Billy the Bee from Brentford site Beesotted was kind enough to give us his views on Reading summer signing John Swift, who spent last season on loan at Griffin Park. You can follow them on twitter for some cracking video and audio @beesotted.
Are Bees fans disappointed Swift didn't join permanently?
Swift is a funny one. Came in from Chelsea with a lot of props. Admittedly he came into a side that wasn't the most settled and organised. The start of last season was a disaster for us with the aborted manager, loads of injured players, big names leaving like Andre Gray and Moses Odubajo and a quagmire of a pitch that had to be relayed just to name a few.
He was played a lot by the respective managers - Lee Carsley threw him in at the deep end up at Derby in a match which was probably our worst performance of the season (even worse than QPR). And after that Derby match, our season turned around with Swift in the thick of the action. He scored his first goal away to Charlton in a 3-0 drubbing of the South London side and you could see he had flashes of brilliance. But the majority of fans did not really take to him. Maybe unfairly. He clearly wasn't the finished article. But then if he WAS the finished article, he would not be on loan at Brentford.
Attacking wise he was useful. Skilful. Maybe lacking in confidence sometimes. Then other times he would do something incredible. But there were stages when he would give the ball away. But the thing that got many of the fans goat the most was his perceived lack of fight and digging his heels in. So if Brentford were under pressure, he would not so easily flip into defensive mode. We went on a bad run in Feb/March losing ... well too many matches in that time ... and we went to QPR in March - a big game for Bees fans. We were awful. the whole team was awful. But Swift came through some terrible abuse (I think it was unjustified as all the players were poo) from Bees fans who thought that he did not put any effort in. It was quite bad I have to say.
He got injured soon after that - only to reappear for the last two games of the season. He scored a decent goal up at Huddersfield - not soon after coming on as sub - to give the perfect answer-back to a small section of Bees fans who were lambasting him.
I know the management thought he had huge potential. And were a bit taken aback by the amount of abuse he was getting as he was ‘only a kid'.
The problem for some of the fans - he didn't have the attitude of Sergi Canos who also joined us on loan last season and was the most enthusiastic player you could ever have signed had who wasn't actually your ‘real' player. He would tweet positive things about the match. The club. The team. The fans. He really won everyone over. Swift still had work to do to win the fans over.
Instead Swift tweeted "Some days they love you. Some days they hate you. Both days I got paid" right in the middle of our losing run (and being once again subject to the disgruntlement of some fans) which didn't go particularly well and he was dropped by new boss Dean Smith.
Personally, I thought he could potentially be a decent player and was hoping we would sign him - but not for big money so I'm not totally gutted that we haven't signed him on the deal his agent was trying to get for him. The fact he didn't sign means (I believe) he didn't really in his heart of hearts want to play for Brentford. At this moment we only want and need players who have the desire to play for us. We're in a serious rebuilding phase after the Warburton era and need to build back that team spirit we had during promoted from Division 1 and also made a run to the Playoffs - but with a fresh team. We're close I reckon. Probably three players away.
The reality is .. if he had a really decent season last year he would have ‘Done a Pritchard' or ‘Done a Canos' - both situations where Brentford helped to build a player's profile from zero to bring so high everyone is talking about him - meaning in the end you can't actually afford to buy him.
To be honest, I thought he'd not quite done enough last season (so OK ... shone in parts .. but overall so so) to be enough under the radar for us to buy him. Then he would have improved this season. So Reading are on a gamble. Will the ball land on red or black - that is the question.
What's his best position?
His main position is playing between defensive/holding mids & attack. The link man. He has also been known to play on the wing which quite frankly doesn't suit him as well. Playing him out of position created confidence problems I think.
What are his main strengths?
He is skilful. That is without a doubt. He can take players on. And he can bury the ball in the back of the net given the chance.
Losing the ball. He's a box to box midfielder so him not tracking back all the time is a part of his game he needs to work on. People say general apparent lack of enthusiasm at times but I hasten to say, as I don't know him, maybe that's just his style. There are plenty of players who have a ‘cool' demeanour but still deliver the goods and no-one complains. He has still got a lot of development to do so maybe that tag is a trifle unfair. He did win the Toulon Tournament this year with England U21s so he must be a half decent player. He just needs a lot more experience and a bit of proper rough and tumble on the pitch.
Any idea what he's like off the pitch attitude wise?
I don't really know. That tweet was a mistake .. and he apologised for it ... From what I can gather he comes from quite a tough background so football is quite a big opportunity for him to make a proper career for himself (to coin a bit of cliche phrase). I keep saying to myself he is only young. David Beckham was given absolute dogs abuse for things that he did in and around the '98 world cup and look at him now.
How good can he be?
This is hard to say if I am honest. I haven't seen him on the training pitch. Apparently he's a demon with free-kicks. One of the best in our team but he didn't really get the opportunity to show the world as he was down the pecking order. When he's good he's really good. He did a little skill one game (can't remember which one) which left a player standing. He's obviously a very talented player. Whether he can put that into practice for 90 minutes in 46 matches a season is the question. But I say good luck to the lad. No hard feelings here at all. I wish him all the best. But not so good that you guys finish above us of course.
Thanks again to Billy and we'll be getting his thoughts on Brentford plus the views of bloggers throughout the Championship in the next couple of weeks.
You can also follow Billy and the boys across social media.
Video - www.youtube.com/beesotted1992