Swansea City: Chairman Birch says 'hard decisions ahead'

Trevor Birch
Trevor Birch's playing career ran from 1979 to 1988

Trevor Birch has conceded some "hard decisions lie ahead" as he starts work as Swansea City chairman.

Birch, 61, has taken up his new post having been chosen by Swansea's American owners to succeed Huw Jenkins.

He joins a club looking to cut costs following last season's relegation.

"There is no hiding from the fact that it may take some time to take the necessary steps to rebalance the books and some hard decisions lie ahead," Birch told the club website.

"But we need to do it to ensure the long-term future of this proud football club and its loyal supporters.

"Life after the Premier League is never easy and Swansea is not alone in having to deal with the financial realities of relegation from the top flight.

"Even with relegation clauses in player contracts, it is still incredibly difficult to balance the books without removing high earners from the payroll quickly.

"So we must return to basics, deal with the legacy player contracts and review our off-field operations which, after seven years in the Premier League, obviously have grown to support the club in that endeavour."

Swansea have offloaded a host of senior players in the last two transfer windows as part of their bid to cope with the massive drop in revenue following relegation.

There could be more notable player exits this summer, while the club issued redundancy letters to all members of staff aside from manager Graham Potter and the players last month.

"Unfortunately, our revenues will not support that cost base which has led the club to start a tough consultation process regarding current staffing levels," Birch added.

"It is tough because these people are the heart and soul of the club and, as in all the other clubs that have had to make economies on relegation, they are the ones that do suffer unduly as a result of the huge difficulties in balancing the playing staff budget quickly."

Swansea say Birch has been given complete day-to-day control of all football and business matters at the Liberty Stadium.

A former professional footballer who played for Shrewsbury and Chester, Birch has previously held chief executive roles at Chelsea, Everton, Leeds, Sheffield United and Derby and was an administrator at Portsmouth and Hearts.

He has a track record of working with clubs with financial issues.

"(Swansea) is a club I have always looked upon with great respect and fondness, one with a strong belief in its culture and clear football philosophy," Birch added.

"That philosophy should overarch all decisions we need to make, but also within a sound financial structure.

"In the past the club has achieved that. It was run lean and mean while also building a fantastic reputation for the football it played.

"It became a poster club for how to run a football club based on a rock-solid football philosophy.

"Unfortunately, it's gone slightly awry in the last few years. So now, as has been said already, we need to press the reset button, return to that philosophy and start building on those foundations again."