The Swans Trust wish to comment on today’s announcement that Bob Bradley has been removed from his post. The Trust has had the opportunity to meet Bob Bradley and he has been nothing other than professional, open and honest in his conduct at this football club.
However, it is clear to see that major changes needed to be made to the management of the football club if we are to have any hope of advancing. The Trust had expressed its view to the majority owners after the Tottenham match that we did not believe Bob Bradley should continue as manager of the football club, and that view was further reiterated after the West Ham game. Following those detailed discussions, the decision was made to relieve Bob of his duties.
Regarding the decision on his replacement, we are pleased to say that we are being fully consulted in the decision as to who should be our new manager, and involved at all levels surrounding the criteria and process.
The Supporters Trust notes the protestations from a large proportion of our fans at the West Ham game regarding Huw Jenkins’ position, and our primary concern with the January transfer window coming up is ensuring that the club has learned lessons and puts in place a coherent plan to address the erosion of the Swansea City footballing identity over recent times. This transfer window is a critical time for the football club and, while not all issues can be addressed in one window, the Chairman needs to demonstrate leadership to ensure that we have a plan in place to regain our identity.
In the matter of ownership and governance of Swansea City FC, we are, following a meeting with majority shareholders Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien on 14 December in London, able to provide members with an update on discussions and progress.
We have welcomed the increased dialogue in recent weeks with the club’s off-field management team, which has increased since the appointment of Chris Pearlman, and now involves weekly and monthly structured meetings to understand the current state of play of the club off the pitch, and also provides an insight into future plans for areas in which the club is seeking to improve.
Many of these plans align with suggestions that the Trust has made for some time as ways of improvement and growth. We therefore look to support the club in its initiatives in the areas of Commercial, the Stadium and Fan engagement, as these will be key to our longer term success.
However, we still have unresolved matters concerning our part ownership of the club, which we discussed in depth at the meeting, and on which we now wish to update members.
Steve and Jason both confirmed their desire not to issue any new shares during the course of this season. Due to the lack of movement from their side regarding the concerns the Trust has in this area, we have again requested that they consider making an offer for all, or part, of the Trust’s stake. This is something they have agreed to consider, however not until the end of the season.
We have agreed that we will re-commence these discussions at that time. In the meantime we will continue to pursue other angles for the ownership, which will include discussing our shareholding with other individuals who may be interested in a part/whole purchase from us.
We will also continue to gauge the opinion of our legal advisers regards the sale which will include the actions undertaken, any potential recourse and likelihood of success. Legal action will only be taken with the consent of our members once we have this information to hand – something we expect to have reasonably early in the New Year.
Another area of discussion has been the Trust representation at board level, both on the football club and also the holding company Swansea City 2002 Ltd where we do not currently have representation. This situation has become unacceptable to the Trust due to the increased activity of the holding company and we have stated our view that we must have a director appointed to the holding company as a matter of urgency. It is also the view of the Trust that, to cement our working relationship, it is important that the Trust is able to appoint a second director to the board of the football club, to better ensure the views of the Trust and its members are represented at club board level.
We believe that we are, albeit frustratingly slowly, developing a relationship with our new owners that gives us some guarded hope for a successful working partnership, the ultimate aim being to align ourselves with the football club ownership whilst protecting the Trust’s standing and integrity.
We also gained a further understanding of the position regarding the January transfer window, which is key to that survival battle. It was encouraging to hear that the owners share our desire to see team strengthening in certain positions and that the mistakes of previous transfer windows are not to be repeated in terms of the way we bring in players.
On a closing note, we anticipate reaching a point early in the New Year where we can answer outstanding questions regarding our ownership position, and hopefully take our relationship with the club forward.