There’s been plenty of talk about whether you should or shouldn’t boycott this weekend’s FA Cup tie with Brentford so I thought I’d weigh in with my thoughts.
There is no right or wrong answer here, and I see both sides of the argument. There are those who want to go to the game and support the team and ignore all the off-field goings on at the moment – and there are those who feel they need to make a stand and don’t want to part with any more money as they feel we are being asset stripped.
I see both sides, but what I don’t like is fans turning on each other because they can’t see the other side of the argument. This is arguably the worst thing about the situation we are now in. This awful regime has caused many of us to disagree on the way forward for our club and has fractured the fanbase, which is the last thing any club needs.
For what it’s worth I don’t actually think boycotting this game will achieve a lot. I’ve spoken to a few people in the media this week and was told unless there’s a crowd of about 3,000 it won’t even get mentioned by the press and if there’s no publicity it’ll achieve nothing.
Crowds are always lower for cup games so I just don’t see the club taking any notice of a slightly lower crowd. Even for the Spurs quarter final last season, we didn’t sell out. The crowd that day was 17,498, and remember Spurs had 3,000 that day so there were around 4,000 less Swans fans in the crowd than for a league game that afternoon, even though it was our first quarter final in 50 years
We’ve had two home cup ties so far this season, Crystal Palace in the League Cup which saw a crowd of 9,122 and Gillingham three weeks ago where the turnout was 15,080.
That shows that a number of Jacks just aren’t that bothered about the competition and the fact that the game is on terrestrial TV will sway a number of people to stay at home. Not only that, it will give the club another excuse about why it’s lower than for a league game, rather than accepting fans boycotted.
Plenty of season ticket holders missed the last round and will do so again, the boycott won’t be a factor in most of those supporters decision making. Most of those people will be staying at home and watching on TV rather than actively boycotting. If you’re actively boycotting then you’ll be outside the main entrance protesting while the game is going on. Will anyone do that? I think it’s unlikely.
A key reason there was a decent crowd against Gillingham is because it was kids for a quid, encouraging families to take up to four children for a pound each with a full paying adult.
A great initiative that no doubt boosted the crowd and with that same offer in force for the Brentford game, I doubt it will stop many of those who took the offer up last time to do so again. That and the away fan contingent alone will probably take the crowd above the level where the media would report on a boycott.
In terms of those who don’t want to give the club any more money because they don’t know where it’s going, I completely understand that. It’s been horrible watching so many players leave the club without being replaced and I have no faith in this regime whatsoever, as indicated by the latest fanzine front cover calling for Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien to leave Swansea City. We really need those two idiots to allay fan concerns about our financial situation so we can at least understand the decisions they’ve made.
From a fan-protest point of view, I think the best thing that could happen this weekend is that we make the quarter finals, not that a boycott is successful. We’ve already seen a lot of media interest in the club since Huw Jenkins has departed, and a nice cup run will keep the press interested in what’s going on behind the scenes for a bit longer, which could whet the appetite of journalists to do more digging on what’s going on behind the scenes.
If we were to go out then there’s every chance this story will fade away. Because we’re not in the Premier League anymore a lot of the national press aren’t as interested in us as they were, but a nice run to the quarter final or even the semi final will put us into the spotlight.
If we’re lucky it may even coincide with the supporters trust consultation and vote which would be perfect in terms of getting the publicity that we need. And I think the key to this battle is bringing bad publicity to the door of the Americans. Financially, we can’t do much and not paying to go to the Brentford game will not cost the club that much. Certainly not anything like to the point where they will sit up and take notice.
So there’s my thoughts. I’m sure some will agree and others will disagree. That’s the beauty of football, everyone’s got an opinion. But whether you’re going tomorrow or not, don’t make others feel guilty because they disagree with your stance. After all, the world would be boring if we all had the same views wouldn’t it?