The OTJ column: Back in action

17th October 2018
Club

In his sixth column of the season, former midfielder Owain Tudur Jones gives his views on all things Swansea City.

OTJ made 56 appearances for the Swans during a four-year period in which he helped the club win the League One title and the Football League Trophy.

Now, after a 13-year career which saw him play for eight clubs and earn seven Wales caps, he is working in the media as a respected pundit.

Here, he brings you his latest column.

 

 

New manager bounce

The international break is over, and I fully expect the Swans to play in front of a fired-up Villa Park – one of my favourite grounds – this weekend, and it will provide another big test for the squad.

The hosts will be paying tribute to their former chairman Sir Doug Ellis, who sadly passed away recently, while Villa have a new manager in charge.

Dean Smith is a shrewd appointment in my view, given the work he has done at Walsall and Brentford.

He’s a Villa fan too, which will give him extra kudos, and I expect him to do a good job at Villa Park.

But I’m not one of those who believe this is a bad time to play Villa. I understand those who say the players will be charged up and trying to impress their new manager, but I’m not entirely convinced about the new manager bounce.

I would rather play Villa now than three weeks down the line when Smith has had time to get his ideas across.

There’s no doubt they have a good squad, but they’ve gone a little flat after losing the play-off final last season.

We know how that feels at Swansea, having lost to Barnsley in the League One play-off final in 2006.

We found it hard to react after that. The following year we had a distinctly average season – the flat feeling stayed with us and that loss really hurt us.

Maybe Villa felt the same and Steve Bruce was axed because of a play-off final hangover, but I expect Smith to move them up the table and be knocking on the door for promotion.

But let’s hope the Swans ensure he gets off to a losing start.

Surprise, surprise?

I think all Swans should know by now that the Championship is certain of one thing – there are no surprises in this division.

In my last column before the Ipswich game I said Swansea would lose that game if they weren’t at their best.

Playing a team that was without a win in 11 games means nothing in the Championship, and it was a game in which football slapped us around the face and reminded us that it won’t produce the predictable.

Despite the result, I could see Swans supporters leaving the stadium not feeling absolutely deflated.

It was a good, exciting game and aside from some uncharacteristic defending I felt the Swans played well.

I’ve said in previous columns that signs of the Swansea Way are returning, and the team took another step forward against Ipswich.

There were some lovely phases of play and build-up, and Bersant Celina’s goal was the end result of that.

I’m sure that at the moment Leroy Fer played a pass back to Kristoffer Nordfeldt just a few yards from his own goal-line, there were a few junior coaches having kittens.

But I applaud the bravery of each player who takes the initiative in that situation.

Don’t get me wrong, I would have thumped the ball out of the stadium and into Bonymaen, but that’s the difference in the players Swansea have.

Yes, there will be mistakes, but we saw a fantastic team goal because of Fer’s decision. Long may that continue.

Awards night

On top of my media duties within football, I’ve had the pleasure of working with S4C on their ‘Cic’ series which is aimed at young footballers.

It was a big surprise and honour to be part of the team which won best Children’s Programme at the 2018 British Academy Cymru Awards last Sunday.

We filmed one of the early episodes at Fairwood Training Ground, where the Swans gave us fantastic access and really helped us get the series off on the right foot.

So, thanks to the Swans for playing their part!

Welsh Premier League

What a game we have this weekend as leaders Connah’s Quay Nomads head to defending champions The New Saints.

Connah’s Quay are leading the way at the moment and it’s great to see them forming a serious title bid.

This is an interesting match for more than one reason. Connah’s Quay are not used to topping the table while TNS are rarely among the chasing pack.

So how do both teams cope? We’ll find out on Saturday in S4C’s live game.

Barry Town are enjoying a fantastic season so far. They are level on points with TNS, who play Llandudno tonight.

Barry host Llanelli on Friday, and many will expect a home win. But, like Swansea realised against Ipswich, no result is guaranteed.

The Reds could lift themselves out of the relegation zone with victory, so they will be pumped up for that one.

Meanwhile Carmarthen, who are one off the bottom, can do the same with a good result at home against Bala.

Friday: Barry Town United v Llanelli (7.45pm)
Caernarfon Town v Newtown (7.45pm)

Saturday: Carmarthen Town v Bala Town (2.30pm)
Cefn Druids v Cardiff Met (2.30pm)
Llandudno v Aberystwyth Town (2.30pm)
The New Saints v Connah’s Quay (7.30pm – live on S4C)

Listen to OTJ’s regular podcast - The Longman's Football World Podcast – on iTunes, PodBean and all good podcast apps.
You can also follow OTJ on Instagram and Twitter.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rheolwr newydd yn hwb?

Rwy'n disgwyl y bydd yr Elyrch yn chwarae o flaen torf enfawr yn Villa Park ddydd Sadwrn. Dyma un o fy hoff gaeau, a bydd y stadiwm a’r gêm yn brawf mawr arall i'r garfan.

Bydd Villa, cyn y gêm, yn sicr o dalu teyrnged i'w cyn-gadeirydd Syr Doug Ellis, a fu farw yn ddiweddar, a bydd gan y clwb hefyd reolwr newydd wrth y llyw.

Mae Dean Smith yn benodiad craff yn fy marn i, o ystyried y gwaith y mae wedi'i gyflawni yn Walsall a Brentford.

Mae'n gefnogwr bore oes i Villa hefyd, a fydd hynny’n rhoi kudos ychwanegol iddo, ac rwy'n disgwyl y bydd yn rheolwr da i’r clwb.

Ond dydw i ddim yn un o'r rhai sy'n credu bod hyn yn amser gwael i chwarae yn erbyn Villa. Fe all perfformiad y chwaraewyr wella wrth iddyn nhw anelu i greu argraff ar eu rheolwr newydd, ond dwi ddim yn gwbl argyhoeddedig bod cael rheolwr newydd o angenrheidrwydd yn rhoi hwb i’r tîm yn syth.

Byddai'n well gen i chwarae Villa nawr yn hytrach nag mewn tair wythnos pan fydd Smith wedi cael amser i roi ei dactegau ar waith.

Does dim amheuaeth bod carfan Villa yn un dda, ond maen nhw wedi mynd ar gyfeiliorn ychydig ers colli yn rownd derfynol y gemau ail gyfle y tymor diwethaf.

Rydyn ni'n gwybod sut mae hynny'n teimlo yn Abertawe, ar ôl colli i Barnsley yn rownd derfynol y gemau ail gyfle yn 2006.

Roedd hi’n anodd inni godi ein gêm ar ôl hynny. Y tymor canlynol, roedd y perfformiadau’n siomedig, yr ysbryd yn isel a’r golled honno wedi ein brifo i’r byw.

Efallai bod Villa yn teimlo'r un peth a ni o dan arweiniad Steve Bruce, ond rwy'n disgwyl y bydd Smith yn gwella pethau a buddan nhw’n brwydro am ddyrchafiad yn y pen draw. Y gobaith yw y bydd yr Elyrch yn sicrhau ei fod yn colli ei gem gyntaf wrth y llyw.

Troeon annisgwyl y Bencampwriaeth?

Rwy'n credu y bydd pob cefnogwr yr Elyrch wedi sylweddoli bellach bod bywyd yn y Bencampwriaeth yn llawn troeon annisgwyl.

Yn fy ngholofn ddiwethaf, cyn gêm Ipswich, dywedais y byddai Abertawe yn colli'r gêm honno pe na baent ar eu gorau.

Nid yw chwarae tîm a oedd heb ennill yn eu 11 gem ddiwethaf yn golygu y gallwch gymryd unrhywbeth yn ganiataol, ac er inni chwarae pêl-droed da, aeth y canlyniad o chwith.

Roedd hi’n gêm dda yn llawn cyffro a heblaw am ambell gamgymeriad annodweddiadol, fe chwaraeodd Abertawe yn dda.

Dwi wedi dweud mewn colofnau blaenorol bod arwyddion pendant bod yr hen ddull o chwarae celfydd - y ‘Swansea Way’- yn dychwelyd, ac fe gymerodd y tîm gam arall i’r cyfeiriad hwnnw yn erbyn Ipswich.

Roedd peth o’r chwarae yn hyfryd a Bersant Celina wrth galon pob dim.

Rwy'n siŵr y byddai amryw reolwr wedi cael cathod bach o weld Leroy Fer yn pasio’r bêl yn ôl i Kristoffer Nordfeldt ychydig o lethennau o'i linell gôl ei hun.

Ond rwy’n cymeradwyo dewrder unrhyw chwaraewr sy'n mentro yn y sefyllfa honno.

Peidiwch â fy nghamddeall, byddwn i wedi taro'r bêl allan o'r stadiwm mor bell â Bôn-y-maen, ond dyna sy’n wahanol am chwaraewyr presennol Abertawe. Bydd, fe fydd yna gamgymeriadau, ond fe welsom gôl wych oherwydd penderfyniad dewr Fer. Boed hynny barhau.

Noson wobrwyo

Yn ogystal â bod yn sylwebydd pêl-droed, rwyf hefyd wedi cael y pleser o weithio gydag S4C ar y gyfres 'Cic', sydd wedi'i hanelu at chwaraewyr pêl-droed ifanc.

Roedd yn anrhydedd i fod yn rhan o'r tîm a enillodd y wobr ‘Rhaglen Plant Orau’ yng Ngwobrau BAFTA Cymru 2018 ddydd Sul diwethaf.

Fe wnaethon ni ffilmio un o'r penodau cynnar yn y gyfres ym maes hyfforddi Fairwood, lle cawsom ni groeso mawr gan yr Elyrch;

Felly, diolch i'r Elyrch am chwarae eu rhan!

Uwch Gynghrair Cymru

Mae chwip o gêm ar ein gwarthaf ar Sgorio ar S4C y penwythnos hwn wrth i’r ceffylau blaen, Crwydriaid Gei Conna herio’r pencampwyr presennol, y Seintiau Newydd.

Mae Cei Conna ar frig y tabl ac mae'n wych eu gweld o ddifri’ yn herio TNS am y bencampwriaeth.

Mae hon yn gêm ddiddorol am fwy nag un rheswm. Dyw Cei Conna ddim wedi arfer â bod ar y brig a dyw TNS ddim wedi arfer â bod ymysg y timau yn eu cwrso.

Felly sut mae’r ddau dîm yn ymdopi â hyn? Fe gawn weld ddydd Sadwrn yng ngêm fyw S4C.

Mae Barri yn mwynhau tymor gwych hyd yn hyn. Maen nhw’n gydradd ar bwyntiau gyda TNS, sy'n chwarae Llandudno heno.

Bydd Barri yn croesawu Llanelli i’w cae nos Wener, a bydd llawer yn disgwyl iddyn nhw ennill gartref. Ond, fel y sylweddolodd Abertawe wrth chwarae Ipswich, does 'na’r un canlyniad yn sicr.

Gall y Cochion godi allan o’r safleoedd disgyn wrth ennill nos Wener ac felly byddan nhw ar dân eisiau curo.

Yn y cyfamser, gall Caerfyrddin, sydd un o'r gwaelod, wneud yr un peth wrth gael canlyniad da gartref yn erbyn y Bala.

Nos Wener: Y Barri v Llanelli (7.45pm)
Caernarfon v Y Drenewydd (7.45pm)

Dydd Sadwrn: Caerfyrddin v Y Bala (2.30pm)
Derwyddon Cefn v Met Caerdydd (2.30pm)
Llandudno v Aberystwyth (2.30pm)
Y Seintiau Newydd v Cei Connah (7.30pm – yn fyw ar S4C)

Hefyd, cadwch lygad allan am bodlediad OTJ - The Longman's Football World Podcast – ar iTunes, PodBean a phob ap phodlediad dda.

Dilynwch OTJ ar Instagram a Twitter.