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The changing of the guard...
Sunday, 3rd Feb 2019 08:47 by Planet Swans (follow us on Twitter @swansnews)

The Huw Jenkins legacy at Swansea City will be a strange one when you look back on it in years to come because it probably deserves to be one of legend given the turnaround in league fortunes but it will be one likely remembered for some time as a series of poor decisions and a belief in own hype?

The news that he had resigned early yesterday evening seemed to come as a shock to most people and clearly the club who were over three hours pulling together a statement when you would assume that the resignation of the Chairman would have been something prepared for and released first on the club website.

And when that statement did come it was full of confusion where they confirmed his resignation before going on to state that action needed to be taken which only served to fuel a belief that maybe there was an element of pushing before he got in there first with his press release.

It is clear that Jenkins had decided that if he was going he was going to go with one last stand of defiance - the same defiance that it is widely rumoured kept Dan James at Swansea on Thursday night when the player had already posed for photos in his new Leeds kit. Whether we will ever find out that this was the case is a matter for discussion though and the coming days and weeks could be filled with some interesting releases.

What is clear is that the fanbase though is very divided over the departure with the latest votes in our Twitter poll suggesting that him leaving is a bad thing is a clear view of the fans with the comments suggesting this is driven by the fear of who is next rather than the appreciation of a job well done. Particularly in the latter years.

Huw Jenkins was afforded the privilege of being Chairman of our football club for seventeen years. After being appointed in 2002 he gradually helped steer the club from the abyss of the Football League trapdoor (2003) through promotions in 2005, 2008 and 2011 to an incredible seven year stay in the Premier League which also included a major trophy and a European Adventure.

Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool were all dispatched with what felt like frightening regularity as a series of managerial appointments including Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup seemed to be changing the face of Swansea City for years to come.

It wasn't just the appointments the managers were bringing in some sensational players with Roberto giving us the likes of Angel Rangel, Ferrie Bodde and Jordi Gomez. Brendan added Scott Sinclair, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Danny Graham whilst Michael was inspired with the likes of Michu, Chico, De Guzman and many more as the Swans became one of the teams that everyone wanted to watch - many people's 'second' team as it were.

It seemed as we destroyed 3-0 in Valencia that things could never go wrong and Huw took all the plaudits that he got at that time including a MBE and there wasn't Swansea fans who could begrudge it such was the turnaround in less than a generation.

And then it slowly started to unravel. An argument between Michael Laudrup, the club and his agent surfaced in the summer of 2013 and the writing for one of the world's greatest players was on the wall. He survived until February 2014 before he was sacked.

The club were in a strong position then though, still in Europe, still in the Premier League and still the League Cup holders. There would have been no shortage of suitors for the job which makes a mockery of us appointing Garry Monk from within. One of the players who had led the charge against Laudrup.

For a year or more it looked good as Monk led us to league doubles over both Arsenal and Man Utd and our highest Premier League finish but it was going wrong behind the scenes and had been for some time before. The transfer dealings that managers had seen working so well were starting to create some poor decisions and, more importantly, there was a desire for the board to cash in on the good times and take the money they felt they deserved.

One potential set of owners came and went in a flurry of suspicion from the fans and the release of 'Jack to a King' was widely criticised for the complete fabrication of points in time whilst the brushing over of other points in time was just open for question. It was a marketing propaganda to allow for the sale of the club and it was working.

Late in 2015, as the Garry Monk era was starting to go wrong a decision was taken to look to sell the club to a group headed by Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien. Crucially, this decision was taken without reference to the Supporters Trust, an organisation that owned 21% of the club and one that had played a big part in the saving of the club and one that Jenkins had always said was crucial to our future.

As Jenkins, with Leigh Dineen as his vice Chairman progressed with the sale, the Trust were kept out of discussions for more than six months before being presented with a deal that was moving rapidly towards completion. The damage was done, relationships were broken and the unity that had seen the club progress so far had been destroyed with one simple decision. A decision that many will tell you was fuelled with greed and the fear that another deal could be scuppered.

Three years of pain followed. The club lurched from one poor managerial appointment to another and Guidolin, Bradley, Clement and Carvalhal all came and went as the Swans went from a side comfortable in the Premier League to one clinging onto its place which was eventually a battle we lost in May 2018.

The transfer dealings were even worse. Poor players were recruited and the family jewels were being sold. Nobody will ever forget the disaster that was the Gylfi Sigurdsson sale - in itself it looked a good deal but the replacements were sub standard and expensive and weakened a squad to a level from which we could not recover.

The fans were restless, the shareholders who conspired against them were still visible and it seemed that there was no money from the new owners to justify the sale. The Chairman himself admitted his position would be untenable in the event of relegation and now it appears that it really is although it could have been quite some time ago.

It is difficult to know which one of two legacies will stick the longest.

1. The one that saw a dramatic rise from the foot of the league to the top division and Europe or
2. The one that saw the club sold behind the back of the supporters' shareholding and the poor decisions that continued to follow that.

Both of them are valid legacies and one will stick longer in the mind.

What we do know now is that we will need to find a replacement to head up the club and the owners have said they will work with the Trust to make that happen. Almost three years into their tenure we have heard that before so let's see how it plays out before we applaud it but words are positive, talk is where the evidence is.

And to the outgoing Chairman, thank you for some of the greatest memories we all have in following the Swans. Thank you for the part you played in the Premier League, the League Cup, Europe and some wonderful football memories. But that second legacy is a strong one and the freshest in the memory and for that, you simply had to depart.

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Photo: Action Images



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