I’m not a detective. We all like playing at Sherlock though and this is how I see the evidence.
The first dozen years of your tenure were incredible. You had the amazing talent of selecting the right manager at the right time and the managerial seat was a prime spot; it was a great job to further any young managers career. And it wasn’t just managers. As we sold Wilfried Bony to Man City for super millions, it was clear that Swansea City was the perfect stepping stone for any player looking to propel onto the biggest stage of them all; You were an integral part in creating that! It became almost a ‘given’ that you were the best chairman in the league, an OBE was without doubt deserved and you began to receive a salary that reflected your undoubted talents.
Over the last twelve months however, you dismissed Garry Monk in very strange circumstances. It seemed really odd that he wasn’t dismissed directly after the Leicester loss and instead waited until the following Thursday (after you received your OBE). It was very uncharacteristic of a chairman who had generally been so clear in their plan and it got worse. There was clearly no post-Monk plan, nobody lined up in anyway and it was almost a case of sack him and worry about things afterwards.
After failing to find anyone suitable you elected to give Curtis the job ‘for the rest of the season’ which for me was the most peculiar thing about this whole period. Everyone knew that it wasn’t the case, we all knew that the panic button would be pressed should a couple of results go against us and when it did it left you in the position where you technically sacked our greatest legend of them all, at the very least you made him look slightly foolish. You then brought in Guidolin who kept us up, offered him the job on a full-time basis (2 year deal) and fired him after 7 matches.
Now, that is not the Huw Jenkins that is the best chairman in the league, deserved an OBE and a reported £500,000+ salary a year! Quite frankly that is shambolic by anyone’s standards. Most Newcastle fans would be embarrassed about that record!
So that is the evidence and we all play detective with what’s gone wrong. Many say that you are simply out of your depth, you took the club as far as you possible could, got lucky on a couple of occasions and it is time to move on. Personally I struggle to believe that someone can oversee a club from near oblivion to Premier league status by luck alone and let’s not forget that we continued to progress in the Premier League against the other clubs (other chairmen) right up until a couple of years ago; when (and this is where my detective hat takes me) you first looked to sell your shares.
What made this club successful was that when other clubs were looking for quick fixes, we were planning for the future, when other clubs were panic buying and paying over the odds on deadline day, we were already planning deals for the next transfer window; we had a clear long term plan and you were at the heart of it! What went wrong was that it stopped being about the future because you weren’t going to be the future of Swansea City Football Club anymore. Instead, we became a ‘quick fix’ team to ensure Premiership survival while shares were sold and no thought was put to after that.
I don’t believe that Guidolin would have been in place if you didn’t have more important things to deal with at the time. Let’s be honest, the last thing you wanted to do was have to spend a lot of time finding a manager when you were so close to cashing in your shares.
I belive that we would have brought in a top quality striker over the last two years if you had long-term goals for the club but why spend £15 million on an up and coming young player when you could get a free-be on ridiculous wages for the time-being?
Ultimately, I don’t know what’s gone wrong. I am simply trying to make sense of how a football club run so well by a chairman so calculated in his way has become such a complete mess.
If I have nailed it though and if our demise has been down to a lack of long-term planning, short-term fixes and the distraction of cashing in your shares then technically, there is no reason why you can’t be super chairman again now that the deal has gone through. If not then please close the door on your way out!