Swansea City co-owner Jason Levien has admitted that he has not “made all the right choices” in his time heading the club.
Levien and fellow American Steve Kaplan took control of the club in 2016 and oversaw their relegation from the Premier League.
Since then the Swans have stabilised on the field, competing for automatic promotion in the Championship this season under manager Steve Cooper.
And, in a wide-ranging press conference this week, Levien has insisted that they are in a much better off the field as well, with “sustainable growth” the long-term goal.
The pair’s almost five-year tenure heading Swansea has often been far from smooth, and Levien was open in acknowledging some of the errors made along the way.
Speaking to the media for the first time in more than two years, he said: “When I take a look back I think we learned some important lessons and a lot about people.
“A football club is really about people and understanding those people I think. Coming into it there was a lot of history which preceded us which I don’t think we fully understood and relationships.
“I think that we are a lot stronger as an ownership group now, and more strategic. I think we came into this with strong aspirations. We still have them. We still hold them. I knew owning a football club, investing in it, caring for it, being a steward of that club which is really what you are.”
Levien later expanded on the main areas in which errors were made, citing spending and communication as well as an erosion of the club’s identity.
“I certainly think we made some mistakes in the transfer market,” he said. “The buck stops with ownership, even though we had different folks at management level.
“I think in some of our communication we could have done a better job, certainly with supporters and the Trust in building the right relationships.
“A common issue that I’ve seen among clubs that are battling relegation from the Premier League is, they sometimes make short-term decisions, in terms of player moves, because the desire is so strong to stay in the Premier League.
“I think the club, prior to our arrival it started, and went through our relegation, sort of lost its way a little bit, in terms of its identity, its philosophy and its core principles.
“I think that started before we arrived, and I’m not sure we fully appreciated that where the trajectory was when we arrived, and I think learning from some of the issues that went on through our tenure and improving upon that, I’d place it in that category.”
The issue with the Swansea City Supporters’ Trust, whose members voted in 2019 to take legal action against the current and former owners, has been particularly profound, but Levien said that he “really hoped” his relationship with the Trust could be fixed.
“We’ve got some incredible supporters and there’s some terrific people on the Trust that I’ve met in the last five years,” he said. “We all want to be going in the same direction. I think if we do that, I believe that we have the ability to achieve a great deal.”
There has been recent change at the top of the club with co-owner Steve Kaplan stepping back as a director, though Levien said he was still “very involved” in Swansea.
Jake Silverstein joined the board last year after buying a stake in the club and also spoke to the media, insisting that he would be “sticking around” and that his involvement was bringing him “a huge amount of joy”.