Denzil

The Swansea Way

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[SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Calibri]I don’t know if anyone watched the game yesterday, but seeing Swansea out play and out pass Arsenal for large spells was very interesting. This was a team that still contained players that were in their promotion side from League one and yet here they were zipping the ball about like Barcelona at times. Their work rate off the ball both attacking and defending was outstanding, a million miles from anything we’ve witnessed at the Den this season. Swansea fans must be pinching themselves, not believing this is the same team they were watching 5 years ago against the likes of Leyton Orient and Gillingham.[/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
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[SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Calibri]For anyone who says that, as Millwall fans, we have to accept failure and realise we are just a team “punching above our weight” in the championship, Swansea are an example of why we shouldn’t accept such failure. They have risen from the brink of going out of the league to where they are now in less than 10 years and they have done so without throwing money at the problem. Indeed, the board structure is something to be envied, with their own John Berylson, a South African called Brian Katzen, and the Morgan family having a 45% stake and providing financial stability. The fans trust then has a 20% stake giving them a significant voice in the running of the club.[/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
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[SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Calibri]Their progress has been steady and sensible and in the period from 2005 -2010 their net spend on transfers was just £2.5m. On two occasions they have lost their best player to a large-ish transfer fee (Lee Trundle for £1.5m and Jason Scotland for £2m) but on each occasion they have re-invested that money in properly strengthening the squad. They have done this without massive crowds either. Their average over that same period is around 14k. [/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
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[SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Calibri]Whenever they have had an opportunity to kick on they have taken it. When the progress under Jackett ground to a halt, they bought in Martinez who added a bit of flair to the defensively organised side he inherited. When they lost him, they bought in Sousa who carried on the good work. When their progress stalled again, they turned to Rogers and he has added the finishing touches to what is now a very accomplished side. Every season saw just a little improvement, just a careful restructuring of the playing side of the club to keep moving the club forward.[/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
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[COLOR=#000000][FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3]You can take the 2009 as a direct comparison with for what has happened to us. Swansea finished 8[/SIZE][SUP][SIZE=2]th[/SIZE][/SUP][SIZE=3] in their first season back in the championship, narrowly missing out on the play-offs. In the summer they sold their top scorer for £2m. The following season, having re-invested the money they finished 7[/SIZE][SUP][SIZE=2]th[/SIZE][/SUP][SIZE=3]. The following season they were promoted again.[/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]
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[COLOR=#000000][FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3]We finished 9[/SIZE][SUP][SIZE=2]th[/SIZE][/SUP][SIZE=3] in our first season back in the championship, narrowly missing out on the play-offs. In the summer we sold their top scorer for £2m. The following season, having failed to re-invest the money properly we are staring relegation squarely in the face and the club appears in difficulty again with rumours of player bust ups and numerous other off the pitch incidents. [/SIZE][/FONT][/COLOR]
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[SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Calibri]It’s not simply about chucking £20m a season at players. Swansea have shown that with good planning, sensible spending and astute player recruitment it is possible to progress. Everything they have done has been channelled into making the football side of the club a success without putting the club in jeopardy. [/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
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[SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Calibri]And that I think is the difference. Every time I look at decisions the club makes I always get the feeling the football side of the club comes a distant third behind financial wrangles and white elephant projects. That is what frustrates so much. I don’t think any Millwall fan expects us to be spending £15m every summer on players but when you look at a team like Swansea you can’t help but think, “Why couldn’t we do it like that?”. [/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
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[SIZE=3][COLOR=#000000][FONT=Calibri]We can keep blaming referees, bad luck, the price of fruit pastels etc on our failure to progress but ultimately it’s always the lack of focus on the footballing side of the club that is our undoing. And the most exasperating thing is that we probably all know deep down that it will never change.[/FONT][/COLOR][/SIZE]
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