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 23 December 2012

Swansea City 1 - 1 Man United: A Winter Warmer

"Glory, glory Swansea City!"

Okay, not quite 'glory' in the traditional sense, but a victory of sorts for Swansea, who have now taken points from all the "big" teams in the Premier League. A 1-1 draw against Man United see the Swans celebrate the festive period 11th in the table.

I'll keep this short as you'll all want to be over-indulging in festive cocktails and/or mince pies.

Swansea started very brightly today and we saw some impressive fluid football from the men in white in the first ten minutes. However the confidence seemed to vanish as soon as Patrice Evra scored from his head on 15 minutes. A soft goal, and another conceded from a set piece. Leon Britton was ultimately to blame as he moved from his position on the far post, but it shouldn't have reached him in the first place. Swansea do need to improve on set-piece defence, but we'll leave that for now.

Thankfully heads only dropped for about ten minutes, when we saw a wonderful pass from Routledge through to de Guzman in a great onside position, whose rebounded shot fell for Michu (who else) to tap in. A deserved equaliser and a goal that sees Michu crowned the current top goal scorer in the Premier League with 13 goals.

The second half is where it all kicked off. Really good, exciting, frantic football. United seemed a lot more likely to nick the second goal, with a few slaps of the cross bar and forcing a few good saves, but Swansea held on well and created a few chances themselves.

We saw a not-so-seasonal scuffle between Ashley Williams and Robin van Persie, after Williams kicked the ball against the head of a floored van Persie (accidental or not is still undecided, depending on who you support). I can sympathise with van Persie mainly because... well, it must have hurt. But that's football. Alex Ferguson claimed afterwards that the incident could have killed Van Persie - that's a little extreme. No, that's very extreme. I've had many balls to the face (not a euphemism) when playing football and I've never died. It was not attempted murder - relax Ashley, no jail for you.

Thankfully no-one was killed and the fight added some extra heat to a cold afternoon in South Wales.

Agustien won man of the match - well done Kemy, you deserved it. Dwight Tiendalli also made himself known today - a definite competitor for a first-team spot even when Rangel/Taylor come back from injury. He made a good go of attacking and placed some great balls into the box (even if they weren't met by anyone).

It was nice to see Michel Vorm back in action. It may be difficult for Gerhard Tremmel to accept, as he has been superb in Vorm's absence, but Vorm showed why he is first choice on a couple of occasions today.

For Swansea to claim a point again the most recognised team in the world is another testament of how far the team have come, and another thing to tick off the list of success.

Today's festive frenzy of football was the perfect build up to Christmas and a point was a justified gift to the team and the fans.

Happy Christmas!

Thursday 20 December 2012

Swansea City: Capital One Cup, Man United and Villa (David, not Aston)!

It's been an eventful week for Swansea City, so let's sum it up in a best bits blog!

Swansea City vs Chelsea - Capital One Cup semi-final

After Chelsea eventually bettered (and battered) Leeds 5-1 in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday night, they seemed destined to be Swansea's semi-final opponents.

From what I can see, reaction from Swans fans is mixed. Some would have preferred to play Aston Villa or Bradford, while some are happy to get Chelsea out of the way first.

I agree that it may be less daunting for the Swans to play Chelsea over two legs. As long as Swansea keep themselves in it during the first leg at Stamford Bridge, they will have a brilliant advantage with the home crowd for the second game.

Then it is just the case of brushing Bradford or Aston Villa aside in another Wembley final! Or, as one tweeter wrote this week -  said: "We'll probably beat Chelsea and then lose to Bradford in the final!! #TheSwanseaWay"

The first leg at Stamford Bridge kicks-off at 7:45pm on Wednesday, January 9th.

Welcome to Swansea, David Villa?

In my last post I said Swansea needed a new striker, but I didn't expect Barcelona's David Villa to be the first (or anywhere) on the list. However it seems to be quite a solid rumour at the moment and, with odds being slashed from 40/1 to 8/11 on Wednesday, everyone has gone mental!

We all know that bookies slash odds all the time and it comes to nothing. They panic and lower odds when they notice a big surge of bets on one particular outcome. Or perhaps they know something that we don't. Either way it is very interesting and enjoyable to hear these rumours.

Would he really give up the beauty of Barcelona for the sobering sight of Hafod? I guess if the money is right and regular football is on offer, he may consider it.

This is where it becomes unrealistic though - can Swansea City afford Villa's wages? At probably £100,000+ a week it's unlikely, unless he fancies a severe pay cut.

However it's certainly one for Huw Jenkins to mull over - we know Villa is a more accomplished goal scorer than, say, Shefki Kuqi was. He would be the goalscorer the club are in need of to take the strain off Michu. With Villa leading the way, Swansea could actually set their sights on a top four finish!

Either way, at least now these crazy rumours have some element of believability to them, which is always good news for Swans fans.

Swansea City vs Man United

With so much going on, it's easy to forget the fact that Man United will visit the Liberty on Sunday for just the second time. Last time round Swansea were on the verge of sharing a point with United, but a Michel Vorm mistake gave Chicharito his first goal in Wales.

This time Man United will pose the same threat. Sitting comfortably at the top of the Premier League table, Man United don't seem to have wowed much this year, but are capable of winning game after game, as everyone expects of them.

It's safe to say United are favourites for Sunday's festive football, but Swansea always have a chance to take something at the Liberty Stadium, regardless of who they play.

The unfortunate factor for Swansea are the injuries - Taylor is still out, while Vorm and Rangel are fighting to be fit ahead of the game. Meanwhile, Michu says he's willing to get hurt again against Man United. I like the commitment but hopefully Ferdinand doesn't see this as an excuse to break his leg.

Whatever happens, we will need a better, more enthusiastic performance than the game against Spurs. Swansea shouldn't give Man United the respect the deserve. If they are up for it on Sunday, I will go for a 1-1 draw!

Sunday 16 December 2012

Swansea City 0 - 1 Spurs: I came back for this?!

Today I make my triumphant return to blogging!

Now, this may sound selfish - but I'm sure other sportswriters will agree - it is sometimes easier to blog when your team are doing poorly than when things are all rosy. So today was a good time to rejoin the blogosphere with a dull performance from Swansea City.

It's not a massive surprise. The Swans were without several key players - Angel Rangel and Pablo Hernandez have both been superb recently, but both were injured today and that cut some of Swansea's power going forward. Add Michel Vorm and Neil Taylor's lengthy injuries and Swans were lacking in defence.

However, despite the defensive injuries, it wasn't really the defence that was the problem against Spurs. The back four did well to absorb the consistent pressure of Spurs attack, while Gerhard Tremmel made some good saves. Ashley Williams played very well and deserved his man of the match award, while Chico Flores was as fiery as ever.
It was the midfield lacking today. Ki Sung Yueng looked tired and elsewhere for much of the game, while de Guzman was also poor. Even Leon Britton was off at times. Casual passes and poor touches cost Swansea any momentum going forward and getting the ball up from defence to midfield was a struggle. Dyer and Routledge both produced little to get excited about either.

Kemy Agustien came on, shortly followed by Luke Moore, shortly followed by the goal for Spurs. We can't blame Moore for the goal though. Then came a bit of attacking force for Swansea, but Spurs stopped much of it with little hassle. Finally, we had an annoying end where Michu was accidentally taken out by Hugo Lloris, and then everything kicked off. And then it was game over.

The stats say it all really: Swansea had no shots on target, while their possession was just 39% for the whole game. Spurs had 24 shots in total, compared to Swansea's four.

Not a festive result for Swansea, but White Hart Lane is a tough place to go, Spurs are a top side and Swansea were understrength.

The Swans remain in 10th then, which - let's be honest - is better than any of us would have predicted at the start of the season. They'll take on Man United on the 23rd at the Liberty Stadium where anything other than a loss will set us all up for a good Christmas!

Finally, before you all leave for other websites for a more in-depth analysis, I'm asking the question 'what does Laudrup need to focus on in the transfer window'?

I'd say a real effort to seal a capable goal scorer is needed. This is not to disparage Danny Graham, Luke Moore or Itay Shechter, as they all try to put in a shift when on the pitch, sometimes scoring, but not often. Recently the goal scoring duties seem to have fallen to Michu. This isn't a bad thing, but giving someone else the pressure to score goals would allow Michu to roam where he likes, which is when he scores his goals.

It's similar to a time a few season's ago, where Scott Sinclair was relied on for everything. If he fell injured, or dipped in form, the whole team would suffer. Let's hope that doesn't happen with Michu, but if he is out for any reason Swansea need another capable scorer to smash them in. All budget should go there because every other area is pretty much oozing with talent.

Please use the comments section of this post to add your desired (and realistic) striker for the January transfer window!

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.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Blogger out - back in a few weeks!

Just a quick note from me to say that I will be relatively quiet on the blog over the next few weeks.

Currently a mixture of work and exam revision is taking up a lot of my time and I'd rather leave the blog alone for a few weeks instead of churning out some half-hearted attempt at something that nobody wants to read and I don't want to write!

Naturally, if something BIG happens (Alan Tate joins Cardiff, the Liberty Stadium burns down, etc), expect a reactionary post, but for now I suggest checking out the links page on this blog for a host of other brilliant Swansea City blogs during my short absence.

If you're new here why not check out some of my past posts - there are two years worth to dig into!

See you soon,


Monday 5 November 2012

A letter from Zimbabwe!

As most of you will know, I always try to put emphasis on bringing Swansea City fans from around the world together - and it's a much easier task now the Swans are cruising in the Premier League.

Despite often speaking to fans from America, Australia, Korea and much of Europe, I was surprised when I was forwarded a handwritten letter, sent from a Swans fan in Zimbabwe (that's Africa for those who failed geography).

The 16-year-old fan, Chimanga Maponga, writes the letter to reach out to Swans fans, asking them to get in touch with him and send him a little team news and share some stories about the most exciting team in the Premier League!

If you have a spare five minutes, why not get in touch with him? Send him an old match programme from a match or a photo of the vetch.

Go on - help out a Swansea fan who can't just pop on the bendy bus to the Liberty; I'm sure he would love to hear from you!

His address - and a scan of the letter - is below. Cheers!

Chimanga Maponga
HSE No. 922
Shumba Street,