TF: How has the season been for you?
Well it certainly hasn’t been dull, first European campaign for two decades, first mid-season
change of manager since 2007 and first ever top flight derby’s with Cardiff to name a few key moments. There’s been a bit of everything this year, a few of the biggest high’s ever, some real low’s and ultimately I think we’ve under achieved. This is the best squad we’ve had since we’ve been in this league yet we’re on course for our lowest finish and points total and could still be relegated. I just want to get the 3 or 4 points we need to be sure of survival and for the season to end so we can regroup.
TF: Laudrup going seemed a shock, what was your story?
Steven, SOS: It was a shock, it’s the first time we’ve sacked someone in nearly ten years but there’s definitely more to it than meets the eye. We’ve seen unsavoury headlines this week about training ground bust ups and I think the lack of discipline has come from the Laudrup regime. I think he was going to walk in the summer and a lot of the players believed it and therefore the they weren’t putting in 100%. Laudrup was also a very relaxed character, too relaxed I’d say. We’d been on bad form but I think his view was don’t worry we’ll be fine whereas the board thought differently and decided that he had to go and I back the decision because they very rarely get the big decisions wrong. I’ll always be grateful to Laudrup though, last year was great and you’ll never be able to take that League Cup win away from him.
TF: And his replacement?
Steven, SOS: Garry Monk has improved performances on the whole and tactically he’s made a few alterations that have worked quite well. The problem’s been results haven’t reflected it and in the games against some of the teams around us like West Brom we played poorly and lost meaning we’re still in trouble at the moment. I’m not convinced he’s the right man long term, I’m starting to think with all the problems we’ve had behind the scenes we need a strict disciplinarian from outside to take over but I hope Monk is given a place on the coaching staff and I’m sure he will be. I think one day he’ll be a good manager but I think it might not be just yet.
TF: Your club seems to have had the knack of appointing excellent managers recently, what’s the secret?
Steve, SOS: Ask the chairman! On a serious note it all stems from appointing managers to suit our style of play. That’s what we’ve done since the days of Roberto Martinez and it’s going to continue for the foreseeable so anyone who favours the less easy on the eye style would never be considered to take over as it just wouldn’t work. The board do their homework as well though. They hold a fans forum every year and last season they were asked about the process of Laudrup getting the job. They revealed the board discussed at length the January before who would be available in the summer as they feared Brendan Rodgers could be poached elsewhere so they were very well prepared and I would imagine the same conversation was had just after Monk was given the reins until the end of this campaign.
TF: Our manager Alan Pardew (he still is the manager isn’t he?) complained last season about the Europa League draimning players. Have you had this experience this season?
Steven, SOS: It has had an affect but not as big a one as people have made out. The main reason we’ve under achieved is because the players haven’t performed. I can’t buy the Europa League excuse and hate people who don’t seem interested in it. If you’re not then what’s the ambition? Don’t finish higher than 8th and forfeit the cups? I said at the start of the campaign I’d be willing to finish lower in the league to have a right go in Europe as long as we didn’t go down and I have not altered from that stance. That night in Valencia when we won 3-0 will live with me forever and my trip to Napoli was brilliant to even though we lost and the police made us miss kick off.
TF: Your strikers don’t appear as potent this season as last, what’s happened?
Swansea SOS: Not sure I agree with that statement. New signing Wilfried Bony has scored 20 goals in all competitions so I’ve got no complaints there. Michu hasn’t fired like last year but since he got injured in early November he’s only played about five games. Our other strikers haven’t done much but they didn’t last year either. Goal scoring hasn’t really been a huge problem, we’re in the top half of the table for total goals scored, it’s the other end we need to sort out as individual errors keep gifting the opposition goals.
TF: How big a deal is ex-Newcastle United legend Ivor Allchurch in Swansea’s history?
Steven, SOS: Pretty big. I’m only 26 so obviously didn’t see him play, my dad only caught the tail end of his career but his father said he was the best he ever saw. He’s our record goal scorer with 166 goals, scored for Wales at the 1958 World Cup and there’s a statue of him by the ticket office at the Liberty. We had great local lads in the team at the time, Ivor’s brother Len, Mel Charles, Cliff Jones and Terry Medwin amongst others but sadly we always had to sell to balance the books, if not I think they’d have made the first division. Ivor was one of the last to leave but he did come back and finish his career with us. Whenever they talk about the best players in each position to have ever worn the shirt, he’d be a shoe in for the striker role. A club legend.
TF: And how is Routledge viewed?
Sieven, SOS: I like Routledge, he hasn’t been as good this term as last but he’s been one of our better performers I’d say. I was very pleased when we signed him as he’s always someone I rated highly and at under £2 million I thought it was great business. He did well in his first year here and was unlucky not to play more but he couldn’t dislodge Brendan Rodgers’ favourite Scott Sinclair but once he left Routledge took his place and didn’t look back really. He seems to have found a natural home with us.
TF: Swansea is a club with the most influential Supporters Trust in the PL – can you remind us how that came to be?
Steven, SOS: It all stems from when we nearly went out of business in 2001. We stumbled from one disaster to another for years and in the end Tony Petty took over and tried to sort our debts out by sacking our best players to save money. Obviously we were all fuming and the supporters trust was formed a few months earlier and they combined with a local consortium to buy the club from Petty and ever since the supporters trust has had a member on the board of directors. I feel very lucky that as fans we’re represented in this way and ideally every club would have this sort of arrangement but very few do so the fact that my club has it makes me appreciate it all the more.
TF: Cardiff, do you want them to go down or stay up? How intense is that rivalry?
Steven, SOS: I want them to go down mainly because we’re down there ourselves and as long as we stay up I don’t care who goes. If we were safe then I’d be torn. There’s positives and negatives. There’s nothing like the derby for the goal celebrations and atmosphere but if you lose it’s unbearable. It’s a very intense rivalry, we always feel the local media is biased towards them and they look down at us as a 2nd class City. Naturally they’ve been livid at us being the first Welsh club to reach the Premier League and winning the League Cup so I think that has made the rivalry even more intense with them desperate to get back above us.
TF: What’s the Swansea independent fanzine scene like these days?
Steven, SOS: There’s my fanzine Swansea Oh Swansea and A Touch Far Vetched. The other one is a few years older than mine, I’ve been going since 2010. The success we’ve had on and off the pitch has made my job quite hard as there’s very rarely anything to criticise! It’s great fun though, I interviewed some of my hero’s and make a few quid so I can’t complain.
TF: What do you make of the situation at Newcastle United looking in from So. Wales?
Steven, SOS: From the outside you’ve done reasonably well. A lot higher in the league this term with a few notable results like winning at Old Trafford. It does seem as if the life has been sucked out of the club in the last few months though. You sold your best player in January and didn’t replace him and despite being in no danger of the drop failed to take the FA Cup seriously which I thought was crazy. If the ambition is to finish 8th every year and avoid Europe and the Cups then I’d be bored senseless. It seems as if the whole club needs changing from the boardroom to the management team to get people excited again, something tells me though that Mike Ashley would have gone years ago if he cared what the fans thought.
TF: What are your thoughts ahead of Saturday’s match?
Steven, SOS: On our day we’re capable of winning, on paper it’s a good fixture given that you have nothing to play for and are on poor form. Whether we will take advantage of that though I have no idea, if we give Bony some service he’s capable of doing damage and hopefully Remy won’t play because he’s done really well for you this term
TF: Any predictions for Saturday’s game?
Steven, SOS: I’m going to say an awful end of season 0-0. Hopefully I’m wrong and we’ll sneak a 1-0 but I’m not convinced.
Many thanks to Steven for his time.