Huw Jenkins: Mastermind with managers?

It is hard to really know what goes on within a Football club; certainly at board room level. There have been increased calls for a change of direction, frustration at how the club is being run and a change at the helm is being mooted by fans and supporters groups alike. Huw Jenkins refused to speak to Jack Swan magazine to shed any light on matters and so I have had a delve into it all myself.

Is Huw Jenkins on the fiddle????

Let’s call a spade a spade shall we? or at least try and find out if a spade is in fact a spade?
Fans are arguing amongst themselves and Huw Jenkins is undoubtedly getting a lot of the uproar from the fans but is it deserved?

Nobody can question the job he did in getting us to the Premier league but where has all the money gone the last 7 seasons? Which has led many fans assuming that he must be sitting on a mountain of siphoned cash…. is he?

Lets Look properly at the figures (that we can find)

Our figures for 2015/16 season reveal that Swansea City as a business made a loss of £14.6 million. There were a number of factors which is why we posted a loss according to the club; the sacking of Garry Monk and his team meant that they needed a pay-out, our drop in league position from 8th to 12th meant that we received less money for our league position. This as well as a larger playing squad and further investments into our infrastructure were main the reasons given.
Turnover that year was £97.2 million with outgoings at £117.5.

Interestingly we made a recorded player sale profit of £6.1 million which included Jonjo Shelveys move to Newcastle. So without player sales we would have lost over £20 million with the simple day to day running of the club (plus the annual managerial sacking).

This financial year was before the sales of Ashley Williams and Andre Ayew. Huw Jenkins said he expected the club to post a profit of in excess of £10 million the following campaign but these figures (as with other clubs) are yet to be released.

So what do we expect this 16/17 to look like….
Match and commercial income for 2015/16 season came in at around £18 million and although the Yanks were going to dramatically increase this with their commercial expertise (although left the expertise to Leigh Dineen) we will assume the same figure for this campaign.

The new TV deal came in last season meant that the lowest placed club last season would get close to £100 million. We finished 15th and would have expected to take around £110 million which is £30 million more than the previous campaign. So our revenue (pre players sales) should be up to about £128 million which, would be the £10 million profit that Huw Jenkins spoke about. Easy; makes sense….. Are you all with me so far?

This is where it gets a little more tricky as this is pre-player sales and pre the pre-players sales (pre Andre Ayew, Pre Ashley Willams and YES pre- Baston). When we take the player sales for this campaign into account we actually made a player sale loss; bringing in some panic January players (and Baston) reportedly cost more than the Ayew, Williams etc… sales to the tune of about £8 million. Suddenly our 2016/17 campaign with all that extra TV money looks like more of a break-even/small profit one……. this without the Guidolin and Bradley pay-out…and a rumoured extra £10 million in wages………we will see when figures are released.

Over the last summer, we reportedly made close to £30 million profit selling Siggy, Llorente and jack Cork while bringing in Clucas, Bony, Messa and some loan deals. All this is very close to the figure which has been talked about being invested into the playing squad by the chairman and so looking at all this; I don’t see a secret stash of money anywhere, the accounts all seem to add up.

But this asks a further question; if we don’t have a stash of money then why not?

How has Huw run the club?

As well as it was run for over a decade, it appears to have been run poorly the last few seasons. It is generally accepted that player recruitment, which Huw oversees has been poor but once again, is this fair?

The latest ‘rich club’ list of Europe has Swansea comparable to Stoke and Crystal Palace in terms of financial might. We compare signings in recent transfer windows:

Swansea City Summer top 3 signings= £40 million:
Sam Clucas £17 million 13 starts 6.48 average rating
Wilfried Bony £12 million 8 starts 6.57
Roque Messa £11 million 9 starts 6.28

Stoke City top 3 signings: £34 million
Kevin Wimmer £19 million 14 starts 6.52
Bruno Martins Indi £9 million 6 starts 6.22
Moritz Bauer £6 million 2 starts (January signing) 6.80

Crystal Palace. Top 3 signings £39 million
Mama Sakho £28 million 10 starts 6.62
Jairo Riedewald £9 million 3 starts 6.32
Jaroslaw Jach £2 million: Not played

As you can see, added together, each club spent approximately the same amount on their main 3 signings and the average ratings are all comparable too. This could be that all three have been poor at recruiting players, all three have changed manager since the summer but it could also be that fans are expecting too much in each case. We expect a £17 million signing to be able to walk on water and bang in 20 goals a season. If we go back another twelve months; the top 3 are this:

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Swansea City: top 3 16/17 season: Total £30 million
Borja Baston £18 million away on loan
Alfie Mawson £6 million 24 starts 6.77
Jordan Ayew £6 million 21 starts 6.81

Stoke City: top 3 16/17 season £35 million
Joe Allen £15 million 22 starts 6.95
Saidio Beharinho £14 million 3 starts 6.09
Ramandan Shobi £6 million 8 starts 6.52

Crystal Palace: top 3 16/17 season £60 milloin
Christan Benteke £30 million 16 starts 6.84
Andros Townsend £15.60 million 17 starts 7.09
Luka Milivojetic £15 million 21 starts 6.80

Stoke and Swansea are similar once again in this transfer window in terms of both spend and player achievements. Both with the one ‘flop’ in Baston and Beharinho but the others being a general success. Crystal Palace spent big this window but bought good players who have remained in the starting eleven and played well.

So it is possibly unfair to totally dismiss our transfer dealings over the last few windows and fans may be guilty of falling into the trap of both expecting too much and us all talking within ourselves until something becomes a fact.

But managerial appointments have been shocking right??

‘Since Laudrup left managerial choices have been awful!!’ that is another ‘fact’ within our fan base. But let’s stop and have a look!

Garry Monk took February 4th 2014 to 9 December 2015. Lasted 673 days

Francesco Guidolin 18th January 2016 – 3 October (259 days)
Bob Bradley 3rd October to 27th December (85 days)
Paul Clement 3rd January 2017 to 20th December 2017 (351 days)

This is undoubtedly a disappointing turnaround of managers but does that really matter?

There have been 75 different managers in the premier league since Laudrup left (including current ones) so the fact that we are now on our fifth man in the hot seat is not that surprising and not far from what the average would be (we’ve sacked 4, 2.75 would be average).

But how did each person do?

We always remember the end of a relationship, why we broke up and not the good parts that happened prior to it all falling apart and it is almost certainly the same with our memories of managers.

With the exception of the shocking Bob Bradley, every one of these managers did a very good job for us when needed. Football has changed and the dream of having a manager for four or five seasons is harbouring on being a dead dream. Arguably, Monk, Guidolin and Clement were good managerial appointments at the right time and if any blame should lay at Huws door then it should be that Guidolin and Clement lasted too long!

I’d argue that sides who have been in the Premier League for a number of years naturally become stale, within the playing squad and us fans at times too. We have all felt a boost from the new manager, fans, media and players alike. Maybe we just need to accept this as the future and maybe Huw’s record in managerial appointments remains impressive………. except Bob Bradley that is….

So there you have it. The chairman is actually decent in the transfer market, good at appointing managers and isn’t hiding a bucket load of cash! Bring the banners down……….


The sale of the club was underhand but it also felt like the running of the club was put on the back burner while the sale was going through. And although all the above seems true; there are still questions and in my opinion the club hasn’t recovered from the time when Huw and the other directors took their eye off the ball here.

As the Guardian put it after the 15/16 figures:
“Previously hailed as the ideal model across football by Premier League executive chairman, Richard Scudamore, this was the year the Swansea City halo fell off. The shareholders who had worked in partnership with the 21.1% owning supporters trust excluded them from negotiations to sell their shares to US investors Levien and Kaplan, which made each of them 100 times their small initial stakes. Swansea made a loss in 2015-16, and Huw Jenkins’ hand with managerial appointments and in the transfer market was less sure. There is some way to go if the US owners are to restore serenity to the Swans.”

Huw ultimately has to take responsibility for all the running of the club and he has to take responsibility for our wage structure. Something that he’s been amazing at for many years but I personally feel that poor decisions were made here while the sale of the club happened and it is almost impossible to claw it back.

Gomis and Andre Ayew were free transfers who could demand high wages. Everyone knows a club cannot have two players on £80,000 a week while everyone else is on less than half of that. I’ve said this for some time but I don’t think that we’d have signed the likes of Andre Ayew and Gomis on the deals they had if Huw Jenkins wasn’t looking to sell the club. It made good short-term sense but expensive in the long-term.

Our wages in 15/16 was £82 million. The twelfth highest in the league while only boasting the 18th highest turnover. We reportedly added an extra £10 million onto that for the last campaign (which would include sacking 2 managers). Comparing us again with Stoke and Crystal Palace, this is over £15 million a season more than they pay-out. It is clear that we have had a run-away wage bill hike which stemmed around the same time that the sale was going through and it is now difficult to bring back.

In 2012 our wage bill was £35 million and 54% of our turn over. Within four years it rose to £84 million and 85% of our total turnover. You can argue that TV revenue is the driving force but Stoke City’s rise of £53 million to £67 million over the same timeframe is far more natural.

Only the fact that QPR were still in the top flight when these figures were released prevented us from topping the ‘highest percentage of income on wages’ league. We look likely to win that embarrassing accolade this time round. Something has gone awfully wrong for a chairman who has prided himself on being shrewd and careful with our finances and I can’t overlook that it all spiralled around the time of the clubs sale.
But still……………………..

how so much in wages?

We are becoming immune to ‘millions’ on this and that. We just switch off. We reportedly (talk sport) paid £92 million on wages for the 16/17 campaign; it sounds a lot but that is about as far as our brains technically go.

But have a look at this right:
Here I have totally guessed what players and everybody earns but I have generally attempted to guess on the high side and I still haven’t got close to the £92 million figure.

Players are earning insane amounts but I don’t think we have 3 sub keepers each taking £15,000 a weeknor more. And when you look at the squad like that we expect Llorente to be on a lot, Siggy to be on a big chunk but most of the squad have come from places where they wouldn’t have been on a shedload.

Tom Carroll for example was a young player at Spurs who don’t break the bank fortheir first team players. I doubt he needed £30,000 a week. The same with Naughton, Jack cork, Mawson. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of these aren’t or should be on half the amount given there.

Looking at the playing squads of Swansea, Palace and Stoke, it is really hard to work out why (or where) we pay out so much more in wages than the other two clubs. Are Swansea paying more in wages to their top players than Stoke pay Shaquiri, Crouch, Charlie Adams, Berahino & Shawcross or that Crystal Palace pay Benteke, Zaha, Townsend, Cabaye and Dann? I struggle to believe that one.

But wherever these wages are going, it is money that is being ‘signed off’ by Huw Jenkins and managed by him and he has to accept that it has been really, really poorly managed since his glory days of 2012.

To try and work out how much £92 million is then I recommend trying and guess how much each player earns; too much!
Is he the right man going forward?

Ultimately, that is what we all need to decide. He dealt with the sale absolutely awfully and has lost his integrity by the way he went behind the Supporters Trust; there can be no doubt about that.

But that doesn’t mean that he isn’t and cannot be the right man for the job moving on? He has got an incredible record of choosing the right manager at the right time and I personally think this remains almost 100% intact with the exception of Bob Bradley who we all assume wasn’t really his choice.

Player recruitment hasn’t been good of late but not as awful as some imply. He’s spoke with Jorge Mendes which in one way is good to see but I can’t help feel it is an addition to our panic short-termism which will result in further wage increases but we wait and see.

Looking at everything I find it all quite bizarre. Basically, taking the sale of the club out of it all; a lot of fans bemoan Huw Jenkins for his player recruitment but it doesn’t read too badly. Huw Jenkins accepts poor recruitment but defends himself with a stable financially managed club; which we clearly don’t have!