Talking Swansea City with… Buffalo Summer
- By Football Burp
Do you think the Europa League is impacting upon your Premier League form? If so, is it worth the payoff?
It’s still quite early in the season yet so it’s hard to say for sure. Based on the history of Premier League teams in the Europa League, fatigue normally is a factor due to all the extra travelling.
I still think having a good season in the Premier League is our priority. Any success in Europe would be a bonus for the club. No one would have imagined we would have been in this position ten years ago. Beating Valencia 3-0 in their own backyard was quite something.
What do you think of the new signings so far?
I think Laudrup is a very shrewd business man and knows the Spanish market very well. Jonjo Shelvey has had mixed fortunes so far but he looks a real good footballer and you can see why Liverpool invested in him in the first place. He also gives us a bit more physical presence in the centre of the park.
Wilfried Bony looks a real unit but I don’t think we have seen the best of him yet. He scored a lot of goals in the Eredivisie for Vitesse Arnhem, but I think the Premier League is on a whole different level to that league.
Jose Canas looks a like a good all-rounder who can get stuck in and he’s very decent in possession of the ball too. Alejandro Pozuelo is definitely one for the future. Bags of skill and eye for goal. Swans fans should expect big things from him in the next few years.
Can you see Michael Laudrup staying on beyond this season? Were you worried about losing him in the summer?
Michael gave his word to the Swans before the season started and up to this point he has kept his word. Earlier this week, news emerged that Chelsea had been in touch in the summer about his availability so that says a lot about the man’s commitment.
I don’t think Laudrup will be here for many more seasons. Maybe one, perhaps two if we are very lucky. Just like when he was a player, the man is destined to achieve things at the top of the game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back at Real Madrid or Barcelona in the next five to ten years.
He is a man though who seems to do everything very much on his own terms and that is a very good quality to have. It was worrying in the summer because we’ve had Roberto Martínez and Brendan Rodgers leave us in successive years. We’ve come back stronger each time but sometimes I do wonder how our chairman Huw Jenkins keeps making such fantastic appointments.
How much is Michu worth, in your opinion?
To Swansea, Michu’s goals are priceless because it’s so hard to get a prolific scorer in the Premier League. Many clubs were offered Michu in the EPL but passed on him. Laudrup obviously knew what he is capable of doing.
Unfortunately every player has their price, and if a big club came knocking at the door he may very well be on his way. There has been interest from Arsenal previously and I can imagine him continuing to play in that sort of team.
I’d say his market value would currently be between £20 to £30 million. Considering we bought him for £2 million you may say that is good business. However, I’d rather have Michu than the money in the bank.
With hindsight, how would you assess the respective roles of Roberto Martínez, Paulo Sousa and Brendan Rodgers in terms of Swansea being where they are now (prior to Laudrup taking you up another level, of course!)? Who deserves the most credit?
I think all those managers deserve credit for turning the club’s fortunes around. Paulo Sousa less so because he turned us into a defensive team and his training ethos was very questionable.
For me, the most important turning point was having Roberto Martínez as manager. He got us playing the Spanish way which led to the Swans having the nickname Swansalona a few years later, in homage to the way the mighty Barcelona keep the ball. After Roberto left Sousa came in and nothing of note happened then.
When Brendan Rodgers came in we really kicked on. As he’s gone on to prove at Liverpool FC, he has a very specific way of playing and retaining the ball. There was a strong emphasis on wing play too with Brendan and the signing of Scott Sinclair was massive for us. His goals that year in the Championship were a huge factor in getting us to the Premier League.
What do you think about the nuttiness that’s going on at Cardiff?
It is a shambles to be honest. Changing the club’s colours and badge and talk of changing the name of the club is ridiculous. Vincent Tan is trying to appeal to the Malaysian market when he should be focusing on what’s best for the people of Cardiff. It’s all about profits for him and personal glory.
Also, if he walks, where does that leave Cardiff financially? Even though Cardiff are our biggest rivals, as a football fan you have to feel for any British club that is having their identity and history ripped away from them. Very much like what is happening at Blackburn Rovers too.
This is the price though that fans are paying for having power-hungry and greedy investors from other parts of the world buying their clubs. The majority of them know nothing about the game and what the clubs mean to the people. That said, football is not really the working class man’s game anymore.
I feel very lucky that Swansea was bought by local men who were fans with a love for the club. The club was in dire straits after being run by the crook, Tony Petty. Our club is run the right way with the club’s best interests at heart and for the people of Swansea.
We’ve got to the Premier League on footballing merit, and on our own terms without major foreign investment. It really is an achievement in the modern game.
Would you be able to name the first, best and worst games you’ve ever been to?
My old man took me to first ever Swans game at the Vetch Field when I was five years old. It was the 17th February 1989 and I still have the programme. It was against Aldershot in the old division three and I think we won 1-0.
This was a close call. I was at the game against Hull City where we had to win to stay in the football league which we did. But for pure ecstasy, the best game for me was against Reading at Wembley in the Championship Play Off Final.
Even though we’ve had some great wins in the Premier League that game was massive. We had 45,000 Jacks singing Hymns and Arias and I’ve never experienced anything like it. 3-0 up at half time and Reading pulled it back to 3-2 and then hit the post. We went on to win 4-2. Many a grown Swansea man shed a tear of joy that day I can tell you.
I saw some awful games when we played in league two or the old division four. One that stands out was against Southend in December of 2003. It was a home game and they had three players sent off and still beat us 3-2 right at the death. Shocking! They were near the bottom of the table too if memory serves me right.
Finally, if you had to select a five-a-side team out of all the Swansea players you’ve seen in your time as a fan, who would you pick?
I’ve seen us play in all four divisions and the players I’m going to pick are the ones that have been most pivotal in my generation, for getting us to the Premier League.
1.) Roberto Martinez – Before he was our manager he helped to stabilise us on the field in the year where we nearly went out of the league. A lovely two-footed midfielder who could spray the ball around the park and had a very calming presence on the pitch when times were tough.
2.) Leon Britton – Played for us in all four divisions and arrived from West Ham as a young kid. Has developed into a masterful midfielder over the years. Does the simple things and is great at keeping the ball. Last year his passing completion ratio was up there with the likes of Xavi and Iniesta at Barcelona. If he was at a bigger club I think he would have been capped by England.
3.) Lee Trundle – The man is a Swansea legend. We signed him from Wrexham and he helped put the Swans on the map with his showboating. His goals propelled us through the leagues.
4.) Ashley Williams – Captain of Wales. A very shrewd signing from Stockport County. Another player who has come through a few of the leagues with the Swans. An absolute rock at the back and I think he is one of, if not our most important player. A great leader on the field who doesn’t take any nonsense from anyone.
5.) Michu – He’s not even a centre forward but he knows where the net is. The finest finisher I’ve seen at the club since I started watching in the late ’80s. He’s an all-round gifted footballer and is our talisman in the final third. His work rate is phenomenal chasing back, and his range of passing and deft touches makes him one of the most complete footballers the Swans have had in the modern era.
We didn’t need a goalkeeper for five-a-side as I’m sure we can keep the ball all day long :)
Buffalo Summer, thank you.
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