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Friday, December 24, 2010

A Second Swansea Assessment and Perspective of Swansea Pre-QPR

Enlarged Photo of 1962 Players including Peter Springett and Ron Hunt
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Here is the second (of possibly a trilogy) of Swansea Fans offering a perspective of Swansea and QPR. Many, many thanks to Kevin Elphic of Vital Swansea, for doing this


How long have you supported Swansea?

Around 10 years.

Tell me a little about yourself/your site/how long/how many readers, etc. (And other Swansea fan sites: Are they great inter-board wars like there seem to be with certain QPR sites)?

My name's Kevin Elphick and I've been running a Swansea City fansite now for 9 years, since July 2001 when I started swanseacityafc.co.uk. In 2005 it moved to the VitalFootball network which has helped to see it grow and attract a lot more visitors than it did before. Now it averages around 300,000 page views per month with a membership of over 3,000. The main Swansea City forum is Planet Swans.

What do Swansea Fans think of Cardiff? (I think QPR fans and Swansea fans may have a common feeling about Cardiff!)

Well, it's a fierce rivalry so we obviously hate each other because of the strong passion we have for each of our clubs and the fact that we're always trying to prove that we're the best team in Wales. Cardiff have got away with their financial problems recently to get to where they are now whereas the Swans have done it the proper way you could say, out of debt and owing money to no-one.

What do you think of the current Swansea manager? What did you think of Sousa (who of course was maneuvred out of QPR) and re Martinez?

Brendan Rodgers has proved a lot of fans wrong. Many believed that he wasn't the answer to continue our success in the Championship and they were disappointed with his initial appointment. However, the Irishman has done well so far and although I think we're only 2 points better off than last season under Sousa, we've actually been entertained compared to Sousa's boring defensive style last season.

Rodgers has received some criticism recently for a drop in form and his relunctancy to change things around in midfield - at the moment we don't have an attacking midfielder in the centre who is able to make things happen and to create attacking openings. We're excellent at keeping the ball in the middle third, but not enough at creating chances in the final third.

Despite many fans' strong opinions against Sousa, we could have done a lot worse. Another inexperienced manager could have put us in the bottom half and struggling against relegation, but he was able to deliver a solid 7th place and helped to strengthen our defence - which looked rather vulnerable under Martinez. However, football was never exciting to watch under Paulo and in the Spring his relationship with the board began to deteriorate. There was a lot happening behind the scenes and there were strong rumours emerging in April that he was expected to leave at the end of the season. Following his departure, there was talk that his attitude was completely wrong, and in the end the board had no option but to part company.

Roberto Martinez had a strong connection with the club and the fans whilst he was here but he broke up that strong bond when he decided to join Wigan. He lied and gave us false hopes for a bright future under the Spaniard, and the way he left was a huge disappointed which frustrated us. He didn't say a word to us explaining his reasons for leaving, and he was even speaking to Dave Whelan before he got permission to speak with our manager at the time.

What do you think of the current Swansea Chairman and Board of Directors? Why are they involved with Swansea? Could they realistically have done more? Could they/should they have tried harder to keep Sousa?

I think the Board of Directors and Chairman have done a great job since they came in 7 years ago. They helped to rescue the club from a terrible period under former owner Tony Petty, and ever since they took over we've been on the rise through the Football League - as well as being well run and spending within our means.

Whilst some fans are thankful for their early work to rescue us from Tony Petty, some believe they have taken us as far as they can - and they are not willing to spend extra money to help give us a boost for our promotion push this season. Our strict wage budget which our chairman refuses to revise is a problem when trying to sign players and we really need a couple of players in January at least to strengthen vital areas of the squad.

Regarding Sousa, I believe the Board wanted Sousa to leave as early as March/April. Working with him, his ego and his attitude wasn't easy and they were happy to see him leave when he did at the end of the season. Leicester City were then unfortunate to appoint him, as he had a terrible start with the Foxes before getting sacked.

Sinclair and currently Lopez who I see wants to leave:...Over years had Charles, Jackett and Hollins as managers
What is your view and the general Swansea view of QPR How are Swansea doing this season? Are your currently at your peak?

We reached our peak when we beat Cardiff City and ever since then we've suffered a drop in form - so we need to get back to our peak if we want to stay in the play-offs and close to second place.

Are you surprised by how Swansea are doing this season? Do you genuinely believe Swansea will make the top six?

I've definitely been surprised by our excellent start to the season, and we could even be up in second placed but we dropped a lot of points recently and we really need to find some form again. If we can find the form we had earlier in the season they we can stay in the top 6 and look up to an automatic place, but at present I fear that we're not scoring enough goals to win games and there's teams around us who are experiencing much better form than we are.

Hopefully we can sign an attacking midfielder and a striker in January to give us that much needed boost as we head into the second half of the season.

To what do you attribute the Swansea Success?

It has to be our consistency with our style and approach to the way we play the game. Roberto Martinez introduced a totally different style and way of playing the game compared to what we're normally used to, and the Board have looked to maintain that. An attractive passing style that has given us a good reputation of one of the best footballing sides in the division. The Board have always looked to maintain the trend of young, exciting up and coming managers who like to play football in a similar way. We've always ignored those who prefer the long-ball game as the board know the fans would hate to see that.

We've done well to keep most of Martinez's excellent bargain buys as well as our other strongest players who have excelled at this level. There's never been big changes to the way we play or to the playing staff which is really important to get consistency. Rodgers tried to make big changes when he moved to Reading and it proved to be a regretful decision as the Royals were struggling in the bottom half when he was sacked.

Who are you Dangerman/Most valued/most overrated/most underrated players?

Scott Sinclair is our main dangerman but he has struggled for form lately and hasn't really hurt teams with his skill and goalscoring ability. He is our most valued player though but he really needs to return to his earlier form which saw him score 12 goals. Right now, our most overrated player is probably Darren Pratley. He is superb on his day but lately all he seems to care about is a move out of the club. He's eyeing up a move to the Premiership but right now he can't get in our first team and rightly so.

I don't think we have any underrated players. Gower's performances did used to go unnoticed but fans have recognised how much he has improved this season since moving into a new central midfield role. He and Gower though do need to start creating more when we're on the attack, and hopefully Kemy Agustien is involved soon as he really looks like a quality player.

What are your past Encounter Memories - Best Memory/Worst Memory of Past Swansea-QPR Encounters? Who is your favourite QPR Player? (And your least favourite)? Ditto any view of Neil Warnock?

My best memory of the Swans playing against QPR was when we beat you 4-2 in the Cup at the Vetch Field. An absolutely thrilling night at our former ground and the atmosphere was electric - something we don't often see now at our modern Stadium.

I'm not sure about a favourite QPR player but my least favourite is probably Adel Taraabt. He's your main danger-man and if someone will hurt us on Sunday it'll be Taraabt. The sort of player we really need at Swansea as he can create something out of nothing.

And what can you say about Neil Warnock? A right character in the game which is what you need and a manager that I wouldn't mind seeing at Swansea City as I think he'd be successful here. After all the different managers QPR have had, it seems like they've finally found the one who could take you to the Premiership.

Prediction for season promotion/relegation places - And how would that compare with pre-season prediction?

I can't see Preston or Scunthorpe recovering from their current positions at the bottom of the table, and I think QPR will remain consistent enough to occupy top spot in May. It's difficult to predict the other two places as we all know this is such an open League. It's a surprise to see Leeds in second considering some of their results earlier in the season and where they were in the table not so long back. I'm hoping we finish in the play-offs as at present we don't look strong enough for second place. Before the season started though I would have been happy with a decent mid-table finish.

Are you looking forward to playing QPR?

Not particularly, I'd prefer Scunthorpe or Preston at home! QPR are a very strong team at home and we'll do very well to get a share of the points, considering our recent form, plus the fact that QPR will want to bounce back following the last 2 defeats.


QPR to win 2-1.

Once again, many thanks to Kevin for doing this pre-match assessement

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- A Swansea Fan's Perspective of Swansea and QPR

- Five Strikers to Help QPR Seal Promotion

- Nominate your Fan of the Year

- Past Christmas Greetings From The Club

- Winning Bid to Watch Neil Warnock Training Session: (Highest Winning Bid for Charity)

- Interesting Article about Argonauts FC (Who?!)

- Neil Warnock's Weekly Column/The Indpendent

Bernie Ecclestone's 2010 Christmas Greetings

Bernie Ecclestone's 2009 Christmas Greetings -

Bernie Ecclestone's 2008 Christmas Greetings

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