Welcome to YJB Focus, where we meet a loyal Swans fan who also happens to be a regular visitor to the SCFC2 website.
Occupation: I’d like to think I’m semi-retired as I only work 3 days a week – but my wife’s having none of it! I work in the health industry and in my spare time I also do some work for on-line education.
How long have you been supporting the Swans?
I started supporting the Swans in, I think 1969 but my memories and the dates don’t seem to tally up. I could have sworn I first went along in 67/68 with Tony Millington or Dai Davies in goal but their Wikipedia entries suggest it was 69 when they were playing for the Swans.
Why did you start supporting the Swans?
My dad was in the RAF and our family came back from our Malta posting in 1967 I think. Those days we had to stay with family between postings and so we spent some time with my aunt and uncle in Morriston. I was a young sport mad kid, my uncle just sports mad and he took me along to the Vetch for the first time on a damp Friday evening in (?) November.
I’d been to ‘proper’ football matches in Malta, played on compacted dust in the heat of the day but this, this was different. A bus ride there on the No.4, loads of people, green pitch and floodlights! I was absolutely hooked – even when the lights failed before a ball had been kicked. It was the only time I walked on the hallowed surface as we were allowed to cross the pitch, walk down the tunnel collecting a voucher on the way for the hastily re-scheduled game at 11:30 the following morning.
What was the first Swans game you attended and what are your memories of it?
Again, memories play tricks. Was it Walsall or Donny Rovers? Was it Millington or Davies in goal? One memory from each sticks – Tony heads it around the post or a back pass from the centre circle bounces on the firm pitch causing Dai to slip and watch helplessly as the ball trickled into the bottom left hand corner in front of the old double decker.
Who is your worst Swans player of all time, and why?
I know who I’d choose but hey, everyone who’s worn the white shirt must have been better than me so what can I say? Suffice to say that I’m not thinking of local, home grown talent!
What is your least favourite away ground (past or present), and why?
Feethams (former home of Darlington) for its dreadful and dangerous roof, Oxford’s old Manor Ground for the dogs or Boundary Park, Bolton for the sleet and snow driven straight off the top of the Pennines into the faces of the away supporters. Take your pick!
Funniest moment whilst watching the Swans?
I was at Feethams (again) and John Cornforth was captain. We were attacking the town end where I was standing in the corner. The ball was played invitingly into the corner for the ‘flying postman’, John Williams right in front of me but went harmlessly behind for a goal kick. A spontaneous jeering went up from the home support at the misplaced pass.
The jeering, though, was amazingly short and in the immediate silence that followed John Cornforth’s voice could be heard by all and sundry…
You lazy, f*****g c***! Work harder you b*****d!”
Everyone in the crowd had tears running down their legs and if the ground could have opened up, then John Williams would have happily jumped into it!
You’ve got a meal deal ticket for Nando’s, which Swans player (past or present) would you take with you and why?
Robbie James – end of! My hero as in my mind he stood for the common man. I don’t think he could ever be described as graceful or the greatest footballing talent but each time I saw him play it was as if he was saying, look, you don’t need oodles of talent but you do need a big heart, massive attitude and a real desire to work hard, really hard.
What do you like most about the Swans?
It’s hard to say what you like about the Swans. Long before our current success I liked the Swans. I liked them as I trawled around the country on slow trains, dirty buses and dodgy cars. I liked them when we won and more often than not, lost. Hot days, cold days, wet days, seen them all but still went back for more.
I like them because they’re mine, my home town club, my identity. Today? Well what is there not to like?
If there was one thing you could change about the club what would it be?
If I could wave a magic wand I’d expand, expand, expand. I fully understand the reasons why not and I’m sure the board is as frustrated as we are but for an established PL team to have the capacity we have for the catchment we have? We need it as soon as financially viable.
Vetch Field pasty or Liberty hot dog?
The pasty. It used to fit nicely on top of the pre-match beer taken in at the Hanbury, Elijah Jenkins and the Swansea Jack. Nowadays, on the odd times I get to the Liberty, I’m lucky to get a beer let alone a hot dog!
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Credit: Robbie James picture courtesy of Colorsport/REX.