Should it be at the players? The lack of creative energy amongst a second rate playing staff has been the common denominator for the club’s failures all season long. If you don’t shoot, you don’t score, but an inability to even get into shooting positions in the first place speaks volumes of the poor quality within the team right now.
Could Carlos Carvalhal be the villain here? Bringing Tom Carroll on as an impact sub in the dying minutes against the Saints shows a lack of tactical prowess.
Coming into the match it was clear that the starting XI wasn’t nearly attacking enough to win a game, and spending 90 minutes trying to cross balls into Jordan and Andre Ayew (both under six feet) smacks of pure, desperate hope of nicking an unlikely goal. Nothing seemed calculated from the Portuguese boss, and Saints had it easy.
Finally, is the finger to be pointed at the board? At the shady dealings and greed of Huw Jenkins; the sell out chairman whose attempts at making himself a quick buck have catastrophically backfired into a horrendous transfer policy that has ultimately spelled the demise of Swansea City Football Club over the last three years?
You can’t knock the players’ efforts against Southampton, for much of the game they showed the grit and determination that has been missing all season, and a genuine desire to get the ball forward was only halted by their lack of technical ability.
As for Carvalhal, he came onto a sinking cruise liner (not that Swansea are equivalent in size to such a vessel, but because that’s just the extent of the clustermuck that the club’s hierarchy have put on in the last few years) armed only with a small bucket and some duct tape. He plugged a few holes, and the ship stopped taking on water for a time, but there’s only so much a bit of tape can do against the might of the ocean.
That leaves one culprit left from our group of suspects. The board. And the final 20 minutes at the Liberty on Tuesday night epitomised exactly how the fans have felt over the last few seasons as a result of their dealings.
The evening began with a sense of naive optimism as the sun shone down on South Wales. Even for the the start of the second half; following on from an electric first 45 from the home crowd, the fans continued in full swing as the latter stages dragged on.
Then it happened. Manolo Gabbiadini scored the scrappy winner and the Jack Army could only watch on, green with jealousy as they watched a United Southampton squad celebrate in the kind of euphoric sense of solidarity that only the escape from relegation can deliver. The home support seeing out the game with an atmosphere that could only be described as abject; dreaming, praying that they too could feel that pure elation come Sunday afternoon.
The most heartbreaking point here is that Swans fans know the club deserves relegation. The fans don’t, through thick and thin they’ve been there week in, week out, cheering on their side knowing full well that it was futile. But the club deserves relegation.
As the American owners came into SA1 back in 2016, the revolving door continued to circle as the club’s identity left. Swansea had sold their souls to the corporate conglomerates that had eyes only on the financial haven that was the Premier League.
Little did they realise that in order to reap the benefits of the top flight, your team must first be competing in it. One would’ve thought that following the shock of last year – flirting with relegation after failing to replace club captain and star centre back Ashley Williams, and the club’s only outlet for goals in Andre Ayew – last summer would’ve injected more investment into the team in order to avoid this very situation.
Alas, it wasn’t to be.
Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson waved goodbye as they were replaced by Sam Clucas and Wilfried Bony. Of course, the complete drop in quality in that exchange meant little to the owners who had just made a profit of of around £40m. Good business, right? Wrong.
Only nine months later the Swans are left staring down the barrel of relegation, and the only ones who care about that are the fans. Those that have endured the 18 hour round trips to the northern reaches of England. The ones who have sat in the wind and rain for two hours every weekend to watch the team turn in performances of the lowest level. The very same people that have been forced to pay Premier League prices for next term’s Championship season tickets.
Swansea fans are victims of corporate greed, and there’s absolutely nothing they can do about it except watch from the stands.