6th March – Garry Monk

Garry Monk will go down as a Swansea City legend for what he did as a player but he is also doing a fantastic job as their manager and leading them to another top half finish.

When Monk first joined the club he wouldn’t have believed that they would be in the Premier League never mind being one of the best footballing sides in the top flight. Many people were surprised when the 36 year old was given the job because he didn’t have any experience and they felt that under Monk they would be battling relegation. However, he knows everything about the club and the way they want to play.

The former central defender started his career at Torquay United and was very highly rated, making five appearances for the club before he had even turned professional. This meant other clubs were looking at him and he signed for Southampton at the end of the 1995-96 season. In 1998 he would return to Torquay on loan and once again impressed so on his return he found himself in the Southampton first team and made his debut on the 28th November 1998 against Derby County. He would go on to play a further four games over the season.

Monk Soton

In September 1999 he went out on loan to Stockport County but was recalled because of an injury crisis at his parent club and he played the first two matches in January 2000 for Southampton. A year later he went out on loan to Oxford United but once again he was recalled because of injuries and would go on to play the last two home games at The Dell against Manchester United and Arsenal which were both won by Southampton.

Monk struggled once more to become a first team regular so was sent out on loan again. This time it looked as though it would be turned into a permanent move but after playing 15 times for Sheffield Wednesday and not helping them avoid relegation to Division Two, the move didn’t materialise. He did eventually leave the club permanently and joined Barnsley in February 2004. However he only lasted half a season and left for Swansea City in June.

Monk SWFC

It was a great start for him at Swansea as he helped them get promoted from League Two in his first season and then reach the League One Playoffs in his second season. In August 2006 it was announced that he would be the club captain. Unfortunately after just two games in the 2006-07 season he picked up a cruciate ligament injury and was ruled out for the rest of the campaign. Monk returned to the team and captained the club to promotion.

In their first season back they were excellent and finished 8th place but the 2009-10 season was not the best for Monk as he struggled with injuries and only played 22 times. Also during this period Monk and the manager Paulo Sousa did not see eye to eye and after the Portuguese man left the club Monk was back in the starting 11. He would then lead the Swans to the Premier League after defeating Reading in the Playoff final and he was given a new three year contract by the club.

Monk SC

Over the next two seasons he began to play less but was still able to lift his first major trophy after Swansea won the League Cup in 2013 after defeating Bradford City 5-0 in the final. Just under a year later he would be given the manager’s job and currently has a 38% win percentage as manager.

The final word can go to someone that didn’t get on well with Monk but knew his quality, Paulo Sousa. “Garry is one of the players we think is very important to our project for his experience, quality and leadership. He is an important figure in the dressing room and on the pitch. He knows the club’s philosophy.”

27th February – Jonjo Shelvey

Jonjo Shelvey is a player with incredible talent and he is going to be a very important player for Swansea City until the end of the season and for the next few years.

The midfielder is only 23 but he seems to have been around for a very long time and some people have criticised his development as he could have been a regular in England’s midfield by this point. Shelvey has a lot of talent and will definitely add to his one England cap but he definitely needs to add more consistency to his game if he is going to be one of the best players in the country.

Shelvey started his career at Charlton Athletic and became the youngest player to ever play for the club in April 2008 after making his debut as a substitute against Barnsley at the age of 16 years and 59 days. He would also go on to become the club’s youngest ever goalscorer after finding the back of the net against Norwich City in January 2009. On his 17th birthday he signed his first professional contract and was quickly known as one of the most promising youngsters in England. After 49 games and eight goals, Shelvey joined Liverpool and made his debut in their shock defeat to Northampton Town in the League Cup.

Shelvey CA

In his first season he played 21 times for the club but on the 30th September 2011 he joined Blackpool on loan and scored the following day in a 5-0 win over Bristol City and a few weeks later he would score his first professional hatrick against Leeds United. Due to injuries at his parent club he was recalled after six goals in 10 games for Blackpool. Just before the end of the season he scored from 30 yards against Chelsea in a 4-1 win and was rewarded with a new long term contract for his performances over the season. However, he only lasted one more season at the club.

Shelvey Liverpool

On the 3rd July 2013 he signed for Swansea City and was involved in a very eventful game against former club Liverpool soon afterwards. He scored and assisted teammate Michu’s goal but was also responsible for both of Liverpool’s goals in a 2-2 draw. Since he has been quite consistent and an important member of the Swansea team but a regular criticism of him is his disciplinary which manager Garry Monk has tried to get out of his game. He was sent off against Everton on the 1st November 2014 and then should have seen red again on the 29th December in a game against Liverpool.

Swansea City's Jonjo Shelvey

A lot of people do forget how young Shelvey still is and he has a lot of time to develop and will be a fantastic player for Swansea for many years to come.

The final word can go to Garry Monk. “His quality is there for everyone to see – his passing, the way he moves with the ball, how he offers good angles and movements and fits into defensive shape. Performance-wise, he’s capable of running a game, grabbing it by the scruff of the neck and really dictating it.”

16th September – Leon Britton

Leon Britton is a real legend at Swansea City and he has been a central figure in their rise up the leagues, playing in every division for the club and even the Europa League.

He is just one of four players to have played in every English Football League division along with Brett Ormerod, former teammate Alan Tate and current Swansea manager Garry Monk. Apart from one spell away from the club since making his professional league debut he has been at the Welsh side for his entire career. He is one of the most underrated players in the Premier League and if England teams were actually picked on form rather than reputation and the club they play for, he would have at least got some caps for the national team.

The 5 foot 5 inch midfielder actually started his career at Arsenal but was signed by West Ham as a 16 year old in 1998 for £400,000, which at the time was the highest transfer fee paid for a player of that age. He failed to break into the team at West Ham and joined Swansea City on loan in December 2002 and played a key role in helping them avoid relegation out of the Football League. He impressed everyone that seen him play and was voted the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year for the Third Division.
Britton SC
After he was released by his parent club, Swansea manager Brian Flynn made it a priority to sign him up permanently. In his first full season at the club he played 48 times and scored three times. In the 2004-05 season he helped them gain promotion from League Two and this was the start of an incredible journey for both him and the club. Every season in League One Britton played over 40 times and was making a name for himself and one of the best midfielders in all of the Football League.

On the 9th February 2008 he played his 200th game for Swansea and the season ended perfectly as the club got promoted to the Championship. Many expected them to struggle and had to adapt their game but there was no chance of this happening and the higher up the leagues they went the better Britton got, which attracted attention from other clubs. In January 2010, Wigan Athletic had an offer rejected for the midfielder and at the end of the season Britton left the club on a free transfer.

Despite Premier League clubs wanting to sign him, he joined Sheffield United but after playing under four managers in just five months, he had realised he made a mistake and regretted leaving Swansea. After just 26 appearances he was allowed to rejoin the Welsh club. His second debut came against Barnsley on the 20th January 2011, and then went on to score his first goal in three and a half years on the final day of the season against former club Sheffield United.
Britton SU
The 2010-11 season ended with Swansea getting promoted to the Premier League after winning the Championship Playoff final 4-2 against Reading. In his first two seasons in the top flight he barely missed a game and despite injuries in the last campaign he still put in some fantastic performances and would not have looked out of place in the England squad.
Britton SC7
So far in his career he has played 485 times and also played six times in the Europa League. The 32 year old has regularly topped the stats table for most completed passes over the last few seasons.

The final word can go to Brendan Rodgers. “In the British game he really is a reference point now for players of that type. He is performing consistently and making up to 100 passes a game which is phenomenal at this level.”