danish prince. Of course there were mixed reactions, but ultimately fans knew it was for the best. Laudrup seemed to have lost any enthusiasm and direction and he had to go. (Check out Matt's thoughts on his departure).

Thank you Michael, and goodbye.

Meanwhile Swansea were slipping down the Premier League table. Unfortunately they joined around ten teams under threat of the bottom three all season and found it difficult to get a foothold in the league. Dropping silly points against West Brom and Crystal Palace at the start of March was probably the lowest Swansea sunk, with the exception of the highly embarrassing 1-0 loss to Cardiff in November. However, revenge for that one was particularly sweet...

In Garry Monk's first game in charge he led the Swans to victory by hammering the Redbirds 3-0 at the Liberty Stadium. There were no excuses from Cardiff that day - they had been outplayed by the better team. The remained in the drop zone until May when they were relegated.

The Swans eventually sealed their safety with an enthralling 4-1 victory against Aston Villa at the Liberty, before the lacklustre game against Southampton a week later showed why the season needed to end when it did!

The big man

We saw some brilliant players offer awesome contributions. Wilfried Bony for one almost single-handedly kept Swansea afloat while the rest of the team were simultaneously out of form. His goals show why he was actually a bargain at £12 million! Jonjo Shelvey also developed into a more rounded player, offering a new attacking option and a couple of very memorable goals (make sure to read Jacob's rules for The Official Jonjo Shelvey Drinking Game!)

Jose Canas, Alejando Pozuelo, Alvaro Vazquez and even Michu all underperformed and ended up playing no part towards the end of the season. It will be interesting to see where they all are come September.

There was plenty of moaning throughout the season (myself included), though in the end - apart from finishing slightly lower than we may have liked - no-one can really complain.

Though the season is now over we will still do our best to update with the goings-on in the Swansea City world over the summer, starting with an upcoming Blogger Q&A later this week.

For now, thanks for reading again this season - it's been one hell of year, but thank f**k it's over!

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Swansea City: Player of the Season candidates!

With the end of the season approaching, several Swansea City players are holding their hands up for the Player of the Season award. Our blogger MATTHEW JACOB is giving us the rundown of who he believes makes up this season's shortlist!


By Matthew Jacob

It's that time of year when Swansea City fans can start mulling over their nominations for the club's player of the season - a time to celebrate individual brilliance, and reflect on what has been a pretty tiring campaign for fans and players alike.

This season the Swans have journeyed all over the continent, from Newcastle to Naples, via Malmo and Manchester. I believe we as fans generally accepted that it was going to be a long hard year, arguably the hardest since we were promoted to the Premier League.

Nevertheless I felt confident. The squad had quality and Michael Laudrup had worked hard to bring players in to improve us. But it has been a tough year for Swansea and our battle against relegation hasn't been a welcome one.

I've been witness to some truly woeful performances by the boys this year, but there have been some real memorable moments as well - beating Valencia 3-0 on their own pitch, taking Napoli right to the wire over two legs, knocking Manchester United out of the FA Cup, getting South Wales derby revenge in style and picking up a few decent league results along the way. See, it hasn't been all doom and gloom!

After all has been said and done, plenty of players stood out and rose to the occassion when we needed them to. But who has really shone? Who should be our player of the season?

Here are the Forza Swansea contenders:

Ashley Williams
Not at his best all season but where would we be without the captain of Wales? With Jordi Amat showing promise and Chico Flores putting his budding career as a Wham tribute act before his football this season, it's fallen to Williams yet again to lead the boys through some particularly difficult moments this year. He was superb against Napoli in particular.

Pablo Hernandez 
I think many of the Jack Army were starting to lose patience with the Spaniard before Monk employed him behind Bony as a more central attacking force. Clever in possession and excellent on the ball (if lightweight off it) he started to show this season why we splashed over £5million on him. Could be a big player for us next season.

Wayne Routledge
Mr Consistency according to Monk. When Rodgers signed the former Palace, QPR, Newcastle (I could go on) star I was dubious, but the Irishman said then that Routledge had the ability to get the crowd on their feet and he's done so again this year. Great performances against Cardiff and Norwich stand out and he has chipped in with six goals this term.

Ben Davies
The young Welsh talent has show signs of fatigue in recent weeks as a long season draws to a close, but he has continued to build his burgeoning reputation as one of the best young defenders in the league, even showing real promise in attack as well as composed in defence. There'll be summer interest for sure.

Wilfried Bony
What more can we say about Daddy Cool. Huw Jenkins admitted to feeling a little wary about splashing £13million on a single player, but every single penny of that cash has proved to be money well spent. Bony has scored over 20 goals for the club this season in all competitions, 13 in the league. His attacking quality really came to the fore in the second half of the season, but he has also proved himself an important asset at defensive set pieces and, for me, we must hold onto him for at least another year at all costs.

Bony is priced at 100/1 to be the top goal scorer at the 2014 World Cup and his performance in Brazil is likely to influence his future at the Liberty Stadium - are tipping Ivory Coast to qualify from Group C and, with a fairly easy looking group, Bony and his team could do well!

Honourable mentions go to: Leon Britton, who again has proven himself a key man for us and will be nigh on impossible to replace in the next few years. Nathan Dyer, who's been very unlucky with injuries and Jonjo Shelvey, a real character who works tirelessly - a key asset for us going forward.

I know who gets my vote, but who gets yours? Comment below or tweet me on @OriginalMattyJ to let me know whether you agree or disagree with the selections.

Let's back the boys in these last few games, cross the line together, and focus on next year.

Saturday 1 February 2014

Underwhelming but understandable: Swansea City's transfer round-up!

While no Swansea City fan is going to be scrambling to get a new club shirt with N'Gog on the back, let's face it - we are all relieved that we signed a few players.

A week or so back we were panicking over the fact that most of our first team players were injured and no-one had come in to replace them.

Thankfully we are now in a position where many of our stars are returning from injury and the new transfers are just here to reinforce the squad or to develop for the future.

Let's a have a very quick run through of the Swans' transfer window activity:

For the bench:
These are potential first team players, but probably won't see much action with others coming back from injury.

David N'Gog (Striker)
We won't dwell on this too much, but it's safe to say N'Gog from Bolton wasn't anyone's first choice. But, while uninspired, he is a Premier League player and has some talent (if not many goals to back it up). As I've said before, if we get just one goal from the ex-Liverpool man it'll be worth it. Jonjo Shelvey wasn't an ideal choice in the summer but he's turned out alright!

Marvin Emnes (Winger)
At first I thought this was a joke. In fact I'd been joking with a friend last week about resigning old players like Emnes and Kuqi and... well it happened! Our old Championship loanee has rejoined the club on-loan from Middlesbrough again, to mixed reaction from Swans fans. He's not Premier League quality as far as we can tell, but he did score against Cardiff in 2010 and it's destined for him to score against them again next week!

For the future:
These are all lined up for the development squad. If injuries occur, they may well feature, but it's unlikely we'll see much first team action from any of these.

Adam King (Midfielder)
18-year-old Adam King agreed a three-and-a-half year deal from Hearts.

Raheem Hanley (Left back)
The 19-year-old signed for Swansea following his release from Blackburn.

Jay Fulton (Midfielder)
The 19-year-old Falkirk midfielder has been on Swansea's radar for a while now. He has finally made the move to the Liberty for an undisclosed fee.

Leaving the club:
Even though we want to, we can't keep them all!

Alan Tate 
It was inevitable that Tatey would leave us once again. He's joined Aberdeen for the rest of the season on loan.
a loan move to Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen for the rest of the season.
a loan move to Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen for the rest of the season.
a loan move to Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen for the rest of the season.

Rory Donnelly
The young striker hasn't has a look in with Bony and (for some reason) Vazquez on the team, so he's joined Coventry City on loan until the end of the season for some much needed game time.

Lee Lucas
Swansea City's 21-year-old midfielder has joined Cheltenham Town on a one-month loan.

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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!

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.

Monday 30 December 2013

Swansea City - Our expert dissects the first five months!

In the final blog post of 2013, ForzaSwansea's former Swans player ALEC JOHNSON gives us his expert opinion at the half-way stage - who's impressed and who hasn't? Which were the best and worst games? And what should we be looking forward to in 2014? Read on to find out!


By Alec Johnson

This is our golden era! Let’s have a look at the first half of our third successive season in the most exciting and competitive league on earth.

It’s amazing what a few successful seasons do to people’s minds. I find myself preaching to the newbies that this is as good as it gets while reminding the oldies of the dark trips to Torquay and Hereford every year. Earlier in the season Laudrup was merely managing expectations by stating that an investment of two hundred million would be required to get us to the next level. He’s not wrong and despite the significant profits in the club there isn’t a spare safe to break open, nor would I want there to be.

Best players
Despite our mediocre results, individual performance levels have been consistently high through a number of key players. Ashley Williams has been his usual self and remains our rock at the back. Leon hasn’t had enough play time but hasn’t given the ball away or lost a tackle for around a decade now. Nathan Dyer has scored some crucial goals and his presence ensures that we are on the front foot - we miss him every second that he isn’t on the pitch for his mercurial abilities in the final third.

This time last season, our Michu was considered to be the player of the year and the find of the decade, however this season he has really struggled to make an impression. People question whether he was a one-time hit but I have no doubts about our talisman and I can't wait until February for his reappearance.

The definition of 'best player' could be interpreted in many ways: most exciting, most goals, the greatest man of the match performances... irreplaceable? This leaves us with Ben Davies, who tops it for me. He is truly irreplaceable and, while he doesn’t receive many man of the match awards, he is a consistent nine out of ten. His game has developed to provide attacking options, goals and his runs create so much space for other players. Add to this his ability to win headers from set pieces at both ends and he is certainly my most valuable player this half of the season!

Best newcomers
We have a few contenders after splashing a record amount last summer. It’s fair to say that most have settled and all have contributed. Looking at them individually, Jonjo looks to be a shrewd addition given his age and initial outlay of £5m. His influence grows in each game and as he matures he will be a top player for us. Just behind him Canas delivers the best value signing after arriving on a Bosman (free transfer!) - he acts as a third centre half and does the dirty bits very well. At the back Amat is growing in stature and for me is close to dislodging the inconsistent and erratic Chico, who has gone slightly backwards. Amat’s positional play and reading of the game is exceptional for such an inexperienced player at this level and £2m looks a steal.

Up front, Bony divides most opinion in a way others like Scotland or Fallon did before him. I could write a whole article on the big Ivorian and may do so later in the season. It's taken time for him to settle and much criticism comes from the fact that he isn’t the hardest working player on earth, but he is making progress. People need to appreciate what he does offer and not what he doesn’t. He was bought to hold the ball up and bring people into the game and this he does very well. I can’t remember another striker doing this at the club as well in recent times.

Now, here’s where I put my tin hat on. This guy can play, and score, but we have to be more adventurous to get the most from him. First thing is to play him every game from the start. Secondly, let’s throw it in there, let him fight for it, get bodies around him for the second ball and he will score or at worst create havoc. At Villa Park on Saturday I counted four balls knocked into him in the box - that’s with 77% possession. He makes the runs, dragging people with him, but becomes disillusioned with the lack of ambition and opportunity. The other reason that he has to play is the shape of the team - he sits far up field without wandering into deep positions maintaining our shape and leaving our midfielders to dominate the possession across the middle third.

Worst newcomers
The final new additions add almost no value in my opinion. Pozuelo has been a major disappointment and lacks pace and strength, He has amazing feet and a football brain but he just doesn’t affect games or hurt teams. Alvaro simply shouldn’t be at the club - if we wanted an athlete to run around we could have gone to the Harriers and recruited better.

Best game
To date, we have underperformed against the big boys and haven’t got close to threatening any of them over 90 minutes. We have the ability, but seem to lack the mentality and belief. Laudrup’s public comments stating that certain teams are not in our league have receded, however you do feel that the mentality hasn’t changed. Therefore, in previous seasons, though a victory against Arsenal, Man City or Liverpool would have won the ‘best game’ category we have to look at victories of equal importance but less eye catching headlines this time out. I’m going for the 3-0 victory over Newcastle who arrived at the Liberty on a long winning streak, yet we dominated every minute of that game and seemed to play with far more tempo and belief. More of this in 2014 would be nice.

Worst game
Losing to our neighbours! Having witnessed so many derbies where we triumphed through greater passion and determination, the reverse was the case this time. Was it having too many foreigners? I don’t think so - we beat them with our fair share of them three years ago. Are they better than us? Nowhere near. They simply worked harder. Having been the club looking up at us for the past few seasons, it’s been painful for them and they had their moment of glory at the cost of three precious points, pride and the suffering of the 2,000 Jacks in their ‘soon to be red’ stadium. Let’s move on.

What next?
We are hours from January and the usual mayhem that surrounds it. As per all previous transfer windows I expect us to end the window stronger than we start it. The rumours of Moses, Sterling, Ince and Aspas all seem very far-fetched for different reasons. I expect Laudrup to deliver a few pearls from another planet and therefore off everybody’s radar. Without Michu we need another spark in the Borini or Siggi mould, both January additions, somebody to buzz around the final third and deliver end product to our beautiful game. Beyond January, I expect the second half of the season to deliver the 25 or so points required to maintain 10th position. My hope is that Michu and Dyer return quickly to their best as they offer the most penetration and unpredictability. My belief is that they will return as strong and that we will take some big scalps and knock our neighbours back into their dirty hole before their shambolic relegation party.

It all starts against the richest club on the planet and I can’t wait.


Follow Alec on Twitter. And if you fancy sharing your opinions, leave a comment below or on our new Facebook page.


Sunday 30 December 2012

Swansea City: 2012 Review

2012 - another eventful year for Swansea City.

From securing a second season in the Premier League, to a dramatic managerial change and the addition of some of the best players Swans fans have ever seen at the club.

Here is my brief (as brief as I could make it) snapshot of the club's centenary year, highlighting the best bits and worst bits that have made 2012 so memorable.

Though I've checked and re-checked, I would appreciate a comment below if you spot a glaring omission or silly inaccuracy... it happens to the best of us.

Happy New Year!

January 2012

Swansea started 2012 well under Brendan Rodgers (remember him?). The team kicked-off with a 2-0 away win against Aston Villa, before the outstanding 3-2 victory over Arsenal, where the Swans came from behind to beat them - the first big scalp of the debut Premier League season.

Then, despite thoroughly deserving it, Swansea were unable to take all three points away from the first home game against Chelsea. Swansea drew in the worst possible way with an injury time equaliser from Bosingwa (deflected off Neil Taylor), which made the 1-1 scoreline feel like a 4-0 defeat.

Meanwhile, David Cotterill left the club after his contract was cancelled by mutual consent. Swans fans across the globe shrugged their shoulders.

The Swans were also dumped out of the FA Cup by Bolton in January.


An international break saw relatively little Swansea City action this month. The highlight was a 2-1 away win at West Brom (and that's scraping the barrel!), with a low point being the 3-2 home loss to Norwich.

Also in February, Brendan Rodgers signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract that was set to keep him with the club until July 2015. We all know how that turned out.


A good month for Swansea City - three wins in a row, comprising three clean-sheets and six goals.

However the one goal everyone will remember from March is Luke Moore's header which secured a superb three points against eventual Premier League champions Manchester City. The only thing that could top the euphoria of Moore's goal was the close up of Sian Massey as she flagged Micah Richards offside to deny him an equaliser in the dying minutes of the game. Brilliant!

However, the winning streak stopped at the end of the month with a 2-0 home defeat to Everton. Typical.


A poor run for the Swans, with three back-to-back losses against Spurs, Newcastle and QPR; conceding eight goals and scoring just one.

The last game of the month saw Swans fans welcome back Dorus de Vries to the Liberty Stadium, who started the game for Wolves. Brendan Rodgers' new 3-4-3 formation looked to be working wonders with Swansea heading into the break 4-1 up. No-one is quite sure what happened next as we witnessed Wolves score three in the second half, turning a without-doubt win into an unsure draw. Entertaining, but annoying.


What can we say about May... one thing is for sure: Brendan Rodgers played a big part!

Firstly we said goodbye to Swansea City's first Premier League season with a 1-0 win against Liverpool in front of an Elvis-themed Jack Army - the wishes of Brendan Rodgers. This was a superb end to a superb season. It was also Brendan Rodgers' last game as Swansea City manager.

Swansea ended their debut Premier League season in 11th place - outstanding considering the odds against them.

However, the joy soon turned to shock as two weeks later Brendan Rodgers silently left the club for Liverpool. Twitter broke down with Swans fans unsure of what to do next. It was truly the end of an era. A very bitter end at that.

My blog post on the issue was well received and worth checking out again to relive the heartbreak.


If May was a month of heartbreak, June was a month of uncertainty. We all brushed ourselves off and began the search for a new manager.

After many names - Poyet, Zola, Bergkamp, Holloway... even Monk - were thrown around, one seemed to stick: Michael Laudrup. Soon the rumours became reality and Swansea City were in possession of their new manager. Some (including myself) were unsure, but most fans were euphoric with the high-profile Dane. Either way he had the full support of Swans fans everywhere.

June was also the month Adidas unveiled Swansea City's centenary kit, to the joy of many who felt the previous year's had been a little bland. This truly was a kit to celebrate the club's history.

Elsewhere, injury-riddled Ferrie Bodde was released by the club in June.


New prices for a home Premier League ticket were revealed by the club to the disgust of many fans - £45 seemed to be blatantly taking advantage. The ever-confusing revisions of the Jack Army membership scheme didn't help the club's case either.

In July Gylfi Sigurdsson left Swansea and signed for Spurs, joining Steven Caulker who returned home after a successful loan spell with the club.

Michael Laudrup brought some real talent on board, signing Michu from Rayo Vallecano (for around £2m), Chico Flores from Genoa (around £2million), while Jonathan de Guzman joined the club on a season-long loan from Villarreal. 

Swansea City began playing again, with the traditional Port Talbot derby (Swans won 5-0), before a more glamorous trip to the good ol' USA to play friendlies against Colorado Rapids Ventura, County Fusion and San Jose Earthquakes.


Swansea were heavily tipped to be heading straight back to the Championship by most bookies and FourFourTwo predicted Swans to be rock-bottom come May.

However, FourFourTwo looked to immediately eat their words as Michael Laudrup began his reign with two amazing Premier League wins and eight goals (five of which coming from the opener against QPR)! The winning continued with the first Capital One Cup match - a 3-1 win against Barnsley.

Elsewhere, Swansea made two record breaking signings this month - Ki Sung-Yeung from Celtic for a fee of around £6m and Pablo Hernandez from Valencia for £5.55m.
In August we also said goodbye to Joe Allen, who followed Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool for £15m, and Scott Sinclair, who left to sit on the bench at Man City for a fee which would amount to around £8m. In retrospect, this was great business! 

Other players leaving the club were fringe players Andrea Orlandi and Stephen Dobbie, who both went to Brighton.


September was much more sobering, and the defeats came heavily. Swansea failed to win any Premier League matches; losing three and drawing against Sunderland. However the Capital One Cup progress continued with a 3-2 victory against Crawley Town.

Swansea also signed Itay Shechter on a season-long loan from Kaiserslautern in September, while Dwight Tiendalli was signed on a free-transfer until the end of the season after being released by FC Twente. Tiendalli was set to replace Neil Taylor who fractured his ankle this month, in Swansea's 2-2 draw with Sunderland.

This was also the month that the club celebrated 100 years of football, since the first professional game against Cardiff ( in 1912.

Elsewhere, claimed the title of Best Sports Blog in Wales at the 2012 Wales Blog Awards. I was thrilled and very proud (I still am).


Swansea were unable to take a deserved point against Man City at the Etihad, but more worrying was the sight of Michel Vorm being stretchered off. Step forward Gerhard Tremmel.

The club also came up against Brendan Rodgers for the first time since he left, in the Capital One Cup on Halloween - Swansea travelled to Liverpool and beat them 3-1. We all cheered. 


Alan Tate did the unthinkable and left Swansea City on loan until January to Leeds United.

Brendan Rodgers and Joe Allen re-visited the Liberty Stadium for the first time since May, and took a point back to Liverpool following the 0-0 draw. 

No points were dropped this month, with three draws - including another 1-1 home draw with Chelsea - and two wins against Newcastle and West Brom. Gerhard Tremmel certainly proved himself in Vorm's absence and contributed greatly to the good month.


A month packed with football for Swansea City - seven games in all.

December began with two late Michu goals, which gave Swansea a 2-0 away victory to Arsenal - a wonderful feat which would set them up well for the... that's right, the 3-4 loss at home to Norwich.

The Swans then progressed to a semi-final clash with Chelsea in January after beating Middlesbrough 1-0 at home.

Back to the Premier League and, after a lacklustre performance and a 1-0 loss away to Spurs, the Swans came back to claim an incredible point against current leaders Man United at the Liberty Stadium. The exciting 1-1 game almost ended in tragedy as Robin van Persie was close to being killed by a ball to the face (as exaggerated by Sir Alex Ferguson...). Needless to say, van Persie survived and culprit Ashley Williams wasn't arrested for attempted murder.

Swansea ended the year with an edgy 2-1 away win against Fulham, using a team with seven changes. The club begin 2013 in 10th place in the table. Take that FourFourTwo.

An exciting end to a year full of drama. Phew.

ForzaSwansea Team of 2012

Rangel, Williams, Caulker, Taylor
Britton, Sigurdsson, Michu
Routledge, Graham, Dyer

Subs: Tremmel, Davies, Chico, Allen, Hernandez

Agree? Disagree? Leave your Swansea team of 2012 below!

Sunday 25 November 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "Ashley Williams: My Premier League Diary"

I was a big fan of Adrian Mole and his nerdy, awkward diaries when I was growing up (as a nerdy, awkward teenager myself I could sympathise greatly with Mole). So, as an adult, I was pleased to see Ashley Williams' new book was written in my favourite format.

It's not often that football fans will have the chance to catch a day-to-day glimpse of what football is like behind the scenes (unless you can stomach watching Being: Liverpool) and even rarer that you will see such a detailed view of the inner workings of Swansea City FC.

In the new book, Williams - in conjunction with Swansea sports writer David Brayley - takes us through all the highs and lows of life in the Premier League. We see honest humour in the form of dressing-room banter and pre-season antics, alongside great sadness when Williams opens up about his grief over the loss of Gary Speed in November.

It's also nice to read that footballers - despite the millions in the bank and copious adoring fans - are, in fact, real people, with everyday worries and problems.

After a foreword from his mate Rio Ferdinand, Williams begins the book in July 2011 where he reminisces about that day at Wembley (and the reason why Nathan Dyer was nowhere to be seen immediately after lifting the trophy). He then takes us up the Alps for the club's pre-season trip before the Premier League kicks off, where he describes (occasionally in excessive detail) the tests each game posed and the jubilation/disappointment of winning/losing games.

As you may know from reading an excerpt published in the Evening Post last week, Williams highlights clashes with Luis Suarez, among others, as the season goes on. He ends the book in May this year, with his joy at Swansea securing an 11th place finish and the uncertainty that came with Brendan Rodgers securing a job at Liverpool.

It's a hefty purchase at £14.95, but certainly worth it for a genuinely interesting, entertaining and insightful read from one of Swansea's most consistent players over the past few years. Check it out!

Available now in book shops and online from Amazon.

Thursday 18 October 2012

BOOK REVIEW: "Proud to be a Swan: The History of Swansea City 1912-2012"‏

As Premier League football stopped for a week, I took my own international break. A long flight to America gave me the perfect opportunity to catch up on some reading (and drinking from tiny cans of aeroplane beer). But what book was I to read to pass the time?

Since Swansea City have gone global, I've received quite a few emails from new Swans fans around the world. One question that crops up time and again is 'what are the best books to read about Swansea's history?'

Usually - pushed for time - I will just say 'check the official Swansea City history page'. I usually feel a little guilty for not being able to recommend something specific. So I decided to check out a history book - one that can bring anyone up to speed on our exciting football club.


Looking towards new releases I picked up a copy of "Proud to be a Swan: The History of Swansea City 1912-2012"‏ (y Lolfa), by a man who is both a historian and (most importantly) a Swans fan - Geraint H. Jenkins.

The book appealed to me because it seemed to offer the chance to learn everything about Swansea City from the very beginning, without having to dive into the library for prolonged periods (something the author clearly did).

It reads more like a novel than a history book, which is appropriate considering the almost fictional history Swansea City have written themselves. Much of the waffle sometimes associated with history books is cut out - what's left is a highly readable journey through Swansea's history.

Over the 186 pages, we read about the events leading up to the formation of the club and the first glory days of the mid-20s, where Joe Bradshaw reigned over players like Joe Sykes and Jack Fowler. Those were the days where the Vetch was bursting with fans shouting 'hurrah', while the players won the club's first trophies with attractive, passing football similar to the Swansea City of today.

We hear all about the various highs of the club, including trophies won, superstars developed and promotions secured. Of course, with the highs come the lows, and these are also all well documented - from the wartime years and wavering support to relegation scraps, and even a gruesome death.

Thankfully the book is very up-to-date, with the inclusion of our most recent manager upset and the recruitment of Michael Laudrup. Basically, if it happened in the past 100 years, it's likely to be in the book.

Add two high quality photo sections and a foreword by Swansea genius Huw Jenkins and you have a very readable history book.

So, as Swansea City step into the next 100 years of being South Wales' favourite football team, it's safe to say 'Proud to be a Swan' has punctuated the last century superbly.

You can buy the book here!

Wednesday 30 May 2012

30th May 2011 – One Year On: Where are they now?

I remember it like it was yesterday. But it wasn't. It was a year ago.

Yes, one year ago today (or yesterday if you are reading this tomorrow), Swansea City walked out onto that Wembley field to take on Reading in the Championship play-off final in front of 40,000 excited Swans fans (and a few Reading fans). Swansea won and then it was all a blur!

A year on and plenty has changed. However, before I spend the summer writing about hopes for next season, I felt it necessary to focus a blog post on the starting eleven who battled hard in that incredible game.

Where are they now? How was the past year for them? Let's have a look.

Dorus De Vries 
The departure of the likeable keeper was the biggest shock of last summer, and left a bad taste in the mouths of many Swans fans. He moved to Wolves "to be able to find [his] true potential" - potential that was left bottled up on the bench as Wolves spent most of the season in the relegation zone, finally sent back to the Championship in May. He made only his second Premier League start against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium in an odd 4-4 draw, and was jeered a number of times by the Swans fans. He'll spend next season in the Championship, probably on the bench. Sorry Dorus, but it wasn't our choice.

Angel Rangel 
Rangel had a good first season in the Premier League. He didn't make the headlines, and generally took a little longer than others to settle into the big league, but was eventually able to replicate his strong defending and pacey wing-back role in the big time. Always one of the first on anyone's team sheet. He had a few poor moments, notably his mistake which gifted Man United the only goal in the game at the Liberty. Still, we all love Rangel.

Garry Monk 
The iconic centre-back captained the Swans in that memorable play-off final and deservedly lifted the trophy. However, Monk played a lesser role throughout last season thanks to the inclusion of Steven Caulker at centre-back. Mind you, he still started 14 games, and played his part in the clean-sheet victories over Fulham, West Brom and Stoke. His career is not over yet, though it is starting to wind up. Much of it is summed up in his published autobiography, Loud, Proud and Positive (available from all good book shops or the internet I assume!).

Ashley Williams
Williams had a huge season for the club, starting all 37 Premier League games and all three cup matches, captaining the squad through much of it. There has been little in the way of struggling with the step up, as Williams kept world-class strikers quiet for many games. Always the first name on the team sheet and will take the captain role again next season.

Alan Tate 
I always forget Tate was playing in that play-off final, instead of the banned Neil Taylor. Unfortunately for Tate, his now infamous golf buggy incident ruled him out for much of the season with a broken leg. He eventually made a comeback and, while never making the pundits drool, gave his all, as he always does for Swansea City. He was subbed-on for the last few minutes of the game against his former club at Old Trafford, and deserved every last note of “we all dream of a team of Alan Tate's”.

Leon Britton 
Britton has become Swansea City's unlikely poster boy this season, being dubbed the Xavi of South Wales, and totting up some impressive passing statistics. He's been a vital part in the midfield engine and I predict the same next season. Why not check out my detailed article that I wrote for the Sabotage Times earlier in the season, centring on the rise of Leon Britton.

Joe Allen 
Allen established himself well in the Premier League and was a vital ball winner in the centre of the field. Overall he looked much more developed and less prone to frustrating mistakes (although he has picked up a few cards during the season). He was also able to contribute with the goal scoring – four this season, doubling his tally from last year.

Stephen Dobbie
His play created the second goal, then he scored the third for Swansea in the play-off final, but Dobbie just never got started in the Premier League. He had his chances to make an impact, but in his eight appearances (two starting, the rest as a sub) he looked a shadow of his Championship days. In March he rejoined Blackpool on loan, where he, albeit unsuccessfully, helped them in the battle for promotion. He may well stay with Blackpool next season, though will always be fondly remembered by Swans fans. 

Nathan Dyer 
His slippery dancing won the penalty which led to the first goal in the play-off final. He had a great start of the 11/12 season, emulating his Championship form in the early days against the likes of Man City and Arsenal though saw his role swapped with Wayne Routledge occasionally in the latter stages. The most important thing seems to be his ability in front of goal has improved – he scored six in total, and is looking much more the finished package.

Scott Sinclair 
Last season's poster boy scored an incredible hat-trick in the final. However, some may say that final was the last great game he had for the Swansea after losing a lot of form this season. While it is true he hasn't had the same impact down the wing as last season, he is a solid player and his composure from the penalty spot is still highly desirable. He's still the club's second highest goal scorer after Danny Graham, with eight goals this season. I reckon he has had his second season syndrome, and will shine again come August.

Fabio Borini 
Probably the most successful ex-Swansea striker and member of that play-off winning team. Borini left immediately, to head to his home nation of Italy to join Parma, though he spent most of the season with Roma. His fine Serie A performances saw Cesare Prandelli hand the youngster his debut appearance for the Italian national squad and he's off to Poland this summer to (hopefully, for me anyway) take Italy to glory! Forza Borini! Forza Swansea!

Thursday 29 December 2011

2011: The Year of Swansea City

It's the most wonderful time of the year – the time for food, drink, football and drink. And food.

This is also the time for reflection. While it's up to you to reflect on your own lives in 2011, I can help you reflect on the goings-ons of Wales' only Premier League team.

It's as comprehensive a compilation as I could produce, while still making it readable within ten minutes (no detailed match reports here then). If you've noticed anything I may have missed, write it as a comment and I'll include it!

I've also included my “Swansea Team of the Year 2011” at the end for you to disagree with.

“My, my, my... did that really happen this year?” you may gasp as you read the next few thousand words, for this is the story of Swansea City's 2011.

January 2011

After the snow of last Christmas, Swansea started the year second place in the Championship table.

My earliest blog post fell in the first frosty week of January, where I addressed the lack of fire-power up front (not much has changed). Brendan Rodgers responded by signing Luke Moore and Ryan Harley.

Players also left the club in January: the ever likeable Shefki Kuqi ended his contract by mutual consent, while Gorka Pintado went on loan to AEK Larnaca FC.

The biggest shock of the January 2011 transfer window was the re-signing of Leon Britton from Sheffield United, who returned to South Wales after leaving the club in 2010.

On the field, Swansea won their first home game of the year – 1-0 vs Reading (a team they'd meet again in a slightly bigger match in May), and beat Colchester 4-0 in the Carling Cup, before bowing out to the might of Leyton Orient later in the month.


February saw a great streak of wins, and would've been a perfect month had it not been for the 1-0 loss to Cardiff at the Liberty Stadium. Another game of note was Middlesbrough away; an intense match where the Swans eventually came back from a 3-1 almost-certain loss by winning 4-3.

February also saw me slated for my criticism of Luke Moore, though I stood by my comments: an average player that wouldn't impact the Swans as much as people expected.


Fabio Borini joined the club on loan from Chelsea and really kicked off Swansea's promotion drive, scoring two on his debut. Tamas Priskin joined on loan too, though he was less memorable.

Swansea's form dipped slightly in March, winning just one in four games (3-2 at home against Nottingham Forest).

Elsewhere, the Audio Jacks podcast was born – a Swansea City podcast presented by myself and Matt Barroccu (albeit under the then title, “It wouldn't happen in Swansea”).


A media ban on Swansea players was issued by Huw Jenkins, who wanted to focus on winning games. However, Swansea continued their bad away form, which began to dent their hopes of automatic promotion – something that looked near certain earlier in the year. However the Swans went on to secure a place in the play-offs after beating Ipswich 4-1.

Tamas Priskin returned to Ipswich after becoming injured, scoring just one goal for Swansea.


A massive month. The Swans played their final league game at home: a routine 4-0 victory against Sheffield United, ending the season in third place in the Championship table.

Swansea were placed against Nottingham Forest in the play-offs, drawing the away leg 0-0, after Neil Taylor was sent off in the second minute. The second leg at the Liberty Stadium was full of entertainment, where Swansea eventually beat Nottingham Forest 3-1, including a wonder strike from Leon Britton and a last-gasp goal from the halfway line by Darren Pratley, securing a place in the Championship Play-off Final in Wembley.

Swansea fans got their first taste of everyone's favourite pass-time: queuing at the Liberty. The first time was for Wembley tickets.

Those 40,000 Jacks with tickets make their way from South Wales to London to watch history in the making. After a first half of sheer bliss and a three goal lead, Swansea make things difficult by allowing Reading back into the game. Thankfully, Scott Sinclair ensured it was Swansea's day with a successful penalty that finally brought the Premier League to South Wales!


The victory is celebrated throughout the city with an open-top bus parade. As the realisation of the Premier League sinks in, it was all change for the Swansea squad.

The first disappointing move was Fabio Borini's exit to Parma, before Darren Pratley left the club for Bolton. More surprisingly Dorus De Vries left for Wolves and a frantic search for a new keeper began. Cedric van der Gun and Albert Serran also said their goodbyes, to shrugs of the shoulder from most fans.

Swansea made a record transfer move, bringing Danny Graham to the club for £3.5 million while Ryan Harley finally joined the club after spending six months with Exeter on-loan.

A second bout of mega-queuing at the Liberty took place, this time for season-tickets.


“How many points do I need... wait do I need to be a season-ticket holder too or... hang on, why does he get priority over me if...” That's right, July was the month we saw the ultra-confusing, always-infuriating Jack Army membership scheme launched. Everyone in Swansea joined anyway, making it seem a little pointless.

Swansea's Premier League home and away kits were also revealed: the home kit was nice as expected, but the orange away kit baffled at first, then annoyed soon after, as people discovered it was no more than an old line of generic Adidas training kits. The third mega bout of queuing took place at the stadium for those after a home kit.

The club played summer friendlies against Neath, Port Talbot and Afan Lido... really preparing themselves for the best in the Premier League! At least it was an excuse for a little summer football.

In the transfer window, Steven Caulker arrived at the club on a season-long loan from Spurs, while goalkeeper Jose Moreira joined from Benfica.


In August, Leroy Lita signed up from Middlesbrough, while Michel Vorm joined the club from FC Utrecht. Gerhard Tremmel also signed at the end of August, after impressing during his summer trial.

Swansea played, and won, friendlies against Celtic and Real Betis at the Liberty Stadium, showing off a few new players, though the first major test was Man City at the Eithad. This was a test Swansea technically failed, though in an impressive way, with wonderful saves from Michel Vorm (the first time many had properly seen him in action), and proof Swansea could replicate their impressive passing game in the big league.

Embarrassingly though, the club lost 3-1 to Shrewsbury in the Carling Cup. Though this allowed concentration on the Premier League, it was a feeble way to exit the competition.

With winnable games against Wigan and Sunderland, Swansea were unable to find the back of the net and ended the month goalless, though quickly showing they were not finding the new league too daunting.

Ryan Harley and Shaun MacDonald both left the club in this month, leaving a very ginger-shaped hole. Elsewhere, Alan Tate broke his leg in what the club described as a "bizarre golfing accident" (aka buggygate).


Transfer Deadline Day saw the Swans sign Darnel Situ from Lens and Rafik Halliche on loan from Fulham, moves that would supposedly boost the club's defensive problems. However, an annoying amount of red tape stopped these from being eligible to play. Fede Bessone also rejoined the club – a shock to many supporters.

On the field, the phrase: “You wait for a bus, then three come along at once” summed up Swansea's first goals in the Premier League. They nabbed their first three goals and a comfortable 3-0 win against West Brom.

This game was sandwiched between two “glamour” ties – one a game Swansea could well have won against Arsenal (instead losing 1-0), and the other a less than impressive performance at Stamford Bridge (at least an away goal was scored in the 4-1 loss).


If September was a step in the right direction, October was a slight step backwards, featuring some of the concentration lapses and cock-ups that we are accustomed to from Swansea City.

Two decent home wins (against Stoke and Bolton) fell either side of two away losses: the first against fellow newcomers Norwich, who scored two early goals and took advantage of poor Swans performance. The second came against Wolves, where Swansea let a 2-0 lead slide into a 2-2 draw after two goals in two minutes from the home side.

The lack of away wins continued.


Though a quiet month thanks to an international break, November saw the game of the season as Swansea welcomed Manchester United to the Liberty Stadium – a game that stirred up plenty of anticipation and excitement, in addition to irritation and disappointment (again, mainly through the Jack Army ticketing system). Essentially it was a game Swansea could've actually won, let alone draw. However a opportunistic goal from Hernandez ensured United left with a 1-0 victory.

Other games included the exciting, yet frustrating, 0-0 draw away to Liverpool and another 0-0 draw with Aston Villa in a subdued Liberty Stadium fixture.


December packed six games into one month, though the Swans were unable to pick up as many points as expected.

The month began with Yakubu running riot in the shocking 4-2 loss at bottom-of-the-table Blackburn, a game in which two rare away goals were overshadowed by poor defending.

Michel Vorm was again the hero in the 2-0 win against Fulham the following week, while a 'boxing day' match between QPR produced a game of two very different halves – another one Swansea should've grabbed by the scruff.

Angel Rangel and Neil Taylor both picked up fresh injuries in December which, again, highlighted the lack of depth in defence and the need for an established utility back in the January Transfer window. Up front, Rory Donnelly was the main name in Brendan Rodgers' sights, though the young Irishman seemed to be highly sought after...

It's all up to Mr. Rodgers and his men to write what happens in 2012. Will it be the year Swansea face a big relegation battle? Will they get their act together in attack and finish in the top ten? It's an exciting time to be a Swans fan!

Before I sign off for the year, here is my "Swansea City Team of 2011" - including players who have now left/have fallen out of form, but did so much for the club at some point this year.

Team of 2011
Michel Vorm
Angel Rangel
Garry Monk (Captain)
Ashley Williams
Neil Taylor
Leon Britton
Stephen Dobbie
Mark Gower
Scott Sinclair
Nathan Dyer
Fabio Borini

Dorus De Vries
Alan Tate
Joe Allen
Danny Graham

I know that this will produce a few annoyed responses! I feel it's about right. I did have trouble with the "Gower or Allen" question - they both had their ups and downs - but Gower just pipped it for me. What's your Team of 2011?

Happy New Year to all readers of the blog. I hope 2012 sees you well. Forza Swansea!

Saturday 21 May 2011

Swansea City – 2010/11 Season Review

Bar one very important game, Swansea City's incredibly entertaining Championship season has ended! The date with Reading in the Wembley final is booked for 30th May, where Swansea can seal their next season in the Premier League.

Before that though, it's nice to take a moment and look back on the season just gone - to remind ourselves of the journey the Swans took to get to where they are now: the ups, the downs, the ins and the outs. We may say "Ah yeah, I remember that game!" or "I'd rather forget that one happened..."

So enjoy the brief revisit of Swansea City's 2010/11 Season!

- July 2010 (Pre-season) -

After Paulo Sousa scuttles off to Leicester, Swansea City hunt for a new man in charge. Despite nobody knowing much about this chubby little Irishman, Brendan Rodgers is appointed manager.

- August -

Chelsea youngster Scott Sinclair signs for the Swans on a three-year deal.

The 2010/11 season begins and Brendan Rodgers sees his first league game in charge as a 2-0 loss away to Hull. Swans fans panic. The next two games deliver a 3-0 win and a 4-0 win. Panic over, Rodgers is a hero! Swans fans haven't seen this kind of score for too long, after the goal drought the previous season. The next game is an away loss, followed by another two home wins. A pattern is emerging...

End of month position in the table : 12th

- September -

The pattern continues with an away loss to Leeds and another consecutive two home wins. However, the league away curse is broken after a crazy 3-2 win against Watford.

Frank Nouble joins the Swans from West Ham on a three-month loan deal.

End of month position in the table : 8th

- October -

Marvin Emnes joins the Swans on a month's loan from Middlesbrough. Frank Nouble's loan is cut short after an injury, so he returns to West Ham after making little impact in South Wales. Another new(ish) face at the club this month is Kemy Agustien, who finally signed a two-year deal after impressing on trial in the summer.

In the Carling Cup, Swansea lose 2-0 away to Wigan in front of some disgruntled travelling supporters, unhappy with the weakened team Brendan Rodgers chose to field against Roberto Martinez's team.

End of month position in the table : 3rd

- November -

Swansea win the South Wales derby, beating Cardiff 1-0 away from the Liberty thanks to a goal from Marvin Emnes, who left the club later in the month.

Elsewhere Darren Pratley is booed by some Swans fans after refusing to sign a new contract and taking a massive dip in form. Jermaine Easter is signed on loan from MK Dons and is, too, booed by some fans who dislike his Cardiff connection. As you can see, a lot of unnecessary booing took place this month.

End of month position in the table : 3rd

- December -

Swansea go through a rough patch, with many results not going their way, including their biggest defeat of the season (losing 4-0 away to QPR). The booing continues into December.

Christmas time (everyone gets fat and drunk – especially Michael Chopra).

End of month position in the table : 3rd

- January 2011 -

The January transfer window saw plenty ins and outs for the Swans.

Outs: The ever likeable, but not so goal capable, Shefki Kuqi ended his contract by mutual consent, while Gorka Pintado left the club on loan to AEK Larnaca FC (Cyprus). Jermaine Easter returns to MK Dons at their request.

Ins: The departure of three strikers sees Luke Moore join the club, signing on a two-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee (rumoured to be a free transfer). The biggest shock was the re-signing of Leon Britton, who returned to South Wales after leaving the club the previous year. Elsewhere attacking-midfielder Ryan Harley joined the club, though remained at Exeter (on loan) until the end of the season.

Swansea lose 2-1 at home to Leyton Orient, ending any hopes of further progression in the FA Cup.

Demolition on the Vetch field began in this month.

End of month position in the table : 3rd

- February -

David Edgar was apparently re-signed on-loan, though he never actually appeared at the club due to technicalities and little was mentioned of it again. Elsewhere, David Cotterill is sent on loan to Portsmouth, after a dip in form sees him struggle to make the starting line-up (the constant penalty misses didn't help his case).

Swansea were unable to do the league double over Cardiff for this first time, losing 1-0 at home after a late Craig Bellamy goal. February also saw the intense Middlesbrough game, where the Swans eventually came back from a 3-1 almost-certain loss by winning 4-3. Their away form peaked at this point, allowing four wins in a row (home and away) - the biggest winning run of their season.

End of month position in the table : 2nd

- March -

Brendan Rodgers swipes his Chelsea card again and claims Fabio Borini on loan for the remainder of the season. The Italian scores a brace on his debut, casting Luke Moore into the shadows. Tamas Priskin also joins the club on loan from Ipswich.

The international break halts play for a few weeks.

End of month position in the table : 3rd

- April -

A media ban on Swansea players is issued by Huw Jenkins, who wants to focus on winning games. However, Swansea continue with their bad away form, which begins to dent their hopes of automatic promotion – something that looked near certain earlier in the year. However the Swans go on to secure a place in the play-offs after beating Ipswich 4-1.

Tamas Priskin is injured and returns to Ipswich after scoring one goal for the club.

End of month position in the table : 4th

- May -

Swansea play their final league game at home: a routine 4-0 victory against Ipswich, ending the season in 3rd place in the Championship table.

Swansea face 6th place Nottingham Forest in the play-offs.

They draw the away leg 0-0, after Neil Taylor is sent off in the second minute.

The second leg sees a crazy game at the Liberty Stadium, full of entertainment. The Swans eventually beat Nottingham Forest 3-1, including a wonder strike from Leon Britton and a last-gasp goal from the halfway line by Darren Pratley.

Swansea go on to play Reading in the Championship play-off final in Wembley...

...(the Swans will write this next line on Monday 30th!)