IT is a little sad to sit here. I would love to be in a job and finish that job I started little more than year and a half go.
We had a fantastic season, the best season ever with a trophy and ninth position.
I would have said something before. Two weeks have gone, that’s a lot of time, but I was advised that it was best to wait because we needed the letter from the club with the reasons for my dismissal.
It took nine days for them to send the letter and I ask the question, why did it take so long?
I will start a little further back then when I arrived. The recent history of Swansea, the last six or seven years, the club have been climbing. They improved every year, getting from League One to the Championship and to the Premier League.
When I arrived the chairman and board told me, Michael, first of all we are fans. We are running the club but at the end of the day we are fans. We love football and this team.
They said we have to ask you something – is it okay if we come and watch your training? I said no problem. You can do whatever you want but just don’t interfere in my job. That is my responsibility.
When I arrived after that first season in the Premier League, I heard the most important thing, the target, was to stay up. Even if we finished 17th it was okay because of the new TV deal as well. It was very important to stay up.
I said of course. For the first couple of weeks I didn’t hear anything else.
I had my ideas about the team and the players coming in, especially the Spanish market which I know very well.
Because of the economic problems in Spain I knew there was the possibility to get good quality there.
I tried to get players I knew who could have a good impact on the squad. Here we have players like Chico (Flores), Pablo (Hernandez), (Jonathan) de Guzman and especially Michu. They are players who I asked if they wanted to play for Swansea. They brought quality and value to the squad.
After that season, I think anyone would say it was the most successful ever for the club – a trophy and top-ten finish.
I think the word historic was used a lot, winning at the Emirates, Anfield, Stamford Bridge, beating Chelsea and of course winning the final.
After the season, we had to plan for the next season.
We agreed that when you want to maintain your position, you have to improve because the others will.
If you stay the same, most times you go lower. So we agreed we needed to strengthen just to maintain where we were.
After that, when we ended the season, I tried hard to get players to Swansea. Some didn’t want to come, they wanted to go to bigger clubs, others agreed – they said we want to come and play for you.
I moved these names on to the chairman because I don’t negotiate the contract. I make the contact and talk to players and agents and try to convince them, but the negotiation part is for the chairman or the board.
But for one reason and another that I don’t know, none of these players came through.
At this stage, the media started to talk about internal problems, relationships. I said I was sure the club would stick to their word – that means we would strengthen our squad.
However, I was still working as I care a lot about having as strong a team as possible. I looked again to Spain, because I know the price and quality there are more than reasonable.
During the summer I saw a lot in the press, here and maybe more in Denmark about the problem with chairman (Huw) Jenkins and my agent Bayram (Tutumlu).
At a certain point the connection between them stopped because of problems between the two of them.
Of course because you are caught in the middle you have to have an opinion, but I said it didn’t change anything for me. My agent has been with me a long time and I trust him, but it doesn’t change my relationship with the club.
At the end of the season I gave my word to the players and fans that I would stay even though I knew from agents – I didn’t speak to anyone – that a couple of big clubs were interested in me. I said it was important that I keep my word. I don’t run from that, so I will stay.
It should have been a great summer with only positive things. It was a pity that instead there was a lot of articles and headlines and that should have been avoided.
Coming forward to this season, I knew it would be very difficult for a lot of reasons.
First of all expectations after last season would be huge, and on top of that a team like Swansea are not used to Europe.
We have seen teams who are not used to playing two competitions like that suffer a lot. Even a huge club like Newcastle suffered a lot, and clubs like Real Betis and Celta Vigo are the same.
In the league we had ups and downs. We go into the group stage and into the last 32 of the Europa League. We were still in the FA Cup.
In the league we had a bad run for the last two months, but we were still in a group of 11 teams separated by six points and only three are relegated. There were still a lot of games to play.
We come into January, we lost some tight games again big sides, Everton, Manchester City, Tottenham, but we beat Manchester United in the cup.
In mid January I was told they were not satisfied with the whole training staff, the manager and coaching staff.
We talked about it. I always want to listen, but I said I don’t agree with what is said.
After that we played a cup game, we win, a league game, we win, and then we have my last game against West Ham, we lose.
After that I get another message, this time saying I should really, really consider – more than consider – changing the staff.
My answer is that we already discussed that, but we agreed to have a meeting on the Tuesday.
The reason why it was Tuesday was because I had a personal matter on the Monday that my chairman knew about it – and it wasn’t in Paris.
On the Tuesday before training I had the meeting and again it was about changing the staff.
I said we already talked about it and I said it was a big mistake to talk about it at that moment because it was the week before Cardiff, one of the most important games.
What surprised me is that I had the meeting on Tuesday, but already on Monday the things I spoke to the chairman about were in the papers. I leave that with the chairman.
However, we ended up saying we had to stay together. We shook hands and thank you very much for the work you are doing for the club.
Later that afternoon I received a mail saying due to breach of contract, with immediate effect they would terminate – just a few hours after we shook hands.
Of course, I was very confused. I called and I asked what is going on. We talked this morning and shook hands, but they said yeah, but after thinking – it was a little difficult to hear what was said on the phone.
Then I said, what does breaches mean? He couldn’t explain. He didn’t really know.
While I was on the phone, my wife said it was already on the internet that I had been dismissed.
The day after, a worker from the club brought me my things at home. I said was a little sad that I could not say goodbye to my staff and players.
I thought I would do it later. He left and called me back and said the chairman said he thinks it is a bad idea because we have some big games coming up.
I still haven’t said goodbye to anyone, so I will just say it from here.
Of course there were a lot of knocks in the head for me, but I am very happy for the help and support I have received.
A lot of people called me, like Sir Alex Ferguson and Gary Lineker called me. The LMA called and said unfortunately some clubs they are using these things but you are not a special case unfortunately.
The lawyers are speaking, so we just have to see what happens – if we can find a solution and unfortunately, if not, we have to take the legal way.
In this case it will be the manager’s arbitration tribunal.
I end where I started. It’s sad to sit here and talk about this but unfortunately this is how sometimes it ends.