It has been a strange fifteen or so months for the club. Relegation was obviously a disaster for many reasons but the regrouping of the squad and the injection of youth into the side has kept many fans content with the way that last season panned out.
Seeing the young squad progress into the first team was pleasing for all and should always be an aim for any football side, something which we lost during our Premier League years. It is clear now that there were players within the Under 23s who thoroughly deserved the opportunity.
It seems insane that Swansea had the likes of Grimes, Rodon, Daniel James, McBurnie, Roberts and Byers the previous season and most of them never kicked a ball for the first team. So youth is the way forward………
It would be very easy running a football club if your academy was like working a farm where you have a constant supply of quality fresh meat, but sadly it isn’t quite so simple.
In 1992 Manchester United had the famous crop of young talent that went on to conquer the Premier League for the next decade. Scholes, Beckham, Giggs, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers were the cream of the crop but Savage, Gillespie and others also made the grade at the top flight.
This is a famous serge of talent coming through at the same time, one so immensely rare that there was a film released about it named ‘class of ‘92’.
Last season we saw Swansea’s equivalent; arguably the greatest serge of young talent that the club has produced at the same time in its entire history. The club needs to realise the rarity and value of this, we can’t simply sell-off our class of 2018 because the academy isn’t a farm.
In the 17/18 season, Swansea finished 4th in the top Academy league, above United, City and Chelsea. The previous season the Swans Under 23s won the league, top of the lot! Last season……. Swansea finished bottom…..
Investment in the youth team has dried up, that’s been clear and understandable to an extent. Byers, McBurnie and Grimes were all additions to the club, bought for the future and it is unlikely that we will see the club find similar young players for three of four years down the line.
Without wishing to sound disrespectful to the current players applying their trade in the Under 23 set-up, they aren’t as good as the ones two years ago and it would be naïve to expect the next lot or the ones after to reach that level.
I’m all for youth development and bringing youngsters through but we need to fully appreciate that having 6 championship players able to step-up from the Under 23s to the Championship at the same time is rare. We’ve sold one, we can’t simply sell the other five and bring another 6 through!