Swansea City - Testing Times
What a strange time to be a Swansea fan. After a few years of steady but spectacular progression, I think this is all hitting us very hard.
The Akinfenwa/Trundle story is a bolt from the blue, especially given the fact that Akinfenwa looks to be a permanent acquisition.
I know there are those that don't want to see Trundle back, and in fact I am one of those. I prefer to think of him as he was when at his best for us, not the sluggish shadow he has been at Bristol. But, I can at least UNDERSTAND why he is rumoured to be joining us in the short-term.
Undoubtedly amongst many fans, rightly or wrongly his arrival would cause excitement and a boost in ticket sales and support for Saturday's game. And maybe, just maybe there'll be a twinkle of those Magic Daps. Probably not, but football has produced far stranger fairytale stories, and the board and management will be aware of this potential.
As for Akinfenwa, that is the story that really shocks me. Yes, he has scored 24 goals in 56 games for Northampton, mainly at League One level, which is an excellent return for a Centre forward of his ilk. However, clubs are not banging down the door for his signature, and while I enjoyed his effort and ability while he was at the Swans, purchasing a player who has never played at this level is a huge gamble given that the fans are demanding progression, and that this is a player who they have seen before.
Akinfenwa lest we not forget forged a highly prolific partnership with Lee Trundle in the early months of the 2005/06 season, but following that was used mainly as a substitute to whom long balls were punted in the direction of. Paulo Sousa has maintained he wants to continue the style of football Roberto Martinez had the Swans playing, so it is quite difficult to see how Akinfenwa will fit into that.
Perhaps it is just a story. Often you hear players haven`t heard of the interest from a club until they pick up a paper themselves, in which case a lot of Swans fans will have a good laugh. But when there are young, hungry attackers like Jermain Beckford, Carl Baker and Simeon Jackson knocking in goals at the level directly below ours, it is easy to see why some fans are frustrated at our perceived lack of ambition.
Me? I always try to wait and see how things pan out before I judge any (perceived) transfer dealing. The signing of Besian Idrizaj looks by and large to be an excellent signing in the long term, but if Akinfenwa and Trundle sign on the dotted line, it suddenly starts to seem like Swansea are desperate, and in trouble.
After all, we have raked in a lot of money this summer be it from transfers, compensation, or extra TV money, and if we are able to keep players like Ferrie Bodde on our books, then we must be offering decent wages. However, no names have come in to capture the imagination of the fans, and none seem to be on the horizon, and unevitably that leads to questions in some corners.
Couple this story with the events of Tuesday night and indeed it`s easy to see why some fans are panicking. Some fans are unequivocally 110% behind the board and team and seem frustrated by those amongst us who question everything that the board/Sousa/players are doing.
However, that doesn't mean those who question everything love or care for the club any less than others, nor are they Cardiff fans. They have perhaps a little less faith than others and it is understandable given the way Martinez discarded of us this summer.
We live in a sensationalist culture, which means that reactions following victory/defeat are almost always over the top. On top of that, given the amount of reports, footage, statistics and opinion available to the average fan; it is easy to argue almost anything.
What must be said is this. Paulo Sousa, Huw Jenkins and the board have no reason to want anything other than the best for Swansea City FC. Sousa has come in at a time when expectation is unrealistically high given the injury situation, and where it appears the financial situation isn`t all it`s cracked up to be either.
Jenkins and the board have appointed 5 managers since they took over. Cusack was a bad appointment which was recognised and Brian Flynn replaced him and accomplished his mission. Flynn refused to move to Swansea and Jackett replaced him, and Jackett took us to the next level and almost beyond. Martinez replaced him and we finished 28th in the Football League out of 92. We all know where we were when they took over.
So, let`s keep the faith and see how the next month pans out. There seems to be a fair amount of optimism regarding Dobbie, and once we have everyone fit we can look forward to a Starting XI of:
Rangel - Monk - Williams - Tate
Pratley - Britton/Allen
You can guarantee Saturday`s XI will be very different, so that XI will need our support more than ever, even if it includes 'Bayo` and a certain pair of 'Magic Daps`.
Thanks to Dominic O'Shea
for the article. You can view more articles of his on a range of sports at his website - osheasport.co.uk