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Swansea’s latest gesture shows that they really are a model club

The Boot Room

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In my first article for The Boot Room, I wrote about how more clubs should take note of what Swansea City are doing after the resounding success of Garry Monk as manager and their on-field footballing achievements. Well, the Swans are at it again. Earlier this month, Swansea City announced that they were subsidising away tickets for their fans ensuring that no fan would have to pay more than £22 for an away ticket. An amazing gesture from a model club that I don’t think got the media coverage that it deserved. This unique and generous gesture shows that Swansea are getting things spot on off the pitch as well as on it and are an example for others.

The news was welcomed with unprecedented praise from fans across the country as well as their own fans. Swansea were praised for their generosity and commitment to their fans’ footballing experience. They were praised for rewarding their supporters’ dedication to the club for long travels up the length and breadth of the country. This action from a football club was long overdue and now it is time that more clubs follow suit.

It is estimated that the subsidising of away tickets will set Swansea back somewhere in the region of £300,000. Now, in the current age of football, £300,000 is a generally insignificant amount. £300,000 will be a week and a half’s wages for a player at a club of Manchester United or Chelsea’s stature. Or, £300,000 could be a small portion of a fee paid by a club for a transfer. Bearing that in mind, why can’t more clubs do what Swansea have done to show gratitude to the fans that make it possible for clubs to pay those hefty wages or bulky transfer fees?

The wealth that our clubs have is always well documented. People complain that players get paid too much or that the money clubs splash out on players is ridiculous. It’s not a secret that the money is there. So, why don’t they put the money towards subsidising tickets and reducing ticket prices to say thank you for the sacrifices fans make to go to football matches?

Image is a huge factor football clubs are concerned with in modern football. What is said about a football club in the media influences the club and their supporters. Look at the reception Swansea got when they announced this news. The footballing community had nothing but praise for a club who wanted to do something about the immense cost of supporting a club. Even if a club wants to improve their image in the footballing community, putting aside a few hundred thousand pounds to reduce the amount fans spend their hard earned money on would go a long way in doing so.

Liverpool fans protest high ticket prices outside Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium

An away game is something everyone has to experience. I have never been to an away game to see my team play. But the thought of an early wake up call, a long journey to an unfamiliar city and stadium, and singing until my throat hurts excites me just writing about it. It’s something every football fan must do. Swansea have enabled more people to experience that. Not only that, but the on-field performances may improve because of the potential of consistently packed out away ends acting as the ‘twelfth man’.

It’s going to take a lot for Garry Monk’s side to break into the next level of the Premier League. However, with measures in place to try and make sure that the ‘twelfth man’ is as influential as possible, the Swansea supporters could be pivotal in another magnificent season for Garry Monk’s side.

Measures to make the footballing experience cheaper are long overdue. What Swansea City have done should be celebrated but should promote the necessity for more to be done. For too long, the excessively high prices have pushed real football fans out of the game that they love and adore so much. We have to celebrate what Swansea have done but we have to say ‘one club isn’t enough’. More clubs need to lower prices and subsidise tickets to bring the supporters that live and die by their club back into the game. A few hundred thousand pounds is nothing in football. It’s almost nine days wages for Wayne Rooney or nearly 1% of the rumoured transfer fee that will send Christian Benteke from Aston Villa to Liverpool.

Well done to Swansea for making the footballing experience cheaper. Now, more clubs need to follow Swansea City, a leading beacon in British football.

 

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West Ham United

Signing Yaya Toure is not enough to gain support for West Ham board

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Photo: Getty Images.

West Ham United are believed to be close to appointing former Premier League winning coach Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager, and reports indicate that it could lead to a coup signing in his former player Yaya Toure.

The Telegraph make the claims as they say that previous talks between the Hammers and the free agent broke down, but the appointment of the Chilean would smooth matters and may make a deal more feasible.

In truth, the signing may not actually impress West Ham fans all that much. They have grown used to the signing of players who were dominating the game five years ago and are now past their best. The signings of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Patrice Evra over the past year have shown as much with mixed results.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The board are desperately seeking a way to get fans back onside as discontent grows and fans accuse them of not spending sufficiently to back their team and the signing of such a high profile player of immense quality may satisfy those wishes.

That may be the plan, but Yaya Toure made only two Premier League starts in 2017/18 and such a record bares terrifying resemblances to the likes of Andy Carroll, commanding a high wage whilst spending more time in the stands watching on than actually making an impact.

Toure could provide a spark and excitement, there’s no denying that he would be an invigorating addition, but he is not the long-term solution that the club require as fans cry out for players with potential and already at their best. His signing would be a mere distraction.

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Liverpool

Liverpool target Besiktas’ Anderson Talisca would add superb attacking depth

The Brazilian has recorded 28 goal contributions in Turkey this season.

Max Cohen

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Anderson Talisca
Photo: Getty Images

After Besiktas’ 5-1 home win over Sivasspor on Saturday, manager Senol Gunes strongly hinted that star attacker Anderson Talisca would be joining Liverpool this summer.

The possible signing of the Brazilian midfielder would be a superb acquisition for Liverpool, adding depth and quality to the club’s star-studded attack.

According to FourFourTwo, the Besiktas manager confirmed Talisca would be leaving the Turkish club for the Premier League after two years on loan from Benfica.

And Gunes dropped a massive hint that put Liverpool as the possible frontrunners in attaining his signature ahead of Manchester United.

“He might be rivals with Cenk Tosun,” Gunes replied when asked about Talisca’s English destination.

Of course, former Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun plays for Everton– leading many to jump to the conclusion that Talisca is headed to Anfield instead of Old Trafford.

(Photo by Ozan Kose/Getty Images)

The signing would represent a strong statement of intent from the Reds, as Talisca has enjoyed a stunning two seasons at Besiktas and is a burgeoning attacking talent.

In 47 appearances this season, the 24-year-old was involved in an impressive 28 goals, scoring 20 and assisting eight.

And the Brazilian’s past form shows this fantastic season is not a one-off. In 2016/17, Talisca bagged 17 goals and six assists, despite only featuring 33 times in all competitions.

While some might argue that the Turkish Super Lig has a poorer defensive standard than the Premier League, Talisca has proven his worth in European competition as well. In his time at Besiktas, he has notched five Champions League goals, as well as two goals and four assists in the Europa League.

The Brazilian youth international would add impressive offensive depth for Liverpool, as the Reds look to seriously challenge for the Premier League next season.

The purchase of the prolific attacking midfielder would be an ideal first step in assembling a squad that could bring Anfield its first league trophy in over two decades.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham have already identified Eric Dier’s £25 million replacement in Wilmar Barrios

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Photo: Getty Images.

Losing first team regulars may not be a complete surprise to Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino, and that may why be reports are indicating that the coach has already lined up an alternative to Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama should either move on this summer.

The Sun say that there is still interest in Dier, who will be at the World Cup with England, whilst Wanyama’s struggles with injury may mean that Pochettino looks elsewhere for the role of midfield enforcer.

They believe the target to be Boca Juniors’ 24-year-old holding midfielder Wilmar Barrios, a Colombian international who plays alongside Spurs’ Davinson Sanchez at international level.

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The youngster has become a key man in the Boca Juniors side but, perhaps unusually, has not caught the attention of many in Europe. Barrios has, though, developed a reputation as one of the best players in South America, particularly in his position, as he has become a linchpin protecting his back four.

That is protected in his very impressive stats, which show that he makes on average three tackles per game and 2.8 interceptions per match, compared to the 1.8 tackles and 1.3 interceptions for Dier playing in a very similar role.

Barrios’ intelligent reading of the game has drawn comparisons to Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro, with both men guilt of diving into tackles on occasion despite all of their many strengths.

He may be raw, with no experience of playing in Europe, but at £25 million he could prove to be a bargain and Mauricio Pochettino’s return home to go on a shopping spree could provide a long-term solution to the holding midfield role which seems as uncertain as ever after the 2017/18 season.

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