I was fortunate to speak with the current New York Cosmos manager and Ex-Swans player Giovanni Savarese; here is how it went:
You were one of a few bright lights in our relegation season, how do you remember your time at the Swans?
For me it was a beautiful time there in Swansea. I connected with the town and the fans. I felt proud of representing Swansea, I felt that I understood the importance of club within the City and for me it was tremendous. It was a shame that we couldn’t save team from relegation. But I only have good memories. My daughter reminds me, she feels welsh as she was born there and so we always have that connection to the area as well.
Did you follow how the club did after then?
Always! I continued to follow the club from time I left up until right now. I played for a few clubs but for me Swansea is one of the clubs that I remember with the most appreciation. I loved how the people treated me, how I understood the importance of this club, it was all a tremendous experience. I followed the club through the difficult times, the good times, the stadium change, right up until the last game against Spurs.
I’m guessing that you couldn’t have imagined us getting to the Premier League?
It is incredible, I had the chance to visit the club when Monk was there and it was a great thing to see how many people who were still there in the organisation, behind the scenes. Their loyalty has been rewarded. It was a strange feeling seeing the stadium, old vetch is always a romantic story and we all have great memories of the place but it was amazing to see how far the club has progressed but still with those same people involved.
How much coverage is there of the premier League there today?
It’s incredible, every match! we follow every situation, every news story, NBC gives us the gift to watch every match. I can watch every game in my house, and analysis and everything. The coverage here is amazing, we are all very aware of everything that is going on in the Premier League.
How did you become manager of the New York Cosmos?
I was actually in the organisation, in charge of youth system and when new ownership came in, they sat down with me and gave me their ideas and proposed that I could be manager for the professional team which was to come out in 2013. It is what I love the most, it’s the direction I wanted and for me it was the right time to say yes and so for me it has been an easy decision.
How does it work, I see you have a Spring season and then a Fall season, you currently lay 5th overall, what is the aim?
The way it works is that there are 2 seasons but they all combine. If you win one season then you automatically quality for the semi final play off and will have home match. Then the highest placed overall gets the next 2 places. If you win the semi-final then you play in the final for the championship. We need to sneak up to 3rd or 4th but that is important for us.
And then would you get promoted if you win the final?
Sadly we don’t have promotion and relegation in the US yet and so there is no way of getting into the MLS. We have a really good history at the club and it is important for us to keep this going.
How are the crowds doing? You have a lot of competition from other sports in the city and the Red Bulls and New York City, are the cosmos a bit of a sleeping giant at the moment? On the up? Must be a great club to be a part of?
It is difficult because the competition is big, not only other sports, like the Yankees etc… but also in soccer we have the ones that you mention and so it is difficult to compete but we are doing well. On the field, we have beaten the Red Bulls and New York City more than they have us but it is a constant challenge off the field.
Is it frustrating that your beating them but can’t play them?
Exactly, we are beating them but there isn’t the situation for us to be able to play them regularly but the club has had its difficulties and it has been saved and so we need to be grateful for this.
Do you keep in touch with anyone from the Swans from back then?
There are a few friends that I’m still connected with. We had such an amazing group with great characters and I feel grateful for my whole time there. I’d like to connect with John Hollins more but I managed to catch up with him about 18 months ago. I speak with Alan Curtis who I respect very much, I think everyone who has ever been associated with the club has huge amounts of respect for him and everything that he has done; he is a lovely man. It’s a club and it’s like my home even though I’m here in New York.
Do you fancy managing in the U.K one day? Could you be a future Swans manager?
Definitely. I am definitely open and very interested to be in the premiership and to be able to manage a club there. If it is Swansea then when the time is right it would be a great opportunity because of the passion I have for the club and because of the understanding that I have. I follow the league, the club and definitely would be interested in that one day.