Martin Smith: Why Ollie McBurnie appearing in the Swansea end does not sit comfortably with me

Not sure about the Ollie McBurnie thing.

Monday, 13th January 2020, 10:54 am
Former Swansea City player Ollie McBurnie in the crowd during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Cardiff City Stadium. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire.

It’s great to see players in the away end at games, strengthens the connection with the club’s culture, shows humility and reinforces the bond with fans.

But whose fans?

Surely it only works when it’s the club the player is currently at.

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You know, Sheffield United, club that has endured his drink-drive charge and high-profile Twitter exchanges.

Perhaps if it was his boyhood team or hometown club, but Swansea for a Scotland player brought up in Leeds and supposedly a Glasgow Rangers fan?

Shouldn’t he be thinking about his current club, manager and supporters rather than being at Cardiff giving the home fans unambiguous hand signals?

United’s record £17.5m signing was a Swansea player for four years though he spent some of that time out on three loan spells and he clearly feels an affinity with the club.

He was pictured at the Welsh derby with injured Swans player Joe Rodon and Brett Johns, the Swansea-based MMA fighter.

Tottenham and Wolves player Jamie O’Hara said in yesterday’s Star that it makes 23-year-old McBurnie ‘relatable’, makes him more one of the lads than many of the aloof elite of the Premier League.

True enough. But one of whose lads?

The Jack Army might enjoy seeing one of their former players among their number in their big local derby.

But what about the fans who pay his wages and sing the Ollie McBurnie song now?

Not many things are sweeter than going back to your old club and coming away with the points.

Especially when you take Sheffield Wednesday to Elland Road.

There is always a little more at stake when Sheffield goes to Leeds - geographical, industrial and sporting rivalry becomes something else on match days, not all of it pleasant.

So a win at Elland Road after three league defeats couldn’t be much sweeter for Garry Monk and the Wednesdayites who witnessed it.

Osaze Urhoghide kept his place too and put in another sound performance.

It must have been tempting for Garry Monk to go for experience for a game like Leeds away rather than the 19-year-old.

But Osaze won the hearts of the football world last week with his heartfelt post-match interview after the 1-0 win at Brighton.

Good to see the lad grab his chance with both hands.