Football: Swans still waiting for a saviour

FAN'S EYE VIEW: No 228 Swansea
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The Independent Online
Popular myth has it that the Welsh as a race are pessimistic in outlook. The supporters of Swansea City have more justification than most to harbour doubts and fears about their future. Even our newly appointed chief executive felt we must be the most long-suffering fans in the League and a glance at Swansea's immediate past shows how right he was.

A huge sigh of relief swept across the Vetch in August when the reign of the Sharpe family ended and an eager group of new directors took over. The relief was twofold as a previous takeover had collapsed and the club has a crumbling ground, having existed hand-to-mouth for many years. In contrast to the dead hand of the Sharpe years we were thrilled to hear of money for new players, a new stadium and a top to bottom review of the club. This review was to be from the petrol in the groundsman's mower to the manager himself.

To say that Jan Molby was the idol of the North Bank was an understatement. He had not only almost achieved the impossible and saved us from relegation in 1995 but had taken the Swans to Wembley and to within a whisker of promotion in the play-off final. This was exciting (if heart-breaking) stuff. Optimism was high for the new season although then the "imminent" takeover seemed as far off as Welsh rugby's next golden era. In the meantime the vital organs of the 1996-97 team were transplanted to Watford, Northampton and, most painfully of all, Cardiff.

It will all be different under the new regime we assured ourselves - no more asset-stripping. On its first day in charge the new board promptly sold striker Steve Torpey to Bristol City for pounds 400,000 and bought two League of Wales players for pounds 60,000. The cheque book has only appeared once since. The only crumb of comfort has been the form of one of the new signings, Tony Bird, who, in fairness, has done what no Swans striker has since the glory days of Bob Latchford and made the "highest scorer" rankings in the Sunday papers.

The fans' suffering was increased with a home defeat to Barry Town in the Welsh Cup and the inevitable sacking of Molby. In one fell swoop the Swans lost their best manager since John Toshack and one of the classiest midfielders outside the Premiership. Saviours have come and gone, and once we even had six all in one season, yet hoped the Great Dane would be with us forever.

As if by magic a new redeemer appears within 24 hours of the "unplanned" sacking of Jan the Man. The unfortunate man is Micky Adams - rejected by Fulham and promising to do for Swansea what he did at Craven Cottage.

If he does that then, fickle bunch that we are, we will revere him and the loss of Molby will be a distant memory. We are still tantalised by blueprints of our new stadium and talk of yet more players if Adams wants them.

Being Welsh and pessimistic we wait patiently while wondering, in the words of the Pet Shop Boys, what have we done to deserve this?