The Welsh translation of Swansea City Association Football Club is ‘Clwb Pêl-droed Dinas Abertawe.’
Translation is always difficult, isn’t it? It certainly isn’t an exact science. I suspect the branding agency – definitely not based in Cardiff, and almost certainly not in the other Welsh footballing hotspots of Wrexham or Newport either – were going for the Pêl prefix as a kind of Pelé teaser.
They may well have toyed with ‘Garrincha and Gower,’ or ‘Ronaldinho and Rarebit,’ before going for the much more subtle approach of slotting in part of the name of one of the world’s greatest players in order to somehow benefit from the Brazilian connection in South Wales on the A483; well, sort of.
If this kind of tenuous link is a bit hard to believe, I have the same issue with clubs that use the AFC as a prefix or suffix in their names. Why make the link with ‘Association’ so obvious when teams who want to win something have independently moved on without it?
In Sunderland’s case, they probably want to remind their fans that they are still associated with something good that happened in the past, honest; similarly, with Bournemouth – where the Swans swim to next (presumably around Cape Cornwall and along the South Coast) – although Earnest Eddie is fast running out of excuses as to why the present is less like the Promised Land than the Promise of A Frightening Challenge ahead (or AFC, if you prefer).
So, Bournemouth v Swansea is a relegation battle then? Well, sort of.
The good news for all Swansea City fans is that their club is being managed by people who know what they are doing. After lamenting the passing of the good old days of Tosh, they backed Roberto and Brendan to bring in a new swimming stroke that would prevent them from drowning again and Michael to win them a nice, shiny cup (or ‘cwpan’ if you want to sound colloquial or plan to mimic a local resident who still thinks the football pools are the only way to win).
They then appointed one of their own – Garry Monk, from Bedford – as manager. Garry tried much too hard and, under him, Swansea became only the third side in Premier League history to beat both Arsenal and Manchester United home and away in the same season. It gets worse, though: he also took Swansea City to eighth place in his first full season in charge, with a record number of points.
Something had sort of gone wrong and the club’s Directors clubbed together to club nice Garry over the head. They then began to talk a load of tosh again, before putting their money where their’ mouths were in appointing poor Alan, exotic Francesco and plain, old Bob as successive managers. Still, the names didn’t fit their game plan; yes, they did sort of have a plan.
Unsurprisingly, as there are lots of chapels in this part of the world, someone – let’s call him Paul – then had a vision. It was a vision of Heaven (nice big dividend cheques and at least two games a season on Sky) and Hell (having to play away at Preston) with the basic message being that pride is the root of all evil.
Now, as it happened, there was a Paul out there whose footballing highlight as a player was to turn out for Corinthian Casuals, formed out of a merger in 1939 between the great nineteenth century Corinthian club and, er, Casuals.
Paul also had a vision that if he could associate his own name with someone famous and be linked with some famous football club names, then others might be deluded into thinking that he was sort of quite good too.
After begging Carlo Ancelotti to smile on him, Paul worked as a casual (coach) at Chelsea, Real Madrid, PSG (not on their defensive shape, obviously) and Bayern Munich. In France, he got to be in the same room once as David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Topping all of this, Paul once managed Derby County, who once played football at Pride Park (often affectionately translated these days as the ‘I Pose Stadium’).
It most definitely could not just be a coincidence that Paul Clement was therefore destined to manage Swansea City and put the ‘I’ back in tîm (team).
Does he possess the Corinthian spirit to make Swansea great again or is he just, as his CV translates, a Casual Vacancy?