For the past two years there has been a reasonably clear divide in amongst the Swans fanbase around the manager. It started under Steve Cooper and his brand of football – a brand worth adding that delivered two play off places – and has continued under Russell Martin.
As the Swans still wait to try and put that painful 4-1 home defeat to Cooper’s Nottingham Forest behind them there is much discussion around various forms of social media and his position as Swansea City manager. There has even been some crazy discussions that a defeat to Fulham on Monday (if the game goes ahead) could signal the end of his tenure.
That talk is just crazy. If anyone expected a season of anything different this term then they only have to cast their minds back to that Saturday in May when our season ended with defeat to Brentford at Wembley. Steve Cooper knew right then that his time at Swansea was at an end and he knew that the club would not be able to repeat their relative success of the previous two years.
This is not a dig at Cooper but – through the financial position of the club – he had had to build his squad around loan players and with those deals ending and the chances were of several departures in the summer he simply would not have a squad that could continue in the vein in which he had started his Swansea career.
The summer evolved as we now know that it did and on the eve of the new season Russell Martin was appointed as his successor. If the job of the manager was not hard enough Martin was tasked with getting in the players that the club desperately needed but at the same time under a manager who was determined to do things a little bit differently.
We saw some new players asked – some of which were signed and here before Martin (Piroe) and others are very much of the manager’s sanction (the likes of Paterson, Laird and Obafemi)
Patience was needed then and patience remains the key to all of this. We are heading into a transfer window where the manager has had several months to assess, and work on what he needs within the squad. The departures (the likes of Fulton, Dhanda and Whittaker) will make room for new players coming in (the names being linked top any of those that are leaving) and we will slowly start to see not just the style develop in the way that Martin wants but with the players that he believes can play to that style.
Martin will be on the look out for more of the Ryan Mannings (Manning said last month “I am loving it. The style of football we are playing and the way we dominate games – it’s probably the most enjoyable football I have had in my career.”) and less of the Dhandas and Fultons who, despite their undoubted talent, do not fit into the manager’s long term plans.
So to have any talk of changing the manager right now, ahead of that window of opportunity player wise and – more importantly – just four months after he signed a good deal at Swansea City is just madness. Russell Martin won’t want his side 16th in the league any more than we want our team there but if that moves the hierarchy at Swansea City to make a change then it will make it very difficult for them to attract new managers knowing they have to work on a shoestring budget – and an unforgiving one at that.
From what I have been told there is – thankfully – no discussions around the departure of Martin. It is not even a point that has been raised and dismissed which tells you how far it is from the agenda. All the talk over the past two months has been the budgets, the targets and the strategy for the new window and that is what is occupying the bulk of the time of those who are paid to make those things happen for us.
The talk is amongst the fanbase but the simple message is Russell Martin is going nowhere.