So what can we expect next?

Friday, 7 August 2020, 8:48
5 mins read

All week on Planet Swans we have been looking at the impact of Covid-19 on football from transfers to life outside the Premier League and, over the last two days, the subject closest to our heart and that is Swansea City.

The financial challenges that the club face were highlighted yesterday – challenges that were big enough before the lockdown and drastic reduction in income.  These are now challenges that will no doubt have several cashflow forecasts produced and, after defeat at Brentford last week, at least one of which would have been consigned to the recycle bin.

Promotion – as we all know – would have not just seen us compete with the best on the pitch but would have also seen us financially stronger.  I was a firm believer that should promotion come we should approach next season largely with the same squad we had this and ensure that this time we drop out (assuming we did) with the security and stability that was denied us last time around.

The subject of our transfer dealings in the past few years have largely been done to death but we cannot hide around some of the crazy deals that we made in our last 18 months in the Premier League – deals from yet we haven’t fully been able to recover from.  I was reminded this week of a time when we almost hired back Brendan Rodgers but we refused because of his wage demands and it always makes you wonder why football clubs are less inclined to invest in a good manager but always seem happy to invest in a mediocre player.

But of course promotion did not happen so we face another season in the Championship which brings the challenges that we highlighted yesterday.  Those challenges leave a hole within the budgets for 20/21 so the job is now there as to how these holes get filled.  And, as ever, there are a few options.

Sale of players – Our saleable assets are getting less year on year.  The most obvious one is Joe Rodon.  I am still a firm believer that in a pre-Covid world then we could easily have been looking at upwards of £15m for Joe.  In a post-Covid world I am not so sure.  That really does depend on where the interest comes from – if its the Premier League top 6 we may just about get there, if it is outside of that then we could be looking at £10m being the ceiling here.   There will be some different budgets prepared for next season and the price of Joe no doubt will be one of the variables within them.

Investment – In four years at the helm of the club there has been no investment from our owners into the club.  Sure they have invested in the asset with the purchase but no money has been provided to enhance our position.  Or in this case to maybe stabilise it.   This is a real test for the likes of Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien (and their team of 28) – are they prepared to put more money into the club to help relieve the pressure?   Of course, investment in the club is unlikely to come without a price, the initial deal to purchase tells you that.  It would probably be close to inconceivable to think that they would invest as a “gift” so any investment would either likely be as a debt to the club or in the form of equity (either now or in the future)   Here is where the dilemma sits for supporters.  We probably need some level of money to get us through this period (if the player sales are not enough) but it could come at a cost of debt or dilution of the Trust shareholding.  The Americans hold more than 75% of the voting rights (they bought these from the selling shareholders) so investment for equity cannot be opposed in a voting environment so this for me would be the most likely outcome if investment was forthcoming.

Sale of the club – Probably the longest shot given the fact we are a cash strapped club in the Championship.  There is no money to be made in the Championship unless that club gets promoted to the Premier League.  Now if a multi millionaire (very multi!) who happens to be a Swansea fan is out there then that would be a different scenario but anyone else would seem unlikely to see us as an attractive proposition unless they genuinely did believe we were strong promotion contenders next season.  It’s not impossible but I would say it is unlikely.  Any potential sale of the club would also throw up some interesting scenarios regarding the ongoing legal case raised by the Trust and could, ironically, see them holding some strong cards if it was to come forward.

Fairwood/Landore – There will undoubtedly be some changes to the training ground and/or academy as a result of this.   These facilities were built and developed with us as a Premier League club but, in the current environment, it seems unlikely we could sustain both in their current format.  A downgrade of the academy is the obvious target here but it may not play through like that given our likely increase in reliance on players from there over the next few seasons.  But it would seem certain that something will change.

These options are not exhaustive but the ones potentially being considered.  We could see one of them play through we could see a few of them play through in part but something needs to happen or we are embarking on what could be a slippery slope and one that we certainly don’t want to happen.  After experiences of the past we don’t just want a sustainable club we should be demanding it and if that means not repeating some of the mistakes of the recent past then so be it.

The next few weeks on this front will be very interesting to see develop.   Our owners have been – as we have said before – notably quiet during this period and allowed the Chairman to get on with his processes that have included job cuts and the like but we now wait to see what move they make.

With the world in the middle of a global pandemic and predictions of spikes, second waves aplenty and local lockdowns in place, we are looking at some of the potential impacts on football going forward.  This brings to a close our articles looking at the potential impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on football and of course the Swans.  Our previous articles are below and we are always keen to hear your views which can be shared on our active forums which you can visit at this link

You can read our thoughts on the transfer market here and share the views with other fans on our forum here

You can read our thoughts on football in Leagues One and Two here and share the views with other fans on the forum discussion here

You can read our thoughts on the impact in the Championship here and share the views with other fans on the forum discussion here

You can read our thoughts on the financial challenges the Swans face here and sher the views with other fans on the forum discussion here

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

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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