Swansea City were known as the Barcelona of The Championship, can they stay up playing sexy football?
Pre season: Good, bad or ugly?
Ugly. Swans’ fans hopes of increased professionalism now we’re swimming with the big boys took a hit when our pre-season ‘tour’ of sorts was announced only at the last minute. Games against local clubs Afan Lido, Port Talbot and Neath have hardly inspired, and since then a comfortable win over Inter Baku was followed by the UAE U-23 team defeating us 1-0 - described on Twitter as the ‘worst game I’ve ever played in’ by Nathan Dyer, the Fans’ Player of the Year. Jacks everywhere will be hoping for significant improvement against Celtic and Real Betis before the opener.
Hopes for the season:
Not even survival, but that we do our passing brand of football justice, something we actually didn’t do in the Play-Off Final. Anyone who watched the game will tell you we were anything but excellent in the first half despite leading 3-0 at half-time. We need to step up to the plate as we did in the run-in against Leeds, Notts Forest and Norwich in particular. While comparisons with the departed Blackpool are inevitable, if a few cheeky references are made to the Swanselona (a label the Telegraph used in the build up to the Play Offs) tag, then we’ll be doing alright!
Fears for the season:
Being demolished. I think all promoted teams, particularly smaller ones like us pray we don’t do a Derby 06/07 and get thumped every week. Respectability against Man City on the opening day is what we need to avoid a holocaust of a start which sees us play Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea in our first three away games. Welcome to the Premier League!
Absolute bare minimum you’ll accept:
One classic win. Burnley got a home victory v Man Utd, Blackpool did the double on Liverpool. Now we want some. Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea or Arsenal, I don’t care which. (NB: I’d accept Man City at a push, particularly if it’s the opening day game).
Fixture you’re most looking forward to?
Wigan at home. A strange one for any club to choose, but Roberto Martinez’s return, added to the fact it’s our first home Premier League game will mean that the Liberty Stadium will be rocking. If I feel like a Premier League fan for the first time after this game, we’ll be in for a good ride.
Got the right manager?
Without question. He’s articulate, a modicum of calm and the players play for him. His record in the transfer market so far has been very good, and I, like all Jacks, want Brendan Rodgers to stay with us for many years to come whether we stay up or not.
By Christmas you’ll be…
12 points clear at the top. Oh, you mean realistically? Hitting the glorious heights of mid-table mediocrity I hope!
Swansea City are the only football club to go from the bottom of the bottom division to the top of the top and back to the bottom again in 8 years
Player you’d most like to sign?
Ashley Williams, Joe Allen and Nathan Dyer on long term deals. Whilst I was thoroughly excited by the prospect of Marcos Senna joining – his quick feet and sharp mind would have given us some top level experience in the middle – his wage demands would have given us administration. Any player unwilling to fit into our financial structure is not welcome as far as I’m concerned.
Which player should we look out for?
There are no big name stars at the Liberty Stadium, but keep an eye out for our midfield. Its hunger for the ball is only matched by it’s assurance on it and the few Premier League midfields which have come up against it in recent years have struggled. Kevin Nolan lamented how he watched the Swansea midfield play around him in 09/10. Expect a few bigger names to follow suit after their visit to Swansea.
Which player would you love to ditch?
By and large our squad is filled with able players of a similar level and promising youngsters, but we could do without paying David Cotterill and Shaun MacDonald’s wages, neither of whom are likely to make any sort of impact this year.
Opposition hate figure?
Difficult one given that Cardiff are residing in the Division below and we are completely unaccustomed to the division and its players, but at a push, I’d say Jay Bothroyd. Too quick to mouth off during derby week in recent years, and apparently demanded £50,000 a week from QPR. Represents everything that’s wrong with football today.
Tell us something we don’t know about your club?
Swansea City FC are the only football club to go from the bottom of the bottom division to the top of the top and back to the bottom again in 8 years, 1978-86. Most fans grumble about their side putting them through a lot, but that is one hell of a rollercoaster ride!
What won’t happen this season?
Swans get the credit and coverage they deserve in the South Wales media. Papers and News coverage have largely focused on the changing of the guard at the Cardiff City Stadium as opposed to Wales’ first Premier League club.
Hymns and Arias. Wales has a reputation for its beautiful voice, and when the JackArmy belt this one out, you can see why.
Where will you finish?
Heart or head…….head says we’ll struggle on our travels, but my heart says we’ll warm the cockles of neutrals and that the Liberty Stadium will be Fortress Liberty. I’ll go for….15th, with some swashbuckling performances along the way.
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