The invisible men of Swansea City

Friday, 3 July 2020, 17:42
19
3 mins read

“We want to build a football club that is competitive, exciting to watch and sustainable over the long term” – words used by Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien in the Jack magazine in August 2016, less than one month after they took over the football club.  Words that are as hollow now as they probably were back then.

Less than 24 hours after those words, the Swans were beaten at home by Hull, the first home game of a season that saw us have three managers (Guidolin, Bradley and Clement) and for large parts stare into the abyss of the Premier League trap door that eventually stayed shut for 12 more months.

Since that point in time, the amount of time we have heard from our majority owners with any substance can be counted pretty much on the fingers of one hand.   There was a rare interview in September 2018 (on their terms in Washington) where Wales Online were invited to ask questions of the owners but there was no challenge, no criticism just a printing of what the majority owners wanted us to hear – “We’re dug in. We’re not selling the club. We’re here to rebuild and we’re determined,” said Kaplan. “So if anybody’s hoping we’re selling the club, they’re sorely mistaken. You’re going to be stuck with us for a while.”

They have barely been seen in Swansea since relegation from the Premier League was confirmed on that miserable Sunday against Stoke.   We disappeared from the league in the same way as messrs Kaplan and Levien have disappeared from the Liberty as a whole.   As we have battled through the departure of Graham Potter, a season of Steve Cooper, two years in the Championship, the tricky work of balancing the books, the changing of a Chairman and now a global pandemic the silence from across the pond has been deafening.  Not a word, a whimper, a glimmer of hope or anything to say anything other than they have grown bored of Swansea City.

There are plenty of words on the street that say they have had enough and are ready to cut the losses they will make on the club.   Three years with a nil investment, an expensive relegation, several high profile sackings needing compensation, crazy contracts on lazy purchases and that is before the wasted money on a city centre club shop. buying a stadium lease and several other poor decisions none of which have made the football club any stronger for their tenure in South Wales.   The next level?  Certainly not upwards and more than one level downwards into the process.

I could go on for some time about due diligence and the decisions taken to sell to this investment group but that is one for another day.  This is about the complete silence that we have had in the past four months.  As football – not just Swansea City – faces into its biggest crisis ever, our owners are as absent now as they have been since the trips to Old Trafford and Anfield ended.   We simply do not hear a word from them, no sign of investment, no sign that they are concerned about the future of the club and certainly no sign that they are prepared to do anything to assist us.

Of course they can use the excuse that travel has been difficult due to the pandemic but as the rest of the world has switched to video links, we can only assume that in New York and California the bandwidth is so much in demand that even a WhatsApp recording of their plans to secure the long terms future of the club are beyond a possibility.

Make no mistake that our 28 strong ownership would get out of this club now if someone was to come along and make the right offer.  The problem is those that seem likely to sell are so quiet that nobody even knows what that offer would be.  It is akin to you trying to sell your house without a board or telling anyone you are wanting to sell.  You just hope that someone with enough money to keep the club afloat has sufficient ESP to know that there is a chance here.

The question that remains beyond that though is what happens if the buyer doesn’t come forward.  We know that there will be no investment and we know – from the silence – there is no desire to step in and support the club.  So what is next for us?  By my calculations the black hole over the next two years will run into at least an eight figure sum which means an additional reliance on a youth system that has kept us afloat already for two years and the sale of any asset we manage to develop.  But with that black hole it will also mean the scaling down of our youth facilities which can have the knock on effect that we don’t have talent lined up to replace them.   With a pessimistic head on that could mean League One football, it could mean administration.  With an optimistic head on, it is a hope that we can sustain Championship football and somehow get the club onto an even keel.

But with the invisible men in charge those words – fed to Wales Online less than two years ago (and I repeat them again) “We’re here to rebuild and we’re determined” are as hollow and meaningless as the opening line “We want to build a football club that is competitive, exciting to watch and sustainable over the long term.”  Neither statement rang true when the words were spoken and neither line rings true now.

For sale.  One football club.  Apply within?

19 Comments

  1. Is anyone surprised though. 
    A hedge fund is set up for one purpose, and one purpose only. 
    Relegation,  and now the pandemic has slowed thier plan down (whatever it is)
    The sooner they leave, the sooner we can start to build again ??

  2. Would League One and administration see the trust mobilise again?  That’s not supposed to bone over like a dig btw.

  3. There’s no chance this club can move forward until these guys are gone. I honestly believe another relegation is imminent in the next year or so.
    If the rumours are true about them wanting to sell, they have a guy proven in that field with Birch, so hopefully not too much longer.

  4. If they want to sell then they need to do it pretty damn quick while people still remember us as the attractive team that made everybody stand up and notice. That is about the only thing that separates us from the likes of Bristol City etc; from any rich suitor.

  5. OK, I may be a dreamer, but surely there are those around the Club and the City generally who care enough and  could pull together a consortium to buy out the Americans?

    • @jacabertawe2 thingsWho will have £60 million to buy anything plus the £100s of millions some fans would expect them to gift the club?Who in there right mind would invest in a club where a vociferous group expect  £100s of millions to be gifted to the club but will still moan if the expected supremacy fails to arrive?Who would buy a club where the large (minor) shareholding group make no discernible effort to do anything positive and will moan f they are not included in sales discussions, will not support a sale if they are and will moan if they are ignored? 

  6. Personally I hope the silence continues, for two reasons:-
    1) Just let Birch get on with the job of trying to keep the club afloat, by hook or by crook (unfortunate choice of word there!), without any clueless interference 
    2) My blood pressure couldn’t cope with their bullshit and hollow cliches whilst the sycophantic media we have continue to give them an easy ride in the hope of a nice reward, whether it be access, a trip to the States or a cushy job a la Gareth Vincent and Chris Barney 

  7. As usual, it’s like a roundabout, Swans are doing sh*t so the anti-american stuff starts rolling out. As unsavoury as they are. No one does anything of particular note, and let’s be honest what have the Americans done wrong besides deliver empty words in a couple press conferences. They’ve employed a professional man to run the club in Trevor Birch, they’ve given former players roles within the club, they’ve sacked managers and bought players. We were left in the sh*t by Jenkins and co, who probably also sold the Americans a dud. If you look at the figures, they’ve not taken a penny out of the club (yet?!). Would I buy Kaplan and Levein a pint, absolutely not! Are they the reason we’re up sh*ts creep, no. It’s boring now and it’s the same stuff every season. Move on, and come up with solutions instead of more problems  

    • Posted by: @kgriz16
      As usual, it’s like a roundabout, Swans are doing sh*t so the anti-american stuff starts rolling out. As unsavoury as they are. No one does anything of particular note, and let’s be honest what have the Americans done wrong besides deliver empty words in a couple press conferences. They’ve employed a professional man to run the club in Trevor Birch, they’ve given former players roles within the club, they’ve sacked managers and bought players. We were left in the sh*t by Jenkins and co, who probably also sold the Americans a dud. If you look at the figures, they’ve not taken a penny out of the club (yet?!). Would I buy Kaplan and Levein a pint, absolutely not! Are they the reason we’re up sh*ts creep, no. It’s boring now and it’s the same stuff every season. Move on, and come up with solutions instead of more problems  

      Start with stop giving former players roles in the club, Tate ffs

      • @swanjaxs Unless of course they are qualified for the role. I’m not saying they are but we may well find the perfect fit within the ranks of ex players for a role within the club. In that case I would be all for it, if not then I’m with you.

    • Posted by: @kgriz16
      As usual, it’s like a roundabout, Swans are doing sh*t so the anti-american stuff starts rolling out. As unsavoury as they are. No one does anything of particular note, and let’s be honest what have the Americans done wrong besides deliver empty words in a couple press conferences. They’ve employed a professional man to run the club in Trevor Birch, they’ve given former players roles within the club, they’ve sacked managers and bought players. We were left in the sh*t by Jenkins and co, who probably also sold the Americans a dud. If you look at the figures, they’ve not taken a penny out of the club (yet?!). Would I buy Kaplan and Levein a pint, absolutely not! Are they the reason we’re up sh*ts creep, no. It’s boring now and it’s the same stuff every season. Move on, and come up with solutions instead of more problems  

      You always sound like a right príck fair play.  Move on my arse. 

Comments are closed.

Phil Sumbler

Been watching the Swans since the very late 1970s and running the Planet Swans website (in all its current and previous guises since the summer of 2001 As it stood JackArmy.net was right at the forefront of some of the activity against Tony Petty back in 2001, breaking many of the stories of the day as fans stood against the actions where the local media failed. Was involved with the Swans Supporters Trust from 2005, for the large part as Chairman before standing down in the summer of 2020.

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