Date: 3rd August 2006 at 1:13pm
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Our first entry for our latest Fan Interview is by Lisa Higgins (sbrjack).

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

That playoff defeat will spur the boys on I’m sure. I think now they know what to expect from this league, complacency will not set in. However we will have to work on our away form that cost us our automatic promotion. The players also must not be ill disciplined last season we gave away needless bookings for dissent – those must be limited. Transfer wise we are stronger this season with much added depth so I don see why we cannot claim automatic promotion.

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 was a little concerned over the summer of the lack of transfer activity and the departure of Sam Ricketts was a blow but with the arrival of Butler and Amankwaah there is a new confidence in the side. We now have depth and cover in key positions that will stand us in good stead when we get injuries; last season the lack of depth in key positions cost us dear. In spite of this we need a LB cover to challenge Williams, who has yet to fully convince me he is up to the job. He is sometimes too rash and lets players get to him we need a composed LB with pace. Pace is key for the defence this season and duly a pacy CB is needed also, Monk does not have enough pace to cope with blistering runs at him, however Amanka’s inclusion at RB has helped with his added pace.

Also a versatile winger is needed who can provide fallon and the strikeforce with much needed decent crosses into the box and open up spaces for angled runs from Knight and Trundle. Yes Butler has more or less got that but I would be much happier with another winger who will give us more attacking options.

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

Brilliant addition to the Squad he has many good attributions such as his pace and his cool head. We needed a player who would control the centre of midfield, Pratley offers that. His distribution is excellent this should ensure better attacking play; last season many balls from the midfield would not find their chosen target and this then put added pressure on the defence. Pratley could be our player of the season.

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?

It was an ok deal for us, could have asked for more though I think he is rated marginally higher. However we had the supposed Leacock deal to fund so the fee could have been more. I am sad to see Sam go but he was far too inconsistent we need a LB who will be consistent. In spite of that when he did play well he was brilliant. However if he wanted to play at a higher level one could not deny him that chance it will be good for Wales.

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?

Well yes I think it would have been easier to attract targets if we were in the championship for obvious reasons. However if the player is the right one for the swans and the price is right why should HJ and KJ stop going for them.

As for the effect on the lack or signings, it seems like it is a clear policy this season to buy and not to dip into the loan market. I feel the loan market has been under utilized this transfer window. We have 3 clear positions in the squad that need filling as I mentioned in question 2 being, LB, CB and a winger; why not dip into the loan market for these players. As for realistic well, if players can see a club is going places if we wanted to sign players of caliber they would see for themselves what we as a club are trying to achieve the infrastructure here has improved drastically with new stadium and such players would want to come to a club that is vibrant.

By virtue of going for players like Leacock showed we can attract good players and why should it stop us from trying to buy or loan big named player yes Ballack and Henry are out of the question but why not see if championship rated players would step down a division, it’s the old adage you don’t know if you don’t try.

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

I do agree with Releasing Brian Murphy he was too inexperienced and did not give Willy enough competition, and even in the games he played he looked poor. He did not also have enough experience at this level and this contributed to his ”bench warming” role. It may be a mistake in the long run but in the short term the side need a experienced keeper for cover.

However I was mystified by Adrian Forbes’ departure, he is a very good player who plays with passion and seemed to get the side out of trouble, also his work rate was excellent. Martinez was a brilliant servant of this club and his treatment preceding his release by the club could have been handled better, things were going wrong on the pitch and a player who could lead by example was needed.

Roberto would have done so, Roberto gave 110% for the side yes his age is now against him and HJ and KJ wanted to bring in the likes of Way to freshen things up but Martinez could have served the club off the field as well as on, this now maybe impossible.

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!

The board has not learnt their lessons from previous transfer deals; we lost players due to HJ naming them in the press before the pen had been put to paper. I think the swans should firstly agree to confidentiality and make sure players are 100% fit before even opening negotiations with clubs for players.

It caused a great deal of embarrassment for the club and may impact further negotiations with clubs. Also with headlines from the Evening Post such as this week ”Spending could continue” by HJ, this will perhaps have a negative affect on how other clubs see the Swans. Other clubs will be hiking up their estimates over players now they know we will splash the cash, lets be more conservative in the transfer market when it comes to disclosure of information be more covert in dealings it is possible; this was shown by the Leon Knight transfer which came out the blue. Who knows more bargains alla Knight could occur by following confidentiality principles.

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?

We should have sold him but not cheaply, as we saw last season with Lee Trundle’s will he won’t he move to Portsmouth or whatever other club he was linked with. Lee admitted to himself that he was unsettled and his performances suffered. This could happen with Andy, he knows this will by all intense and purposes will be his last season so this will have a knock on effect on his performances, however he may also feel that he is firmly now in the shop window and will spur him on.

We will have to wait till the football does the talking to see the firm answer in that department. Unlike Sam Ricketts who I feel genuinely wanted to play at a higher level, Andy and his agent have hardly endeared themselves with the club and fans. Every player has a final price HJ and KJ will know this we cannot be held to ransom or forced by ultimatums saying ”pay me what im worth.”

Yes players should be given rises in pay but not huge rises; this may set a dangerous precedent in the club where any player could come along and demand the same.

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


Tate, Monk, Izzy and Williams

Robbo, Pratley, OTJ , Britton

Fallon, Knight

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?

I don’t think Monk has the attributes to be a good captain, he is not vocal enough for the job and often goes AWOL in games, we need a strong person who can lead by example. Robbo would be mine but in the light of what has gone on then this may not be possible so Alan Tate will get my vote.

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

Automatic or there and there abouts.

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