Vital Swansea Fan Interviews - Michael Arkle
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1. We'll have to start at the Play-off Final. Firstly, were you there, and how confident did you feel that Brendan Rodgers and his team would guide us to the win and ultimately promotion to the top flight?
Yeah i was there, a long drive which resulted in traffic jams and getting lost on the way back, but the stadium was fantastic and there was a great atmosphere all around, the singing on the way up the escalators was especially fun.
I had surprisingly a lot of confidence of us winning this game, I felt as long as we kept the ball well, defended like we had done all season, then we could easily grab a goal or two with the form Borini and Dobbie were in.
2. Not many people would have expected a play-off win last year when Brendan Rodgers first arrived to take over from Paulo Sousa. What were your expectations for last season before it started?
I felt with the team Sousa left us with we'd struggle, especially considering we'd need a few new attackers but I was thrilled with the appointment with Rodgers. So I would have expected us to gain a reasonable mid table position.
3. Darren Pratley's future was in doubt for most of the season and he later told that he felt he wasn't wanted, saying chairman Huw Jenkins showed little interest in arranging him a new contract. What are your views on this? Should the club have shown more effort to keep him last year or will we cope without him?
Its hard to really comment without knowing too much of what happened behind the scenes.
I don't feel that he wanted to stay last season, and would have happily gone to Forest, and I was sure after the play off final he would definitely be leaving.
I think the club did what was probably best for the club, and made sure we used him in our promotion push instead of selling him last season. I would still liked to have known what the 'T' celebration was really about...
4. Another player to leave was our number goalkeeper Dorus De Vries. Can you blame him for joining Wolves, a team who have survived relegation in two consecutive seasons, or has he done it just for the money, as he could face a long time on the subs bench?
I have no idea why Dorus decided to leave, the only reason I can see is that he decided to leave for Wolves before we got promoted. If he made the decision after the play off final it can only be for money, he would have surely been first choice for us and he's left to go to a team that will be in the exact same situation as us next season, where he could even be warming the bench.
5. Neil Taylor looks likely to be the next player to leave. The young left back has frustrated a lot of the fans with his desire to leave after just one season with us. How has your opinion changed on Taylor, would you like him to stay and do you feel a move away could damage his career?
I think it isn't the fact he wants to leave, but the way he wants to leave. He's a professional footballer who has signed a 3 year commitment to a club that has given him a chance, and if whats being said about him is true, that he's getting lawyers involved and that he'll go on strike, then he's got a lot of growing up to do.
If the club doesn't want to sell, which seems to be the case, then he will have to swallow his pride, and work hard to feature in our team this season, if he strikes he'll be fined, and if he refuses to play, he'll play in the reserves or will be loaned out to a lower league team. I'm very proud of the club on their stance though.
6. Angel Rangel and Andrea Orlandi have stayed though which delighted manager Brendan Rodgers after they both signed new contracts. How important do you think this is to the club for the new season?
I think Angel staying is fantastic for the club, he's been a regular choice at right back for 4 seasons now and I'm sure he'll do fantastically for us in the Premiership.
Andrea on the other hand I'm a bit more baffled with. He was very much a squad player last season and still had a year left on his contract. I felt the club could have seen how he did this season before offering him another season on top. Im guessing Brendan sees something I don't though.
7. Brendan Rodgers has done some work to release the 'dead wood' in the squad as Albert Serran, Cedric Van Der Gun, Jamie Grimes and Kerry Morgan have left. Who else do you think we should get rid of to allow more room for new, better signings?
One of either Beattie or Moore I expect to leave, they were both rather unimpressive last season and i doubt they'd get much game time between them.
Pintado should definitely be leaving. Cotterill and Augstein will be assessed in training I expect to see whether they will feature this season.
8. Rodgers' first signing of the Summer was the £3.5m capture of Danny Graham, not surprisingly from his former club Watford. Are you happy with his arrival and are you confident he can be our main goalscorer next season?
I'm very excited about this signing. I'm not sure he will be our top goalscorer, I think he lacks dead ball skills to pick up enough goals, but I expect him to be up there with Scotty this season. His finishing was excellent last season and with the service we can provide he'll definitely do well for us.
9. Rodgers says he wants another 3 or 4 new players. Is this enough and in what positions do we need to strengthen in?
4 sounds about right, I would have expected it to be around 5 more. I think the signings would be a new keeper, a new left back, a winger/striker (like Emnes) and a midfielder.
10. Swansea had an amazing season last year, one of the best ever, but they still had weaknesses in their play. Can we still be successful if we keep to our attractive style of play. And what weaknesses do we need to improve on to have more of a chance of avoiding relegation?
I think we can be very successful if we stick to what we're good at. I just think we need a tall strong centre back who can cope with teams like Blackburn and Stoke. Obviously we need someone to get us 10 goals up front too and I'm hoping Graham can be that striker.
11. What's your prediction for the opening game of the season away at Manchester City?
I think we'd be very lucky if we got anything from this game. A 1-0 or 2-0 loss wouldn't be too bad, but to nick a point would be fantastic!
12. And your prediction for where we will finish in the League next year?
I think we'll surprise a lot of people next season and we'll finish 14th, safe before our last two games of the season hopefully.
Thanks to Michael for answering our questions.
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