Tag: Swansea City

Dutch Treat in South Wales: Swansea & Total Football

In general, the phrase “total football” rolls off the tongue as easily as “fiery Welshman Craig Bellamy” and often conjures images of marauding fullbacks flying to spaces ludicrously-high up the pitch in an orange blur, engaging in a intricately-woven passing game wearing spiked wooden clogs. Holland’s approach to the game, crafted on the Ajax training grounds beginning in the mid 1950s and played to perfection on European stages in the 1970s, remains an innovation of admiration to football aficionados of the beautiful game. It has been exported across Europe’s leagues, from Rinus Michels of Ajax to Johan Cruyff’s influence over the playing culture still employed to the present day at Barcelona. Arsene Wenger’s Français-Anglais application in North London is a somewhat related variant while over in Wales, Brendan Rodgers has used the totaalvoetbal concept this Championship season to bring Swansea City to the cusp of Premiership promotion. Swansea City? For a club whose crest includes a stylized representation of an elegant bird, though, it feels somewhat appropriate Rodgers and Swansea would be the ugly ducklings in the rather regal family tree that is Total Football. Generally the preserve of the elite, this approach to the game requires intensive training involving teaching players to play in space rather than defined positions on the pitch and a fair amount of ego-swallowing on the part of some players who are compelled to defend their own goal rather than attack the opposition’s goal mouth. Shifting players’ expected...

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The Twohundredpercent Play-Off Jamboree: Swansea City 3-1 Nottingham Forest (3-1 Agg)

Thirty years ago, the football world was a very different place. What we now take to be the Premier League was still the First Division of the Football League, three points for a win were just about to be introduced as Aston Villa won their first league championship since 1910, having fielded just fourteen players all season, and Nottingham Forest had surrendered their name as the champions of Europe after two years with a 2-0 aggregate defeat at the hands of CSKA Sofia in the First Round of the European Cup the previous September, but still finished the season in a creditable seventh place in the table. Much has come and gone over the course of the intervening three decades, though, and Forest find themselves in the play-offs for a place in the Premier League. Swansea City, meanwhile, were heading for the promised land in 1981. The BBC’s Match Of The Day cameras were at Deepdale on the last day of the season to see John Toshack’s team win 3-1 against Preston North End and win promotion to the First Division for the first time on goal difference above Blackburn Rovers, relegating Preston at the same time. They were to last just two seasons in the top flight and by 1986 was back in the Fourth Division, but that team, a team of experience and flair, has come to...

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Match Of The Week: Swansea City 3-2 Nottingham Forest

Things are getting quite congested at the top of the Championship. Just six points separate second placed Norwich City from Nottingham Forest in sixth place in the table and, should Queens Park Rangers find themselves being docked points over the Alejandro Faurlin, even the relatively comfortable gap between them and the chasing pack – they are seven points clear of Norwich and ten ahead of third placed Swansea City – even that could start to crumble. Yet again, the top of the Championship table seems likely to offer us a tight end to the season. Part of the package that comes with such a close run-in is that the chasing pack, all jostling for position, have to play each other regularly as the season enters its final straight and this afternoon third-placed Swansea City are at home against sixth-placed Nottingham Forest. Both teams have already been granted a favour at lunchtime by struggling Sheffield United, who beat Leeds United by two goals to nil at Bramall Lane. It’s a result that has given Forest the opportunity to leapfrog over Leeds if they can muster a single point from The Liberty Stadium this afternoon. At this stage of the season, the margins that separate victory from defeat can be very slender indeed. Much is made of Nottingham Forest’s slide from grace since the glory days of the late 1970s, but...

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Match Of The Week: Swansea City 0-1 Forest

The Championship is starting to open up in the same way that it has in previous seasons, and the chances are that even if Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion end up strolling back into the Premier League, the race for the play-offs might be as tight as ever.

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Nathan Dyer: Southampton & The Politics Of The Fire Sale

A couple of months ago, Southampton Leisure Holdings, the holding company which owns Southampton Football Club went into administration. There was a brief and ineffectual protest from Southampton FC based upon the argument that this particular holding company wasn’t the same as the football club, and that they shouldn’t, therefore, face any sanctions from the Football League. The League, to their credit, decided that they would be the ones to make this decision and, after an independent audit, they confirmed that the two organisations were “inextricably linked”. Their relegation from the Championship was managed of their own accord, meaning that they will start next season ten points behind everyone else in League One. Any last vestiges of their being no link between the two organisations was confirmed today, when the company’s administrator confirmed that neither the players nor the staff had been paid for the month of May. With the administrators already having confirmed – morally correctly, at least – that no season tickets are to be sold until a resolution to their period in administration has been agreed, it’s starting to look difficult to see how Southampton FC will even be able to start next season unless new buyers for the club can be found. There will be a further meeting on the 5th of June, but we can expect to see redundancies and players leaving the club...

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