Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins resigned on February 2nd, bringing to a conclusion a 17-year association with the club.
A week later, reports emerged that he might be part of a consortium looking to wrestle control of the club from the current owners and set it back on track.
We make the 55-year-old the subject of our latest six point opinion, delving into who he is, why he was successful and what went wrong at the Liberty Stadium.
Who is Huw Jenkins?
Huw Jenkins is the former chairman of Swansea City. He took over in 2002 with the Swans in the basement division, teetering on the brink of financial ruin.
At the time he claimed he was the ‘only one dull enough’ to do so, dull meaning not very bright in the Welsh Valleys, from where he hails.
Why was he such a popular figure at Swansea?
His reign as chairman saw an incredible rise for the side. They went from the bottom of the basement division to the Premier League, lifting their first ever major trophy, the League Cup, in 2013 with a resounding 5-0 win against Bradford at Wembley.
Not only that, but they became a blueprint for other clubs to follow. They played attractive football and signed incredibly talented players who went on to better things.
They also had a keen eye for a manager and boast Michael Laudrup, Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez as former bosses. Jenkins helped launch the career of Garry Monk too, promoting internally when few would have had the gumption to do so.
What else was unique about his leadership?
He worked closely with the Swansea Supporter’s Trust. They own a 21% stake in the club, raising £200,000 themselves to ensure they have a say in the way the club is run.
Jenkins formed a good working relationship with them, further impressing that unique business model on the team and business as a whole. It seemed to be the perfect fairy tale, the club led by a businessman, influenced by supporters and flying on the field.
Why did things go sour?
Swansea’s fortunes on the pitch began to dwindle and new investors soured the relationship too. Their appointment of managers Paul Clement and Bob Bradley backfired, badly.
In 2016, Jenkins made £7.7m from selling to Jason Levien and Stephen Kaplan. That deal valued the club at £110m, which in itself wasn’t so bad.
However, the Supporters Trust weren’t given the chance to vet the new owners, nor sell their own shares. With the club failing on the field, the feeling amongst the supporters was that Jenkins had cashed in before the going went sour.
How did it end?
He remained at the club under the new owners, but the team faltered on the field. They fell out of the Premier League and this summer there was a sense that they were stripped of their assets.
Graham Potter is the sort of manager who might continue the previous legacy, but there’s a deep suspicion that the crown jewels keep getting sold off. Jefferson Montero, Tom Carroll and Wilfried Bony all left last month, with nobody coming in. Only a last minute hitch prevented Daniel James from leaving and further weakening the squad.
Jenkins resigned ten days ago, citing the 2016 takeover and backlash to the deal as one of the reasons.
What next for Jenkins?
Remarkably, he’s being linked with a takeover once more. It’s a shock move and one which could perhaps seal his legacy as a Swansea hero. Right now, that legacy is in the balance after the club’s recent collapse, but if he ousts the new owners and restores top flight football, they’d be building a statue of him in the town centre.
Whatever happens, it’s a shame that the 17-year spell Jenkins had in charge ended on a sour note because without him and his business acumen Swansea City might still be in League.