29 May 2021. The day that Swansea City and Brentford lined up at Wembley for a place in the Premier League. We know the score, Brentford won (with ease) and we faced another season in the Championship whilst they took the plaudits and a place in the Premier League.
As Steve Cooper surveyed the scene on the Wembley pitch after the game he was already talking about his time at Swansea in the past tense. It was clear he was off and so it proved a couple of months later when he departed to be replaced by Russell Martin.
That game was a little over 33 weeks ago. A relatively short time but a time in which the Swansea City side has changed beyond recognition. If, as we expect, Jay Fulton leaves before the window closes it will mean that 8 of the 11 players who started that day will have departed the club since that game.
If Fulton does go he will join Freddie Woodman, Marc Guehi and Conor Hourihane (all loans) together with Connor Roberts, Jake Bidwell, Jamal Lowe and Andre Ayew as departures from the club in the past 33 weeks. No wonder we see this season as one of transition and rebuilding and no wonder Russell Martin has a huge job ahead of him still.
Ben Cabango, Matt Grimes and Kyle Naughton are the only survivors of that particular team. This is why Steve Cooper spoke after the game almost in the past tense and a great reflection of where we came from and why we are what we are.
And it is a significant reason why it will take more than just a January window to get us back to being close to a play off competing team. Expectations have to be set as to just the full size of the rebuilding here and that isn’t something that is going to happen overnight.
Russell Martin and his team need to ensure that every move they make makes us stronger and – in the main – their track record is good with pretty much every player looking like they can improve us or already having proved that they do. However, when you do actually look at the list of players who departed since that day in May it proves to be a challenge in more than one position as there were some very good players in the side that played that day.
As we move forward in the transfer market we await the next player coming in (which hopefully will be confirmed today) and wonder whether we can pursue the move for Harry Darling who seems to be one of our top targets especially if we do miss out – as now is seemingly increasingly likely – on Matt O’Riley. Bidwell is yet to be replaced, the future of Fulton is still unknown and we hope that Andy Fisher will be the goalkeeper we always wanted Freddie Woodman to be.
So, 33 weeks on we wonder what we will look at in 33 weeks time. We will be broadly at the end of the next transfer window then, it will certainly make for interesting reading then.