Date: 7th August 2006 at 10:48pm
Written by:

Gerwyn Evans answers our latest Fan Interview ahead of the new season.

1. After our Play-Off Final defeat in May, do you think we can go one better this year and go up automatically?

With the squad as it stands, no. With a few more players, yes.

2. It’s been quiet time during pre-season when we’ve needed to sign players. We’ve recently signed Amankwaah and Butler, are you suddenly more confident with our squad or are there still certain areas of the squad that need to be strengthened?

I think our squad needs strengthening further, and in the following areas:-

1. A first choice left back – Tom Williams’s temperament worries me greatly, every time I see him play he looks likely to lose his temper and get sent off. We need another left back anyway as we have no cover there, Austin cannot play there in my view as he gives us nothing going forward.

2. A commanding centre back – If Amankwaah plays right back then Tate and
Izzy can be the centrebacks but I still would have preferred an experienced, aerially dominant centreback. This player could be the organiser, particularly when defending set pieces.

3. A right winger – I was suprised when Jackett signed another left winger,
though McLeod is rumoured to be free to go if a club comes in and Robinson
could also leave. A right winger should have been the priority as Britton is not a winger in my book. Skillful he is but he has not got the pace or the final ball to be a winger, he also does not possess a good shot, hence very few goals. Britton should play inside now (assuming we get a right winger) given that we have less creativity centrally after Martinez’s departure.

4. A creative midfielder – We could move Britton inside (no.3 is a
prerequisite to that) but I think we don’t have enough variety in midfield.
Maybe Lee Johnson?

3. Pratley was our first signing this summer. Do you think he’ll be a good addition to the squad?

We definitely lacked athleticism in mid

4. Sam Ricketts was sold for £300,000 this summer which we couldn’t avoid, do you think that was a good deal for us or would you have liked to have seen him stay?

I really thought we should sell Ricketts after his performances last season, though he did perform better in the playoffs. Now I am not so sure, he may be one of those players that you realise the value of when he’s no longer there. I do think he struggles against an opponent with pace, and more often than not his forages forward have little end product. Losing him is like losing two players though as his ability to play in either fullback position was valuable. Overall I think he is no great loss, Gareth Roberts would have been a good replacement had he not joined Doncaster.

5. Jenkins and Jackett said they were targeting the same players this summer whichever league we were in. Do you think this had an effect on our lack of signings? Should we have been a bit more realistic with our targets?

I applauded this decision when it was announced though in hindsight it was
always going to be difficult to attract players (as is the case now with
Robbo) that Championship clubs want. While I think Jackett is a better coach than Flynn, Flynn certainly had the better contacts. Jackett doesn’t often sign a player that no one has heard of (Ricketts the exception) and hence faces competition for players he goes for from other clubs who are aware of them. Our geographical location is also a hindrance.

6. Jackett released Martinez, Forbes and Murphy in May, what are your views on this? Did you agree with Kenny’s decisions?

Martinez – Yes, I think he struggled badly towards the end of last season.
He gave the ball away too often and generally struggled to impose himself on games. I do not think he has been replaced (in a like for like type of way) as maybe Jackett’s power and athleticism game doesn’t suit that type of player. I think Jackett thought his legs had gone and I agree with that.

Forbes – Yes, The ability to pop up with vital goals is the only reason why
I am sorry to see him go. As a footballer he is limited, great commitment
but cannot beat a player and his crossing is terrible. The lack of a quality replacement concerns me though and so while I agree with the decision, subsequent developments (lack of replacement) mean I am starting to think we could have kept him, though Jackett cannot have believed he would be this unsuccessful in the transfer market. Shuker would have been a good signing had Tranmere not got him.

Murphy – Yes, did not put pressure on Willy and so this was a predictable
decision. Bristol City’s pending signing of him does not alter my mind on
this one, I am pleased that Jackett has signed Oakes but would have
preferred Konstantopoulos.

7. We embarrassing confirmed our new £375,000 record signing of Dean Leacock in July too early and the defender the had to return to Fulham because of injury problems. How did you feel about this because it’s not the first time it’s happened!

There was a lot of frustration among swans fans over the lack of signings,
Ricketts’s departure just made morale even worse. For that reason Jackett
and Jenkins were probably keen to restore faith and so prematurely announced a signing. It is not the first time that Jenkins has spoken too soon about a signing and I wish someone else would take over the speaking to the press.

Jenkins is quoted far too often for my liking and seems to have something to say even on matters that don’t concern us (e.g. having a go at Colchester and Barnsley for losing their respective best players despite promotion). I do think the right decision was taken to pull out though. it’s a lot of money and we’d have been far worse off than being embarassed if we’d signed him and he’d been crocked early on.

8. There has been speculation recently over Robinson’s future with the
Swans. What are your views on the situation? Is he being greedy looking for
a higher wage or should he be given a pay rise? Should we have sold him to
avoid him going on a free next year?

I agreed with Jackett when he stated on Real Radio that giving Robbo the
contract he wants will open the floodgates to other players to renegotiate
contracts on more money. I admire the club’s stance. While I can see that he wants to maximise his earnings, I am annoyed that Robbo has taken this
attitude after the club stood by him during his disciplinary problems (on
and off the field) little more than a year ago. I also think his public
declarations of love for the club have been inappropriate when his actions
clearly suggest otherwise. I would say sell him but given the transfer
failings of the summer what are the chances of signing someone like Mark
Jones before 31st August? We would be left with a lot of money but unable to spend it until January and with a weaker team we may have missed the boat for promotion for this year which would be damaging as it is important that we keep moving forward and have a sustained period of success to build up the core fanbase. If we have a couple of good seasons and that’s all then we may return to crowds of 4-5k (like at the vetch). The longer the period of success the bigger the core fanbase will become. I would therefore keep Robbo at the club for one more year, if he wants a move then he’ll have to play well which will benefit the team. I think it is worth risking him leaving for nothing given that I don’t think we could get a quality replacement. I also think Neil Sang is a typical, blood sucking leech of an agent, the likes of whom we should rid football of.

9. With the squad as it is now, what do you think our strongest line-up is?

Oakes (GK), Amankwaah (RB), Izzy (CB), Tate (CB), Williams (LB), Robinson (RW), Pratley (CM), OTJ (CM), McLeod (LW), Fallon (ST), Knight (ST).

10. Monk has been named captain this season. What do you think about this decision and if you disagree, who would you prefer as captain?

While he probably will be, I don’t think Monk should be in the team so on
that basis shouldn’t be captain. Monk is a good reader of the game but is
not physical enough, is not quick and is not dominant in the air. He needs a big defender along side him. He struggled last season after Izzy got
injured. I would go for Tate on the basis that he is one of the best players we have and will probably play regularly. Tatey was the one of the few players to come and applaud the fans after games during our bad spell last season and that spoke volumes about his character. Tatey should be captain.

11. And finally, where do you thnk we’ll finish this season?

Without strengthening the squad we will finish in the play offs at best,
lower again if we lose Robbo’s goals and don’t replace him. If we do
strengthen then we can go up automatically though with only two slots that
will still be difficult.

Thanks to Gerwyn Evans for his answers.