Roger Freestone Interview

Thursday, 19 September 2002, 0:00
5 mins read

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Roger Freestone is in his twelfth season at Swansea City FC and it is an understatement to say that he has seen one or two managers come and go. The fact is he is now in double figures and this weeks movements at The Vetch Field signal yet another week where the club has lurched from optimism to total dejection in a matter of a few months. In July of this year all was rosy in the garden. Nick Cusack had the full support of the new board at the club, and in turn signed ten players for the new season. When you look at those players and see names like Paul Reid, Matt Murphy, David Moss and David Smith there was a feeling that all was about to get better at Swansea City FC. Cusack also gambled on Michael Jackson a free signing from Cheltenham Town and also went for Andrew Marsh as a future back up to Roger Freestone. And it is Freestone whose heart has never been anywhere else than at The Vetch in the past eleven years who shoulders the burden and responsibility for the current crisis. “I am well down at the moment, the season started so brightly for us, especially after the 2-2 with Rushden. Then a fair result at Darlington meant we could look at the games at Bury and home to Bournemouth with optimism. Bury was a nightmare, we were awful, but the win against Bournemouth was good for morale. But after that it all went very wrong. We did have a number of injuries, but I am not using that as an excuse, we just could not perform, and everyone knows we were struggling at the back. That for me brings its own real worries. I was unsure of the boys in front of me, we just couldn’t clear the ball which meant I would do the odd thing that was not customary for me, and the upshot was we would make schoolboy mistakes. Nick tried everything in a short space of time with the players he had. He even played at the back and up front, and to be honest he was brilliant and the supporters I am sure will acknowledge that. But it just wouldn’t happen for us. After the Boston game I was as down as I have ever been before as a professional footballer. The club means so much to me as a player and to see us at the foot of the league was absolutely soul destroying” Roger also felt the side were not getting the breaks when in front. “That was the worst thing, look at the Wolves game, we destroyed them for forty five minutes and should have bagged five goals, Nick missed what should have been a sitter for him and Jamie Wood missed a good opportunity too. But you can’t blame them entirely, Jamie is as good a front man as we have had in recent times, and James Thomas to me is playing below his standard. The two of them with Steve Watkin, if we get a run of injury free games will be awesome if we get the defence sorted out. Paul Reid was right, we have to take responsibility, and we will, and I assure all Swans fans we will not be in this position come Christmas that’s for sure. We owe it to Nick and the new management team to get it right” And on Brian Flynn. “He knows his football and it was an achievement to consolidate Wrexham for as long as he did. He was a great International player and his presence should inspire us to do better. We need solidarity in the ranks and a man who can motivate us forward, and he is a local man so he knows what’s at stake. There is no reason why he cannot turn this around. And absolutely no reason why we cannot put together a run that will get Swansea back on course” Brian Flynn comes to Swansea City with many holding reservations about his appointment, and some will say that Nick Cusack was not afforded the time he needed to get the club on an even keel this season. But the league table never lies, and results have meant that Swansea City are the worst performing side in division three. That will change I am sure if the rest of the side hold the same beliefs as Roger Freestone, Swansea’s number one for twelve seasons. There are those who feel that Flynn is the answer and those who do not. The only way he can win the affection of the fans, and especially those who stand on the Swansea North Bank is by getting the side to win games, it’s as simple as that. The league table reflects a side that has been mismanaged, and a club that has been torn apart for longer than a few months. It goes back a number of years. Many should not forget where this all stated and the down turn in fortunes that Swansea adopted with the many owners and managers who promised so much and delivered so little. Even when in the box seats to do so, Swansea City failed to deliver and the owners arrogantly gained the trust of fans who wanted so much more. Those days are gone, and the club now reaps the rewards of years of hurt and a lack of care. Many other institutions would have crumbled which says more for the supporters of the club than anything else. Once again we are in a new era for the club, and with the league table looking so bleak a very important era for us all has begun. And has been said before, we have no choice but to support Brian Flynn and his managerial style. There is no alternative as we see our club make its last throw of the dice to secure our future. The board need a front man, someone to further their decisions and explain their role at Swansea City to the fans. There is no good in hiding away and making no comment when the future of the club is at stake. This frustrates supporters and causes tension. Swansea City FC should be forwarding its cause outside of the City and should not be seen as just a community club representing its own boundaries, it means so much more to so many people after years of frustration and at times criminal deceit. So as we lurch forwards from this last piece of devastating news, and the club at the foot of the football league there is one message to everyone. This is your chance to drag the name Swansea City away from the awful mess and lies of recent times that has seen us fall so far from grace. This is your chance to be the heroes that saved the day. So everyone at Swansea it’s simple. Stand up, be counted and be proud, no matter what you do or what you represent. The board, the commercial area, the team or the manager. You are where the buck stops. It’s now down to you. And we are watching your every move.

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