Last season Swansea secured their record points tally in the Premier League, and finished the campaign in their highest league position since 1981.
They played, as they have done since 2007, with an attacking swagger and flair allied to a continental style approach to the game, giving their many creative players license to roam and wreak havoc. Finishing 8th, they did the double over both Manchester United and Arsenal, in the process becoming only the third team since the inception of the Premier League to achieve that feat.
And they achieved all this with club legend Garry Monk as manager, a man who in his first full season at the helm impressed fans, players and pundits alike with his calm, methodical and intelligent approach to management.
Plenty has changed since May, though. The Swans now lie in 15th, with only 14 points from their opening 15 games. Results frankly have been poor all season, and performances have been nothing to write home about for the most part. While not looking shambolic, they have looked a shadow of the side that finished ‘best of the rest’, behind the top seven clubs, last season.
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This has led to some suggesting that the problem with the club is Monk, and that he should go. I believe to do so would be a grave mistake from chairman Huw Jenkins, and that the club would suffer as a result.
While there can be no doubt that both Swansea and Monk have fallen short of the expectations they set themselves for this season so far, I believe perspective is important here.
It is only four years since Swansea were promoted, and in that time they have been astoundingly successful for a club that is not one of the traditional ‘big’ Premier League outfits, and with a not over-large budget.
Expectations have naturally been raised by their brilliance since entering the Premier League (of which Monk has been a significant part), but now they are suffering a dip it is important to remember that their natural level may very well be 12th to 16th in the Premier League on a consistent basis.
Even though their supporters may well disagree with this, the fact remains that for Swansea City to be a consistent presence in the Premier League, whatever their league position, is a tremendous achievement.
There are also those who criticise Monk’s playing style this season, suggesting it’s not been the same free-flowing football that they have been used to over the last few seasons. While this may be true, it is also important to remember that Monk will be deliberately trying to be pragmatic and shore up the defence during their current bad run – in other words, safety-first at the moment might just be the right approach to take.
Again, supporters may disagree – that is their right. Maybe they should look at what Sam Allardyce has done to Sunderland in terms of their approach and defensive organisation since taking over before they start criticising how Monk is trying to set up his team?
In the end, the fact is that Monk is having a rocky patch. However, it’s also important to remember that things could be worse – they’re not on a straight run of defeats, they’re not in the relegation zone and they still have some tremendous, exciting talents who have shown glimpses of real talent this year.
It would be a shame if the board took a short term view, forgot all these things and got rid of the man who has played such an integral part in making Swansea the club they are today.