In this new series, we will sit down with the club’s owners to get unique insights into the past two and a half years as “the youngest owners in world football”, and their ambitions going forward. First up – Stephan Karidis.
Thomas Bradbury: Stephan, cheers for taking the time to do this. It was a crazy moment when we took over in June 2019 and – to put it mildly – a lot has happened since. What’s your overall experience been like so far, as a part owner of the Swans?
Stephan Karidis: It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride to be honest. A lot has happened out of our control over the period of our ownership; however, it feels as though we’ve been able to remain level headed amongst the chaos, maintaining our trajectory towards returning this club to its rightful place in English football. I would attribute this diligent decision-making to being surrounded by the rest of the boys on the board. Being able to bounce ideas off each other under pressure has got us through some tough episodes.
TB: I think, especially in the first year, there was a huge learning curve for all of us but we have been able to get over it, just about! For those who aren’t too familiar, what is your specific role at the club and what do you tend to do on matchdays?
SK: I’m the Accounts Officer, which involves monitoring the cashflow of the club and making sure that we have utmost clarity as to what our financial needs are in different departments. On matchdays we tend to split up the roles between ourselves. Some games I will be providing hospitality to the opposition board members; on other days I operate the gates on the floor. It must be said, however, that our match days would not run smoothly without the invaluable help of our amazing volunteers.
TB: And, of course, you balance your role with full-time university studies. How has it been handling life as a student with your commitments as an owner?
SK: Balancing education with the responsibilities of running a football club has been challenging at times, as can be expected; however, we have a great level of understanding amongst ourselves, which makes delegating tasks to each other quite commonplace – and I think we are all grateful for that.
TB: I think it definitely helps that we’re all passionate about football in general and that can make ‘work’ more fun in some ways. I’m curious to hear, though, has there been a particular moment in the last 2 and a half years that you look back on very fondly?
SK: The team scoring 3 goals in Jersey within the final 10 minutes to level the game is a moment that still gives me goosebumps. Seeing firsthand the passion and grit displayed on that pitch is something that will stay with me forever. Truly unforgettable.
TB: That one result alone has probably written Eddie Simon (2 late goals) and Alec Fiddes (2 late assists – recently departed for Balham FC) into the folklore a bit. The season has certainly continued strongly since – what hopes do you have for the club going forward?
SK: Following last year’s promotion, going up again this season is the most prominent short-term goal at the moment; however, seeing the fans who had lost faith in the club over the last decade or so return with even greater hopes is a bigger win in my eyes.
TB: Very well said – the flux in attendance numbers has been really encouraging, and long may it continue! And finally, how do you like to spend your time away from football and the Swans?
SK: Outside of the realm of football I train, compete and coach in powerlifting. My true passion, however, lies with watching the Swans not miss penalties.
TB: Brilliant, cheers for your time Stephan. Up the Swans!