Garry Monk latest successful manager
13 September ~ Tipped for relegation by some before the start of the season, Swansea City go into today's match at Chelsea in second place on goal difference behind their opponents. Garry Monk, winner of the Premier League Manager of the Month for August, is the latest in a shrewd line of managerial appointments. While Roberto Martínez and Brendan Rodgers are the obvious successes, previous managers Kenny Jackett, Paulo Souza and Michael Laudrup have all contributed to Swansea's progress. Key to his appointment is that Monk has been a player under each with the lessons learned apparently paying off.
Swansea's decision to sack Laudrup last season may have seemed like panic but his relationship with the board had been soured the previous summer, with a public falling-out between chairman Huw Jenkins and Laudrup's agent Bayram Tutumlu. More than this however was a feeling that under Laudrup there had been a steady erosion of the principles that had given the club success over the previous decade. As a former captain and player over many seasons Monk epitomised these principles, encapsulated in what has become known as "the Swansea way". Essentially this involves a strong team spirit with passing football backed by a high work ethic.
There were strong rumours of player unrest last season and one of Monk's first tasks was to change a number of the personnel. The strong Spanish contingent was broken up, with six leaving by transfer deadline day including high-profile players such as Michu, Chico Flores and Pablo Hernández. Crucially however they, Ben Davies and Michel Vorm have been replaced by key signings such as Gylfi Sigurdsson, Bafétimbi Gomis and Lukasz Fabianski.
Chelsea will be overwhelming favourites but a positive Swansea result is not unthinkable. At the recent League Cup game against Rotherham the Swans were able to bring on three second half substitutes who had cost a combined £27 million. This is no longer "little Swansea" – ten years of prudent financial management and four years of Premier League television money has made sure of that.
On and off the pitch the club are unrecognisable from 2002, when a group of local businessmen, backed by the supporters' trust, set up a consortium to take control of the club. This story has just been immortalised in a film. Jack to a King fittingly had its premier in Leicester Square the evening before the game. Paul Ashley-Jones