End of an Era
feels like the end of an era. Leon, the last remaining player from the Vetch
Field years and the most important player in that beautiful style of football
that came to be known as The Swansea Way, retires. Angel, the ultimate Swansea
signing by Martinez, moves on. A player that cost next to nothing and gave
everything. A full back that loved to run with the ball and never shirked a
tackle. Whose love for the club and the city was palpable.
Yesterday, there was anger at the terrible decisions that contributed to yesterday’s game being almost irrelevant. But for me, it was mostly sadness. And that sadness was a reminder of what my team had achieved in the past decade. My team from the second city of the third biggest country in Britain had, for a moment, become the talk of football. They had been applauded off the pitch by opposing fans at places like Anfield and The Emirates. They had broken the record for a league cup final win, yes against smaller opposition, but beating Liverpool and Chelsea on the way.
The style remained, even as managers moved on. For a moment, the Merseyside derby was contested between managers who made their names gaining promotions with the Swans – playing football that was easy on the eye, and all without big money signings.
Only now that it is over do I begin to fully appreciate just what was achieved. Ten years ago I was so overcome with joy at seeing the Swans get to the Championship that I was nearly thrown out of the home section at Gillingham. Now the Championship feels like the worst place imaginable. But long-time Swans fans know that it is not. We know the real lows. And we know how fleeting the highs can be.
In October I saw the Swans beat Huddersfield 2-0 at home. The future looked relatively bright. But just before the match I had been at the Tosh exhibition put on by Peter Jones to promote his forthcoming documentary. 40 years on and we’re celebrating a run that culminated in two seasons in the top-flight. And rightly so. My greatest concern now is that we avoid the aftermath of that run of unprecedented success. But, I’m thankful that I got to live through the most successful period in Swansea City’s history. I hope there’s more to come. But even if there isn’t, I got to see something that even 10 years ago, seemed unimaginable.