750 Miles etc etc…

Friday, 20 September 2002, 0:00
4 mins read

Home > Story Index >750 Miles, No Points and the Loss Of Our Leader

Hurtling down the M4, we were blissfully unaware of what was in store over the next 6 days. After two lacklustre displays by the players, eventually something had to give – and it finally has. In my opinion, we have lost our talisman. Our charismatic leader. The man that so many relied on when the chips were down. There is not enough room in the club, nor money, to keep Flynn, Cusack and Reeves all happy without them standing on each other’s toes and Thursday’s announcement appears to allow Cusack to keep hold of the reigns until Flynn gets to know the club a little better. As the150 fans that made the 250 mile journey to Boston trudged outof York Street,manywere under the impressionthat they had witnessed the last performance that Nick Cusack would ever give in a Swansea shirt – and were they right??

Firstly, for those of you who didn’t make the trip to Boston, I must describe the scenes at the final whistle. Cusack came over to the away stand and did not leave until he had shook each and everyone of the 150 odd fans’ hands that had travelled to support him. "Don’t go Cus" and "Stay on and play for us" were shouts that could be heard between the breaks of chanting "Cu-sack, Cu-sack!" at a deafening level. Some older women kissed him on the cheek while one man hugged him for a while before turning with a tear in his eye – trying to disguise it from his pals who had travelled with him. It really was an emotional end to an emotional era and thisis definitelyno exaggeration. The Boston fans waited and stared as we cheered for the man who had held the club together when Petty arrived last year, before being greeted by the news that their acting manager had stepped down as well. A small handful of players followed Cusack to the away stand (notably O’Leary) who perhaps was a little confused by what he was seeing. The fans who were so quick to applaud Cusack for all he had done, hurled abuse at O’Leary as he stood 5 feet away and looked on in amazement at the "cruelty" (!)he was receiving.

Had the captain not realised that perhaps he should be held partially responsible for this emotionalsituation that the Swansea manager finds himself in by his terrible performances in recent weeks? It was extremely surreal as he seemed to gaze endlessly at the Swansea fans listening to constant abuse and expletives. However, to be fair to Kristian O’Leary, perhaps this is the sort of "kick up the backside" that he really needs to raise his performances and actually fully commit himself to the cause. David Moss was another player that came over to the fans but received cheers as he shook Cusack’s hand and applauded him infront of the fans and some of the younger players.

Some on-lookers could say that O’Leary was unfortunate to receive such abuse from his own fans – as captain of the club. However the centre back epitomises all that is wrong at Swansea at the moment with his recent displays of no commitment, "blame someone else", lazy attitude and arrogant displays. It is still not too late for O’Leary to win back those same fans that once sung his praises, but he will need to put in some excellent, confident displays under Brian Flynn if this is to occur. However, those that weren’t able to attend on Wednesday will be pleased to hear that his performance was much improvedfrom recent games and it was actually Freestone that was at fault for the goal (misjudged the path of the ball) and not the captain.

Cusack himself appeared extremely overwhelmed and emotional at the reception he received from the fans. Only able to say "Thankyou" and "I’m sorry" to most fans that grappled him to show their support for their beloved hero. As we left the ground, we were approached by two Boston fans who said that "If you don’t want him – we’ll have him!". Not only had Cusack won over Swans fans, but also those opposition supporters that acknowledged that he always gave his all for his club and the presence of his never-say-die attitude.

Perhaps, it was the right decision to bring in someone new. If Cusack is allowed to stay at the club in some form of coaching role then maybe all sides will be happy with the arrangement. Thursday’s announcement is unclear – does Cusack really still control the management position and if so, for how long will he continue to do so? What exactly is Reeves’ role as first team coach? Surely Flynn won’t want to takea back seat – he will want to get into the club and begin grinding out results and as we know joint-managers never seem to work. What exactly will Flynn’s role as Director of Football be – will Cusack merely be a face of control while Flynn is really in charge?

As more developments occur over the next few days, I’m sure that we will all be a little clearer about the whole situation. A strict disciplinarian is really required and I am not sure if this is listedas oneof Brian Flynn’s qualities. We miss two vital ingredients – width (no-one will take players on and our wing-backs are always pinned back) and creativity (get Mumford fit again and firing on all cylinders). Many fans are anxious about Brian Flynns appointment at the club but I think most will admit it is time for a change in the way Swansea play. Perhaps against Torquay on Saturday, we may see a battling performance for a change as the players attempt to impress the new manager. If this is so and Cusack is present for the fixture, he will surely feel violated at the lack of passion under his solo-leadership.

Perhaps inmonths to come the support for Cusack will be all I can remember from this dire league match from York Street on a wet Wednesday night in Lincolnshire. However, there is a chance that the league match against Boston was a turning point for the season – allowing us to creep up the table. Nick Cusack wasn’t successful alone as Swansea manager, but he gave his all – no-one can really ask for more. I’m sure that if Swansea fans would have known that Wednesday night was the last game that we would see Cusack compete in for the Swans, the away support would have been larger to show their support for a Swansea hero. So many of us wait to find out what is really going on at the Vetch and to see how highly the club really does regard Nick Cusack.

Rich Evans

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