I think it is fair to say that tensions are running high amongst the Swans fanbase at the moment. Recent defeats to Bournemouth, Cardiff City, Birmingham and Preston have not just taken away any hope we had of automatic promotion but they have severely damaged the likelihood of us reaching the play offs.
The Swans now sit just four points clear of the non play off places as the season reaches the finale. What looked like certain play off spots for both us as we chased the top two has now developed into a five team race for the four play off spots which also includes Barnsley, Reading and Bournemouth. There seems little doubt that it will be four from those five teams that start the end of season lottery with each of them needing points to secure their place in that lottery.
The Swans have to be the team that is most likely to miss out on those play offs at the moment with defeats only telling half a story over the past four games which has seen us manage just six shots on target and slip from being in contention from second place to the side that seemingly is most likely to drop out of the top 6.
And, not surprisingly, that has led to many Swans fans questioning the future of the manager with criticism loud and clear (and growing) during the last few weeks thanks to a series of sub standard performances largely since we beat Norwich at home at the start of February which actually had us dreaming of a league title to go with promotion – distant days and even more distant memories.
A regular forum user started a poll shortly after the Birmingham game had ended on Good Friday and with more than 600 people casting a vote it’s a decent cross section of the support which shows a split in the Swans camp although the majority (63%) were swaying towards sacking Steve Cooper.
Those numbers may also have changed following the way the team surrendered against a Preston side who arrived in South Wales on Monday bottom of the Championship form table. Another 1-0 defeat but, more importantly, another game without a shot on target will potentially have more believing that a change in management is coming.
I cannot see anyone at the Liberty making a change at this point in time but further results (and performances) like the recent ones will make for some difficult decisions to be made in the corridors of power. A dropping out of the Top 6 will make those decisions very much easier but the question needing to be answered is whether a fourth placed league position flatters us or whether this is just an unfortunate run of form that will turn round sooner rather than later.
It seems strange at times to be having these discussions when the team is occupying one of our highest ever league positions and that tells you much about the performances. This for me is not about expectation of a higher league position but an expectation that the side needs to be looking as if we have the capability, belief and skill to win another game which at the moment is certainly not evident in any of the performances that we have.
I do not believe that Cooper will be sacked right now. In fact I do not even think it is a a discussion point within the club at the moment. Everyone inside the walls of the Liberty will be trying to ensure we do get that play off spot and hope that we can come through the play offs with a successful result. However, if we miss out on the top 6 then the matter will be an agenda item I have little doubt but I remain less convinced it will be if we endure a second successive play off campaign – win or lose.
What is clear though is that Cooper is starting rapidly to lose the fanbase in significant numbers and, as we edge towards stadium returns in the UK, that is not a position that any manager would want to find himself in.
You can view the poll and the comments attached to it by clicking here