The war of words starts – Swans look to take Martin to court…

Monday, 15 April 2024, 7:30
3 mins read

There are a few things that are guaranteed in life.   Death and taxes are two of them and the third generally tends to be that the richest people in courtrooms tend to be lawyers.    That is, of course, not to say that paying out legal fees should put you off pursuing a case that is right but the revelation at the weekend that the Swans are suing Russell Martin has many alarm bells ringing.

From the side of the club it highlights the poor way that we dealt with the departure of Martin.   The fact that, almost twelve months on, this is still dragging its heels tells you that.    This should not be a surprise because in eight years of ownership there is a string of poor decisions and bad dealings behind them which is caused by the simple fact that the decisions are made in the States by people who believe that they hold the aces on every negotiation.   Even when they have a hand of two eights, a joker and Mr Bunn the Baker.

From the perspective of Russell Martin it highlights just how much the relationship broke down and how much he wanted to get away.   I have no doubt that Russell Martin was not treated well in his final months by the ownership group but at the same time I am also of the firm belief that there will always be two sides to every story.   And the people that are telling the story at the moment are only ever telling it from one angle.   To whoever will listen.

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Now if I were to throw my view into the situation at the moment then I would say that our owners are more to blame than our former manager but that comes from a position of no inside knowledge just a position of reading up on the manner of his departure and the fact that the compensation thing has dragged on for so long.   That suggests we were as desperate to get rid of him as he came to get out but suspect as well that came from us starting to make life very difficult.   Like buying no players in a transfer window for example.

Right now would it even surprise you if Martin were to hit back with a constructive dismissal claim against the club because, again from the outside, it would look as if he probably has a half decent claim for that the way that it was going.

“He said he likes what we’re doing,” Martin said of chairman Coleman shortly after the Swans Chairman was appointed last May. “There’s maybe other priorities at the moment but we’ll see. He’s said the ownership group have expressed an interest in trying to extend the contract, so we’ll have to wait and see.

“I have a year left. We’ve got guys out of contract, so that’s got to be a real priority. Whatever comes first, I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

At that point in all seemed rosy in the garden as Martin was overseeing a run of form at the end of the season that took us to the edge of the play offs but the cracks were clearly showing behind the scenes and the well documented trip (or non trip as it turned out to be) to the States didn’t paper over them it just placed a bigger crack in the middle of them.

The first sparring of the legal battle took place this weekend when the Telegraph reported that the Swans were to sue Martin for breach of contract following his move to Southampton last summer.   Make no mistake here that piece of information would have been released by one of the two parties involved.  So either the Swans or Martin told the Telegraph to get it into the public domain.

Whoever it was, the second stage of the leaking of information came from Martin himself who took to the press on Sunday to say “I am surprised the story has taken this long to break.

“They have been suing me for the whole season. I don’t know how much I can say about it but it’s not been a huge distraction.

“I don’t think it’s the people at the club, I think it’s the people that own the club and it’s probably a bit personal.”

“It’s their prerogative and it is what it is, and it’s not a problem.”

The whole argument on the compensation still seems to hinge around whether Southampton were a Premier League club or a Championship club at the time of the move.   Their argument has long since been that they were a Championship team as relegation had been confirmed but the Swans believed the opposite as the Saints were still a part of the Premier League despite that relegation.

For it to drag on for so long is quite depressing from all sides and the sheer fact that we could not get an agreement with another club given this kind of thing happens all the time in football tells you much about maybe the stances taken (on both sides) and possibly the way that some people are viewed in football circles.   Reputations can be built very quickly – good and bad ones that is.

Whatever happens next though neither side here (or three sides if you include Southampton as a club) will come out of this with any credit and from our perspective I hope we are absolutely certain we will win and even then the legal costs could amount to almost as much as we are entitled to.

Another mess from Coleman & Co!

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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 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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