OTJ column: Bouncebackability
In his 10th column of the season, former midfielder Owain Tudur Jones gives his take on the latest on-field action at 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.
The manner in which Swansea City have responded to the setback of suffering three defeats in the space of a week has been really positive.
We know there are no easy games in the Championship and the three games they lost – against Norwich, West Brom and Derby – are games you could lose at any stage over the course of a season.
But when the schedule throws them at you in the same week it is a real challenge, and heads can easily go down.
However, that has not been the case. You could see at Brentford how strong Swansea were in having the resolve to come out, take charge of the game and really blitz Brentford.
But they were not able to coast and they had to show character as the home side got back into that game and had the momentum behind them where they would have been thinking a win – let alone a draw – was a distinct possibility.
It meant Swansea were able to show different sides to their game and then, against Sheffield Wednesday, in awful conditions I thought they produced as controlled a performance as I have seen from them.
They have played better, but they had such control.
Even after they fell behind I said in commentary that I felt if they got a goal back they would still go on and win it. You get enough wrong in commentary so when you come up with something like that and it pans out just as you said you enjoy shouting about it a bit!
Experienced duo shine
It’s been a big couple of weeks for Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer too. They have had big parts to play in the last two games and both deserve credit.
Routledge has taken the headlines a little more because he has got the goals, but Nathan has also contributed and added something.
They have shown they had plenty to give, they can still perform to a high level and they offer so much experience in what is a pretty young squad.
They have been so professional in what cannot have been easy times.
It is interesting because performing as they are will potentially create interest in them, but across the board they have shown their desire to do well in a Swansea shirt.
The festive period
Back-to-back wins mean Swansea can move into the festive period with some confidence.
This is a busy time of year with the games coming thick and fast over Christmas and New Year.
You’d have a job convincing most people to feel sorry for footballers because of the financial aspect, but Christmas is the one time where I think there is a bit of sympathy.
While everyone else enjoys their turkey dinner and a snooze in front of the fire, it is business as usual for players.
If I am honest you just get used to it, you know from the off that there is plenty of football at this time of year and you are going to be playing.
If you are in a first-team set-up, that is your life and that is how it is.
When I played, the manager would give you the option of training on Christmas morning or later in the day after your dinner with the family.
But I do remember one instance while I was at Norwich in particular. We had Crystal Palace away on Boxing Day.
I had a young family and we trained on Christmas Day and then travelled down to spend Christmas night in a hotel.
We had our usual walkabout around the hotel on Boxing Day morning, only to find out the game was off.
You just think that it is time you have missed out on with family for no good reason, but that was a one-off.
It’s just part and parcel of the job.
Back in action
I can’t play too often these days, I am 34 but my knees are a mess but I have played in a few charity games this season and have been feeling good.
And I recently enjoyed playing for a media team against members of the Swans’ coaching staff, helping the press lads to an historic first win in the fixture after years of trying.
It was fantastic to have so much fun with people on both sides who I have known for many years, including Leon Britton.
I did notice on Twitter after the game there was a fair bit of talk about how Leon had run the show and it was all thanks to him, which showed a total lack of respect for the contributions of a fellow former pro, but I’ll live with it!
My knees were a bit sore for a few days after, so I have been thinking that if my knees are hurting after this run-out then they are definitely going to be hurting when I play in the Star Sixes in Glasgow next month.
There are six teams made up of the home nations and a rest of the world side.
I will be playing alongside Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy, and against the likes of Michael Owen and Robert Pires. So wish me luck!
JD Welsh Premier League
It’s certainly shaping up to be one of the most intriguing Welsh Premier League seasons in recent memory, and we have an interesting clash live on Sgorio this Saturday with Barry Town hosting Caernarfon Town.
Barry have put themselves right in the thick of the title battle, they are right there with Connah’s Quay and The New Saints and have been the surprise package of the season to date.
This really is a game to look forward to. Two sides who were not in the top-flight a couple of seasons ago are now really making their mark.
As the weeks have gone by I have been waiting for Barry to have a blip or a slip-up, but they keep defying that expectation and just keep going and getting results.
Caernarfon have also got plenty to play for, they are fighting for a place in the top six before the league splits into two groups, so there is no shortage of spice.
It’s also a big game for Llanelli Town as they host Bala.
The Reds have picked up a bit recently and they will want to make sure a gap does not open up between them and the sides above them.
They are in the mix. When they lost they have tended to lose heavily, and the number of goals they have conceded and the red cards they have been awarded show a team who are operating at absolute full stretch after making the step up.
But Bala are not too far away from the top themselves and it’s an important game for both teams.
Friday: Aberystwyth Town v Cefn Druids (7.45pm)
Saturday: Connah’s Quay v Cardiff Met (2.30pm)
Llandudno v The New Saints (2.30pm)
Llanelli Town v Bala Town (2.30pm)
Newtown v Carmarthen Town (2.30pm)
Barry Town United v Caernarfon Town (7.35pm - live on S4C)
As this is my last blog for Christmas, on behalf of S4C I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
This time of year there is a huge void in my life as nothing has ever replaced the fancy dress Christmas parties we had every year with the Swans.
I get offers to dress up for a night out now, but it just wouldn’t be the same as some of those famous nights down Wind Street.
Mae’r ffordd mae Abertawe wedi ymateb ar ôl colli tair gêm yn olynol yn galonogol iawn. Does dim ffasiwn beth a gêm hawdd yn y Bencampwriaeth ac mae Norwich, West Brom a Derby yn her i unrhyw un.
Ond pan ‘da chi’n colli yn erbyn y tri tîm yno o fewn wythnos, mae’n ddigon hawdd i bennau’r chwaraewyr fynd i lawr. Ond, di hynny heb ddigwydd.
Wnaethon nhw ddechrau’n sydyn iawn yn erbyn Brentford, ac er i’r tîm cartref ddod yn ôl i mewn i’r gêm, mi ddaru nhw ddangos eu hochr benderfynol i ennill.
Mi ddangosodd nhw ochr arall o’r gêm yn erbyn Sgeffield Wednesday, yn rheoli’r gêm gystal ag unrhyw bryd arall y tymor yma.
Er iddyn nhw ildio gôl, fe ddywedais yn y blwch sylwebu y byddai’n nhw’n ennill y gêm petai nhw’n gallu dod a’u hunain yn gyfartal. Mae mor hawdd i gael pethau’n anghywir wrth sylwebu, mae’n rhaid gwneud ychydig o sŵn pan mae’ch proffwydion chi’n dod yn gywir!
Deuawd brofiadol yn rhagori
Mae’r bythefnos diwethaf ‘di bod yn un bwysig i Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer. Maen nhw wedi chwarae rôl fawr yn y ddwy gêm ddiwethaf ac mae’r ddau’n haeddu clod.
Routledge sydd wedi hawlio’r penawdau oherwydd ei goliau, ond mae Nathan Dyer wedi gwneud cyfraniad mawr yn ogystal.
Maen nhw wedi profi bod ganddyn nhw dal lot i’w gynnig, ac maen nhw wedi ymddwyn yn broffesiynol iawn mewn amgylchiadau anodd.
Bydd eu perfformiadau da wedi dod a sylw iddyn nhw, ond yn gyson dros y blynyddoedd, maen nhw wedi dangos eu brwdfrydedd i berfformio’n dda dros Abertawe.
Hwyl yr Ŵyl
Bydd dwy fuddugoliaeth yn olynol yn rhoi cryn dipyn o hyder i’r Swans wrth iddyn nhw baratoi am gyfnod prysur y Nadolig a’r Flwyddyn Newydd.
Fydd ‘na ddim gormod o bobl yn cydymdeimlo gyda phêl-droedwyr o safbwynt ariannol, ond mae’r Nadolig yn un cyfnod lle mae cefnogwyr yn dangos cydymdeimlad.
Wrth i bawb arall fwynhau eu cinio Nadolig a nap o flaen y tân, does dim newid i chwaraewyr pêl-droed. Mae chwaraewyr yn dod i arfer â’r drefn – mae ‘na lot o gemau yn ystod y cyfnod yma.
Pan oeddwn i’n chwarae, roedd y rheolwr yn rhoi’r dewis i'r garfan - hyfforddi yn y bore neu yn y pnawn, ar ôl cinio gyda’r teulu. Mae un gêm benodol yn dod i’r atgof, pan oeddwn i’n chwarae i Norwich. Roedd gennym ni gêm yn erbyn Crystal Palace ar Ddiwrnod San Steffan. Roedd gen i deulu ifanc, ond fel carfan, roedden ni’n cael sesiwn ar ddiwrnod Nadolig cyn teithio i lawr hwyrach ymlaen ac aros mewn gwesty'r noson honno.
Yna, ar ôl mynd am dro gyda’r garfan ar fore’r gêm, wnaethon ni ddarganfod fod y gêm wedi’i ohirio. Roedden ni i gyd wedi methu allan ar dreulio amser gyda’n teuluoedd am ddim rheswm, ond mi oedd hwnnw yn eithriad. Mae’r holl beth yn rhan o’r swydd.
Dychwelyd i’r cae
Gallaf i ddim chwarae llawer y dyddiau yma. Mi ydw i’n 34 oed ac mae’r pengliniau yn rhacs. Ond mi ydw i ‘di teimlo’n dda’n ddiweddar wrth chwarae mewn ambell gêm elusennol.
Yn ddiweddar, chwaraeais dros dîm y wasg yn erbyn tîm o hyfforddwyr y Swans, ac yn helpu’r wasg ennill am y tro gyntaf erioed. Helpu creu hanes.
Roedd o’n gymaint o hwyl chwarae gydag ac yn erbyn pobl roeddwn i’n nabod ers blynyddoedd, gan gynnwys Leon Britton.
Roedd pawb yn canu clod Leon ar Twitter ar ôl y gêm, yn dweud fod o ‘di rhedeg y sioe - ac yn anwybyddu cyfraniad sylweddol y cyn-chwaraewr arall - ond mi allai fyw gyda’r peth!
Mi oedd y pengliniau yn sôr am ddyddiau ar ôl y gêm, ac os maen nhw’n brifo ar ôl un gêm, mi fydden nhw’n sicr yn brifo ar ôl chwarae yn y Star Sixes yng Nglasgow mis nesaf. Fydd ‘na bum tîm o genhedloedd Prydain yn chwarae, yn ogystal â Gweriniaeth Iwerddon a thîm gyda chwaraewyr o weddill wledydd y byd.
Mi fyddaf yn chwarae gyda Ryan Giggs a Craig Bellamy, ac yn erbyn pobl fel Michael Owen a Robert Pires - felly dymunwch pob lwc i mi!
Uwch Gynghrair Cymru JD
Mae’n siapio i fod yn un o’r tymhorau fwyaf cyffrous yn Uwch Gynghrair Cymru ers blynyddoedd, ac mae gennym ni gêm a hanner ar Sgorio nos Sadwrn, wrth i’r Barri herio Caernarfon.
Ynghyd â Chei Connah a’r Seintiau Newydd, mae Barry yng nghanol y ras am y gynghrair eleni. Mi fydd hon yn gêm rhwng dau dîm sydd wedi creu argraff ers ail-godi i’r Uwch Gynghrair.
Mae gan Gaernarfon ddigon i frwydro drosto hefyd, gyda lle yn y chwech uchaf yn y fantol cyn i’r gynghrair ei rhannu’n ddau ym mis Ionawr. Fydd ‘na ddigon o sbeis yn y gêm yma.
Mae gan Lanelli gêm fawr hefyd, wrth iddyn nhw herio’r Bala. Mae’r cochion wedi gwella’n ddiweddar ac mi fydden nhw’n awyddus i gau’r bwlch rhyngddynt â’r timau uwch eu pennau.
Tydi’r Bala ddim yn bell o’r brig chwaith, felly mi fydd hon yn gêm bwysig i’r ddau dîm.
Nos Wener: Aberystwyth v Derwyddon Cefn (7.45pm)
Dydd Sadwrn: Cei Connah v Met Caerdydd (2.30pm)
Llandudno v Y Seintiau Newydd (2.30pm)
Llanelli v Y Bala (2.30pm)
Y Drenewydd v Caerfyrddin (2.30pm)
Y Barri v Caernarfon (7.35pm – yn fyw ar S4C)
Gan mai hon yw’r blog olaf cyn y Nadolig, ar ran S4C, hoffwn ddymuno Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i bawb.
Dyma amser o’r flwyddyn lle mae ‘na fwlch enfawr yn fy mywyd - dim parti gwisg ffansi Nadolig, fel roedden ni arfer cael pob blwyddyn yn Abertawe.
Mi ydw i dal yn cael ambell gynnig am noson wisg ffansi, ond fysa’ fo byth cystal â’r nosweithiau bythgofiadwy ar Wind Street.