Over the years they have proved to be an extremely useful resource when planning for any Swans related away day, so we thought we’d interview the brains behind them all – Steve Griffiths.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started supporting the Swans?
I grew up in Gorseinon and now live in Llangyfelach. I have a great passion for travel and enjoy visiting new and interesting places. I’ve travelled to a few countries watching the Swans, Ireland, France, Sweden and Spain. My dad would take me to the Vetch a few times when the Swans were in Second Division, and then the First Division. I was 10 years old when we beat Leeds in the first game in the top division. I didn’t really go any further with my support for a few years.
At the age of around 15, I was heading into Swansea on the bus on a Saturday to hang around, and if the Swans were playing I’d go to the game. The more games I went to, the more I wanted to go. I was then going into Swansea specifically to watch the games and spending time in the city centre before or after the game, as a side activity to watching a game. My first away game was in 1988 against Aldershot. Quite a distance to travel for my first away game.
Q: What made you start writing away fan guides for Swansea City fans?
It all started many years ago; it was at least 16 years ago. Scfc2.co.uk asked about how they could improve the site for the next season. I suggested a feature about away games, how to get there, pubs and places to eat and things as a seasoned away traveller I would like to know about. The idea was thrown back at me asking if I’d like to do it. So I started writing the features for every game that we played away from home. The club saw the features and contacted me, asking if I could do the same for the match-day programme. Each home game the Travelling Jacks page appears in the programme.
The most difficult game to find information on was Kuban Krasnodar. I needed to put information in Russian, so anyone could show the locals the words written down to help. I had feedback that it was used to give a taxi driver information about where the passengers wanted to go, so that was great.
Q: What was your craziest away day as a Swans fan like?
It was more like a crazy 4 days. The Europa League away game in Valencia. I arranged to meet up with my friend Peter who lives in Germany. Unknow to each other, we’d both booked into the same hotel. Mad considering how many hotels Valencia has. I’d bought us tickets in the Swans area high up in the stand. He had a bad back and didn’t fancy the climb, and I’m not good with heights. With his disabled ID he was able to buy us two tickets in with the Valencia fans on the half way line. We sold our 2 tickets at a knock down price to two Valencia fans, and they sat with the Swans fans.
We got quite exited when the Swans scored their first two goals and were told off by the home fans. When the third went in (the amazing Jonathan deGuzman free kick) nearly everyone around us applauded the goal. In the last 10 minutes some of the Valencia fans started to leave the game, as they passed us in the seats, seeing us in our Swans shirts, many of them shook our hands commenting on how well the Swans had played.
That evening Peter and I went into a bar, and saw about 8 Valencia fans at a table. I went to the bar and got a tray with 10 bottles of beer and placed the tray on the table and sat with them. We had a great night talking and drinking with them. The following night we went back to the bar and met up with them all again and had another cracking night of football talk and beers into the early hours.
Q: Out of all of the grounds you have visited, what is your favourite and why?
Of the current 92 clubs, I’ve been to 86 of them watching Swans games. I’ve also visited 15 clubs who have dropped out of the first four divisions. A few favourites:
Torquay – for a great weekend away;
Brentford – nice people and a pub on every corner of the ground;
The Emirates – having also been to Highbury, to see the quality of the stadium is incredible.
Q: What is your favourite Swansea City kit and why?
The ACTION shirt below is great – something we’d never seen before. OK the plastic Action logo was terrible but the look and design of the shirt was amazing.
I also like the Travel House shirt (home – white, black – away with the Swans logo in the middle of the shirt). I still wear them sometimes.
Q: If you had 15 min to interview a successful footballer who would it be and why?
Tony Adams – not just because of his excellent football ability, but because of his crazy life outside football too.
Q: Sum up how you feel about Swansea City Football Club (on and off the field) at this moment in time?
The football is great – I said two years ago that I was bored of the premier league, scrapping to survive and desperate to beat teams like Crystal Palace and West Ham, and winning maybe one game a season against the likes of Arsenal or Manchester United. A season or two lower down to get back to the way we used to play, to re-group, to get academy players in the team. Maybe we’ll never get back to the premier league, who knows, but at least we’re having a good time.
Off the field, it was always going to be the case that players would need to be sold as there is a huge gulf in the income received this year compared to previous years. This has given academy players the chance to play in the first team. How many of those would be given the chance in the Premier League, we couldn’t have risked trying those players, as the consequences would have been too great.
Many thanks to Steve for the interview, but most of all, on behalf of Swansea City fans everywhere – thank you so much for taking the time to produce the Travelling Jack away day guides!
Why not browse through the away day guides that Steve has produced for SCFC2 over the years.