Dominic O’Shea sends in his latest column for Vital Swansea.
Looking forward with Martinez, or looking back to Toshack?
As we approach the most crucial stage of the season 11 points clear of the chasing pack, it is inevitable as fans that we get excited about the possibility (some say probability) of promotion, and being Champions. What is clear of course, is that the board, by hook or crook appointed one of the brightest young managers around just over a year ago, one that’s averaged over 2 points a game since. With the prospect of reaching the second tier of English football for the first time in my life, I have read Message boards and Guestbooks from various Swans websites, all commenting on the simularity between our own Roberto Martinez and the current Welsh manager, one John Toshack.
Inaki Bergara, the Goalkeeping Coach at the Liberty Stadium became the latest in a long line of people to publicly comment on the comparison, commenting that they both share success as being a part of their make-up, and no-one could argue with that.
Few could have imagined the success Martinez would have brought when he took over the reigns last year, in a similar way to how Toshack inspired the Swans’ rise to Division One when he took over, in his first managerial position.
One of the great similarities of course, is the style of football, as the Liberty Stadium has witnessed some beautiful, flowing football which has produced flair, goals and results, very much akin to the football Toshack encouraged during his tenure.
While the obvious comparisons are there however, I must pose the question if we look back too much? I remember the 7-1 defeat of Bristol City in the 2005/06 season, and guestbooks were flooded with similar messages, as we had torn them apart with football on the floor.
Although I agree that it proved to be a false dawn footballing-wise, and that Martinez has brought us the consistency and strong mentality we lacked under Jackett, i wonder why it is that we have to invariably hark back to the ‘good old days’, rather than look forward to the future with anticipation.
I have never witnessed the Swans in such a healthy position as this, and I can’t wait to hopefully see the Swans in the Championship next year. This excitement is perhaps so unbridled because I have yet to see our beloved Swans at such heights, and, being older, those fans that have are filled with caution after our equally dramatic fall in the late 1980’s.
As a fan here and now, though, what i would love to see, is the Liberty Stadium packed every week. I have taken a various number of student friends from Glasgow to Shaftsebury to games this year, they have enjoyed it, and gone back even without me (albeit using my season ticket), and they, as Roberto can’t, don’t understand why we can’t fill the stadium almost week-in week-out with the level of football being played.
Wouldn’t it be great if in the next few years all Swans fans looked forward to a new era of success, and not back to the ‘golden era’ under Toshack, which I feel almost haunts us sometimes. Let’s get behind the Swans, and create a new set of memories that will hopefully live far longer than the short stint in the top division some 25 years ago. What do other fans think??
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