Showing posts sorted by relevance for query James. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query James. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Daniel James transfer to Leeds United "not right" according to Huw Jenkins

It was one of the biggest transfer sagas in not only Swansea's recent history, but the whole of the 2019 January transfer market.

Daniel James came close to joining Leeds
James pictured with a Leeds United shirt before his transfer fell through at the 11th hour.

















But, despite having completed a medical at Leeds United ahead of a loan move until the end of the 2018/19 campaign - which would have been made permanent had Leeds gained promotion - Daniel James and Leeds were left high and dry by Swans chairman Huw Jenkins.

Jenkins - who left his job as Swansea chairman just two days after the transfer following 17 years at the club - appeared willing to sign the deal off until the last minute, ignoring phone calls from an increasingly frustrated Elland Road office.

It was after 2pm when the call came granting James permission to start a medical at Leeds United on deadline-day and make good his transfer from Swansea City. In fact, the winger arrived in Yorkshire as early as possible, having driven all the way from Wales to sign on the dotted line.

The 22-year-old winger was identified as a winger that could help propel Leeds back into the Premier League after a 15-year absence. And, in the Leeds United documentary Take Us Home - which shows United's 2018/19 campaign under Marcelo Bielsa - James was actually pictured holding up a Leeds shirt with both the player and club believing the transfer was all-but completed.

United had attempted to get their man in the days before, but Swansea's board had remained resilient. What began as a £5m up-front offer from United became a loan to the end of this season with a commitment from Leeds to sign James for a fee in excess of £5m if they won promotion from the Championship.

In fact, a loan fee was necessary to bring negotiations to a close. Having agreed to it, Leeds finally felt their man would come through the door.

James passed a medical in good time at Thorp Arch - Leeds' training complex - and was driven to Elland Road around 6pm on deadline-day to complete the paperwork and go through the process of media interviews and photographs.

But Leeds were met with silence with two hours to go until the deadline. Complicating proceedings, Swansea's relegation had already seen the loss of players, but with the likes of Wilfried Bony, Jefferson Montero and Leroy Fer seemingly set for the exit on deadline day, Jenkins pulled the plug on James' departure, fearing mutiny from the Swansea faithful.

And, he has now explained why.

“I communicated with everybody at Leeds on the phone, back and forth, and I am sure they put Dan on to me as well.

“They were all trying to convince us to do the deal but I just felt from a club’s point of view, based on value and based on Graham’s (Potter) success, it wasn’t right.

"I thought, second half of the season, as it proved, he’d have a big impact for the club. Dan was just coming into his own.

"I did give Dan my views. He had no guarantee of going straight into the Leeds team, and the uncertainty over whether they would buy him or not is not a good thing for a young player. Take all that into account and there was only one decision to be made. Thankfully, it worked out well for the football club and for Dan.”

James returned to Swansea unhappy, but continued to ply his trade in Wales before Manchester United came in for him in the summer, paying £15m, rising to £18m with add-ons applied.

That, of course, benefitted Swansea to a much greater extent than letting James leave for one of their promotion rivals for a third of that price.

And, with pace to burn and a willingness to attack, James has already enamoured himself to the Old Trafford faithful.



Wednesday, 12 June 2019

James’s transfer to Manchester United completes remarkable rise

After a below- par season for the Red Devils, which saw manager Jose Mourinho controversially sacked after a 3-1 defeat to bitter rivals Liverpool at Anfield, club legend, and scorer in that famous Champions League final in the Nou Camp in 1999, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, took the reigns as caretaker manager and form drastically improved.



After an impressive comeback at the Parc des Princes in the Champions League, his appointment was made permanent but since then United’s form has dipped drastically and they slumped to an underwhelming sixth place finish last season following some pretty uninspiring performances; condemning themselves to a place in the Europa League for the 2019/20 season.

With the rebuilding now underway at Old Trafford as Ole tries to overhaul his squad, the Norwegian has been searching for young, quick and hungry players and it seems like the Swan’s Daniel James is very close to a move to Salford in what some may see as a remarkable rise for the Welsh international.

James has gone from failing to break into the Shrewsbury town squad and having his loan terminated to being destined to play for one the most successful clubs in world football.

The 21-year-old has already suffered disappointment and heartbreak in his short career with a move to Leeds United breaking down six months ago which bought public frustration from James. The attacker has also suffered a major personal loss with the tragic sudden death of his father Kevan James at the age of 60.

Observers from inside the Liberty comment that he is very professional for such a young age and the move to Old Tafford comes after James stared for the Swans last term despite what turned out to be a pretty uninspiring season.

The wideman first garnered national attention following the Swans FA cup run last term; a run that was eventually ended in by eventual winners Manchester City in a controversial game that saw the Swans beaten late on, despite being 2-0 up.

After the game, Man City boss Pep Guardiola, who is regarded as one of greatest managers in the world, heaped praise on the welsh international’s performance after he gave Argentina centre-back Otamendi a run for his money.

James finished the season with final stats of 6 goals and 7 assists in all competitions. 

The transfer fee is rumoured to be around £15 million pounds, plus £3 million in add ons, which can only be positive for the Swans financially, although they are losing a top- quality player who provided so much last campaign.

With World Cup winner Steve Cooper coming to take the reigns at the Liberty, and with Plymouth star Ruben Lameiras rumoured to be coming through the door on a free, the money now needs to be reinvested wisely so the Swans can replace James and rebuild as they attempt to achieve promotion back to England’s top flight at the second attempt next season.

James was also rumoured to be wanted by Monaco, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham so the Swans had a near- impossible job in keeping him in the Championship.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Post-Match Review: Stoke City 2-0 Swansea City



Image result for sam clucas goal vs swansea
Sam Clucas celebrated in front of the Swansea fans.

Swansea City missed the opportunity to return to the play-offs with an uninspiring display as Stoke City ease their relegation fears.

Damp squib
Following two wins from their last three games the Swans headed to the Britannia Stadium in good form and in good spirits. But, goals from former Swan Sam Clucas - who made his joy known - and a 91st minute James McLean strike made this eight-hour round trip one to forget.

A Stoke hoodoo
It seems almost remarkable, but Swansea haven't won away at Stoke since March 2001 - both sides were in Division League 2 as it was called back then. That's nine games without a win at Stoke. And, remember, this was a Stoke side that had won two and drawn one in their last three games under Michael O'Neill.

What went wrong?
If you had watched the opening 20 minutes, you would have believed that the respective positions in the league table prior to the game - 7th (Swansea) and 21st (Stoke) - were indeed true. The Welsh side were unlucky not to net in the first ten minutes with Bersant Celina unlucky not to get back-to-back assists with an inviting drilled cross.

Celina was all over the place and he himself had a shot blocked on 11 minutes with on-loan Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher being denied superbly by Stoke 'keeper Jack Butland. The atmosphere was growing tense as the home fans knew they were under the cosh. But, they began turning the screw.

Clucas' goal on 55 minutes was well-taken, but Swansea almost replied instantly. A Matt Grimes free-kick hit the crossbar and Rhian Brewster went close twice in two minutes just after the hour.

The Swans tried desperately, but just couldn't find the net as a mistake by debutant Marc Guehi allowed James McLean to run through on goal and end the game just after the 90th minute.

Image result for james mcclean goal vs swansea
James McLean thanks the Stoke fans after netting.

Positives
Swansea fans got to see Chelsea loanee Marc Guehi in action for the first time and he held his own, though was at fault for Stoke's second goal. But, there was a return to action for Joe Rodon, who finally took to the football field for his first Championhip game since October,

Swansea still hold the lowest amount of goals conceded from set pieces with just five - something which boss Steve Cooper can certainly take pride from.

Matt Grimes looked very impressive against a strong Stoke midfield, rattling the crossbar with a free-kick whilst Rhian Brewster looked a constant threat and Andre Ayew did some magical hold-up play.

What to work on
Surely, Cooper's men have to work on their corner-taking. The Swans earned 11 corners to Stoke's one at the weekend and rarely looked to threaten.

George Byers, Conor Gallagher and Jake Bidwell all looked as though they were struggling against a physical Stoke side. Cooper may well look to switch things up against Preston at the weekend.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Competition: Win a copy of 'Saturday Afternoon Fever' by Johnny Phillips

For those of you who don't watch Sky Sports (do those people exist?), Johnny Phillips has been a staple of the channel and the now iconic Soccer Saturday programme for many years, beaming into our homes every Saturday afternoon.




And his new book, Saturday Afternoon Fever, is a collection of his most memorable tales from the past decade or so. However, it's not just tales from the press room and studios (like I first assumed it may be) - he tells the stories of the televised features he made with some of football's most colourful characters, including the homeless African street kid who ended up playing for his country, the world’s most eco-friendly football club and an octogenarian dressing room attendant.

Swansea City fans will take interest from the first chapter, as the ninth word in is Port Talbot, followed by a brief mention of former Swans striker James Thomas. This is picked up again in chapter three, where 15 pages are dedicated to Johnny's time in Swansea, talking to James (who now works as an ambulance driver), Alan Curtis and Leon Britton about the most important match in the club's history - Hull, 2003.

As Johnny takes an ambulance ride around the city with James they discuss the pressures before the match and the euphoria afterwards, but also touch on the injuries that halted his career as a footballer. The chapter is crammed with emotion!

In particular I enjoyed Johnny's summing up of Swansea as a city: "Swansea is a wonderful place. It is surrounded by some of the best beaches in Britain, the people are amongst the friendliest I've ever met, a night out on Wind Street is like no other in the world, and the football club is brilliantly run from top to bottom. It just rains a bit too much, that's all."

The only thing lacking throughout the book in my opinion is a photo section, which would really highlight some of the colourful characters brought to life through Johnny's words. But with a decent imagination you shouldn't be too hard pressed to enjoy a well thought out and genuinely interesting book.




The book can be purchased for £9.99 in bookshops and on Amazon.

And to win a copy of the book, just send me an email via the contact form with your name and address, or retweet a specific tweet from my Twitter feed to be in with a chance.

A winner will be selected around 3pm on Sunday, and announced just before the Swansea vs Spurs match. Good luck!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Transfer Watch: Four Days to Go

With the Transfer Window closing fast; I thought it best to take a look at who could be coming, going or staying in the next few days for Swansea City. There are a few stories doing the rounds in the papers that are of particular interest; but how true they are remains to be seen:

Wayne Routledge

Birmingham City might’ve speculatively approached one of our more senior players but Wayne Routledge has committed himself to Swansea by signing a new two and a half year deal that will see him through to 2019.

20 goals in 204 games for Swansea might not seem like a great return but, as a player who’s been with us since 2011, it was vital to Clement’s cause that he secure Routledge’s services moving forwards.

Modou Barrow

A player who tends to be something of a forgotten man despite appearing 14 times to date this season; winger Modou Barrow is on the radar of Newcastle United according to their manager Rafa Benitez.

I doubt Barrow will make the move given he has been labelled a back up option if Newcastle fail to tempt Andros Townsend back to the club and he is currently plying his trade in the Premier League not the Championship.

Newcastle may be favourites to secure promotion this season but that probably won’t be enough to convince Barrow to make the move to St James’ Park.

John Terry

Not necessarily a transfer rumour; instead the opinion of former Swansea winger Leighton James. Alfie Mawson has impressed since coming to Swansea but he needs someone with Terry’s level of experience to give him the knowledge to compete at the highest.

Wages would no doubt be a concern as our pay structure wouldn’t allow for us to pay anywhere near all of Terry’s exorbitant salary but if Antonio Conte is serious about allowing Terry to leave the club on loan then we should definitely lodge a bid – we do miss the commanding presence of Ashley Williams something rotten.

Gylfi Sigurdsson

Obviously, our talismanic midfielder will be linked with a raft of clubs repeatedly during any transfer window and this January has been no different.

The story has broken thanks to Dimitri Payet’s stubborn attitude towards his current employers: West Ham United. The Hammers are set to sign Robert Snodgrass from Hull City this week and Sigurdsson has been identified as the ideal creative partner for the Scottish midfielder.


I can’t see it happening personally. Even if we do get relegated this season, Sigurdsson has learned his lesson about playing for other clubs in England – his dismal spell at Tottenham will live long in his memory for certain.

Monday, 12 August 2013

The left-back headache: Davies or Taylor?

It's been an ongoing point of conversation for many Swans fans - who should start at left-back next season: Ben Davies or Neil Taylor? However, making his ForzaSwansea debut, JAMES GILL highlights why he believes the decision isn't as complicated as it first seems.

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By James Gill

Just three games into last season Neil Taylor suffered a horrific injury against Sunderland resulting in a dislocated fracture of his ankle. After the initial worry for the player, many of the fans attention switched to who would fill in for Taylor after his outstanding rise over the previous two seasons, especially in the step-up to the top flight.

As a nervous looking Ben Davies first ran out onto the field to make his Swans debut, I wondered whether this was a temporary replacement before we signed a free agent. But Davies immediately put any doubts to bed.

From his first game Davies showed his intent and, surprisingly, his confidence on the ball. He also showed an overlapping prowess that added an extra element to Swansea's attack, while he was technically good in defence.

He even bagged himself a goal against Stoke using his wing-back mentality. Within months of making his debut, he received a Wales call up and earned his first cap, again replacing Taylor in the left back position (he has since made five appearances).

As each game went by this 19-year-old looked more and more comfortable, as if he'd been playing Premier League football for years. When Neil Taylor announced he was hoping to return before the end of the season, I did wonder how he would get back into the side. Davies hadn't put a foot wrong all season! How can you drop a player who had done everything that had been asked of him?

In his first season (37 games) Davies contributed one goal and two assists whereas Taylor has never scored a goal for the Swans and only has one assist to his name since arriving from Wrexham in 2010.

Davies created 18 chances last season compared to Taylor's seven. However Taylor does have a slightly better pass rate at 88% compared to Davies 83%. And these stats continue to shine through when you look at how they play for Wales.

As the season approaches I believe it will be Ben Davies who will start in the left back position. Because of unfortunate events Michael Laudrup only had Taylor in his side for three games last season, meaning the rest of the season he worked with Davies week in week out. Managers tend to stick to what they know and, as I've said before, Davies doesn't deserve to be dropped at the moment.

It's up to Taylor to win his position back, which will only ensure Davies keeps on top of his game. Taylor would be a great asset for any team outside the top four to have and I think it shows how far as a club we've come when we have quality such as him sat on the bench every week.

And with a European campaign looming, the quality we have in the two of them will allow us to rotate if needed and that gives us a great advantage.

Either way you look at it, all Swans fans will agree that it's a nice headache to have!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Swansea City vs Newcastle United: That Friday feeling!

Many people love a Friday night – it's the highlight of their week, with too much booze, dirty nightclubs and even dirtier kebabs. I am not one of those many. I usually tend to sit in quietly, waiting for Saturday to come and, with it, football.

This week however I need not wait so long, for Swansea are gracing the biggest footballing stage this Friday when they take on Newcastle United at the Liberty Stadium.

With that Friday feeling (© Cadbury Crunchie 1980...), this match is set to be an exciting game between two teams that have proved a lot this season. Swansea have proved they are no longer just Championship material, and Newcastle have shrugged off mid-table predictions and are level on points with Chelsea and pushing for a Champions League place next season.

Both will want to, again, prove critics wrong this weekend.

With three games in eight days, Brendan Rodgers may choose to rest a few players, knowing Swansea are more likely to get something more from QPR (Wednesday) and Blackburn (next Saturday) than Newcastle, though I'd be surprised if Steven Caulker didn't start after missing last week against Spurs.

I predict Nathan Dyer will start this one to give Wayne Routledge a rest, though an interesting move would be to leave Scott Sinclair on the bench and start Routledge and Dyer together. Sinclair is more in need of some relaxing bench time than Routledge and it may do his wavy form some good.

Swansea are coming off two defeats in two games they were actually expected to get little out of, so while confidence won't be that low, they'll want to avoid three losses in a row, especially at home. Out to stop the Swans picking up that precious 40th point this season, is Newcastle; a team Swansea haven't beat since 1980.

As I have done for the past few weeks, I've asked an opposition blogger in the know to fill us in on their team, their opinions of Swansea and their vital score prediction! Take it away John from Coming Home Newcastle (a great Toon fan blog at SBNation.com)

I'd love to say that, coming off an impressive three-game winning streak, I'm full of confidence heading across the border into Liberty Stadium on Friday morning, but, unfortunately, this has all the makings of a "trap game" for Newcastle.

That being said, I do believe that Newcastle are the stronger side, and we're riding a hot streak where Swansea appear to be hitting a skid (thus, the "trap"). Newcastle's attack has come alive recently behind Alan Pardew's implementation of the 4-3-3, outscoring opponents 5-1 in those two games, with Papiss Cisse netting four on his own.

Hatem Ben Arfa finally seems to have found a spot from which he can be effective, and even though the back line has been decimated with the injuries of Steven Taylor and captain Fabricio Colocinni, James Perch and Mike Williamson have been stout in their stead. Overall, Newcastle has looked sharp, on point, and deadly in the attack in recent weeks.

If Swansea were to attack a weakness, I believe it'd be most effective for them to hammer the middle early and see if we'll give, and if we don't, then use the speed and experience on the wings to drive the attack. With the 4-3-3, we've had to play far more compact than usual. Sinclair, Dyer, and Newcastle old boy Wayne Routledge could have monster games on the flank. I'm not ashamed to admit that Newcastle will have their hands completely full with Nathan Dyer.

All that said, I still think we'll leave Wales with three points after a barn burner: 3-2 NUFC.

So, some positive stuff from John, but he is wary of the threat that Swansea present.

In the meeting at St James Park back in December, Swansea held the home side to a 0-0 draw, but I feel there'll be goals this time around.

With the bookies, Swansea are favourites at 7/5 on PaddyPower. I'm going with a 1-1 draw (at 5/1), which wouldn't be a bad result for Swansea all things considered. Saying that, it's a home game and the East Stand will surely have sunk eight pints of lager each, so the noise levels will be immense, which could encourage Swans to get that extra one. 2-1 to Swansea is at 15/2. John's prediction of 3-2 to Newcastle is at 30/1.

So let's hope all Swans fans will end Friday night drinking themselves into a frenzy in celebration at Premier League safety!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Swansea City: Alec's Dream Team

Before the final game of the season, ALEC JOHNSON has been considering which players should get a run out. And he's not limited it to the current squad! Here is his Swansea City dream team, including some of the best ever players to pull on a white (/black/red/orange) shirt.




Looking ahead to the final match of the season, and considering who I would give a run out to with only a place or two at stake, our comfortable position in the table sparked thoughts of a dream team of our past running out at the Liberty against Fulham.

Before I take bullets for not including any of the early sixties heroes, my first match wasn’t until March 16th, 1979 against Gillingham, aged eight. We won 3-1 and I was instantly addicted. Since that day, I have kicked every ball, made every tackle and shanked every pass with the lads on the pitch, from the North bank, East stand and more recently South stand, plus many away ends up and down the country.

So, limiting myself to players that I have witnessed in my time, the squad listed below considers our current playing formation which I believe to be the most effective, also adding the contribution that they made to the club in a Swans shirt.

Goalkeeper
Michel Vorm – I firmly believe that he is the best keeper ever to play for this club. I actually don’t remember him ever being solely responsible for giving a goal away in his two seasons and we should retain him at all costs.

Defence
Angel Rangel – How well has he developed? The best £10k investment ever in my opinion and he continues to improve each season. I don’t believe there’s a right back challenge from anybody in the past thirty years.

Terry Phelan – Signed by Terry Yorath and sadly only with us for a season, Phelan was an incredible athlete who dominated the entire left flank through his pace and energy. His ability to get beyond the opposing right back and create options in the final third put him in the wing back category but let very little past him either.

Chico Flores – It’s incredible to think that we can find established players of this calibre out there for just £2m, Chico has turned into a complete centre half. The mistakes have dried up as have the karate kicks! Chico is good enough for any side in the country as he consistently dominates his opponent.

Ashley Williams – Ash completes the back four despite not having his best season in a Swans shirt. He started slowly giving away a few goals and at times has lacked the pace to prevent players ghosting in behind him. However, generally rock solid, consistent and committed he makes the best ever starting eleven by some distance ahead of what could be his final game for the club.

Midfield
Robbie James – A complete midfielder, Robbie could sit in front of the back four a la Leon Britton style, break up the play but he had the power to burst through the pack and create chances in the opposition half. He also had an incredible eye for goal and scored so many long-rangers, often in vital games. Also, a genuinely wonderful character off the pitch, sadly taken away from us fifteen years ago - I would make Robbie the club captain.

Alan Davies – The little man had the most incredible feet, he could do anything with a ball and pick the pass to change the game. Alan also deserves inclusion for that free kick at Ninian Park which he hit with the outside of his foot from thirty yards. One of the most gifted players ever to play at the Vetch.

Michu – Sitting in front of these two, Michu would have had the freedom to roam around the final third. We have only seen the best of Miguel when he is playing off a front man, he has the capacity to wander around into space anticipating the second ball and hurt the opposition. Besides his deadly finishing, he seldom gives the ball away which is rare for a player in the final third and finishes each game in a state of collapse due to his endless work rate.

Attack
Alan Curtis – For the younger brigade that never witnessed this genius with a ball at his feet, think of a Welsh Messi. Ok, not quite in that league but the same attributes - small but incredibly strong and quick feet, Curt could go inside or outside making him very unpredictable and deadly to mark.

Leighton James – The best crosser of a football ever to wear a Swans shirt, dazzling with both feet and very direct. He wasn’t the hardest worker on a pitch but with Phelan sitting behind him Leighton would be free to preserve energy and hurt teams in devastating fashion. Better on the pitch than with a microphone that’s for sure.

John Toshack – Big John was often only considered a manager of our club, but his impact as a player was almost as big. Before signing for us, he was considered one of the best strikers in Europe having won everything with Liverpool just a few years earlier. Purely from a playing perspective, it was a privilege to have Toshack in a Swans shirt just through his prime and in this team he would hit 20-plus goals a season.

The Bench 

Roger Freestone – Awesome shot stopper who controlled the penalty area in the air by reading the game perfectly from corners and free kicks.

Bob Latchford – Justifies his inclusion for that first season in 1981 - a predator with his feet or head, that played to score.

Jan Molby – A majestic player who played with his head up. Despite his size Jan dominated the midfield though his vision and awareness. The big man never gave a ball away in his time on the pitch at Swansea.

Nigel Stevenson – Speedie was always dominant and a genuine hard man of the back four, quiet yet motivating I don’t remember him ever having a bad game, and would recommend not to tell him if he ever did!

Chris Coleman – Cookie replaced Phelan and it was like for like in style if not size. Physically massive with a crisp left foot who often played in the middle when called on.

Nathan Dyer – His pace and energy terrifies defenders, bring him on after an hour after the Curt and Leighton have worn the full backs down.

Joe Allen – I believe Joe will get better and better, had a good few seasons with us and needs including for that Ninian Park celebration.


Having only missed a handful of home games in thirty years and despite not going away as often as I would like, I don’t believe there are any glaring omissions in this squad, but fire over your missile to @71_alec or feel free to add your comment below with your pitch on who and why.

Individually I believe every one of them would hold their own in any top four side, assembling them collectively would have put us right in among them.

Dare we dream!

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

How Swansea's January transfer window has been shaping up so far

Wind the clock back to this time last year and Swansea were in a pickle; the loss of Wilfried Bony, Tom Carroll and Jefferson Montero without replacements hit the club hard, and, it could have been even worse had Daniel James and Leroy Fer completed their respective would-be moves.

Yet, 2020 has seen the Swans resurge; Rhian Brewster, Conor Gallagher and Marc Guehi have added some much-needed impetus to the Welsh side. Hopeful of achieving promotion in his first season with the Swans, Steve Cooper has acted rather than reacted to what could have been a problem.

Image result for marc guehi swansea
Marc Guehi celebrating his loan move.


Promotion a real possibility

After losing sight of the play-offs for a spell in November, Swansea sit just one point and one place outside the top six - and they have a game in hand on sixth-placed Preston. And, with the new additions as well as the playing and coaching staff and the fans, all talking about promotion, there is a real feel-good attitude around the Liberty Stadium at present. That mid-season blip has long gone and the Welsh side look in good shape to mount another assault on the Premier League.

Though there is still time until the January transfer window ends, Cooper, chairman Trevor Birch and head of recruitment Andy Scott, must be given a pat on the back for the way they have identified the issues within the squad and rectified them in a short space of time.

It was Cooper's relationship with Brewster that influenced the latter to join and he has already scored on his Swansea debut whilst on-loan Chelsea duo Gallagher and Guehi have added some steel to the midfield and defence respectively.


Image result for brewster goal swansea
Rhian Brewster celebrates his debut goal.

Are the Swans finished there for their recruitment?

It's unlikely that Cooper will add any more loan signings to his squad with six already in the Swansea ranks - one more than the limit that can be included on match days. But, that still hasn't stopped the rumour mill from ticking over.

Lorient starlet Julien Ponceau continues to be linked with the Swans with the Welsh club having held discussions with the youngster. That's as far as it has gone so far though. Meanwhile, non-league striker Ronald Sobowale - cousin of Bayern Munich's David Alaba - has been rumoured also, but the chances of Swansea doing any last-minute business seems unlikely.

What about outgoings?


Well, that seems to be where the action is likely to be in the remaining days. Kristoffer Nordfeldt (Genclerbirligi - Turkey) and Kristoffer Peterson (Utrecht - the Netherlands) have already departed the Liberty Stadium. Though Peterson's exit led to a chorus of groans, the Swede had scored just once in 11 appearances.

Image result for kristoffer nordfeldt
Kristoffer Nordfeldt has moved to Turkish side Genclerbirligi.

Bersant Celina continues to be linked to a move away with Brighton said to be on his radar as does Andre Ayew, but neither have been the subject of bids and keeping hold of the duo could well be the difference between earning promotion and enduring another year in the second tier.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

The curious case of Barrie McKay

Barrie McKay - the seemingly forgotten man at Swansea.

The Scottish international was one of former boss Graham Potter's six summer signings in 2018 and went on to feature in 31 of the Swans' games last season. But, under new head coach Steve Cooper, McKay has made just three appearances and all of these have been in the Carabao Cup. Even then, the winger has appeared for only a combined 120 minutes.

So, what's happened to the former Rangers flyer?

The 24-year-old hasn't been included in a match-day squad since the 2-1 defeat to Watford in the Carabao Cup back in September while his only appearance in an 18-man Championship squad was when he was an unused substitute for the opening day win against Hull City.

Even though the Scot performed decently under Potter - including a superb goal away at Bolton as well as a number of important assists - McKay is far from a loved footballer at the Liberty Stadium with Cooper at the helm.

Though regularly played out of position at Swansea with Bersant Celina favoured in the No.10 role, McKay has come in for stick from a swathe of the Swansea faithful.

The former Nottingham Forest winger should have been well on his way to staking a claim for a wing position with the departures of Daniel James, Luciano Narsingh and Jefferson Montero in the summer, but, he has instead become even more of a peripheral figure at the Liberty Stadium as the Swans hit promotion form in the first part of the 2019/20 campaign.

McKay has seen his route to the first team blocked by the return of Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer to the side, both of whom have been impressive in recent weeks whilst the previously outcast Andre Ayew and Celina have been found operating in wide roles also.

Image result for wayne routledge and nathan dyer"
Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge have performed well for Swansea.


In fact, McKay has found himself even further down the pecking order with the likes of Aldo Kalulu and Kristoffer Peterson getting more game time as the season progresses. And, even when Celina has played out on the left, George Byers and Yan Dhanda have been preferred to McKay in the central role behind the lone striker.

With options appearing increasingly limited at the Liberty Stadium, the Scot cuts an ever-depressing figure. Though contracted until summer 2021, McKay is surely likely to leave if he doesn't get a chance, especially when considering he has even been relegated to the Under-23s of late.

It's sad to see the decline of a talented footballer, but sometimes players just don't fit at certain clubs. McKay's quandary seems exactly that.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Swans join race for Portuguese ace Lameiras

Since the sale of Gylfi Sigurðsson to Everton in August 2017, for a club record fee of £40 million, Swansea have failed to replace the attacking prowess offered by the Iceland international who scored 27 goals in 106 games for the Swans after joining on a permanent transfer. 


The following season the Swans added Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches to the ranks in an attempt to fill the void; a player who starred in Portugal’s shock Euro 2016 win. This move didn’t work out however and the Swans were subsequently relegated to the Championship for the 2018/19 season in which they never really set the world alight, finishing in 10th place. 
With the recent transfer of Daniel James to Manchester United for a fee rumoured to be around £18 million, Swansea are in desperate need of an attacking outlet as they aim to improve on last season’s mid- table finish.
One player strongly rumoured to be heading to Wales is Lameiras, who is out of contract at Plymouth Argyle and is set to leave the Devon club after the Pilgrims suffered a disappointing season- being relegated back to League 2 after promotion in 2016/17.
Lameiras was a fan favourite a Home Park and the Swans are reportedly interested in bringing the tricky winger in on a free transfer to the Liberty, although Ligue 1 club Bordeaux are also said to be interested in the Portuguese wide man.
Lameiras was a rare highlight in a drab season for the Pilgrims, scoring 12 goals and providing nine assists in 45 games in all competitions; he was also named the club’s Player of the Year. His impressive performances in League 1 last season drew attention from many top club scouts so it could be a big coup for the Swans.
Before transferring to Argyle in 2017, Lameiras was a Coventry City player after being released from Spurs. He spent two seasons with the Sky Blues where he enjoyed success-including an EFL Trophy win at Wembley in 2016-17- but he moved to Home Park after Coventry were relegated to the fourth tier in 2017.
Lameiras is a tricky winger who would provide pace and skill going forward and create chances. At 24 years old he has many years still ahead of him to improve and flourish. Lameiras is also a versatile player who has played across the midfield throughout his career. The Lisbon- born forward excels in the number 10 role, with his agility and pace, and could provide a good attacking option for the Swans for the upcoming 2019/20 Championship season.
With Steve Cooper set to be announced as new Swans boss, Lameiras’s quick feet and pace make him an ideal fit for the Swansea style of play the club want to revert to.
However, can the Portuguese adapt to the added pace and quality off the Championship compared to League 1 if he does enter the Liberty as the Swans first summer signing?
Lameiras comes strongly recommended by Tottenham’s long-standing and highly respected academy director John McDermott and he could be developed into a star, as the clips below from his last campaign reveal:



Sunday, 18 March 2018

Is Alfie Mawson The Man To Solve England’s Defensive Woes?

Image result for alfie mawson

To say Alfie Mawson has been the standout player for the Swans this season would be an understatement. He’s proved a shining light and has been a key man in the Swansea revival since Carlos Carvalhal took over as boss back in December.


With the season almost up, he’s legitimately being talked about for a place in the England squad, ahead of the likes of Gary Cahill and Chris Smalling. But is he the man to sit in the very heart of England’s squad?


Well, Swans fans certainly think so, even if it is strengthening the chances of Gareth Southgate’s men.


He’s in the squad for the upcoming friendlies with Holland and Italy, and will almost certainly get his chance alongside Burnley’s James Tarkowski.


Carvalhal is certainly tipping his man with the 24-year-old the “perfect” fit according to recent reports.


He’s put in some stellar performances this season, so much so he’s being eyed up by Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs. It’s thought that Southgate will play with a back three this summer and Mawson would be an ideal fit having become comfortable with that formation throughout the domestic season.


To do that, concentration and communication with your partners is key and Mawson has had little trouble with that at any point. He’s been calm, calculated and proven he has all the attributes to really excel in an England back three.


Carvalhal said of his centre half, “He has the concentration, he is very good one to one, he is very strong, good in the air, he has the agility to play on the sides.”


His professionalism will be massive for England and as a player who just gets on with the job, he could be a real blessing for Southgate. That sort of temperament is what’s needed in football and England could well be brimming with strong, quality football if the manager is bold enough to select Mawson and Tarkowski.


He’s said he’ll only pick players who are playing regularly and are in form. While that can certainly be said of Mawson, it can’t of Gary Cahill or John Stones who have found themselves getting further and further down the pecking order at Chelsea and Manchester City.

He’s the form man Mawson, and having done things the hard way, he thoroughly deserves his place. It’s almost like another Jamie Vardy story. A progression beginning with non-league Maidenhead United. With that you get a man who’s dedicated, works hard, and one that really does put everything on the line. It’s a perfect fit.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Swansea v Leicester Preview (21/10/2017)

After last weeks result the Swans should be in good spirits. Tammy Abraham's brace against Huddersfield secured the 2-0 home victory. Pushing Swansea into 13th place, they now look a little more comfortable.

The return of Ki Seung-Yeung was also a positive as the Korean was applauded as he stepped back onto the pitch for the first time this season. Even though Swansea won 2-0 they only had 40% possession. Showing that you don't need the ball all the time to be able to win the game.

Now on eight points, Swansea look to push on from where they are. Back to back wins would be welcomed and the next fixture is at home to a struggling Leicester side. With Craig Shakespeare shown the door, Michael Appleton has now taken the caretaker managerial role. The Foxes haven't won in their last three games and Swansea will want to take advantage.

Leicester have no new injuries but Robert Huth and Matty James are still out. For the Swans, Renato Sanches will be a slight doubt due to a thigh strain and also Wilfried Bony with a hamstring injury. Hopefully the duo can recover in time for the weekend. Kyle Bartley is the only other injury Swansea have. He won't be back until December.

So it looks like a good bit of news for Paul Clement as Sanches and Bony may be back available for selection. If they do recover in time, the boss will have plenty of options heading into the game at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

It will be more likely that the Swans boss will opt for the 4-3-1-2 formation that worked against Huddersfield last week. Depending on players possibly returning from injuries there could be a number of changes from last fixtures starting XI. However, Clement will not want to mess around with tactics too much as he will want to keep things pretty much the same if he wants to pick up another win.

Swansea have a good bit of momentum heading into this game with Leicester as the Foxes have drawn their last two games against West Brom and Bournemouth. This could be a perfect chance for Swansea to kick Leicester while they are down. Harsh it may seem but it's every team for themselves in the Premier League.

I'm going to go for a 2-1 Swans victory even though Leicester will be fighting. With that said, Swansea will be in a positive mood so they should find the flow of the game easier at home.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

West Ham v Swansea Preview (30/09/2017)

Heading into the weekend, Swansea face another task in the Premier League this season. The lads will be travelling to the all-new, London Stadium this Saturday. Facing West Ham will be a tough test as no win in three games means results are needed sooner rather than later.

Last week's 2-1 loss at home to Watford wasn't ideal and focusing on the game ahead is key. Any form of result would be welcomed as the Premier League is starting to take its shape. With that being said, it is still quite open. Five points only separate 19th up to 11th place.

If you are thinking Swansea might not get anything against West Ham, think again. In their three Premier League away games this season they are unbeaten. A 0-0 draw at Southampton, a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace and a 0-0 draw at Tottenham.

Continuing an away form would be ideal against West Ham and Paul Clement will hope his squad will put in a good performance as well.

Nathan Dyer may be in contention to make a comeback into the squad after he appeared for the under 23's last week in a 3-1 defeat to Man City. The winger played 58 minutes after returning from a long-term ruptured Achilles tendon injury. He had been out since February and is hoping to make the squad this Saturday.

Kyle Bartley is still out until October with a ruptured knee ligament. Ki Sung-Yeung is expected to return from his knee injury but will likely feature for the under 23's this weekend against Celtic on his return to full fitness.

West Ham will be without Michail Antonio, James Collins and Manuel Lanzini through various injuries. Pedro Obiang and Edimilson Fernandes will be major doubts which Swansea will want to take advantage of this Saturday.

With the away form, it should be at least an interesting game from the neutral but the Swans need to pick up those crucial points when needed. 


Sunday, 6 September 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 6th September 2015)

It's September - that means autumn is summer is pretty much over. However the sun is actually shining, and this is probably the only time you'll be able to enjoy an iced coffee all year.

You sort out the coffee, I'll sort out the writing, and we'll meet back here in five minutes... GO!


International Swans

There's been no Swansea City action this weekend, but a handful of first team Swans have been playing for their countries over the past few days.

Ashley Williams and Neil Taylor both featured in Wales' crucial 1-0 win against Cyprus on Thursday, with Williams putting in one hell of a shift - definitely the Dragons' star player.

Gylfi Sigurdsson scored from the spot in Iceland's surprise 1-0 victory against Holland, while Jonjo Shelvey featured for England in their predictable 6-0 blitz of San Marino last night - making him the very first player to feature for England while playing for Swansea City.

And it was a good performance, showing off the best of his passing game. Definitely one to show Roy he's not a one-cap wonder.


Dyer gone

One of the biggest surprises of the transfer window was Nathan Dyer making a loan move to Leicester City for the rest of the season.

It's not gone completely to plan for Dyer over the past few years. While he certainly made the step up to the Premier League - wowing in some games - he failed to consistently deliver, and has recently lost some pace and confidence.

And with an abundance of talent available on the wings these days including Montero, Ayew and Routledge, Dyer will be much more likely to pull on a Leicester City shirt than a Swansea one.

Who knows - he may find his Championship form again and be a big part of Swansea's future. We all hope so. But for now, thank you Nathan and see you next year!


20 more legends

The next 20 names are set to be added to Swansea City's Robbie James Wall of Fame, on the external wall of the Liberty Stadium ahead of the Everton game on Saturday, 19 September.

There are some huge names on there - players that made a great difference to Swansea as both Town and City, such as Harry Hanford, Reg Weston, Jimmy Rimmer and Leighton Phillips. If you don't recognise the names you need to do some reading - get yourself a copy of Swansea City's Greatest Games!

The following 20 players' names will be fixed to the wall: Jimmy Collins (1919-30), Alex Ferguson (1927-35), Harry Hanford (1927-36), SJ Lawrence (1930-39), TB Olsen (1930-39), Trevor Ford (1946-47), Reg Weston (1946-52), Frank Burns (1946-52), Tom Kiley (1947-57), Alan Williams (1968-72), Des Palmer (1950-59), Ray Daniel (1958-59), Mike Johnson (1958-66), Brian Purcell (1958-68), Brayley Reynolds (1959-64), Dai Davies (1969-70,1973, 1981-83), Jimmy Rimmer (1973-74, 1983-86), Leighton Phillips (1978-81), John Mahoney (1979-83), and Dave Stewart (1980-81).

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Only Way From Here Is Down

How high can we go? That's the question everyone is asking now that Swansea City have broken the 50 point mark in the Premier League. However, former Swans player and football agent ALEC JOHNSON explains why the ambitions of Swans fans should now actually turn away from the top of the table...


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By Alec Johnson

Ignore the negative title - readers of my previous Forza Swansea blogs and those that engage with me on Twitter understand that in over 10k tweets to date you would struggle to find a single negative message.

However, looking at our perennial and lofty position suggests small steps of progress since our arrival in the Premier League, and a realistic acceptance that this is as far as it goes for us.

It's certainly not the end of the road, but the vision and ambition must now switch to consolidation and cup runs, not attacking the big fellas occupying the spaces above us. Rolling that dice is the recipe for Portsmouth, or even our nasty neighbours.

While it's a privilege going into the final matches without any pressure, there is a feeling of complacency in the club - not on the pitch but among so many fans.

Last weekend we won at St James Park. No, this wasn't against Exeter in the bottom division, but the Premier League version and so called 'Giant of the North', Newcastle. Yet so many fans were moaning like a bad mother in law. Our gang of international heavyweights were getting slaughtered by the East Stand's loonie brigade.


Cups: Where Swansea's ambitions should lie in the relatively near future

Back in the real world, a recent report showed that in our past 100 seasons we average a league finish in the mid thirties out of the 92 clubs. I was surprised that it was that high after our past fifty years which realigns our place at an ugly 57th - that's League One as we know it.

Also currently looking at the seven clubs above us, only 11 seasons in that period has one of them not won the league, so we're in great company up there.

Yet some still aren't satisfied.

The ambition within the club remains in tact, capable of satisfying a modern day Caesar; adjusting the goals year on year to recruit better players, attract more commercial partners, build the Swans brand globally and invest in the club infrastructure.

All of this will secure our status as the stable and efficient top half club in the Premier League, slowly helping us to lose the 'over achievers' tag often bolted onto our brand. We can expect exciting news through the close season relating to more lucrative deals for pre-season tours, merchandise, expansion and commercial partnerships.

It's an advantage that our board sees no limit to the possibilities and won't settle for mid table in any facet of the Premier League. Collectively they don't accept the realism of our position and that ambition has no bounds.

So, given the fifty points racked up this season with two winnable and two dodgy games left, a mid fifties total is on the cards. That exceeds my optimistic pre-season forecast of 49 by some so it's difficult to see how much further we can go than what we've achieved this season, perhaps other than adding a big fat FA Cup title to our cabinet.

This record breaking season deserves some real fanfare to sign it off as it may not get better than this. The only way is down; but please resist from singing 'the Jacks are staying up'! That pain relieving song is unwelcome in these parts, despite many predicting that we would be singing it for the past four seasons.

The Jacks are here to stay.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Records are there to be smashed, not just broken

After last Saturday's draw, which equalled the club's Premier League points record, where are the Swans sights set for the rest of the season? Forza Swansea guest writer CHRIS JOBLING takes a look at the ambitions of the club now that there's nothing left to achieve.

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by Chris Jobling

With last week's 1-1 draw with Everton enough to see Swansea equal their best points return in a Premier League season, it is now a question of when, rather than if, a new benchmark is set.

It's a mark of the club’s consistency since stepping into the top flight that their annual league return over the last three seasons has been split by just seven points. They may have been edging in the wrong direction – 47, 46, 42 – but there have been mitigating circumstances.

From being a relatively unknown quantity under Brendan Rodgers, to toasting major silverware and having to juggle the demands of domestic and continental competition under Michael Laudrup – who was ushered through the exits to welcome in another new dawn.

Being free of Europa League commitments has undoubtedly aided the club this season and got them moving in the right direction again.

Club legend Garry Monk has shown himself to be a more than capable boss, with the right mix of passion and Swans philosophy allowing him to drive things forward without infringing upon the efforts of his predecessors.

Standing on 47 points is some achievement, given that there are still 18 left to play for. Monk will, unquestionably, write a new chapter in the club’s history, but sights need to be set much higher than that.

With plenty of winnable fixtures to come, at least on paper, breaking records should not be the acceptable standard – smashing them should be.

Given that four of Swansea's remaining six games will be away from the Liberty Stadium – with tricky trips to Arsenal and Crystal Palace among them – it's not going to be easy to finish with a flourish.

There are, however, holes to be picked in the credentials of just about all of their upcoming opponents: Leicester City are scrapping for their Premier League lives, but are down there for a reason, while Newcastle United are – yet again – a side in disarray. There is little advantage to be taken from playing in front of a disgruntled St James’ Park fan base at present.

Arsenal will be a stiff test on a Monday night at the Emirates, but out-of-sorts Manchester City are unlikely to be relishing a trip to South Wales, while Stoke City and Crystal Palace have little left to play for.

There is no reason why a double-figure haul should not be targeted heading down the final straight, with the Swans pushing towards the 60-point mark.

Ambitious? Yes, but that would put down a serious marker for others to follow in the future and help to set the bar at a level an ambitious outfit are now expecting, rather than hoping, to reach.

It is also looking increasingly likely that a new record points total will deliver a club-high finish among the elite, with consolidation in eighth enough to edge them above the class of 2012/13.

Why stop there though? Spurs are hardly pulling up trees at the moment and, while a seven-point deficit is a big gap to bridge at this late stage, Premier League betting suggests that they are there to be shot at after slipping into reverse.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

2013/14 - The final four predictions!

It's almost over - and not a moment too soon! With just four important games left to secure survival for a faltering Swansea City, our former Swan ALEC JOHNSON takes one last look at what we can expect, and shares his score predictions.

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By Alec Johnson

Before we look forward to the final four crucial matches, let's briefly take one last glance at last Sunday’s encounter - the 1-0 loss to Chelsea.

After starting so brightly and competing for possession, our tempo and movement gave us real hope of picking something up from the ‘bonus’ game that nobody expected anything from. We won every challenge for the first 15 minutes, except the two that Chico lost. How cheap they were and how expensive they could be.

The Terry and Jose anger tactics played the part necessary to see our pantomime villain sent off once again. What happened next was a mistake in my opinion - hauling off Pablo (who had started with real purpose) and leaving Dyer on (who had started poorly) was an own goal in itself. The logic I get - keep the pace and hard-working runner on - but I felt we needed the form player to sit in the middle and hurt when necessary. We lost, but not without heart and spirit.

So where does that leave us? A strange bag of results threw my ‘super six’ predictions off course and the blew the bottom wide open. We are now a game away from level points in the trap door.


Newcastle United (away) - Sat, 19 April

First up, a trip to Newcastle. St James Park isn’t what it used to be. The Geordies have turned on Pardew showing their lack of appreciation for the punchy cockney with a set of banners last weekend. Their form is poor having lost the last four, while their record of lowest goals scored and most conceded in the top half isn’t a proud medal to carry.

Therefore it’s all about the start. If we get at them early on and unsettle the crowd, breaking the confidence, we can get a grip and win by a couple as we did last season. I do feel that there will be a reaction and a fight, but I cannot see us getting beat, so I will throw in a nervy 1-1 draw. Probably something that both clubs would take before of the game.


Aston Villa (home) - Sat, 26 April

Next up is Villa at home. The away fixture over Christmas ranks as one of my most frustrating in recent years. We battered them for 80 minutes, keeping almost 99% of the ball and the Jack Army were awesome from start to finish. We deserved better, but took a point. This is payback and I believe we can boss this and hurt them at home, hopefully through our three winger approach, which is so effective at the Liberty. I will go for a 2-0 win, edging us towards safety on 37 points with two games to go.


Southampton (home) - Sat, 3 May

Are they on the beach yet? Some are already at the World Cup and going through the motions. On their day they can be devastating and I do feel that they will be up for it on their last away game of the season. Assuming we have collected the four points from the previous two fixtures, I can see us losing this one as they play with freedom and flair. So it’s a 2-1 defeat in my eyes, leaving a nail-biting finish.


Sunderland (away) - Sun, 11 May

The finale! I haven’t considered the other results going on around us but I assume the bottom three will consist of Sunderland, Norwich and either Cardiff or Fulham on the final day. Wouldn’t it have been great to go to the Riverside leaving Sunderland win to send Cardiff down? I would have celebrated each goal flying in past Vorm.

However, given their run of games and shocking form I think they will be down before kick-off. That can only help us, so I see the Swans picking up something and celebrating survival - an ugly point or three will do nicely sitting on 38 points, or even the targeted 40. I'm going for a 2-2 draw.

Then we can all breathe and regroup, before a summer that will undoubtedly see considerable change at our beloved football club.


Agree with Alec? Or dare you disagree? Leave your own score predictions below! And make sure to follow Alec on Twitter.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Interview with former Swans goalkeeper Mike Hughes ('83 - '88)

In this ForzaSwansea exclusive interview, JULES PRICE has been talking to former Swansea City goalkeeper Mike Hughes about his time with the club, his health problems and his thoughts on the club today.

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By Jules Price

Mike Hughes played for the Swans between 1983 and 1988, making 139 appearances for the club. However, after making 101 consecutive appearances and not missing a game for three years, Mike was advised by neurosurgeons not to continue as a full-time football player.

I remember going to Mike’s testimonial match against Tottenham Hotspur at the Vetch Field. It was the first time Paul Gascoigne played for Spurs after his transfer from Newcastle United. Gascoigne scored a 25-yard free kick that evening.

 
Mike in action for the Swans in the 80s

I had the pleasure of watching Mike play in goals for many years when I was growing up and supporting the Swans. In my opinion he was one of the best ever keepers for the Swans. Therefore it is my absolute pleasure to be able to interview him.

Fans who were supporting the Swans during that period were very saddened to hear of Mike’s forced retirement. Still a Swansea City fan, here Mike tells us about the injury that forced him into retirement, the best player he played with and against and his ongoing love of the club.

(Note: Interview was carried out before the Malmo home game)


Mike in the present day: still a Swans fan!

What is your favourite memory of playing for the Swans?
No one thing stands out for me apart from it being a dream come true for a kid to progress from the North Bank to the hallowed turf of the Vetch Field and play in front of the Jack Army. I always had tremendous support from them even through the not-so-great times.

Who was the best player in the Swans team at that time?
I played with some very good players in the eight years I spent at the club. The best by a mile even at his age was the late great Robbie James. The guy was a legend. The world's worst trainer but what a player and what a guy. Very sadly missed.

Who was the best player you played against?
Probably Kevin Keegan at Newcastle. We kept them out for 80 minutes until he changed the game with a piece of magic only someone of his ability would have produced. Class.

What were the symptoms/illness that caused you to retire early?
I received two bouts of concussion during games at home to Bristol City pre-season and again at Crewe four months later and could not shake off the headaches. Following a scan at the hospital, neurosurgeons informed me that it was too great a risk to continue as a full time player. To say I was devastated was an understatement as I had not missed a first team game for nearly three years and had played 101 consecutive games at that point.

Your testimonial match was against Spurs when Paul Gascoigne played his first ever game for Tottenham. What are your memories from that game?
To be honest not a lot. I still have the game on video and have never watched it apart from the after match events in town. Not the happiest of memories to be honest.

Do you keep in touch with any of your old teammates?
Not on a regular basis but I have seen a few of them at various games and it is always nice to catch up.

What did you do after your retirement from professional football?
I initially worked in the financial services sector until joining HM Prison Service at Swansea in 1990. I then spent 13 years as a Physical Education Officer at various establishments before taking a managers role at HM Prison Chelmsford, where I have worked for the past 11 years.

What was the last Swans game that you went to?
Southampton at home last season, but as I write I will be at the Malmo game. I was at all the London games last season and it was a fantastic experience seeing us win at QPR, Arsenal, Chelsea and Fulham as well as drawing at Norwich.

Since your retirement the Swans have had some great keepers including Roger Freestone, Rhys Wilmot, and Michel Vorm. In your opinion who had been the best ever Swans goalkeeper? 
To be honest, I would have thrown Dorus de Vries in there as well for the contribution he made before his very poor lapse in judgement to leave! 24 clean sheets in a season - wow! However, despite Michel Vorm being our number one, I am personally a big fan of Gerhard Tremmel and would like to see him get more game time after his exploits last season.

Finally, do you think the Swans can keep on progressing? Ultimately what do you think they can achieve?
Why not? But when you are up against the likes of Man City and Chelsea who have billionaire owners, we have to be realistic. To finish ninth and win the League Cup was beyond everybody's dreams last season. I guess to match this again and make a reasonable mark in Europe will be progression this season. I for one cannot wait - starting with Malmo. COYS!

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A big thank you to Mike for taking the time to answer these questions.You can follow Mike on Twitter @mike_hughes01 and you can follow Jules via @jpswansea.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Jack to a King: Turning Hafod into Hollywood!

We all love movies about the sporting underdog - Moneyball, The Mighty Ducks, Rocky - and we all like movies about Swansea (mainly just Twin Town I guess?).

But now Hollywood are coming to town to combine the two and share Swansea City's emotional story with the world!




Jack to a King is a collaboration between an array of top movie makers including BAFTA award-winning director Marc Evans, Oscar-winning co-producer James Marsh and Swansea legend Mal Pope, who is an executive producer.

The producers are calling on ForzaSwansea readers to help them out and become part of this exciting project. Whether you live in Mumbles or Mumbai this is your chance to share your Swans stories and see your name on the credits of a major movie.

They are looking for photos, video clips and digital film that you may have taken at Swans matches, in any format, no matter how ancient. They need fan footage from the old days at the Vetch to the Liberty days, up to and including the day that Swansea made it into the Premier League.

But it's not just on-pitch action they're after. Send in photos and videos of:

  • banter and chanting in the crowd 
  • yourself meeting players 
  • you and your mates travelling to Swans games 
  • the open-top bus celebrations 
  • or recordings of old radio shows and phone-ins

Visit the official movie website to send in your pictures and footage, or (if you're in Swansea) drop items off in person at the main receptions of the Evening Post, the Liberty Stadium or Swansea Sound.

I'm sure you'll all agree this is a superb project so let's get behind it!