Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Swans review pt2 - Swans Trust and Old Shareholders

Following on from part 1, where I looked at the background, comments and possible motivations of the new shareholders this part was initially going to be a bit more in-depth but recent events have overtaken that but wanted to get this out anyway:

Old Shareholders

While there's an enormous amount of credit in the bank for the work (and financial input) from the old shareholders there's plenty in the last 12 months to feel aggrieved about.

Although both the sackings of Monk and Guidolin could to differing extents be justified, both were handled pretty badly.

Monk's in terms of making him take training even through everyone knew he was finished and Guidolin for the case of re-hiring him in the summer then pulling the plug effectively after 5 league games and leaving him to deal with the (not-so quiet) whispers of the last couple of weeks.

Being a shareholder at Swansea City in recent times must have been like balancing an uninsured Ming vase on your head: technically you're a rich man but one slip and you're just left with a mess to clear up.

Personally, rather than the 'Taking Swansea to the next level' stuff I'd rather they were honest and said it was a life changing amount of money you can't really say no to and it was time to get out while the going was good.

The fact that the sale went ahead largely without the Trust's knowledge suggests the shareholders didn't want anyone rocking the boat which when you consider the sums of money involved I can understand. It's one thing to say you'd do the decent thing but to be honest in the same situation I'd be tempted to do the same.

It does however leave the question of how much of a selling tool Jack to a King was, given it appears to have been funded by an interest free £1.2m loan from the club, it may be that ticket + DVD sales and other rights bring a decent return and the club breaks even and gets its money back but question is how much of Jack to a King was to promote the Swansea message and how much to help draw in a buyer?  Given the number of messages from the club about how tough things are financially this seems like an expensive vanity project at best.

The Trust
I think the Trust have a pretty much impossible job, although 21% brings some rights and influence ultimately if people don't want to deal with you then you have no way to force them through the normal legal channels.

This from Trust Chairman Phil Sumbler on the Planet Swans forum was interesting and an insight into the difficulties the Trust face, say too much and be accused of washing your dirty laundry in public, or on the other hand risk others thinking you're saying too little and being ineffective.

They are also in the difficult position now of not being in desperate need for members financially in terms of what £10 memberships can bring in when they have several hundred thousand pounds from club dividends and also have to answer the question 'What difference will my membership make if the Trust get ignored?'

Arguably that's precisely the reason the Trust needs a strong membership, this may all end up a fuss over nothing or it could be the start of something quite messy for which a strong and vocal Trust is required. If you want to join, you can sign up online here

Ultimately a large part of what made Swansea City different and in the words of their own marketing 'Not just another football club' has gone.  That doesn't mean that everything will now fall apart, Bradley's not an idiot even if he's not the most inspiring choice, the squad is OK if not great and I'd put us to finish around 14th-16th.

If you wanted to place blame for where we are now I wouldn't put too much of it at the door of the new owners as things stand. It's not time for the burning pitchforks just yet but they've certainly a fair amount of convincing to do.