So over the holidays, I was back in the UK, and managed to go to a good few games including Reading away, Fulham away, and Man Utd home. Being able to watch the team you love play Premier League football, is amazing for any fan, but when you have come from where Swansea have, it makes it even better. To be able to see the team line up against Manchester United is quite something.
Now when I was young, I tried supporting Spurs for a while, being closer than Swansea, but having a lot of family connections to Swansea, by the age of 14 or so, I was fully fledged. It meant home games were 4 hour drives, and so away games were the norm. I always loved the away games, just as the atmosphere was always better than at home, just as the people dedicated enough to drive around country make a lot more racket, and probably drink a load more than most people at home.
So nowadays I know some people wonder why I have such an obsession with football, and Swansea, so I thought I would take you through a bit of a history. I found this video which helps tell the story very well.
When I was just born, that season the swans managed to go from the 4th to 1st division with 3 successive promotions, and so in 1981 we were in the old first division. They finished 6th in a very respectable first season, but the next year managed to go back down as fast as they rose. All of which means I joined the party when the swans were between the 3rd and 4th divisions. So going to games at the Vetch we would have crowds of 2-4000 would be the norm, with the wind rattling off Swansea bay, and making the great old ground, at times freezing, but it always had a special something. The north bank was always making a great atmosphere. Looking back, it would be great to have some standing sections again. It would easily sort out the capacity issues we have now, and no one would be complaining about people standing.
I remember going to a good few games in grounds like Leyton Orient, Brentford, Fulham, a cup game at Newcastle, all kinds of places. One of the best was probably wycombe away when we got to Wembley for the final of the Autoglass in 1994. It had a low roof, so made a hell of a racket. That final was a great day out, watching the Swans in front of so many fans, its a game I will never forget.
In the coming years, we had many well documented problems at the board level, which came to a head with the Hull game, where if we had lost, we would have dropped into the non league. 10 years ago that was. Luckily for us, we had James Thomas playing, who scored a hat trick including one of the best finishes you will ever see, for his 3rd. We got on the pitch afterwards, and stayed up, with Brian Flynn at the helm.
Watch that finish. That team included Alan Tate, Leon Britton and Roberto Martinez all of whom have done amazing things with the team.
We then had Kenny Jacket in charge who got us up before Roberto Martinez took the reins, and got us up again, and by this time we were playing amazing football, with Lee Trundle the star.
Then of course Poalo Sousa introduced some defensive solidness before Brendan Rodgers got back to the Tiki Taka football and got us into the promised land, via the play offs at wembley. Again, an unforgettable day. He has obviously now gone to Liverpool and we have God in charge. Well Michael Laudrup but he might as well be the way he turns players into stars. He probably turns up with water before a game, and at full time has turned it to wine, thats the talent of the man.
This video shows the amazing journey we have been on, and makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Even if your not a swans fan, have a watch, and enjoy…
And so in 10 years, we have gone from 4 points a drift at the bottom of the 4th division to 8th in the Premier League, playing some of the best football the premier league has ever seen, and week in week out we are graced by this guy in a Swans shirt. He will probably go for big money in Summer, and if he does, good luck to him, as he is the best player I have seen play for us i think, so am thankful for everything he has done for putting us on the map.
This was the Reading game. Last time I was here for a game, we oct 7-0. Enjoy the good times.