We rarely hear anything from owners Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan (plus their horde of celebrity dentist backers) but you can be guaranteed that when we do, it’ll be a press release long on emotive language and marketing buzz phrases and short on any detail. And today’s Swans club statement issued in their name follows the pattern exactly. There are one or two positives in it though, amongst all the guff and bluster.
As ever, you have negotiate your way through hypocritical garbage like this:
Everybody has taken stock, taken a deep breath and will face the new season with an enthusiasm that the club will stand for something in which both the supporters and the wider community can take pride.
It’s this sort of nonsense instead of anything of substance as to what the owners are doing, how they are doing it and how they will finance it that really gets on my very big and very flabby man-boobs. Plus there’s been little for the fans or community to be proud of in the way the owners have acted since they first started negotiating to buy the club behind both the supporters and the community’s collective backs.
I really do wish they would spare us this nonsense – Levien may well have got away with this sort of thing whilst writing political speeches aimed at influencing the masses in America but he sure ain’t fooling long term Swans fans with all of this sort of garbage.
However, as I said at the start there is a positive or two that can be gleaned from the reams of written diarrhoea:
Graham will be the single most important voice in the recruitment process. He is the leader and has the final say on the players we buy and sell within the financial framework set by the chairman and Board of Directors.
Kyle Macaulay has been appointed as the club’s new Head of Recruitment after working closely with Graham at Ostersund and the relationship between them is vital to the success of our new system. It will be Kyle who is charged with heading up the day-to-day recruitment process.
Taking this at face value it is excellent news that Potter and his trusted lieutenant will be the driving force behind identifying players to be recruited. It’s an area that we’ve performed diabolically in since the days of Kevin Reeves and Michael Laudrup/Bayram Tutumlu.
I’ve never understood why the likes of Monk, Guidolin and Clement were so happy to take a back seat in the recruitment of players that would ultimately decide whether they stayed in a job or not. Indeed, the fact all three quickly got the bullet tends to add some weight to my point.
It appears to be different with Potter though, his desire to bring Macauley with him a positive from the start and this Swans club statement certainly suggests that there will be a devolvement of power in the recruiting stakes from a haphazard committee led by Huw Jenkins to the manager and his trusted specialist.
What’s sad and frustrating though is that the deeper implications here are several people are losing their jobs…but the man with ultimate responsibility, Huw Jenkins, comes through the review process entirely unscathed. Again. At least that’s the way it’s been reported by the club’s pet journalist Chris Wathan in his piece for the BBC today.
It’s not ideal either that we face a period putting a new scouting team together at a time when we are enduring a large scale turnover of players and a shortened transfer window. I just hope that, as the Swans club statement suggests, Potter and Macauley already have a few key targets in mind. Otherwise we yet again face starting a season behind the curve in terms of assembling our squad and we all know how that’s turned out for us…
Meanwhile, another player has today left for a loss. Roque Mesa has finally sealed his move to Sevilla, the fee being a reputed £2m less than we paid for him just twelve months ago. Remind me again how Huw Jenkins escapes the treatment the rest of his scouting and recruitment network have suffered?
It means that the “bright new recruitment dawn” under Potter and Macauley has some cash to play with after the departures of Mesa and Fabianski has generated about £14m whilst lessening the wage bill. Or at least it should mean that they have some cash to play with. I’m not convinced the Americans will sanction the spending of any significant portion of what we bring in through departures and there’s nothing (as usual) in this Swans club statement to suggest that they will.
Ducking the Issues
As ever the biggest, most pressing and most significant issues are totally ignored. For instance, why not update us on the future of Huw Jenkins? After all, the man himself chose to hold court with a number of journalists and announce that his position would be all but untenable if we went down…
…well we did Huw, and it is…
…but the man himself, his American paymasters and all those journalists that wrote down his words have all seemingly chosen to ignore this. And for many , despite the optimism that Potter’s appointment has brought, there is very little faith that things will improve whilst Jenkins and “His Vendingness” (thanks Ellie on Twitter!) Leigh Dineen are still in place siphoning off large sums of money in the form of wages.
Just as significantly, the Swans club statement put out in the names of Levien & Kaplan completely ignores the Bayo Akinfenwa-size elephant in the room that the Trust’s shareholding represents. Why no update on why the plug was pulled on the deal to buy the Trust’s shares and what they propose to do going forward? I know that there are machinations going on in the background (but I can’t share those on here as the emails from there Trust make it clear this is all confidential and must be kept away from non Trust members – Shhh!!) but a statement from our majority owners would go a long way towards reassuring people that a satisfactory outcome is being worked on. In good faith this time. Before the season starts so the fans can’t be blamed for affecting our chances if we start poorly.
Alas no. As ever the statements from the Americans are devoid of any meaningful information and the local Press seems reluctant to push for answers.
Still, I will hold on to those positives I mentioned above because I really, REALLY want us to prosper under Potter.