Jack the Lad: Brilliant goals, enjoyable football

30th April

Loyal Swans fan and website columnist Jack the Lad reckons the proof of the quality and enjoyment of the 2018-19 season is clear to see by the club's Goal of the Season nominees.

If you want a quick indication of what kind of season a football club has enjoyed - or endured - take a look at their goal of the season competition.

The general rule of thumb is the better the goals, the better the campaign.

While the Swans’ slim play-off hopes may have been snuffed out with two games still to play, no-one can complain about the entertainment value the club’s fans have enjoyed this season.

In my opinion, the team’s final league position really doesn’t reflect the quality of some of their play this season.

And that was certainly backed up by the club’s goal of the season selections voted for at last Sunday’s end-of-season awards dinner.

Goals really are what the game is all about, so it’s always good to have a season packed with absolute corkers.

When you compare the goals up for consideration this time around against those that made last year’s shortlist, well there really is no comparison.

That’s not a criticism of last season’s squad, but a massive slap on the back for Graham Potter, his staff and his players for the entertainment and quality they have provided this season in what have been difficult and challenging circumstances.

We may not be heading straight back to the Premier League as many may have hoped, but the 2018-19 season has been a thoroughly enjoyable one as far as I am concerned.

And looking back at the goals that were in contention last Sunday night certainly brought the memories of the past nine months flooding back.

I don’t think there could be much argument against Bersant Celina’s cracker against Manchester City winning the competition.

To score a goal of that quality in such an important game and against arguably one of the best club sides on the planet is always going to make it a special strike.

But what about some of the other contenders? There were absolute netbusters, intricate team goals, towering headers, mesmerising individual masterpieces. Whatever type of goal floats your boat, there was something for everyone.

And there were a few other goals which could genuinely be considered as unfortunate not to make the final cut, including the sweeping length of the field move finished off by Oli McBurnie at Sheffield United on the first day of the season.

Talking of team goals, my own personal favourite was Celina’s strike against Ipswich Town at the Liberty Stadium.

For me, this goal had absolutely everything, and pretty much summed up how the Swans have played this season.

The start of the move was real seat of the pants stuff as the Swans not only played their way out of their own penalty area, they played their way out of their own six-yard-box!

It was the kind of moment where you’re about to scream at the players to “put your foot through it” but instead find yourself applauding a handful of deft passes and cute turns as they launch a sweeping break which takes them to the other end of the field.

Once again, it was Celina who put the cherry on top of a genuine length-of-the-field move with an exquisite finish, which was right up there with the very best goals I have seen the Swans score.

And I haven't even mentioned the two Daniel James goals which made the shortlist. In any other season they could have finished first and second!

There may not be a fairytale return to the Premier League to look forward to but, if I’m perfectly honest, I’ve gained more enjoyment out of this season than I probably did during the last two - possibly three - seasons in the top flight.

And there are two more games still to come! Who knows what we can expect from this team over the next 180 minutes now the shackles are well and truly off and there's little more to play for than pride and enjoyment?

If this campaign is any indication of what we can expect in future under Graham Potter, with a full summer of preparation and hopefully some strengthening of the squad, then I can’t wait for what may be in store next season!

C’mon you Swans!