Backbone Blues

Friday, 27 September 2002, 0:01
2 mins read

It is understandable that as a season continues, fans of a club sitting rock bottom of the football league have the right to expect changes to personnel and behind-the-scenes activities. The Vetch Field has seen all of that and more within the last frantic week with new management, a new stadium finally confirmed and a handful of new talented players all now apparently on the verge of joining the South Wales outfit. Many supporters demanded a new stadium – and now they have it. Numerous fans called for a change in management – and Brian Flynn and Reeves are now in charge. Now, we are calling for drastic player changes, the likes of whom will be extremely unlikely to even consider playing for the side placed 92nd in the league, which in my opinion will only worsen the state of Vetch Field affairs. For these supporters I have four words:- Freestone, Smith, Mumford, Thomas.

The fresh wave of optimism from the appointment of new management has diminished after a dismal display against Torquay last Saturday. Now everyone appears to be talking about bringing in trucks full of new players to stop the rot…but is this justified?

Were we right to expect (and demand) instant success under Flynn in his first match in charge? It appeared that most of the crowd who attended the match not so much disappointed by the performance (although it was terrible) as the fact that the new management hadn’t completely turned the side around and created a wonderful footballing side – an unbelievable demand!. It goes without saying that time will tell whether replacing Nick Cusack was justified. However, should we really be demanding a major new influx of players to aid in the Swansea crisis? The answer is no.

Rumours are circulating about numerous players – Greg Goodridge, Lee Steele, Jon Coates, David May, David Noble, Karl Ready, Dean Saunders…Diego Maradona, George Best…need I go on? So what exactly is wrong with the current crop of Swansea players that leads to every footballer out of contract in the British game being “linked” or “demanded” by fans? It is merely sheer panic. Being placed bottom of the league causes panic and confusion amongst supporters, yet if we look at the side, we will realise that we actually do have the players to do extremely well in this division.

A large portion of the Swansea side were involved in the championship only a few years ago. The only difference now is that the majority of the players are extremely low on confidence and form – including Freestone, Jason Smith, Mumford and Thomas. In these four players, we have the backbone to push any third division side towards the upper reaches of the league…but on closer examination, the reason behind the poor form is clear. Freestone and Thomas are both out of form and both Smith and Mumford are carrying injuries that are unlikely to see them in a Swansea starting line-up for another few weeks. The backbone of a side controls the match and it is no surprise to see that when the it is broken or out of form, the team will fail in a similar way. Therefore, we are desperate for the return of form of that backbone in order to spur on other players around them.

So there you have it. For the gentleman who aired his views on Real Radio last week stating that “none of the current side should be playing professional football”, I say this:- We are a side out of form, missing key players and with a huge confidence deficit. On paper we have played the entire top 7(ish) – and remember this is the same Swansea side that played well against Rushden, Hartlepool, Wolves and Bournemouth. Our backbone will return and we will live to fight another day.

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

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