RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Wednesday, February 1

25-Man Metaphysical Roster: Swansea City A.F.C.

(Swansea City legends repping Swansea to the fullest)

[25-Man Metaphysical Roster is a football dork methodology meant to establish a listing of players who have been most active for English Premier League teams in their past 100 non-friendly matches. Essentially, it is calculated by minutes played, but weighted towards most recent games. The end result is a listing of the 25 players in a team’s recent history who have had the largest hand on their metaphysical sporting trajectory. The English Premier League was chosen because it is the highest level of football played in an English speaking country, and I speak English. Also, it is what comes on TV here in the USA, where I fucking live. Should I not fail in maintaining my unpaid deadline, a new 25-Man Metaphysical Roster will appear on the 1st and 15th of every month.]

Originally, I was going to utilize this football dork methodology with others, about our personal favorite teams, but then just decided to go with it myself because projects like this can feel so shameful, why bother admitting them fully to others? I started following the EPL a few years back, can’t remember when specifically, but I adopted Swansea City as my team, because my wife is Welsh, but her mom is a crazy bitch who studied in Cardiff. Thus, I can feel a marital allegiance to Wales while at the same time rejecting Cardiff entirely. At the time, both Swansea City and Cardiff City were both in the EPL, but Cardiff crashed out fairly quickly. Pulling for a Welsh team feels like you are resistant to English hegemony of the Earth to an extent, but still are part of it. This also is big reason why I call this “metaphysics” because if you get too geopolitical with your dork methodologies, you will crush yourself under the heavy weight of futility.
In these 100 matches, Swansea City has gone from being small team darling, who were pushing to maybe crack the top six if things went well, to crashing back down to relegation zone regular, fighting for survival. Garry Monk was manager when I started following, actually was still a player-manager, which seemed weird as fuck at that level (and I guess is), before retiring from playing into being a straight manager. He was dumped during a rough spell, no back-up plan was in place, an old fucker named Alan Curtis took care of things a little – he being one of those crazy fuckers who has been with the same team from like the age of 9 until 90. Francesco Guidolin was brought in from Italy, helped them avoid relegation last season, but came out the gate struggling this season, so was fired as well by the new American ownership consortium, who brought in Bob Bradley the unproven American manager to be their manager which had nothing at all to do with him being American, not a thing, no. Bob Bradley was in way over his head, and fucking sucked, but had the confidence to pretend he knew what was up. Eventually results were too ugly for American owners to justify their experiment, and Bradley got canned as well. Paul Clement, a Bayern Munich assistant, was brought in, and after a shock win at Anfield over Liverpool, Swansea City has (for the moment) escape the bottom-3 relegation zone. But it’s not stable ground. Who has helped bring them to this point though, in terms of on the field?
Funny you should ask, because that’s the whole fucking point of this dork methodology…

#1: Lukasz Fabianski – GKs are notoriously mental, and also rarely take a game off. A team is served well with in that search for hard work ethic combined with notoriously mental state in finding an able-bodied lanky Eastern European. Fabianski has fit the bill for Swansea City, with the Polish GK performing consistently in the box. Defense got pretty shoddy for a while though, so hard to say whether a plethoria of 4- and 5-goal games by opposition is gonna have Fabianski shook. The problem with notoriously mental people is they break, all of a sudden, so one must always be prepared for such a thing when dealing with that type of personality.
#2: Gylfi Sigurdsson – The Iceman was already becoming a lesser-known EPL star, but then Iceland’s run in the Euro 2016 tournament brought him even more attention. He has been the saving grace of this club many times, so I fucking sweat every transfer window over his exit.
#3: Jack Cork – Young-ish MF who has quietly been a consistent presence on team. Not exactly a game-changer, but also not necessarily someone who fucks the game up either… in other words, the perfect MF for a team scrapping along in the relegation realms for multiple seasons.
#4: Federico Fernandez – Fernandez has been a liability on defense, and yet he remains one of the main options at center back. The fact a guy so constantly directly involved in breakdowns remains prominent on the squad, and shows up this high on the metaphysics is a pretty glaring testament as to what might be going wrong.
#5: Neil Taylor – A Swansea favorite who’d been here forever, and scored his first national team goal for Wales this past summer, has suddenly found himself sent off to Aston Villa in the Championship League. He and Ashley Williams were the Welsh backbone to Swansea defense for long ass time, but without Williams, it never really was the same.
#6: Wayne Routledge – Winger eating minutes, who was starter, then not, and now is again (I think), all with not much to show for it in terms of outstanding highlights. And now is he getting older, far past his prime and the potential he perhaps showed as U-16, U-19, U-21 player for English national team.
#7: Kyle Naughton – Another defensive liability, but with Ralph Kramden-friendly name.
#8: Angel Rangel – Always tolerate Rangel because of the redundancy of his name. And earlier this year, he scored a gamewinner one time, which is fairly unheard of for Rangel, so it gave us who follow Swans the feels.
#9: Sung-Yeung Ki – Ki is one of those guys that seems like he should be a fucking force, but for some reason is not. Seems like there’s dudes like this all over who by circumstance and contract get hung up places that they have such a long, unfulfilling history, that they just sort of half-occupy themselves even. I love Ki, but I think he’d be better off elsewhere, have a chance to be all the Ki he could be.
#10: Ashley Williams – Former defensive captain and heart of this team, his loss in moving to Everton over the past summer had as much to do with Swansea’s first half of the season struggles as anything else.
#11: Leon Britton – Aging English MF, they really need to get younger.
#12: Leroy Fer – The joke on Fer when he joined Swans last season was that he’d been on a team that got relegated the previous two seasons (Norwich in 2014, Queens Park Rangers in 2015), and he was gonna be the jinxing curse that doomed Swans to relegation as well. Luckily for Fer’s psyche, that has not happened, as of yet.
#13: Jordi Amat – Amat is perhaps not that great, and has been part of central defensive issues after Ashley Williams’ departure. But he is young, which means hopefully he can go suck somewhere else.
#14: Andre Ayew – I will always love Dede Ayew, as he played with such passion. He has led Ghana to the semifinals of the African Cup of Nations currently (playing later today), and I was blessed enough to see him play in a friendly in Richmond this past summer. Dede was just on another level, not only in terms of skill but passion as well.
#15: Mo Barrow – Barrow is similar to Ki in that maybe he just can’t live up to his potential at Swansea, for whatever reason. He just got loaned out for a third time (previously to Nottingham Forest and Blackburn Rovers), reuniting with Garry Monk at Leeds United.
#16: Jefferson Montero – The pinnacle of offensive football I’ve seen as Swansea fan was when Wilfried Bony was upfront and Montero was on the wing, and both were clicking. Montero is fucking magical when he is clicking. It is very frustrating seeing that potential and how it changes games so obviously, and then seeing Montero just sit there, rotting away on the vine, on the bench.
#17: Fernando Llorente – Had my doubts about Llorente at first, thinking he was too old or too this or not that, but the wily veteran Spaniard has definitely delivered. Luckily Chelsea did not swoop him up on a loan.
#18: Bafetimbi Gomis – Gomis never fulfilled his promise, and I think he probably never really settled in at Swansea. But that one month period beginning of last season where he was panther crawling every fucking week in that creepy way he does, it was a good moment.
#19: Alfie Mawson – Thankful this young man’s starting to be solid on that defensive backline that had become susceptible to goal barrages. Honestly, how are you not gonna be a solid center back when you’re a fucking English dude named Alfie? You are destined to be a dirty assed scrapper when known as Alfie.
#20: Stephen Kingsley – One of many players who confuse me because I’ve known them for years in Football Manager but then all of a sudden they are in real life too, and this confuses me, because I thought Kingsley was still guiding Havant & Waterlooville to shock FA Cup victories.
#21: Jonjo Shelvey – Worst piece of shit ever. Classic English baldheaded trash. They would’ve loved him in the ‘80s terraces I bet.
#22: Mike van der Hoorn – The other kid who came in with Alfie to shore up the defense, but his name is not Alfie so he hasn’t settled in as well.
#23: Jay Fulton – Young buck whose been benchwarmer at MF for number of seasons, and yet somehow is still only 22. I guess he’s supposed to either develop into something better, or he’ll wander off elsewhere one transfer window.
#24: Nathan Dyer – I like to think Dyer is not that bad, but he kinda is. He did win the PL last year on loan with Leicester City though.
#25: Borja Baston – This guy was supposed to be the real deal Holyfield in scoring some goddamned goals, when he was Swansea’s record signing this past summer transfer window. (Is it summer there when it’s summer here? I’m U.S.-centric, so I apologize for any seasonal mistakes.) And now they were hinting at letting him go. In fact between the time I write this and post it, and the time it actually publishes, he may actually be gone back to Spain.

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