The Year Of The Swan
Swansea City are what could be described as a modern day football club, they try to play the game the Barcelona way and they show great ambition in everything they do, which is why they have influenced many others as well as myself. At this point I should probably tell you I have no emotional connection with the Jacks which is why it is testament to the way they do things that they have sucked me in as a follower of their Premier League adventure.
The key thing about the club who were operating in the basement division just over ten years ago is that they show bundles of ambition, something that has served them well in recent years. When the club was sold for £1 back in 2001, I doubt anyone could have predicted the meteoric rise that they'd enjoy, something that has ultimately seen them finish their inaugural Premier League season in 11th place - above established clubs such as Aston Villa and to some extent Stoke. At the end of the 00/01 season for example, Villa finished in 8th place in the top flight whilst Swansea were relegated in 23rd position of the old second division. Since that date though, the two clubs' fortunes have changed dramatically, moreover it looks as though it's Swansea that has the brighter future on the horizon.
The passing style Roberto Martinez introduced in his time at the Liberty Stadium also deserves to be applauded; it has been the metaphorical backbone of their recent success and revolutionised how people look at the game. Martinez saw his side consistently challenge for a Play Off place in League One before ultimately being promoted as champions. In the Championship they have also been impressive, finishing in the top half of the table in two successive seasons before Brendan Rodgers led them to the promised land of the Premier League through the Play Offs in 2011.
Since that day they have impressed the critics in the best league in the world, drawing considerable praise from every Match of the Day pundit, (Steve Claridge was unavailable for comment.) Their success has been their downfall in a sense, with their revered manager Brendan Rodgers linking up with Liverpool - a move that no one can blame him for in the slightest. He parted on good terms from what I understand and he leaves with the Swans fans' blessing. With all due respect, the Liverpool hotseat is a job that you just cannot turn down and hopefully he will turn around the Anfield clubs' fortunes with the same kind of grace and style that made him an icon at the Liberty.
I now come to what the article is all about, the Swans hot seat is vacant following Rodgers' departure - you may have thought that there would be a shortage of takers, well you're wrong. In the past few days some of the biggest names to grace the modern game have been linked, with Dennis Bergkamp, Michael Laudrup & Marcel Desailly having all been touted as a possible successor to Rodgers' crown. If Chairman Huw Jenkins appoints any one of these three, he is showing tremendous ambition of which I could never have imagined. It is testament to the way Swansea play that these three names have been linked to this family orientated club, the passing style has obviously attracted the legends to South Wales.
There is then a knock on effect that hasn't even been considered by the general public yet. If one of these three legends is appointed, players begin to take note of such a high profile name taking over. Suddenly Swansea is known to a greater audience, an even better calibre of players realise that Swansea must be a good club to play at if someone as reputable as Bergkamp has taken the managerial reigns. This then allows the Jacks to advance further into the Premier League at the expense of one of the more established clubs - whilst it is all a bit of a pipe dream at the moment, it is entirely plausible.
When you have a club that players want to play for with a manager that players want to work under, it can only be viewed as a good thing. Swansea are embracing a new kind of football, a new emphasis in the English game that has started in South Wales.
Whatever the outcome of the managerial race though, one thing is for sure - Swansea City are making great strides into establishing themselves as a Premier League club. Not only do they have a chairman that loves the club, they also have further heightening ambition and a growing admiration from the common Premier League neutral - something that should take them far.
Right Column TBC