Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Waterstones Signing - Saturday, 28th November

Hello all you slightly glum Swans fans,

I hope you've managed to catch some of my recent ForzaSwansea posts on Yahoo! Sport (follow me on Twitter as I announce all the new posts there).

Just a quick note to say I'm signing copies of both the Swansea City Miscellany and Swansea City's Greatest Games in Swansea Waterstones this Saturday morning. If you're looking for a Christmas gift for your Swans-loving dad, mum, brother, sister, uncle or best mate, the Miscellany is a great stocking filler!

And if you have bought a copy beforehand and want me to sign it, just bring it down and say hello.

I'll be there from 11am - hope to see you there!

Cheers, Chris

Friday, 6 November 2015

Chris on 'Swansea Till I Die' - Friday 6th November

Just a quick note to say that I will be presenting Swansea Sound's 'Swansea Till I Die' show between 6-7pm tonight (GMT). With me in the studio will be Ben Charles and Mark Beevers.


If you're in the Swansea area, tune in via 1170MW, or - for those of you around the world - you can catch it live online.

It should be a great show! We'll be discussing the Arsenal match, looking forward to the game against Norwich tomorrow, and talking everything else to do with the Swans.

I'd love to hear from YOU, so get in touch this evening with your views on 01792 893031 or tweet @SwanseaSound.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Forza Swansea - New Posts (October)

You may recall my last blog post I told you that I would be blogging mainly for Yahoo! Sport this season.

So here's a quick round up of what I've been up to, in case you missed them...

In my most recent article I argue why the season is actually going to plan despite the lack of wins.

An earlier article saw me ask the intriguing question: was Brendan Rodgers Swansea City's greatest ever manager?

Then I wrote another piece about the managers of Swansea - looking at whether the gaffers of the last five years have all suffered the Swansea City curse after leaving the club.

Keep checking back for new posts or follow me on Twitter, where I will announce the new articles as they arrive.

Cheers!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Where have all the blog posts gone?

It's the question on everybody's lips (I am assuming...) - where are all the Forza Swansea blog posts this season?

You may recall a few weeks back I said that this season I would be blogging about Swansea City for Yahoo! Sport. And I have been.

Here are my first three posts, in case you missed them:

Five Swans who should have played for England - At the start of September, Jonjo Shelvey was about to become the first Swansea City player to play for England while at the club. I wrote a piece on five previous Swans legends who should have worn the Three Lions.

League Cup Misery - Swansea were dumped out of the Capital One Cup by Hull City a couple of weeks back. I took a look at the club's poor history in the competition, as well as a few times we really enjoyed ourselves.

Swansea City: Time To Panic?! - Written just before the game against Spurs, when results hadn't been going our way, I took a look at whether it was time to panic (basically, it wasn't - and still isn't!)

From now on I will post a link to each new blog post - around one a week - on this site too. See you soon!

Friday, 18 September 2015

Swansea City Miscellany - Book signing at Liberty Stadium

My second book, the Swansea City Miscellany, is now available from all good bookshops, online, and direct from the club shop.



I will be at the Liberty Stadium club shop from 1-2pm tomorrow ahead of the Everton match, signing copies of the book which is £9.99 (a bargain for the hours of entertainment you'll receive!)

Visit the official Swans website for more details on the launch.

If you're around the stadium, please pop in and say hello!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

NEW BOOK: The Swansea City Miscellany

Welcome to the long-awaited announcement of my new book, the Swansea City Miscellany!

 

After the success of Swansea City's Greatest Games last year, I decided it would be fun to tackle an equally challenging project, although in very different ways from the first book.

What the hell is a miscellany, you ask? Essentially it's a little encyclopedia of everything Swansea City; club history, player profiles, top ten lists and unique records, along with funny stories and memorable trivia, all rolled into one easy-to-pick-up read. The kind of book that would be a great friend on a long train journey or a short bathroom break.

Our genius chairman Huw Jenkins has contributed a foreword to the book, while there are some excellent nostalgic photos throughout.

The Miscellany will be available from the start of next week, although you can pre-order it on Amazon. However, as a Swansea City fan, I recommend you purchase it directly from the club shop as the club will benefit from the sales.

A signing at the Liberty Stadium club shop and Waterstones will be announced very soon.

Cheers!

Chris

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).

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 30th August 2015)

It's Sunday morning again, and I'm up early for a change!

As it's a Bank Holiday weekend, why not make your coffee a little Irish? Then, when you've sobered up, have a read of my quick round-up of Swansea City news.


Into the Third Round!

A very different looking Swansea City saw out a comfortable 3-0 Capital One Cup win against York City on Tuesday night.

Garry Monk made a host of changes to his team, with players like Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Leon Britton and Franck Tabanou making starts against the League Two side.

And even though York had a few moments of their own, the Premier League Swans made light work of the Minstermen. Nathan Dyer opened the scoring in the second minute, with Matt Grimes and Marvin Emnes adding a second and third in the second half.

A straightforward day at the Liberty Stadium, and Swansea move into the Third Round where they'll face Hull City at the KC Stadium on Tuesday, 22 September.


Swansea City vs Manchester United

Let's get all the 'giants' out of the way now shall we?

I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling that it's the perfect time to take on Man United. We're unbeaten in the first three games, we've already seen a good draw against Chelsea, confidence is high, and we're at home - so what's to fear?

Of course United are looking pretty good themselves, sitting in 4th place in the early Premier League table, with wins against Spurs and Villa. Plus their squad looks a little more coherent than last season, with plenty of danger men. Perhaps read a more detailed preview here.

It's a tricky scoreline tricky to call, so I will go for a very acceptable 1-1.


New home of Forza Swansea

While this blog is going nowhere, I can tell you that during the 2015/16 season I will be blogging for Forza Swansea in association with Yahoo Sport.

It just means the content will have an even bigger audience than before, hopefully spurring me to write more than I do now! I will publish more details next week.


Sunday, 23 August 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 23rd August 2015)

It's Sunday, I've woken up later than planned. Let's get a quick catch-up out while my filter coffee is being prepared by Jeeves.


Sunderland 1 - 1 Swansea City

We're already three games in to this new season and Swansea are yet to lose, earning a fair point against Sunderland yesterday.

Although this was the first match in which we as fans could be forgiven for getting a little frustrated. Swansea, after all their domination in the opening quarter, lacked that cutting edge in front of goal and could well have taken the win, through the likes of Ayew or Sigurdsson in the second half.

But Bafetimbi Gomis's enjoyable opener on the cusp of half time was enough to secure a precious point. A more in-depth look at the game and some photos here (don't click if you hate the Daily Mail, because that's where you are being sent today!)

But it can only be a positive, drawing away from home to stay sixth in the league with 5 points. Onto United at the Liberty next Sunday!


Britton stays put...

As the transfer window slowly closes, the moment we dreaded all summer is no longer imminent - Leon Britton is staying with Swansea!

The 32-year-old stalwart had toyed with leaving the club over the last few months, looking to go somewhere that could offer him more regular football - MLS in particular. However, after a chat with his pal and manager, Britton has decided to stay with the hope of playing more often.

In his own words:
"I've always said the first place I want to play is here at Swansea. Maybe things will change a bit and I can be involved a bit more, which would be great."
Whether or not we will actually see him on the pitch this season is now the question. But with the quality and depth already in that area of the field, that's not the prime reason Swans fans are so keen to see him stay.

We don't want to lose such a longstanding player, who offers club pride in bucket loads and is a boost to spirits both on and off the field.


...so does Montero (but not Michu)

Thankfully we are all on the same page - me, you, Garry Monk and Huw Jenkins: none of the Swans stars are for sale.

This comes after speculation over the immediate future of Jefferson Montero, who has been linked with Bayern Munich and most recently Man United, after Reds fans - including Rio Ferdinand - voiced their want over social media.

But as Monk said:
"No-one is for sale, we’re looking forward to the season, the players are looking forward to going forward with Swansea and this is the squad I want."

Meanwhile Michu - who we sometimes forget is still on Swansea's books - is now very likely to head off, maybe to Celtic as latest reports suggest. Let's face it, unless he completely returned to the form he displayed in his first season with the club (which seems nearly impossible) he will never get back into the current squad.


Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Triumphant Return of 'Cup o' coffee and the Swans' (Sunday Catch-up)

Let's make it a decaff coffee - we're all still catching our breath after yesterday's blistering match at Stamford Bridge.

More on the game in a bit, but for now I formally announce my return to Forza Swansea, after a summer of... well, no blogging action.

(*Pause for applause*)

Of course, I am genuinely sorry for the lack of content on this blog over the summer. It's a combination of me focusing on other projects, while being a little lazy at the same time.

But let's face it - there's enough Swans speculation, rumours and filler without me further cluttering up the internet. Yes, I could have covered the good-looking (not in that way) acquisitions of Andre Ayew, Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Franck Tabanou and Eder; the 'will he, won't he' surrounding Leon Britton; or the mild panic because Mark Lawrenson thinks we'll do well this season.

But, with so many other blogs, news sites and social media streams around, I decided to let others do the hard graft, while I sat back with a beer and watched the rain ruin everyone's summer.

However, for this new season, I'm back and will carry on with my Sunday morning catch-ups, and perhaps a few nostalgic articles here and there. On to the match...


Chelsea 2 - 2 Swansea City

What a great season opener for Swansea. Apart from a win, no-one could have asked for better.

It's standard now that the Swans produce something of note in the first game of the season, and they almost surpassed themselves yesterday.

The 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge gave us a chance to see the squad put together the things they were working on over the summer, in the most entertaining way possible.

Ayew was exciting - his goal in particular was thanks to a touch of quick thinking and plenty of talent. He'll undoubtedly be a pleasure to watch this year. Gomis had a good game, which peaked in the 55th minute when he both won and scored the penalty, reducing Chelsea to ten men in the process. Overall he looked much sharper and stronger than last season, even if he dragged his heels with a few chances.

Montero was part of every good Swansea move going forward, while Shelvey was up for it all match, scaring Courtois with some nifty attempts direct from his corners! Ashley Williams and his defensive team were solid enough, with the two goals the only blemish on a good game. Overall Fabianski probably came off the worst yesterday, but still produced some fine saves.

I guess the only disappointment was that Swansea didn't go on to win the match. Still, away to the champions, an opening day draw works pretty well... we'll take it!


The Swansea City Miscellany

Finally, I've written another Swansea City book, which is being released at the start of September (i.e. next month). It's called the Swansea City Miscellany, and is a hardback encyclopedia packed with stats, facts, trivia history and stories about the Swans.

It is officially endorsed by the club and the legendary Huw Jenkins has written the foreword. I will make a more detailed announcement on this in the next few days. But for now, you know why my Swans content on the blog was perhaps lacking over the last year!


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

2015/16 Premier League fixtures: "Nice easy start..."

What's this? It's summer and there's a new ForzaSwansea post? You aren't dreaming.

With the release of the Premier League fixtures for the 2015/16 season this morning, I thought it best to write a short post (a very short post) highlighting some of the ties we'll see next year.

Garry Monk's men will be kicking off the season on 8 August against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. What a tough game to open a campaign with! But then again that will be arguably the hardest match out of the way instantly. Plus, like last seasons' opening day victory at Old Trafford, Swansea may just pull off a shock against the champions!

And the Swans won't have to wait too long until facing United at the Liberty Stadium, which also takes place in the first month, on 29 August.

Christmas is looking busy as usual, with a festive trip to the blue side of Manchester on 12 December and a home match against West Brom occupying the Boxing Day spot.

Without going into too much detail (you can do that yourself by checking out the full listings on the BBC website), it's looking like a pretty balanced season.

With relegation worries no longer an issue (touch wood), Premier League safety will be secured early in 2016 and there won't be any cause for concern in the last few weeks. Which is good news, because Swansea's final match is against Man City at the Liberty on 15 May - a great way to end what will hopefully be another record breaking season.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Tate and Britton - Ending An Era

The summer is the season of change when it comes to football.

And watching two players leave Swansea City after over a decade of uninterrupted service is certainly change in its rawest form.

First, Alan Tate. Last week we saw the departure of the Swansea stalwart, who left the club in a move that seemed to be in the pipeline for quite some time.

Disappointing as it was, it came as no shock - Tate never really made the step up to the Premier League, not helped by his broken leg in the first season, and had spent more time out on loan than at Swansea in the past four years. (For more on Alan Tate, check out my tribute to him from October 2014.)

Things were different back in 2011 (Image: Action Images)

The biggest shock of the week came from a brutally honest interview with Leon Britton, in which the talismanic midfielder admitted he too was considering a move elsewhere if Swansea couldn't offer him first team football next season.

Of course, the reason why this grates more on fans is because, unlike Tate, Britton not only made the giant step up to the Premier League, he excelled in it. Remember January 2012, when statistics suggested that he was the best passer in Europe? But you don't even need statistics to see that he was one of the key men for Swansea.

Yes, Britton truly owned the centre of the pitch and was rightly one of the first names on the team sheet for so long.

However the recent 2014/15 season was hugely frustrating for the stalwart, who was forced to watch his talented team mates - Ki Sung Yueng, Jack Cork and Jonjo Shelvey - consistently picked before him, even when he was fully fit.

A few months ago Swans fans had a feeling that something wasn't right. And they were correct. No matter how much he loves the club, you could sense that Britton had probably had enough.

But we have to applaud his decision if he does decide to go. In his own words:

'I am not someone who will be happy to play every couple of months or whatever and then pick up my money.' 

Many players would be content to fester away on the bench; enjoying a large payday come the end of the month for doing absolutely nothing.

The right kind of footballer, Britton wants to play on a regular basis and if that means ending nearly 13 years at the club he loves, then we have to accept that.

If he does go - possibly to another Premier League side, the Championship or even America - we can always hope he'll return to Swansea as a coach later down the line. The other option, which hasn't been discussed much (at least not in public) is to loan him out. That way he technically never has to leave!

But whatever happens, even if this is the end of his playing career with Swansea, I'm sure that we haven't seen the last of Leon Britton.


Thursday, 28 May 2015

Swansea City's 2014/15 season is over... What do we do now?!

What do we do now?

The 2014/15 Premier League season is finished, meaning there is no Swansea City action for a few months. And to rub salt into our footballing wounds, there are no summer competitions like the World Cup to give us our fix.

But in reality the football season never finishes. There's a fine line over when the post-season ends and the pre-season begins and - thankfully for football fans - both tend to overlap. (I love the below cartoon from the New York Times which captures the essence of the summer perfectly):


Although the next time the Swans kick a ball may seem ages away, the club will start their pre-season tour in July, which is essentially just a month from now.

Unfortunately, as reported on the club's website earlier this week, the original plan to play a mini tournament in Dallas, Texas has been cancelled. A great shame. Rest assured Swansea will definitely be arranging an alternative, but we're still waiting to hear what exactly.

For those of you yearning for a little live football action closer to home, there's always the SwansAid 'Sellebrity Soccer' match, which features a line-up of local and national celebrities such as Kevin Johns, Lee Trundle, Shane Williams and Dean Gaffney, along with an array of others (many of who are from soaps and shows I don't watch, like X Factor - I therefore don't know who they are. However, you probably do and can check out the full list here.)

The fun match will take place this Sunday, May 31st at the Liberty Stadium at 3pm. Proceeds go towards SwansAid - the club's charity, which helps local sport, health and educational projects and causes. Watch Lee Trundle and Kev Johns train for the match on the video below:




Finally, while I will temporarily stop the semi-regular Sunday morning catch-ups, I will bring some news of transfers, as well as a couple of nostalgia posts through the summer, although - as you know by now - for a great dose of Swans history you just have to check out Swansea City's Greatest Games!

Good luck keeping entertained in the post-/pre-season.

Chris

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 17th May 2015)

There are not many Sunday's remaining this season and as you read this Swansea are hours away from kicking off their penultimate game of their 2014/15 campaign against last season's Premier League champions (...unless you got up too late and have missed the match, in which case Swansea won 6-0!)

Either way, grab your cleanest cup, fill it with the strongest coffee and read about what's been happening this week at Swansea City.


Swansea City vs Manchester City

While there's one fixture left after this, today is the final home game of the season. And what a way to end, with the chance to cause the second big upset in a week against second place Manchester City.

I had a good feeling about the Arsenal game and was right - Swansea defended like hell and came away with a well earned three points, taking full advantage of the new goal line technology.

At home against the big spenders who are more clinical it may be a tougher ask, but a draw is surely not out of the question. My prediction for today is 1-1.

The biggest talking point will probably be if a) we see Wilfried Bony take the field, and b) if he scores. He's said in a recent interview that he wants to score against his old club - let's hope that doesn't happen (although I have put a few pound on Bony to score last... just in case he grabs the winner).


Goodbye Gerhard?

It looks like the popular, but certainly not Premier League-confident Gerhard Tremmel will be leaving the club in a few weeks as his contract runs out.


There's little chance he'll stay as the Swans have apparently lined up the 25-year-old Swedish international Kristoffer Nordfeldt as a replacement.

Whatever happens we'll always remember the huge part Tremmel played in the Capital One Cup success of 2013 - undoubtedly his greatest period with the club.


Lawro eats his words

It seems Mark Lawrenson finally admits he was wrong about Swansea. This week he was reported as saying that the Swans had 'stuck a pie in his face' after constantly predicting failure for the club.

His predictions, like many pundits, were based around the departure of Wilfried Bony in January, with Lawrenson expecting Swansea to 'sink like a stone'. But, in his own words...

"[Swansea] have done the opposite and have gone higher than probably even they thought possible, with a top-six finish within their reach. That is very different to their position in the league table based on my predictions. By some distance they are the team who I have been the most wrong about, so I am sure their fans will be pleased rather than annoyed that I am going to tip them to lose again on Sunday"


Ten years since the Vetch

Last Monday (11th May) marked a decade since the Vetch closed its gates for the last time, following the FAW Premier Cup win against Wrexham in 2005. Just in case you didn't know.


Have a look at this Swans website for some great nostalgic photos of the Vetch!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 3rd May 2015)

**UPDATE FOR SUNDAY 10 MAY**  Sorry, there's no catch-up today as I've been busy this week finalising my second Swansea City book, which will be out in September! However, I promise to have a nostalgia piece up next week. Enjoy your Sunday and see you soon, Chris


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I've missed the last two weeks of Sunday catch-ups, but I hope you were still drinking your coffee without me. I did post a couple of other articles during the week, including a nice one from Alec Johnson on why Swansea need to set their sights on cups instead of top of the league next season.

But now let's see what we can catch-up with this week:


Swansea City 2 - 0 Stoke City

So we're into May - that season went quite quickly! And kicking off the final month, Swansea beat Stoke 2-0 in their penultimate home game.

After a pretty forgettable first half, the game livened up soon after the break, as did the crowd at the Liberty. And although more chances were being created, a 0-0 still seemed on the cards - until 15 minutes remaining when, after some hard work to get to Nathan Dyer's poorly placed pass, Jonjo Shelvey chipped in a cross for Jefferson Montero to head home - his first Swansea City goal.

Stoke were reduced to ten men when Marc Wilson was rightly shown a second yellow for blatantly hacking down the breakaway Montero, before second-half sub Ki Sung Yueng slotted in his eighth goal for the club in the first minute of injury time.

The two goal win takes the Swans to 53 points and extends their lead in eighth place (with Stoke now six points behind in ninth). A great start to the final month of the season.



Pre-season tour announced

Heading back to the States!

This summer, the Swans will once again head off to America as part of their pre-season tour, where they will take part in a mini tournament in Texas in mid-July. I know there are many Texas-based Swans fans who will be celebrating this news, having the chance to see the club play on their doorstep.

It seems Swansea will take on both Malaga and Mexican top flight side Pachuca in their 'group' games, before playing either Newcastle, Lyon or Moroccan outfit Raja Casablanca afterwards. The first two Swans' games are currently scheduled for July 14th and 16th, although stay tuned for changes.


Loan watch

Let's briefly look at those players out on loan and how they are doing now the season is coming to an end.

Firstly - as you've probably guessed considering he made a late appearance for Swansea yesterday - young Modou Barrow is back from his time with Nottingham Forest, having made four appearances for the mid-table Championship side.

After his poor debut, Dwight Tiendalli remained with Middlesbrough and played just one more game, bringing his total to two. He didn't impress fans with his shaky performances, and I can't see Boro trying to keep hold of him somehow.

Elsewhere Swansea's young Irish striker Rory Donnelly made quite an impact with Tranmere Rovers, scoring five goals in 20 games and was even named Sky Bet League Two Player of the Month back in January.

Michu is still with Napoli, but rumours suggest he'd be happy to return to Swansea having had an awful time with the Serie A giants. Jazz Richards' one month loan at Fulham was extended to the end of the season - he made 14 appearances for the Championship club since joining at the end of January.

And finally club stalwart Alan Tate is still with Crewe Alexandra, having made 26 appearances with the League One Railwaymen since joining at the start of the season.


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.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

No Sunday catch-up this week!

Just a quick post to say there'll be no Sunday catch-up tomorrow as I'm a little busy at the moment. Rest assured I will be back again soon, perhaps with a new Swans nostalgia post next week.

As for the Audio Jacks podcast, it's been a few weeks since the last one, but - similar to what happened last time round - we are unable to find a day when we are both free to record. We will do more of them, but it's hard to say exactly when.

Meanwhile if you fancy contributing an article to Forza Swansea please get in touch - I'd be more than happy to hear from you!

Cheers, Chris

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.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Jack in Time: One muddy step from Wembley (with video)

After writing my first book, Swansea City's Greatest Games, I began buying a few bits of Swans memorabilia. Nothing big, just a couple of programmes, signatures, books and so on. It's probably not surprising how much affection you begin to have for the heroes of the past after writing about them every hour of the day!


My new nostalgic purchase

My most recent acquisition was an original programme from Swansea Town's FA Cup semi-final match against Preston North End at Villa Park in March 1964.

The quarter-final saw Swansea paired with Liverpool at Anfield on 29 February. That day Trevor Morris's Swans pulled off a huge shock by beating the Merseyside giants 2-1, with Jim McLaughlin and Eddie Thomas scoring the goals for Swansea. However goalkeeper Noel Dwyer was the true hero, putting in his greatest performance for his club - so much so he collapsed from exhaustion in the dressing room after the match!


Noel Dwyer (hand on his head) and the Swans celebrate the Liverpool victory with cups of tea!

The semi-final took place on 14 March 1964, with around 30,000 excited Swans fans making their way to Birmingham for the historic match. Despite a huge list of injuries and illnesses pre-game, Morris managed to field a full strength team of talented youngsters: Barrie Jones, Keith Todd, Derek Draper and Herbie Williams to name a few.

The Villa Park pitch was essentially a bog following a series of terribly rainy days, meaning the players were pretty much covered from head to toe in mud from the first whistle. However the conditions didn't deter the gallant Swans, who created an array of early chances before opening the scoring in the first-half through Jim McLaughlin's clever turn in the box.

As soon as the referee blew up for half time, Swansea were 45 minutes away from their first Wembley appearance. But sadly, it was not to be.

After 53 minutes, the ref deemed an innocent coming together of Brian Purcell and Preston's centre-forward Alex Dawson in the Swans box a foul on Dawson. No amount of arguing would change Mr Carr's mind and an unjustified penalty was awarded. Dawson converted from the spot.

The equaliser was a big blow to the Swans, who then suffered an even bigger set back when Preston's burly defender Tony Singleton's clearance from the centre of the park caught the wind and soared 40 yards, over the head of poor Noel Dwyer, and into the net to make it 2-1 to the Lilywhites.




Swansea were unable to come back into the game and the semi-final is where their FA Cup dreams came to an end. It remains the furthest the Swans have gone in the competition. Watch the above video for the brief highlights of the game.

This was just a very short overview of an exceptional period in Swansea's history. Make sure to pick up a copy of the book and read more in depth about what happened. See you next time!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 12th April 2015)

Another Sunday, another cup of coffee, another Swans catch-up.

Here we go!


Swansea City 1-1 Everton

Swansea were certainly the better team in the first half of their second home match in a row; probing Everton and almost coming away with a couple of things.

We saw a stunning shot from Bafetimbi Gomis which was tipped away by Tim Howard, although it caused an unfortunate hamstring pull, with the striker leaving the field soon after. Shelvey had his own excellent half-volley goal, which was disallowed due to an apparent foul in the build up by Wayne Routledge.


Shelvey's adept penalty (image: South Wales Evening Post)

Unfortunately it took just one smart move from Everton to conjure up their first real chance and - with it - their first goal, coming from Aaron Lennon in the 41st minute. Their confidence grew tenfold after that.

In the second half Swansea managed to equalise from the spot through Jonjo Shelvey with 20 minutes to go, after Seamus Coleman handled the ball while on the floor in the area. Gylfi Sigurdsson saw his well struck free kick punched away by Howard in the latter stages, but the game finished 1-1. Still no league win against Everton, but an entertaining match which probably ended fairly. (Find a full minute-by-minute round-up here).


Taylor misses two

After his 10th yellow card of the season in yesterday's match, Neil Taylor will miss the next two matches.

With Tiendalli out on loan (see below...), who will fill his boots for the away games against Leicester and Newcastle?


Europe bound?

I read an interesting article that essentially says if Arsenal are in with a shot at the title, surely Swansea are in with a shot at a Europa League place. And it's true - the Swans are currently in 8th place, seven points behind Spurs.

With six games left in the season and Spurs well off form, there's no reason Swansea couldn't catch up. Of course it'll take a great run from the Swans and, while a top six finish is almost certainly out of the question, this season - providing Liverpool finish 5th place and win the FA Cup - 7th place in the league would be enough to grab a Europa League spot.

Although this brings up the question: do we really want to be in Europe next season?


Tiendalli's unfortunate debut

It seems Middlesbrough fans now understand what Swansea fans feel when watching Dwight Tiendalli. He made his debut for Boro on Monday, when they lost 2-0 to Watford. Boro fans weren't pleased with their new acquisition, taking to Twitter to vent their frustration over his positioning mainly.

The defender was subbed after 63 minutes in that first game, and didn't feature in yesterday's 2-0 win against Rotherham (not even on the bench).

I'll leave you with some comments from a Tiendalli Twitter search...



Sunday, 5 April 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 5th April 2015)

Happy Easter!

Swansea City were finally back in action after a long break and won their Premier League clash against Hull City pretty comfortably.

So grab your Easter egg and cup of coffee, and let's catch-up on all the action of the past week:


Swansea City 3 - 1 Hull City

Ki Sung Yueng opened the scoring in the 18th minute, adding to his growing tally after slamming in a rebound from Jonjo Shelvey's saved shot, before Bafetimbi Gomis scored a surprisingly good acrobatic shot from close range, five minutes from half-time.

Gomis on fire (never thought I'd say that!)

After the break it took just four minutes for Hull to nab a goal of their own, with Paul McShane scoring from a free-kick floated into the box. Hull piled the pressure on after that, with a few corners making Swans fans a little nervy.

However nerves were settled when David Meyler was sent off in the 52nd minute for a challenge on Kyle Naughton. With the extra man Swansea probed a little, then defended against a few potential Hull equalisers, before Gomis stole the show with a cheeky chip in the 91st minute. Undoubtedly his best game in a Swans shirt. Wilfried who?!*

(*Bony. Just in case you did forget)


Injuries

Tom Carroll scored the only goal in the England U21's win against the Czech Republic last week, however in doing so he managed to injure his ankle and now faces up to six weeks out of action.

Carroll - like Leon Britton - has found it difficult to get into Swansea's starting line-up recently, thanks to the form of Jack Cork and Ki, so this is a big blow to his chances.

Injured again...

Elsewhere, the international break saw another injury for the Swans, with Jefferson Montero straining a muscle in Ecuador's 1-0 loss to Mexico in a friendly last week. However it's not as bad as Carroll's and he's likely to be back in action very soon.


Rescheduled matches

Earlier this week it was announced that two upcoming Swans matches have been moved for TV.

The game vs Arsenal at the Emirates will now take place on Monday, 11 May (8pm), while Man City's trip to the Liberty will now happen on Sunday, 17 May (1.30pm).

Swans fans weren't too happy with the Arsenal change and I can't blame them. Many had bought train tickets and booked time off work to go up to the Emirates and now they'll have to reschedule (with no reimbursement) or not go to the game. They get my full sympathy.


Michu recovering

It's been reported that Michu is on his way to recovery over an ongoing ankle injury. He's still with Napoli and in an interview earlier this week he talked about his want to repay Rafa Benitez for his faith.

The midfielder, who will always be remembered for his first glorious season with Swansea, has said on his future with the club:

'Will I return to Swansea? I really don’t know, the truth is I’m not thinking of my future right now. I just want to heal.'

However, I seriously doubt he'll ever pull on the Swansea City shirt again. But then again, with Gomis on fire, who needs Michu?!


Sunday, 29 March 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 29th March 2015)

Quick, you're late! The clocks went forward last night and you've missed all the fun stuff because you were sleeping!

Oh well, grab your latte with a shot of hazelnut syrup (if that's what floats your boat) and let's see what's been happening this week.


Three-match March

March hasn't been a good month for Swans fans, as the club have only played three matches over the four weeks. And there was no Swansea match again this weekend thanks to the international break.

However, on the bright side, Swansea are safe in the Premier League for another season and they will be playing next weekend - at home to Hull City on Saturday, 4 April at 3pm.


Swans players in action

One good thing about the international break was that we got to see at least some of the Swans stars in action in a different environment. And they were all winners!


Captain of Wales

Yesterday evening the Welsh team beat Israel 3-0 in their European Cup qualifier, with Swansea's Ashley Williams and Neil Taylor both in action.

Elsewhere in Europe, Gylfi Sigurdsson played the full 90 minutes for Iceland in their comfortable 3-0 win against Kazakhstan, although he failed to score. And not forgetting Lukasz Fabianski, who is likely to start for Poland in tonight's match against the Republic of Ireland (7.45pm kick off - the match is live on Sky Sports 5).


Tiendalli has gone

Don't worry - he'll be back (as if anyone was worrying...). Yes, earlier in the week it was announced that Dwight Tiendalli would be joining Championship high-flyers Middlesbrough on loan until the end of the season.

Tiendalli in action...

With Kyle Naughton in good shape and Rangel a fine back-up, the right-back position is pretty much sorted, so there's little for Tiendalli to do apart from rust up on the bench. So it's a good move for both the club and the player - who definitely needs game time.

In 2010 Swansea borrowed Marvin Emnes from Middlesbrough and he produced a very memorable goal against Cardiff. Let's hope Tiendalli can be of similar use to Boro in their quest for the Premier League.


Jack in Time

Earlier in the week I wrote a new Jack in Time post about Swansea City's Football League Trophy Final escapades at the Millennium Stadium in 2006, with a couple of videos - check it out here.




Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Jack in Time: a volley, a trophy and a big Welsh flag (with videos)

In the last few weeks we've seen two former modern-day Swansea City players retire - Andy Robinson and Owain Tudur Jones.

Bustling winger Andy Robinson - who scored the last ever goal at the Vetch - was with Swansea from 2003 until 2008, making nearly 200 appearances and scoring 44 goals. Meanwhile Owain Tudur Jones joined Swansea in 2005 and stayed until 2009, playing 41 games, scoring three goals in the process.

I was looking for the most iconic game that they both featured in and the greatest has to be the Football League Trophy Final (aka the LDV Vans Trophy) against League Two leaders Carlisle United at the Millennium Stadium on 2 April 2006.

Why was it so great? Well, Swansea won of course!

The match started with an exceptional volley from Lee Trundle, who chested down a perfect cross from Leon Britton before unleashing a thunderous strike across Kieran Westwood and into the far corner with just three minutes gone. It's probably worth reminding yourself of the beauty of that goal with the video below...



After Trundle's screamer, Carlisle looked to equalise in the 23rd minute when Karl Hawley headed home, but the linesman ruled it offside to the Jack Army's delight. However the Cumbrians would get their goal with just five minutes until the interval, when Adam Murray headed a long throw in past Willy Gueret at close-range.

After the break, with the scores level, both teams came out to win it. Carlisle had chances, although Gueret made some fine saves. Andy Robinson had a couple of strikes too, but it would be Swansea's larger-than-life (literally) striker Adebayo Akinfenwa who would seal the game, hitting a low shot past Westwood in the 81st minute. Swansea held on and soon after were lifting the trophy!




And that was that.

Oh yeah, there was also the flag...


And the shirt...


And that wrapped up an incredible day for Swansea City fans.

Of course, Swansea were back at the Millennium Stadium the following month for the League One play-off final, but missed out on promotion after losing to Barnsley 4-3 on penalties. You can't win them all...

You can read about the Carlisle game - with an exclusive interview Lee Trundle interview - along with 49 other superb Swans matches in my book Swansea City's Greatest Games, available now.


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 15th March 2015)

I was away last week so we had to miss our regular Swansea City catch-up, but here's a bumper Mother's Day edition (it's not really that bumper...) to make up for it!

Swansea City vs Liverpool 

The Swans have had a nice 12 day break since their thrilling 3-2 loss against Spurs, so they should should be well rested and up for getting something out of Liverpool at the Liberty tomorrow night (8pm).

It's a really hard one to call, not helped by the fact that Swansea are so inconsistent. As we've seen this season, sometimes they'll grind out a brave win and shock everyone, and sometimes... well, sometimes they just don't look bothered. Thankfully in the last few games the effort levels from everyone seems to have increased so we can hopefully look forward to a good performance and maybe even a point.

Let's hope Swansea can make him this wound up on Monday...

Of course recent history doesn't bode well for the Swans, who have lost four of their last five meetings with Brendan Rodgers' side, losing 4-1 at Anfield in December. But, like Swansea, Liverpool are an unpredictable team when it comes to consistency, so it really could go either way.

Bafetimbi Gomis, following his collapse against Spurs, was back in training during the week and should be fit to start. With a pretty much full strength squad it'll be interesting to see if Monk goes for the relatively successful diamond formation he's tried out in the past few matches. Either way expect Jonjo Shelvey to start and score a goal for both sides.

I'm going for a 1-1 draw, a result most Swans fans would happily take it think.


Rangel forever

...well, for the next two years at least. The longstanding right back has signed a contract extension that will keep him at the Liberty until 2017. An important part of the team in the rise to the Premier League, Rangel has felt his importance slip slightly in the last year and his recent form has been shaky at best.

An extended Rangel

Still, he's a stalwart, and an important dressing room figure, so it's good news he's sticking around. Hopefully he'll be around to end his career with the Swans, going on to become a coach or even a club ambassador (although it may be tough to wrestle the job from the hands of Lee Trundle, who's embraced the roll to the highest order!).

As an added bonus, Jordi Amat has signed a one-year contract extension to keep him with Swansea until 2018. He's not the starting choice for Garry Monk at the moment, but Amat has shown time and again that he's more than capable of playing in the Premier League and he'll provide good competition and cover for Fede Fernandez.


Barrow gone (but not for good) 

Young winger Modou Barrow has temporarily left Swansea to sign for Nottingham Forest on loan until the end of the season.

The speedy Gambian has been brilliant when making appearances for Swansea and it's actually a shame because - although he's a little raw - he has proved he has the skill and speed to keep up with the rest of the side.

Of course I understand the decision - Swansea are safe and he'll get much more game time with Forest, but in a way he could have had a few more starts with the Swans between now and the end of the season? What have we got to lose?

Anyway he'll be back in the summer and hopefully he'll stick around for the 2015/16 season.

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Audio Jacks: Episode Five - Burnley win, intense quiz, Swans bad boys and a fantasy Dream Team game.


**LATE NOTE: There will be no Sunday morning catch-up or podcast this weekend (8th March) as I am away. I'll be back next week for more irreverent Swansea City action!**


Here we have the fifth episode of the Audio Jacks, Swansea City podcast.

In this episode Chris and Matt discuss the win against Burnley and what it means for Swansea; Matt rants about Scottish football; both discuss the bad boys of Swansea City in the past week; Chris is challenged to an intense quiz; and Matt begins a new Dream Team game.

You can download the podcast to enjoy on your own personal listening device, or just stream from the link below.

All feedback, shares and comments appreciated. Catch us on Twitter - I'm @ForzaSwansea and Matt is at @LMScreamer.

(NOTE: There will be no podcast or Sunday catch-up next weekend as I'm away, but check back again soon for more Swansea City nonsense.)


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 1st March 2015)

It's the first of March, it's a Sunday and that can only mean one thing - it's time for a cup of coffee and a look at the week gone by for Swansea City:

(P.S. Happy Saint David's Day)


Burnley 0 - 1 Swansea City

Despite it not being the most enthralling game (last on Match of the Day of course), yesterday's 1-0 victory against Burnley away from home secured Premier League safety for Swansea City... in February!

That's 40 points from 27 games, which is Swansea's best ever return in a Premier League season. And it's a great achievement considering we lost our best striker last month, we've been unable to score consistently and that there was even talk of a relegation scrap earlier in the year.

Good keeper.

So a good result, with a very scrappy own-goal being scored in the 64th minute by Kieran Trippier. Monk stuck with his diamond formation, which seems to be working quite well. Gomis missed a few good chances, Routledge had a penalty shout (but so too did Burnley), while Fabianski once again put in a solid performance and kept out a string of good attempts from the home side.

It's a shame we are out of the FA Cup as that would have been a great competition to focus on now safety is achieved, but it'll be good to see how far Swansea can go this season. Europa League position perhaps?


Bad Swans #1

Unfortunately the usually very-well behaved club have made the news for all the wrong reasons this week.

Firstly Swansea City's Dutch director John van Zweden came under fire earlier in the week for reportedly calling his fellow countryman Louis van Gaal 'an arrogant b******' (...that's 'bastard' if you can't decipher my code) following the Swans' win against Manchester United. However he has since defended himself, saying he didn't actually use the word 'bastard'.

But yesterday morning it emerged that van Zweden had posted a photo of a winning betting slip which had Swansea to beat United 2-1. The Sun reported that the director is being investigated by the Football Association, as any bet made by someone so close to the club would be a direct breach of FA rules. However van Zweden is insisting it was not his betting slip in the first place.

I can't see either of these things going much further, but it's probably wise for the charismatic director to keep his head down for the next few weeks!


Naughty keeper.

Bad Swans #2

And finally, Swans' reserve keeper Gerhard Tremmel was also in the news for some dodgy behaviour. Last week it was reported that the German shot stopper had been given a six month driving ban by Swansea magistrates after failing to reveal to police who was driving his car, after it was caught speeding along Mumbles Road twice last year.

But his ban has now been lifted, with a fine and penalty points awarded instead. Slow down Gerhard, you're not on the Autobahn any more!


Monday, 23 February 2015

The Audio Jacks: Episode Four - Man United double, Leon's future, formations and gambling (Downloadable!)

Here I am again to brighten up your miserable (if the Swansea weather is anything to go by) Monday morning with a brand new episode of the Audio Jacks!

In this episode - which is fully downloadable (sorry I forgot to make it downloadable last week...) - myself and Matt take a look at doing the double over Man United, industrious Swans players of the past, the future of Leon/Rangel's careers, Swansea's changing formation and even have a rant about gambling.

So download or stream, and enjoy - all shares are more than welcome and feedback is gratefully received!



If you want to get in touch with either of us we are both on Twitter. I'm @ForzaSwansea and Matt is at @LMScreamer.


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 22nd Feb 2015)

After a little Swans nostalgia last week, we're back with our regular round up.

So grab your double-shot skinny caramel macchiato (or just a cup of instant coffee) and let's see what's been going on in the world of Swansea City.


Swansea City 2 - 1 Manchester United: The Double

We have to start with the biggest news - Swansea have done the double over Man United for the first time!

It was by no means the best attacking performance from Swansea, nor was it 90 minutes of entertaining and attractive passing. But yesterday it was the result that mattered the most.

The Swans pretty much matched United through the first half, although the visitors looked more threatening in attack and scored the first goal after 28 minutes after some good passing in the final third allowed Ander Herrera to put a simple strike past Fabianski. 

But, for a change, heads stayed up and a great early cross from Shelvey just two minutes later gave Ki the chance to slip in a clever shot to equalise. 

United on yet another attack

Again, United were threatening on the attack in the second half, but Swansea stood firm at the back and in the 73rd minute - completely against the run of play - a cracking long strike from Shelvey (with a bit of a deflection from Gomis) put the Swans ahead.

Both Ki and Cork were very assured in the middle of the park. Gomis had a few great chances but he was unable to put any away (although he is credited with the second goal thanks to the deflection), but he did put in the effort and made some good defensive clearances. Shelvey was my man of the match - for the goal, the assist and his greatly improved work rate.

It's good to see that a tweaked formation can work as well as the standard 4-5-1 and even without the slick passing we're accustomed to you can beat the huge spending giants!


America? Not at the moment.

Last week the Swans confirmed that talks with American billionaire John Moores were off. The former San Diego Padres owner was looking to buy a 30% stake in the club, but Swansea confirmed that the deal was unlikely to go ahead.

Unable to settle on America at the moment

A club spokesman told the BBC: "Both parties felt that the time was not right to pursue any proposals. It was only at the discussion stage anyway, there was never any offer on the table"

This news will please those fans who were dead against foreign investment, but it's very unlikely that this is the end we'll hear on the matter (which is good news for those who wanted some investment).

The door has been opened on these kind of discussions and it won't be long until there's another investor keen on taking Swansea to the next level. Make sure to re-read Alec Johnson's excellent article on why investment could be a good move for the Swans.


Bonywatch

This certainly won't be a regular feature because - let's admit it, who really cares now - but Wilfried Bony made his first appearance for Manchester City in their 5-0 thumping of Newcastle.

He replaced Sergio Aguero on the hour mark and, while he didn't score on his City debut, he made a good impression. He did have one superb chance to get on the score sheet - after Tim Krul messed up a clearance Bony was fed the ball by Yaya Toure, but the striker's low shot was ushered over the bar.

That's probably the last we mention Bony for now, but it's good to see that he did make an appearance at the first opportunity - which is more than most former Swans achieve after leaving the club!


Sunday, 15 February 2015

Jack in Time: A packed and snowy Vetch in 1955 (with video)

Don't worry, I'm not ditching our regular Sunday morning catch-up articles, but while the Swans have the weekend off I thought I would do something a little different this morning.

I'm a big fan of Swansea nostalgia and - after writing Swansea City's Greatest Games - I find I know a lot more about the club's colourful history than I did before.

And I've decided to share a little of that history with you this week.

Today we're looking at an excellent video of Swansea Town vs Sunderland in the FA Cup fifth round at a very snowy Vetch field on 19 February 1955.



What's instantly eye-catching is the crowd - it looks insane! 28,487 people crammed themselves into the Vetch that day (this was before all the stands had been built... and well before health and safety regulations) to watch the Swansea Babes in action.

First Division high-flyers Sunderland took the lead after 24 minutes through Chisholm. However in the second half the Swans - then managed by the shrewd Billy McCandless - equalised through Mel Charles (although there are contradicting reports suggesting it was Len Allchurch who scored... I can't seem to see from this video, so it remains disputed!).

The home side then took the lead through the head of Terry Medwin, after an excellent cross from one of Swansea's greatest ever players, Ivor Allchurch. But Sunderland forced the replay later in the game with a goal from Charlie Fleming.

Unfortunately the replay four days later saw Sunderland win 1-0, knocking Swansea out of that season's FA Cup.

I'll try to do a few more of these entertaining trips through Swansea's history if everyone enjoys them. For now you can check out the best-selling Swansea City's Greatest Games for a good dose of nostalgia.


Monday, 9 February 2015

Audio Jacks podcast - Episode Three

It's another Monday and another Audio Jacks podcast!

In this short episode we discuss the Sunderland game, a controversial post on Planet Swans and we ask why the Liberty Stadium is so quiet these days.

You can stream it by clicking on the link below, or head to the SoundCloud website to download it.

All feedback is very welcome! Catch us on Twitter @ForzaSwansea and @LMScreamer.


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 8th Feb 2015)

Whether you're hungover from the rugby or - more than likely if you're reading this - the FOOTBALL, wake-up and put the espresso machine on, it's time for our weekly catch-up.


Swansea City 1-1 Sunderland

A bit of a frustrating game, but one with plenty of positives.

Sunderland scored the first goal in the first-half, thanks to a solo effort from Jermain Defoe, who literally cut straight through Swansea's flustered defence and deservedly hammered the ball past Fabianski.

Gomis against Sunderland - he gave it a good go, but he's still not impressing.

But a wonderful diving header for the newly returned Ki Sung Yueng made it all square in the second half. Ki was a great presence on the pitch yesterday and deserved to be man of the match. However I was impressed with Kyle Naughton at times, while Jack Cork looked well at home in the centre of the pitch.

Federico Fernandez was pretty solid all game too. Nathan Dyer had spells where he looked like the Dyer of old, although he's just not as consistent as before. A mention must also go to Nelson Oliveira, who came on and looked very keen. I'd like to see him start against West Brom on Wednesday as Bafetimbi Gomis really isn't doing it for me.

But I can't be the only one to notice this? Yes he's committed his allegiance to Swansea (for now...) and he's certainly upped his work rate, but he never looks like he's going to score. He's no Bony (I'm done stating the obvious now).


We told you so!

A small news item about former Swansea City star Scott Sinclair, who said he would now 'think twice' about leaving regular football to sit on the bench for a bigger club.

I'm not sure why it's taken him that long to realise, but at least he does have some career awareness. He was a big talent for Swansea, but he's basically starting from scratch again... let's hope it works out for him at Villa (apart from his away days at the Liberty).


Boring old Swansea?

The transfer window closed on February 2nd, and - despite all the transfer rumors around - nothing really happened with Swansea on the final day. But then why would it? We had a busy enough month of ins and outs, so there was little need to panic buy in the final hours.

The biggest news for the Swans in the window was, of course, the departure of Wilfried Bony, who left for Manchester City for around £28million at the start of the month.

But the club used a little of that cash to bring in a few new faces, with the biggest signing probably being Jack Cork from Southampton for a rumoured £3million. The previous week Kyle Naughton arrived from Spurs for an eyebrow-raising £5million. He's perhaps less of a catch than Cork, but he will give Rangel some much-needed competition, as he showed yesterday.

The Swans also secured Nelson Oliveira on loan from Benfica earlier in the window, but he's not been able to make much of an impact during his limited time on the pitch. As I've already said, it would be nice to see him make a start or two.

And finally Exeter City midfielder Matt Grimes came to the club for £1.75million - the youngster is a decent prospect, but definitely one for the future.


One year on...

Last Wednesday, Garry Monk celebrated his one year anniversary as Swansea City manager. And he's done a great job. Of course he's made his fair share of mistakes, but he's also enjoyed his moments of genius and has pretty much led Swansea to Premier League safety with most of the season to go.



Doesn't it seem like yesterday that the club was wrapped up in rumours and controversy as Michael Laudrup was sacked? Hang on... that means that today - February 8th - is the one year anniversary of that glorious 3-0 win against Cardiff City!

Now, surely that's a good reason to crack open a few cans this Sunday morning!

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Read all about that epic Cardiff City match in Swansea City's Greatest Games - the city's best-selling sports book of 2014!


Sunday, 1 February 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 1st Feb 2015)

Happy new month! We all survived the bleak and rainy month that is January.

So, to kick off February, get your cup of coffee ready and enjoy my weekly round-up!


Southampton vs Swansea City (4pm today)

For a change, I can't start this blog with an angry reaction about the match just gone because Swansea don't play their weekend Premier League fixture until 4pm this afternoon. Rest assured we'll probably see the Swans take an early lead, before two of them are sent off, leading to a 6-1 defeat.

In all fairness Swansea are without an array of key players at the moment including Sigurdsson, Ki and - let's admit it - a gifted striker, so it'll be tough to get much of a result at St Mary's against a team who are excelling again this season.

I'm expecting a loss for Swansea... perhaps 2-0. I'm usually wrong, so we could see a nice draw instead. And with the talent left in the team, there's no real reason why a 0-0 draw couldn't be on the cards.


Jack Cork... finally

One of Garry Monk's final January transfer window signings was Southampton midfielder Jack Cork - a player who has been linked with Swansea for a couple of years now. Cork was officially unveiled on Friday night for an undisclosed fee, reported to be in the area of £3million.



Cork is a holding midfielder, who has played around 110 times for the Saints since 2011. He's not a goalscorer, but seems to have been drafted in to play in alongside Ki/Britton/Carroll in a defensive midfield role.

Of course, the name Cork may be familiar to older Swans fans who will remember his father Alan, who briefly managed the club from October 1997 until the end of the season.

He comes to Swansea looking for more games, but with an already healthy midfield, will he find them? I'm guessing that yes, he will. But that begs the question: who will make way for him?


Filthy little Swans

It seems Swansea are the naughtiest boys in the Premier League! However we all know that this truly isn't the case. Most of the red cards have been second yellows (for silly little occurrences) or pretty questionable straight reds.

Of course there's rarely smoke without fire and sometimes a red card is justified. But when it comes to Swansea - who we know are not a dirty team - something is not quite right.

Garry Monk summed it up best when he said earlier in the week:

"We make one of the least amount of fouls in the division, have one of the lowest yellow card counts and yet one of the most fouled against. It really doesn’t add up."

Ki returns to Swansea

Ki Sung Yueng is on his way back to South Wales following his Asian Cup campaign with South Korea. And what a cup he had, captaining his country through the competition right up until yesterday's final against Australia.

Unfortunately for Ki, South Korea finished runners-up as the Aussies made history by winning their first ever Asian Cup competition, in a 2-1 final.

His big midfield presence had certainly been missed over the past month or so, and he'll be a very welcome addition to the team next week, hopefully ready in time to take on his former team Sunderland at the Liberty Stadium.

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