Right old Hamer blow

Monday, 20 November 2000, 0:01
3 mins read

Since then, one win over Stoke in a brilliant match apart, it has been a downward spiral. Down right into the relegation zone. A coincidence? Read what you want into it and judge for yourself.

My view, and I’ve said this before in print, is that I believe the Swans made a mistake in so abruptly dismissing Hamer. I see no reason to change my opinion, though, as I say, it is best for others to decide for themselves. The cold statistics don’t do much to deter my argument, however. Under Hamer’s stewardship at the start of the season, the Swans had the following record: Played seven, won three, drew two, lost two. Goals for: seven, goals against: three.

In the post-Hamer period, the Swans have played 10 League matches and won just one of them. They’ve taken six points out of a possible 30, scored nine goals and let in 19. Again, you can read statistics in whichever way you wish. So, once again, judge for yourself whether it was right to so abruptly dismiss Hamer.

The one point I would like to address, as a matter of urgency because it really is that important, is that if results carry on this way, the Swans are likely to go down. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to work that one out. I’m certainly not one; I only just scraped an 0-level in arithmetic. But I’ve still managed to do my sums which say that if the Swans continue their current run of results, then they’ll barely get much more than 35 points. And that won’t be good enough to sustain the Division Two place John Hollins and Hamer, as well as the other directors, worked so hard behind the scenes to make sure the players attained last season. Inevitably, the comments have already started up from the cynics.

Oh Swansea’s much-fabled defence isn’t so hot at the higher level is it; oh, Hollins needs to dip into the transfer market, they sneer. I don’t agree with either of those points. I think the Swans defence is good enough and I also believe Hollins has a squad of players capable of finishing lower mid-table at least. But it’s not just about talent. In their last four matches at The Vetch traditionally a fortress, with the vociferous and intimidating Swans fans roaring on their team Hollins’s men have taken just two points out of 12.

That sort of run, coupled with defeats at Rotherham and Wrexham, is bound to have a morale-sapping effect. And, as managers constantly tell us, confidence means EVERYTHING in football. Thus it becomes a vicious circle. Confidence is hit, you lose games, gates dip, less money comes into the club, refereeing decisions go against you … etc. That’s the way it is down near the bottom and why the Swans have to turn it around at once if they are not to spend the rest of the year sucked into a relegation dogfight. There is a run of Division Two games coming up before Christmas which is going to test the confidence of everyone at The Vetch to the hilt. Four of them are away from home: Cambridge, Northam-pton, Bournemouth and Wycombe. No easy rides there.

The one sandwiched in between is at home against Bristol Rovers, who can’t win on their own ground but who can’t stop winning on their travels. It’s crunch time already, I think you’ll agree. I happen to believe Hollins is a good enough manager to turn it around. But then I recall that Hollins was brought to the club by Hamer. The two men had, perhaps still have, a brilliant rapport, speaking on a daily basis about football matters when they were manager and chairman. Hamer’s football knowledge was, and remains, excellent. He was a member of the six man Football League board so not only did he know players, he was right at the forefront of the inner workings of the game. A man with friends in high places, you might say. And someone whose encyclopaedic knowledge of the game means that if you name a game, he’ll reel off date, result, scorers, times and even what the players had for breakfast!

Clearly he is a man Hollins enjoyed talking to, seeking his opinion regularly. An opinion which, officially at least, has been taken away from Hollins following the boardroom wrangles. I saw similar boardroom prob-lems last season – only of a dif-ferent kind – involving Cardiff City.

There was going to be a takeover with the chairman standing aside: then there wasn’t. And in the interim the club went down. At least the Swans have been decisive in getting rid of Hamer. He’s gone, end of story. They’re just getting on with it. But just how much is Hamer’s influence being missed? Judge for yourself, I repeat once more. However, I think everyone will agree, something clearly needs to be done to address the afore-mentioned vicious circle the Swans have suddenly got them-selves caught up in. Perhaps bringing Hamer back would give a new buzz to Hollins, the players and the fans who may be thinking that he wasn’t such a bad chairman.

In fact the only decision Hamer made which I took umbrage with – and we still dis-agree on this one to this day -was getting rid of Jan Molby. Hamer has his view of Molby; I have mine. But Hollins, not without a little help from Hamer, had begun to exorcise the Molby ghost. Suddenly it has begun to go wrong for Hollins and Hamer isn’t there to help, after being unceremoniously dumped for declining to sign a share floatation document. As for him being brought back by the current regime, there is probably about as much chance of that happening as Swans and Bluebirds fans join-ing up in harmony.

But what is beyond dispute is that since Hamer left, the early season euphoria, particularly after the Luton walloping, has evaporated, A coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. Judge for yourself.

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.
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