OTJ column: Debut delight

8th August 2018
Club

In a new website column, former midfielder Owain Tudur Jones gives his views, memories and predictions on all things Swansea City.

OTJ made 56 appearances for the Swans during a four-year period during 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 first column in a week of fine debuts at Swansea City.

Blade Runners

It’s an exciting time at Swansea City right now.

The club is going through a transitional period with a new manager, new staff, new players and a new style.

I can already tell the supporters are far more enthusiastic about the team and the season ahead.

As a player, it can be a tense time when a new manager comes in.

You don’t know if he’ll rate you, whether you’ll play, what your training schedule will be like (footballers are creatures of habit!) or how the team will shape up.

Going from the reactions to Saturday, the players have reacted very well to Graham Potter’s early messages.

He gave Joel Asoro, Bersant Celina and Barrie McKay debuts from the start, while Yan Dhanda proved a super sub on his first appearance for the club. Four debuts in one game – that shows the faith Potter has in his players.

That win will do the world of good for the players and the manager.

The players will have bought into what Potter wants from them, while he has confidence in them too after that performance and result.

It was a big ask for Swansea to go to Sheffield United and win. It’s a team that has struggled in the Premier League for the past few years – a team apparently low on confidence – going up against a big club who have pushed to get into the top flight and fallen just short.

So to come from behind and pick up three points is a really promising start.

Happy Potter

The Swans have a project to build here, and Potter is leading it.

It is similar to the time when Roberto Martinez came in as manager. He had a massive building job to complete and it took time.

Supporters were frustrated at the start when they saw their team passing the ball around to seemingly no avail.

But look what time and patience did for that team and the club.

Impress against Preston

The last time the Swans played Preston in their opening home match in the Championship the club won promotion. That’s a good omen.

But one thing I will say is that Preston should not be underestimated at all. I saw them a few times last season and they are a solid, stereotypical Championship side – strong, no household names but fully committed – and if you drop your levels then you’ll lose.

They were the same when we played against them back in 2008, when Ferrie Bodde scored that wonder goal.

Ferrie was an amazing player and his vision was incredible. He talks more about his pass that set up the second goal than his goal.

But it was a privilege to be a part of that team that night in Preston. Ferrie’s goal summed him up – a genius who did what others failed to even think about doing.

It was no surprise to his team-mates though – we saw that kind of thing regularly in training with Ferrie.

Swansea would settle for the same result on Saturday, but it won’t be easy.

The first home game is a really exciting occasion for the players and the fans.

You have more energy than ever walking out on to the pitch because of all the excitement and buzz from the atmosphere.

My best memory of an opening game is the first competitive fixture at the Liberty against Tranmere in 2005.

It was my first year in professional football, and I came off the bench really late on for Lee Trundle.

Experiencing the noise and the passion that day at a classy new stadium was an unforgettable moment in my career.

I’ll be at the game this weekend with my broadcaster hat on, but I’ll certainly be hoping for a home victory.

Welsh Premier League

The WPL kicks off this week and there are some fantastic games to watch.

On the opening night, Bala Town host Carmarthen in a game you can watch on the Sgorio Facebook Live account.

Newly-promoted Caernarfon Town host Cefn Druids in a tough opening game for the Canaries. It’s live on S4C’s Sgorio programme, and it’s a game I’m really looking forward to covering.

Llanelli are back in the top flight again, and that’s great for the South Wales region. I think the Reds could have a tough season though as they are missing their main man Lee Trundle.

They face Connah’s Quay at Stebonheath Park, and that will be a tricky one for Andy Hill’s side.

I can’t look any further than TNS this season, but Bala and Connah’s Quay will look to push them after my old club Bangor City were demoted.

TNS host newboys Barry Town on Sunday, and the home side are expecting to get off to a winning start.

TNS, who have Ben Cabango on loan from the Swans, face Danish Superliga champions Midtjylland on Thursday in the Europa League, so it will be interesting to see how they are physically after that game.

Thursday: Europa League - The New Saints v FC Midtjylland (7.45pm – Live on Sgorio)

Friday: Aberystwyth Town v Llandudno (7.45pm)
Bala Town v Carmarthen Town (7.45pm - Streamed Live on Sgorio Facebook Live)
Cardiff Met v Newtown (8pm)

Sunday: Caernarfon Town v Cefn Druids (5.15pm - Live on Sgorio)
Llanelli Town AFC v Connah’s Quay Nomads (2.30pm)
The New Saints v Barry Town (2.30pm)

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.

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Y Swans yn dangos calon yn Sheffield

Mae hi’n adeg cyffroes yn Abertawe ar hyn o bryd. Mae’r clwb yn mynd trwy gyfnod o newid mawr; rheolwr newydd, chwaraewyr newydd a ffordd newydd o chwarae. Mae’n wir dweud hefyd bod y cefnogwyr yn fwy brwdfrydig am y tîm a’r tymor o’u blaenau.

Fel chwaraewr, mae hi’n adeg ansicr bob tro mae rheolwr newydd yn dod i mewn.

Dwyt ti ddim yn gwybod beth mae o’n feddwl ohonot ti, os fyddi di’n cael lle yn y tîm, beth fydd yr amserlen hyfforddi (mae
chwaraewyr yn hoff o’i routine!) a sut fydd y tîm yn edrych.

Wrth edrych ar y chwaraewyr ddydd Sadwrn, maen nhw wedi ymateb yn dda iawn i negeseuon cynnar Graham Potter.

Fe roddodd début i Joel Asoro, Bersant Celina a Barrie McKay, a rhoi Yan Dhanda ymlaen o’r fainc, ac fe dalodd hynny ar ei ganfed. Pedwar début mewn un gêm - mae hynny’n dangos y ffydd sydd ganddo yn ei chwaraewyr. Ac fe wneith y fuddugoliaeth yna gymaint o les i’r tîm ac i’r rheolwr.

Bydd y chwaraewyr wedi deall beth mae Potter ei angen ganddyn nhw, ac mae ganddo’r hyder ynddyn nhw nawr ar ôl y perfformiad a’r canlyniad yna.

Roedd o’n dipyn o her i’r Swans deithio i Sheffield a dod nôl gyda thri phwynt. Roedden nhw’n dîm sydd heb chwarae gyda hyder yn yr Uwch Gynghrair dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf ac yn chwarae yn erbyn clwb mawr oedd yn agos i ennill dyrchafiad y tymor diwethaf.

Felly roedd ennill y gêm ar ôl bod ar eu hôl hi yn ddechrau addawol iawn.

Potter angen amser ac amynedd y cefnogwyr

Mae’r Swans yn ail-adeiladu popeth, a Potter sy’n arwain y prosiect.

Mae’n sefyllfa sy’n fy atgoffa o pan ddaeth Roberto Martinez i mewn fel rheolwr. Roedd ganddo job anferth i‘w wneud i newid popeth, ac fe gymerodd hynny amser.

Ar y cychwyn, roedd rhwystredigaeth y cefnogwyr yn amlwg wrth weld chwaraewyr yn pasio’r bêl yn anniben. Ond wedi amser ac ychydig o amynedd, gafodd hynny effaith anhygoel ar y clwb.

Rhaid rhoi parch i Preston

Y tro diwethaf i’r Swans chwarae yn erbyn Preston yn eu gêm gartref gyntaf yn y Championship, fe enillon nhw ddyrchafiad y tymor hwnnw. Dyna i chi omen dda!

Un peth fyswn i’n ei ddweud yw - fydd Preston ddim yn dîm hawdd i chwarae yn eu herbyn. Mi welais i nhw droeon y llynedd, ac maen nhw’n dîm cryf sydd wedi sefydlu eu hunain yn y Bencampwriaeth. Does ganddyn nhw ddim enwau mawr, ond maen nhw’n rhoi cant y cant drwy’r adeg, ac os ‘da chi’n cael diwrnod gwael yn chwarae yn eu herbyn, fe wnewch chi golli.

Fel ‘na oedden nhw pan wnaethon ni chwarae yn eu herbyn nhw yn 2008, pan sgoriodd Ferrie Bodde y gôl ryfeddol yna.

Roedd Ferrie yn chwaraewr arbennig ac roedd ganddo weledigaeth anhygoel ar y cae. Mae o dal i siarad fwy am y pas roddodd o ar gyfer gôl arall y gêm na’r gôl ddaru o sgorio’i hun!

Roedd hi’n anrhydedd i fod yn rhan o’r tîm y noson yna yn Preston. Roedd y gôl yna yn dweud y cyfan am Ferrie - athrylith oedd yn gallu gwneud pethau doedd eraill methu hyd yn oed dychmygu gwneud.

Ond, doedd o ddim yn syndod o gwbl i’w gyd-chwaraewyr – roedden ni’n gweld y math yna o beth drwy’r adeg wrth hyfforddi.

Fe fyddai canlyniad tebyg yn un da i’r Swans dydd Sadwrn – ond ni fydd hynny’n hawdd.

Mae’r gêm gartref gyntaf yn achlysur cyffroes i bawb. Mae gen ti fwy o egni yn cerdded allan ar y cae oherwydd yr awyrgylch a’r buzz yn y stadiwm.

Fy hoff atgof i o gêm gynta’r tymor oedd un yn erbyn Tranmere - y gêm gyntaf i gael ei chwarae yn y Liberty.

Dyna oedd fy nhymor cyntaf fel pêl-droediwr proffesiynol, ac fe es i ymlaen fel eilydd yn lle Lee Trundle yn hwyr iawn yn y gêm.

Roedd profi’r angerdd a’r sŵn mewn stadiwm newydd fodern yn foment bythgofiadwy yn fy ngyrfa i.

Mi fydda i yna eto dydd Sadwrn yn gwisgo fy het darlledwr - ond yn sicr mi fyddai’n gobeithio am fuddugoliaeth gartref.

Uwch Gynghrair Cymru JD

Mae Uwch Gynghrair Cymru JD yn cychwyn dros y penwythnos ac mae rhai gemau gwych i’w wylio.

Ar y noson agoriadol, bydd Y Bala yn croesawu Caerfyrddin i Faes Tegid, ac mi fydd y gêm i’w weld yn fyw ar dudalen Facebook Live Sgorio.

Wedi iddyn nhw ennill dyrchafiad y tymor diwethaf, mae gan Gaernarfon dipyn o her yn eu gêm agoriadol gartref i’r Derwyddon Cefn ddydd Sul. Dyna fydd gêm byw Sgorio ar S4C y penwythnos yma, ac mae’n gêm dw i’n edrych ymlaen ato’n arw.

Mae Llanelli yn ôl yn yr Uwch Gynghrair sy’n wych i bêl-droed yn Ne Cymru. Ond heb eu prif sgoriwr o lynedd - Lee Trundle - fe all hwn fod yn dymor anodd i’r cochion. Maen nhw’n wynebu Connah’s Quay ym Mharc Stebonheath ac mi fydd honno’n gêm anodd i dîm Andy Hill.

Y Seintiau Newydd yw’r ffefrynnau i godi’r tlws unwaith eto, ond mi fydd Bala a Chei Connah yn edrych i wthio nhw ymhellach eleni, yn enwedig ar ôl i fy hen dîm, Bangor, gwympo o’r adran.

Mae YSN yn croesawu’r Barri i Neuadd y Parc ddydd Sul, ac mi fydden nhw’n disgwyl hawlio’r tri phwynt.

Cyn hynny, mi fydden nhw’n herio pencampwyr Superliga Denmarc, Midtjylland, nos Iau yng Nghynghrair Ewropa – gyda’r gêm yn fyw ar S4C - felly mi fydd yn ddiddorol gweld sut fydden nhw’n gorfforol ar ôl y gêm yna.

Nos Iau: Cynghrair Ewropa - Y Seintiau Newydd v FC Midtjylland (7.45pm - Yn fyw ar Sgorio)

Nos Wener: Aberystwyth v Llandudno (7.45pm)
Y Bala v Caerfyrddin (7.45pm – Yn fyw ar dudalen Facebook Live Sgorio)
Met Caerdydd v Y Drenewydd (8pm)

Nos Sul: Caernarfon v Derwyddon Cefn (5.15pm – Yn fyw ar Sgorio)
Llanelli v Cei Connah (2.30pm)
Y Seintiau Newydd v Y Barri (2.30pm)

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