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Chairman and absentee owners must take blame for Swansea’s decline

first_imgAs Carlos Carvalhal prepares to clear his desk – the fourth manager to do so at the Liberty Stadium in the space of 19 chaotic months – thoughts turn to identifying his successor and the need to radically overhaul a squad destined for the Championship long before relegation is confirmed on Sunday. The key question is whether Swansea City’s owners can trust their chairman, Huw Jenkins, with either of those tasks.Jenkins wore a halo during the club’s rise through the leagues, earning plenty of praise for Swansea’s rags-to-riches fairytale. Yet he has badly lost his touch over the last three seasons, making one flawed decision after another and, increasingly, has come across as a man who has forgotten what his club’s philosophy – the Swansea Way – is supposed to represent. features Even the one new face that had fans jumping and down last summer with excitement turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. Renato Sanches, whose loan from Bayern Munich set Swansea back £8.5m including wages, will be remembered in south Wales for that pass to a Carabao advertisement hoarding at Stamford Bridge and a tweet about his new emoji on the day the club were all but relegated. Looking about as comfortable in a Swansea shirt as a Cardiff City supporter, Sanchez wore the expression of a man who thought he should be playing alongside Toni Kroos, not Tom Carroll.So much of what happens at Swansea makes little sense. From handing out lucrative four-year deals to squad members such as Nathan Dyer, who was on his way out of the club when sent on loan to Leicester the previous summer, to allowing players with a value to run down their contracts, the decision‑making is unfathomable at times.Who, for example, thought that Swansea could get away with playing Kyle Naughton at right-back without any pressure on his position? Would Wayne Routledge get near any other Premier League squad? Why should anyone have been surprised that Wilfried Bony spent the majority of the season injured when he had not completed 90 minutes at club level for more than a year? And, perhaps more than anything, where on earth did Swansea think the goals were going to come from when that transfer window closed last September? The 27 they have scored in 37 Premier League games is the lowest in the division and, quite frankly, an embarrassment. Premier League Share on Pinterest Share on Messenger Share on Twitter Share via Email Sign up for The Fiver and get our daily football email. Read more Swansea City Share on WhatsApp Carlos Carvalhal set to lose Swansea job after season ends Share on LinkedIn Topics Jenkins, in fairness, is far from the only man with his fingerprints on this mess. Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien, Swansea’s majority shareholders, approve what goes on and must take a sizeable share of the blame for what has been a dreadful two years under their watch. The Americans are absentee owners and, if they have learned anything from the past two seasons, it must surely be that running a football club from the other side of the Atlantic will only be successful if the day-to-day control is in expert hands. In other words, they need to show leadership, freshen things up and bring in a sporting or technical director to take charge of the football side.There is also the not‑so‑small matter of finding a young, ambitious and attack-minded coach to put some pride back into a club that has lost its soul and identity, not just its Premier League status, and a new team to assemble. One hand is enough to count the players worth keeping once Alfie Mawson and Lukasz Fabianski have departed. Swansea, in short, are starting all over again and maybe, after three miserable years when no lessons were learned, that is no bad thing. Read more Share on Facebook The thinking has become so muddled that Jenkins praised Carvalhal and his players for showing “tremendous patience and character to stick to our gameplan” after a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion last month. Swansea were abysmal that afternoon. They scored with a header from a corner and failed to register a shot on target during 90 minutes of banal and clueless football. It was a “gameplan” that would have made Roberto Martínez and Brendan Rodgers, two pioneers of that Swansea Way, weep.Rodgers, it is worth remembering, could have been back at Swansea in the summer of 2016 but Jenkins, in a decision met with bemusement throughout the club, gave the job to Francesco Guidolin. It was a grave error of judgment – Jenkins has described it as his biggest regret – and sent Swansea into a tailspin from which they never recovered as they lurched from crisis to crisis, sacking Guidolin, before turning to Bob Bradley, Paul Clement and then Carvalhal, all of whom came in to extinguish fires rather than play tiki‑taka football.The recruitment strategy, which Jenkins oversees and managers dip in and out of, has been just as shambolic. In a critical game at Bournemouth on Saturday it said everything that not one of Swansea’s five summer signings (more than £40m in transfer and loan fees) was on the pitch. On top of that, Borja Bastón, the £15m then club-record signing from the previous summer, was on loan in Spain along with Roque Mesa, who cost £12m. Ask Jenkins about Bastón or any of the questionable signings and he will go on the defensive, which is part of the problem. Southampton make Twitter dig at Swansea hotel that cancelled their stay Reuse this contentlast_img read more