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notes from the editor

W

elcome to the first edition of Swansea Oh Swansea. It’s taken longer than I would have liked to get up and running but we’re here at last and planning on sticking around. And what’s even better is that you can get your hands on the fanzine for FREE! Having thought about charging, we looked at the success of the metro newspaper and saw how well they had done by covering costs through advertising so decided to see if we could do the same. This is currently on a trial basis between now and the end of the season where we will review it and decide what the next step will be. On the pitch I must say that Paulo Sousa has done an excellent job in his short time with us carrying on the good work from our previous manager (who’s name we wont mention!) and I hope you will all give your continued sup-

the team editor design

distribution

Steven Carroll LJ Rhodes

port between now and the end of the season to see if we can achieve our goal of top flight football. Crowds have been up this season thanks to some new initiatives and it was good to see the open letter to the fans from the board of directors recently requesting ideas on how to improve attendances even further. Hopefully dialogue between the club and supporters can become a regular thing as we look to make Swansea City even bigger and better in the coming years. Anyway moving onto our content and for our debut issue we’ve managed to secure two interviews with former Swans players in the form of Sam Ricketts and Steve Torpey. I’d like to thank both players for giving up their time to talk to us as well as Hull City, Scunthorpe United and York City for their assistance. Other features include the death of terraces, the decade that was the noughties,

contributors

Paulo’s profile and we discuss the situation with Leon Britton’s contract. I personally would be gutted to see him go like so many other Swans and hope he follows in Alan Tate’s footsteps by signing and having a well deserved testimonial at the end off it. But it looks like we’re going to have to be patient and wait until the end of the season to see how it pans out. If you would like to contribute to S.O.S by writing an article, submitting photos, advertising or anything else don’t hesitate to get in contact with us at swanseaohswansea@ googlemail.com. Remember that we rely on contributions and without them won’t exist. Finally I’d like to thank the rest of the team who have made it possible to bring this fanzine out, as well as our advertisers. See you at the Liberty Steven Carroll

Steven Carroll, Nick Brayley Jack Davies, Rob Dalling

Around the ground on matchday, Manselton Hotel, Plough and Harrow and Railway Inn

Contributions to swanseaohswansea@googlemail.com

No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the editor. Personal opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher. Whilst every effort is taken, we cannot take responsibility for unsolicited photographs, manuscripts or the outcome of the 2009/10 season. This magazine is not connected with Swansea City Football Club and does not necessarily represent its views.


contents

3

4

Sousa, So Good? - Jack Davies profiles the Swans’ manager

6

Sam Ricketts - Exclusive

Interview with the former Swans’ full back

Torpey Time - Q&A with our

12

former centre-forward

16

The Death of the Terraces Rob Dalling talks all things standing at football matches

The Noughties Review - A

look back at the Swans’ 2000/2001 campaign

22

Football Scandal - Steven Car-

roll assesses when the beautiful game has shocked us to the core

18


by jack davies

T

he job of replacing Roberto Martinez in the Liberty Stadium dugout was always going to be tricky, and the board of directors decided to continue the continental approach, when offering the job to Paulo Sousa who had recently tasted Engish football in the hotseat at Queens Park Rangers. But how much do we actually know about the man charged with taking the Swans back into the top flight?

the man

P

aulo Sousa was born in 1970 in the town of Viseu in northern Portugal, a town famous for being the home of Portugal’s first Olympic gold medallist and former Olympic marathon record holder, Carlos Lopes.

two years of first team football; he was part of the team that lifted the Portuguese Liga title. Later in his four year spell with the club he would go on to win the Portuguese Cup before leaving to join Benfica’s Lisbon rivals Sporting.

The town and its surrounding area, home to roughly the same amount of people as Swansea, is well known for exporting Portugal’s famous Dao wine.

It was at Sporting that Sousa first worked with a man who would later become a good friend and a mentor; the late Sir Bobby Robson. Sousa would only spend one season partnering Luis Figo in midfield at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, leaving at the end of the 93/94 season to join Italian side Juventus.

In 2007 Sousa’s celebrity status was enhanced when he married well known Portuguese model and television presenter Cristina Mohler. Sousa has two children, Maria, 14 and William, six, from his first marriage to Cristina neto de Almeida. His prime time television presenter wife also has one child from a previous relationship, 9-year-old Natacha.

the player

S

ousa’s professional career began at Portuguese giants Benfica in 1989 after graduating from the youth ranks.

He found himself a part of the first team early on in his professional career and, in 1991, after just

It was at Juventus that Sousa’s success would sky rocket and he would start to make his name on the European stage. During his first season with the Turin side, the team won the Italian league and cup double and were runners-up at the 1995 UEFA Cup final. Juventus then went on to win the Italian Super Cup. 1996 saw Juventus reach the UEFA Champions League final and defeat Ajax on penalties in a match which saw Sousa playing alongside the likes of Alessandro del Piero, Gianluca Vialli and Didier


fact file

5

Paulo Sousa Position: Midfield Date of Birth: 30/08/1970 Place of Birth: Viseu, Portugal Clubs Played for: 1989-1993 Benfica 87 (1 goal), 1993-94 Sporting CP 31 (2 goals), 1994-96 Juventus 54 (1 goal), 1996-97 Borussia Dortmund 27 (1 goal), 1998-99 Internazionale 31 (0 goals), 2000

“Together with the fans we can build a strong club, a strong city to be on the map not only in Wales and England, but everywhere.”

Parma 8 (0 goals), 2000-2001 Panathinaikos 10 (0 goals), 2002 Espanyol 9 (0 goals).

International Record: Portugal 51 caps, 0 goals.

Management Record: 2008-09 Queens Park Rangers: 28 games, 7

Deschamps. The following summer, Sousa was on the move again. This time he was on his way to Germany to join Borussia Dortmund. In his one season at the Westfalenstadion, Sousa completed the remarkable feat of becoming the only player to ever win two consecutive Champions League titles with two different clubs. To make the achievement even sweeter, Dortmund defeated Sousa’s former side Juventus in the 1997 final in Munich. Sousa’s time in Germany was dogged by injury problems which would subsequently follow him around for the rest of his playing career. After spending a season with Inter Milan, he went on to spend unsuccessful spells with Parma, Panathinaikos and Espanyol. Injury forced Sousa to hang up his boots at the young age of 31 in 2002. Sousa’s club career saw him playing in five different leagues and winning an impressive amount of titles.

the international player

A

s a player, Sousa is perhaps best known to football fans in the UK as a member of the ‘Portuguese Golden Generation’.

This was a group of players who played internationally for Portugal during the late nineties and early 2000’s which included Luis Figo, Rui Costa and Sergio Conceicao. Most members of the group were part of the team that won the 1989 Fifa World Youth Championship. During his international career, Sousa went on to win 51 caps for his country, playing at Euro ’96 and Euro 2000. He was also a non-playing squad member at the World Cup in 2002 in Japan and South Korea.

wins, 12 draws, 7 defeats. 2009-present Swansea City: 28 games, 10 wins, 11 draws, 7 defeats.

the coach

H

is first foray into a coaching career was with the Portuguese national team where he took control of their under-15 side. After Euro 2008 he was appointed as assistant to incoming Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz. Sousa had only been in this job for five months when he was approached to become manager of newly-wealthy Queens Park Rangers. His time at the R’s would prove to be a turbulent one and one that we probably shouldn’t judge him on. The boardroom interference that had troubled previous manager Iain Dowie began to rear its ugly head after Sousa had guided Rangers to just 7 victories in 26 games. The Portuguese manager’s tenure came to an end in April and left the London club looking for yet their fifth manager in less than two years. This unspectacular introduction to club management meant that, when the Swans job became available, no-one had Sousa on their shortlist. Amidst talk of Gary Speed, Adrian Boothroyd and Paul Tisdale, Huw Jenkins had another name on his mind. On June 23rd Paulo Sousa was unveiled as the Swans new manager in an appointment that no-one had expected but the majority were satisfied with. Paulo has made a very good start to life in South Wales and I urge all fans to support him and team to help us achieve our goal of top flight football in Swansea


interview

sam ricketts

I

t’s been a pretty remarkable rise for former Swansea City full-back Sam Ricketts. In the space of four and a half years he’s gone from non-league football to the Premier League playing in every division in between along the way. We sent Steven Carroll to catch up with him to discuss his time at Swansea, what it’s like to be in the top tier of English football and his International career with Wales. SoS: It was the summer of 2004 when you signed for Swansea, what was it that made you decide that it was the best move for you? SR: I met Kenny Jackett at a service station near Watford and we must’ve spoken for a good ninety minutes about football and his visions for the club and he convinced me that Swansea was the place to be. I was pretty close to signing for some other clubs at the time but Kenny persuaded me to sign for him. SoS: Things started quite well for you and you ended up in the Wales squad. Did that even enter your head at the start of the season? SR: No not at all. My main aim was to establish myself in the side which I managed to do and then I turned up for training one morning and Alan Curtis pulled me to one side and said John Toshack’s here and he wants to speak to you. So we spoke for a bit and he asked me if I was interested and the obvious answer was I was extremely interested in representing Wales.

“The North Bank used to make a great atmosphere which always gave us confidence.” I owe him a lot because he took a chance on me and I’ve been in the squad ever since. SoS: At the end of that season promotion was secured on the final day of the season and Willy Gueret got arrested in the celebrations. Was the day like from your perspective? SR: It was a day that I can say I will never forget. I remember coming out and seeing half the ground in Swansea colours and it felt as if we were at home. Then after taking the lead we were give the message that Southend were drawing so all we had to do was hang on to secure promotion. By that stage all the fans were around the side of the pitch and the referee was thinking about calling the game off. Luckily he didn’t and it was a fantastic feeling when the final whistle went. Obviously then Willy ended up getting arrested and we waited outside a police station for up to an hour until he was released. The whole thing was quite surreal but we managed to have a bit of a celebration on the way back once we got our goalkeeper back. SoS: The same season saw the club say farewell to the Vetch Field, what memories do you have of the famous old ground? SR: I used to love playing there it was an amazing place football. The North Bank used to make a great atmosphere and the opposition


7 “I loved the club and thoroughly enjoyed wearing the white and black shirt.”

found it intimidating which always gave us confidence. I remember at the end of the last game against Shrewsbury I was quite slow off the pitch and I ended up getting mobbed by the fans. I lost my shirt and boots by the time I finally got back to the changing rooms. SoS: The following season saw the Swans head to Cardiff for the Football League Trophy final; it must’ve been a great feeling to bring the trophy back home with you? SR: It was great to win a trophy, you don’t get many chances as a player to get a winners medal so it was very pleasing to come away with the win. Prior to the game I’d been winding a few of the lads up because I’d played at the Millennium Stadium for Wales so they were probably delighted that I couldn’t use that any more! But on a serious note the lads were well up for it and so many people from Swansea turned up that day so we wanted to do it for the supporters as much as ourselves.

“It was a very difficult decision... but in the end I decided that leaving was the best thing.”

SoS: We returned to the Millennium Stadium for the play-off final a few weeks later. How difficult was that to take given the way the game went?

SR: That’s the worst feeling I’ve had in football. I counted up how many efforts at goal we had after the game and I think we had around 20 and Barnsley had single figures. We should have finished the game off I remember Trunds cutting in from the right and firing just wide I’d seen him do

it hundreds of times in training and could not believe that it went wide. Unfortunately it was one of those days and it wasn’t meant to be. SoS: You left the club for Hull shortly afterwards, would you have stayed if we’d beaten Barnsley? SR: Definitely! I loved the club and thoroughly enjoyed wearing the black and white shirt. When Hull came in it was a very difficult decision to make and I was meant to be at Hull at the lunchtime and it got to 11 o clock and I was still in Swansea because I was unsure what to do. But in the end I decided that for the sake of my career that leaving was the best thing for me.


interview

“I was a bit surprised [Roberto Martinez] decided to leave... Wigan is a club close to his heart and a job in the Premier League probably swayed him” SoS: You spoke highly of Kenny Jackett earlier in the interview, were you surprised when he resigned as manager? SR: Yes I was, he was really good to me and I thought he was a great man as well as manager. I felt that he may have received a bit of unjustified stick from the fans and media because if you look at his record he nearly won back to back promotions so I was disappointed that things didn’t work out.

“The atmosphere was incredible... by the end of the game the Cardiff fans were pretty quiet.” SoS: You played alongside Roberto Martinez who took over from Jackett, did you ever see him going into management? SR: Myself and Roberto got on great when he was a player and you could tell then that he was someone who was interested in the coaching side of things. He loves football and knew a lot about teams and players from all across Europe. The only surprise was that it happened so soon but his promotion followed by an 8th place finish shows what a great job

he did. I was a bit surprised he decided to leave but Wigan is a club close to his heart and that along with a job in the Premier League probably swayed him to join them. SoS: Do you still talk to any of your former colleagues at the Liberty Stadium? Yeah there’s a fair few like Garry Monk who was my best mate when I was down here and there’s Kris O’Leary, Alan Tate and I still see Owain Tudur-Jones with Wales and Ashley Williams although we didn’t play in the same Swans team. I still speak to a few others who are no longer at the club. SoS: Looking at the last couple of years, your first season at Hull wasn’t great with the Tigers narrowly escaping relegation but then last year you ended up getting to the play-off final and winning. How special was that? SR: It was a huge contrast of emotions compared to when we lost to Barnsley two years earlier. Playing at Wembley was really special and it was a full house with a tight game


9 but luckily it was us who triumphed in the end. The game’s billed as the £60 million game so for us to win it was incredible. It’s something I will be able to cherish when I hang up my boots. SoS: You’ve now moved onto Bolton Wanderers, how did the move come about? SR: I only had a year to run on my contract at the KC Stadium and was informed that the club had accepted an offer from Bolton for me. After speaking to Gary Megson I decided it would be a good move for my career to come to a more established top flight club. SoS: Looking at International football do you think Wales can qualify for something in the next few years?

two tickets which he managed to do. I really wanted to be there to support the lads and I was delighted that they came away with the win. The atmosphere from the fans was incredible you could see how much it meant to them and by the end of the game the Cardiff fans were pretty quiet.

Sam was speaking to Steven Carroll.

SoS: Have you got any words for the fans? SR: Just that it was a great side to play for and that I would like to return one day if possible. I wish the club every success and look out for the result every week. SoS: Finally what are your plans for the future? SR: The Premier League’s the pinnacle of football and I want to stay in there as

SR: With all the youngsters coming through we all believe that we will be challenging to get to a World Cup or European Championships very soon. I don’t think Wales has seen so many good young players come through at one time before once they get some more games under their belt and gain more experience then hopefully we can qualify for something.

fact file

SoS: Is it true that you were at the Swans v Cardiff Carling Cup match?

February 2005.

SR: Yes it is. My girlfriend lives in the Cardiff area so I was down visiting her and I asked Garry Monk to get me

long as I can. Hopefully I can carry on being successful at Bolton and Wales can continue to progress on the International front.

Sam Ricketts Position: Right Back Date of Birth: 11/10/1981 Place of Birth: Aylesbury Clubs: Oxford United, Telford, Swansea City, Hull City, Bolton Wanderers

SR’s Swansea Facts: - Kenny Jackett’s second signing as Swansea City Manager. - Made Swans debut against Northampton Town in August 2004. - First Wales appearance against Hungary in - Scored his only league goal against Doncaster Rovers in December 2005 - Part of squad that won promotion to League 1 2004/5. - Won FAW Premier Cup in 2005 and 2006. - Won Football League Trophy in 2006


5 top

1

2 3 4 5

moments of the decade We start our regular feature by revealing our top 5 moments of the last decade.

The Great Escape against Hull City May 2003 - Swans secure Football League survival thanks to a 4-2 victory over Hull City. James Thomas writes his name into folklore by netting a hat-trick to ensure his side pull off the great escape. Gigg Lane Promotion Party May 2005 - Kenny Jackett’s side secure promotion in front of over 5,000 travelling fans at Bury. Adrian Forbes is the hero scoring the only goal of the game after just one minute and the away fans celebrate with a mass pitch invasion at the final whistle. Swans silence Leeds United December 2007 - Swansea defeat fallen giants 3-2 at the Liberty Stadium in a fantastic match on the way to winning promotion. The three points also ensured Martinez’s men remained ahead of the Yorkshire club in the promotion battle. 24 year wait is over April 2008 - Jack Army celebrate promotion back to second tier of Engish football thanks to a 2-1 victory at Gillingham. The league title was to follow as Swansea won the division with 92 points. Gomez strike beats Bluebirds - The first South Wales in derby at the Liberty Stadium ends in a 1-0 victory for the home side. Jordi Gomez free kick proves the difference as the Jack Army celebrate the all important bragging rights.

Have you got a suggestion for our top 5’s? email us with your suggestions, the details are on the inside of our front cover.


11 H om e Cook ed F ood Ser ved

All Live M on Sky – Satgames 1 2 pm – 6 pm shown! W eek l y L i ve A ct s Ever y M on & T h u r s K ar aok e Ever y F r i

H om e Cook ed F ood Ser ved M on – Sat 1 2 pm – 6 pm W eek l y L i ve A ct s Ever y M on & T h u r s K ar aok e Ever y F r i Qu i z Ni gh t Ever y T u esday

Qu i z Ni gh t Ever y T u esday


steve torpey

TORPEY TIME !

S

teven Carroll catches up with our former striker Steve Torpey to discuss his time in South Wales.

SoS: What are you up to these days then Steve? ST: I recently retired from playing and was doing some work with the apprentices at Hull City, but in December 2008 I moved to York City where I’m working as a youth coach. SoS: You signed for the Swans back in 1993, what made you decide this was the place to be? ST: I was at Bradford at the time and I fancied a change so when Swansea came in I thought it was a good move for me. I was in my early 20’s at the time and the Swans had done well the previous season so it seemed like a club on the up. SoS: In your first season here the club lifted the Autoglass Trophy and you scored what turned out to be the decisive penalty, you must’ve been delighted? ST: Yeah it’s everyone’s dream to play at

“I was at Bradford and fancied a change... when Swansea came in I thought it was a good move for me.”

Wembley and winning was the icing on the cake. I was a bit disappointed not to start the game but I managed to get on as a substitute. Then I put my name down to take a penalty in the shoot out and luckily for us Huddersfield missed three of their four to give us the cup. It was a day that I will always remember and cherish. SoS: The following year the team were at it again in the cup and you managed to get to the 4th round and face Newcastle, that must’ve been another great day for you? ST: We were pretty happy to get to St James Park as it was another great ground to play at. I thought we played okay on the day but unfortunately we came away with a 3-0 defeat. In all fairness Kevin Keegan had built a really good side at that time so we were happy we didn’t disgrace ourselves.


13 SoS: In the months ahead there were some testing times for the club and Frank Burrows left and unheard man called Kevin Cullis came in. How did the squad react to that? ST: I think bizarre would be the best way to describe the whole situation. None of the players had heard of him and I don’t think the fans had either. It turned the club into a bit of a laughing stock and it was no real surprise that we ended up getting relegated at the end of the season. It was hard to take for everyone because a club like Swansea should not be getting relegated to League Two as it is now. SoS: The club did recover the following season and reached the playoff final but were beaten in the final by Northampton, how disappointing was that? ST: It was very difficult to accept with it being the last kick of the game and with the free kick being re-taken left a sour taste in the mouth for us. We worked very hard to get into the playoffs and in the end all the hard work didn’t mean anything because we didn’t win that game. There was a massive contrast between our trip to Wembley in 1994 compared to the game that day. SoS: It proved to be your last game for the club before you moved across the severn bridge to Bristol City, how did that move come about? ST: The club told me they had accepted a bid from the Robins for my services and

with the club in a higher division and not being too far away I though for the sake of my career it was the right move for me. I think it was a good bit of business all round because Swansea got a good fee for me which they used to strengthen the team. SoS: Your next move after that was to Scunthorpe United how was your time up there? ST: I spent seven and a half years there and I really enjoyed it. The fanbase wasn’t as big as at some of the other clubs I played for but there was a nice family atmosphere around the place. We were also quite successful as well winning a couple of promotions in that time so that was an added bonus. SoS: You scored a couple of goals against Swansea whilst there as well didn’t you? ST: Yes I remember the year when both clubs went up in 2004/5 I got the winner at Glanford Park and the following season I got a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw. At the time they were important goals as well which was obviously great for me.

fact file Steve Torpey Position: Striker Date of Birth: 8/12/1970 Place of Birth: Islington Clubs: Clubs - Millwall, Bradford City, Swansea City, Bristol City, Notts County (loan), Scunthorpe United, Lincoln City, Farsley Celtic (loan)

Current Club - York City (Youth Coach) Years at Swansea: 1993-97 Achievements: - Scored a total of 57 goals for the club inluding 43 in the league. - Part of the squad that won the Autoglass Trophy in 1993/4 - Left the club for ah then record fee of £400,000 to join Bristol City


steve torpey “I think the sale was a good bit of business all round... a club in a higher division was good for me and Swansea got a good fee which they used to strengthen the team.”

It was nothing personal against Swansea though. (Don’t worry Steve, we won’t hold it against you!)

At the Vetch it was much better and with the fans so desperate to get the win we wanted to try and get it for them.

SoS: Since your time at Swansea City the club have moved from the Vetch Field, what are your memories of games there?

SoS: Do you keep in touch with any of your former team-mates?

ST: I think it would be fair to say that it wasn’t the most hospitable place for away fans and we used it as a positive. Whenever we were doing well on the pitch it was usually built from a good home record. The atmosphere would be electric on big days and that would make you try that bit harder for the fans. SoS: You played in a few South Wales derbies in your four seasons here, what were they like to play in? ST: There was a lot of pressure in those games and if I’m honest I didn’t really enjoy the matches at Ninian Park. It was at a time when the away fans were banned so when we used to go up there it was very hostile and we didn’t have any of our fans in there to encourage us.

ST: There’s a few like Dave Penney and Steve Jenkins who I speak to every so often and Kris O’Leary who’s the only person who’s still at Swansea from my time there. I was approached to play at the Masters in the summer of 2008 but I couldn’t make it as I was on holiday. I was disappointed as it would have been great to see some of the lads again and if I get the call again then I’d love to play for the Swans in that competition. SoS: So how do your future now then Steve, do you want to become a manager one day? ST: I’m not too sure yet, this is my first step on the coaching ladder and its taken a bit of adjusting too. They say that in time you hunger for it grows but at the moment I’m happy with my job at York and I’m concentrating on that for the moment.


15

? ? ?

?? ? Quiz ? ? ? ? ?

1 2 3 4

Who scored the Swans first league goal this season? In which year were Swansea City formed? Name the four clubs that David Cotterill has played for? Who was Roberto Martinez first home match as manager against?

5

Name the former Swan who now plays for Stoke City in the Premier League?

6

Before the win at Portsmouth last season who were the last Premier League side that Swansea knocked out of the FA Cup?

7

Who moved to South Wales permanently in 2003 after a loan spell from West Ham?

8 9 10

How many league goals did the Swans concede on their way to the third division title in 1999/2000? Which Dutch club have strong ties with Swansea City? Name the starting line up that played in the 3-2 win over Cardiff earlier tis season?

1. Ashley Williams, 2. 1912, 3. Bristol City, Wigan, Sheffield United and Swansea City, 4. Leyton Orient, 5. Mamady Sidibe, 6. Sheffield United, 7. Leon Britton, 8. 29, 9. ADO Den Haag, 10. De Vries, Rangel, Bessone, Williams, Tate, Dyer, Allen, Pratley, Britton, Van Der Gun, Beattie


opinion

the death of the terraces Rob Dalling talks about his love of the Swans, standing at football matches and whether it can be successfully re-introduced into the British game.

A

s a loyal Swansea City supporter, I grew up watching the ups and downs of our club through periods of the Vetch Field in a generation where terraces were still deemed safe and when you could stand next to your mates, create loud atmospheres with little attendances, have a brilliant time and even do the conga to celebrate goals. Remember the surges, the electricity of the atmosphere, those cheap tickets and most of all, the sheer passion of the supporters and the constant terrace chants. The good old days. Roll on to the modern era of Football, and now the most supporters can look forward to is a trip to an old lower league ground if they want to sample what it’s like to be on a terrace. New stadium’s and stand’s have taken over from the traditional grandstand’s and terraces but have they neccessarily improved the game from a fan’s perspective? I earmarked our match at Peterborough at the start of the season as one of the away games that I was definetly going to attend. A trip to London Road may not ap-

“I ran from the back to the front of the terrace in seconds to join the celebrations with the players only metres away.” peal to many supporter’s with the Swans visiting ground’s such as St James Park (sorry sportsdirect@stjamespark. com) a week earlier but it’s exactly the kind of ground I look forward to visiting. The Jack Army were accommodated in the Moyes terrace with a good old fashioned roof covering it, which let us enjoy a great, unrestricted atmosphere, allowing the Swansea contingent to congregate together rather than being worried about being in someone else’s space.

I managed to run from the back to the front of the terrace in a matter of seconds to join in the celebration with the players who were only metres away.

There was also a reminder of those mad goal celebrations that we used to experience on the North Bank thanks to our two goals from Trundle.

So can anything be done to re-introduce standing areas? Let me explain to you what the format is like in the Germany. In the early part of the 1990’s

In complete contrast to this was our trip to Reading a few weeks later where despite having nearly six times as many supporters in the stadium there was not much difference to the atmosphere, the admission charge was more, you had an allocated seat and were unable to stand.


17

©Swanseatilidie

the authorities attempted to introduce all seated stadium’s but due to protests from supporters they decided to stick with terracing. As a result of this 16 of the 18 grounds in the Bundesliga either have a terrace or a safe standing area. The safe standing areas have allocated seats which ensures there’s no overcrowding and barriers in front of the seats to ensure that fans cannot fall on top of each other and create a cascade effect. These areas of the stadiums have ensured that so far this season the German league has a high average attendance with 42,000 compared to 33,000 in the English Premier league. This shows that the fans clearly want these areas

“The fans clearly want standing areas at grounds.” at grounds with sides such as Dortmund selling out their terrace which holds 24,000 for every game. However in this country at the moment (as a result of the Taylor report after the Hillsborough disaster) you need to have an all seater stadium if you are in the top two divisions and are allowed special dispensation to use terracing for three seasons in the Championship and one in the top flight before you are forced to change it into a seated area.

But my point is if it’s deemed safe for three years then why suddenly in the fourth is it unsafe? Why can sides below the top two division’s still use terracing without objection? Sides like Burton Albion have gone even further and built a new stadium with terracing and Morecambe will also be in a new home next season with standing areas. I don’t think the answers to any of my above questions will be forthcoming, but if other clubs are still enjoying the good old days then why can’t we have them back or at least be allowed to introduce safe standing areas to our grounds like the German clubs have.


noughties review

Our editor Steven Carroll looks back on the last decade at Swansea City starting with the first full season of the Millennium.

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he Swans celebrated the year 2000 by winning their first league title for 51 years and with it promotion back to Division Two (or League One as it’s now known) for the first time since relegation in 1996. Manager John Hollins oversaw a relatively quiet summer in South Wales with the main piece of business being Matthew Bound signing a new two year contract. On the opening day of the new season Wigan Athletic travelled to the Vetch Field and ended up returning back to the North West with a share of the spoils in a 0-0 draw. It was a similar story the following week at Brentford with another stalemate before Hollins’ side suffered their first defeat of the season in a 2-0 defeat at home to Colchester with the away side’s Lomana Lua Lua grabbing both goals in a performance that would help win him a move to Newcastle. Results did improve after that with three wins in the next four games starting with a 2-0 success at Peterborough, a 1-0 victory at Notts County

and a 4-0 thrashing of Luton Town lifted the side up to 11th in the table. However the following week it was Swansea’s turn to take a beating as Reading romped to a 5-1 success at the Madejski Stadium before Bury travelled to Wales and collected all three points in a 2-0 win. The struggle for goals prompted Hollins to look for new faces and brought in midfielder David Romo and striker Giovanni Savarese in a bid to solve the problem. The impact was instant and Savarese netted twice on his debut against Stoke to help his new side to a 2-1 over the play-off contenders. The Swans lost thee of the next four to slide down the table and saw out October with an entertaining 2-2 draw against Bristol City, with Savarese netting his second brace for the club. Then came a real low point with the league’s bottom side Oxford winning 2-1 at the Vetch to put Swansea City into the bottom four, where they would remain for the

rest of the season. The Jack Army faithful had to wait until the festive season for something to cheer when high fliers Walsall were sent back to the Midlands on the wrong end of a 3-1 score to give the home side their first win since the middle of October. Ray Graydon’s side gained their revenge next month and defeated Swansea 5-1 to leave the side sill firmly in the relegation zone. The two games previous to this had not proved much better for John Hollins with Wigan claiming three points in a 2-0 win at the JJB and a well earned point against Peterborough considering the Swans trailed by two goals at the interval. February began with a trip over the Severn Bridge to face Bristol City at Ashton Gate. Stuart Roberts gave the away side an early lead before Michael Howard saw red meaning a long battle with ten men. The Robins equalised from the resulting free kick and cruelly robbed the Swans of a deserved point with two


goals in injury time. Hollins was seeking reinforcements at this time and signed Matthias Verschave and Nicolas Fabiano on-loan to try to improve results. Both players made their debuts in a dour 0-0 draw with leaders Millwall and the following match saw Brentford dump the Welsh side out of the LDV Vans trophy in a game where Jason Smith would pick up an injury that would eventually force his retirement from the game. The return to league action was a relegation six pointer at Luton in a game which both sides dare not lose. Unfortunately for the travelling contingent of 336, Swansea came out losers in a 5-3 goal-fest at Kenilworth Road. The only bright spot was Savarese, who became the first Swansea City player to score a league hattrick in eight years.

A trip to Northampton looked to have changed the Swans luck as they were leading the Cobblers by a goal to nil with only a minute left. However in a crazy final two minutes the home side netted twice to ensure The Cobblers, and not the Jack Army, were celebrating come the final whistle. There were no such problems at Stoke, as Hollins’ men completed the double over the high fliers with goals from Jason Price and Kris O’Leary for a much needed win. The next two games were drawn and the Swans saw out the month with a disappointing three goal reverse a home to Bournemouth, with Jermain Defoe netting one of the goals. Midway through April the Swans secured their first home victory of 2001 with a 3-1 win over FA Cup semi finalists Wycombe, with Walter

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Boyd scoring a brace. Matthew Bound missed a crucial penalty in the next game against Rotherham in a draw that all but confirmed relegation. The inevitable was then confirmed the following week by Oldham as the Lancashire club won 2-1 at the Vetch. Swansea did manage to secure one more win and what a win it was - a six nil thrashing of Brentford but all in all it had been a season to forget with a final league finish of 23rd a whopping 15 points adrift of safety. The FAW Premier Cup final against Wrexham offered the side a chance to salvage something from the season but it wasn’t to be, as future hero Lee Trundle helped Brian Flynn’s side retain the trophy by two goals to nil.


opinion

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hen Leon Britton first signed for Swansea City, the club was on the brink of non-league football and still attempting to recover from the financial turmoil of previous seasons. Seven years on and little Leon remains a first team player and one of the Swans most valuable assets. However, problematic contract talks mean that all this could be about to change.

Early Years As a youngster, Leon attracted the highest transfer fee ever paid for a 16-year old when he moved from Arsenal to West Ham for £400,000. Unable to break into the first team, he was brought to Swansea on loan by Brian Flynn during the infamous 2002-03 season and played a big part in saving the Swans from relegation. After winning the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year award for Division Three, Flynn made the move permanent after West Ham decided to release Britton. Swans & Britton begin to fly After Britton made the permanent move to South Wales, things began to look up for the Swans with the prospect of a new stadium and a climb away from the basement of football league’s bottom division. Brian Flynn was replaced by Kenny Jackett, who was able to win promotion in the last season at the Vetch. It would seem that Leon had caught the Swansea wave

r o f attle

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as club and player mirrored each others progress. Play-Off heartbreak in 2006 and a disappointing 06/07 meant that the progress was halted somewhat. However, Roberto Martinez arrival as manager midway through that season saw a new Swansea City begin to emerge. This style of football saw Leon show his class as a midfield playmaker and indicate that he was able to play at a higher level. The joint progression of club and player continued as the Swans won League One in 2008 and entered the second tier of English football for the first time in 24 years. During his first season in the Championship, Leon continued to impress and has this season been offered ‘the biggest contract in the club’s

history’ under new boss Paulo Sousa. The Contract Talks Not many would argue with Britton being offered the biggest contract in the club’s history after the commitment and class he has shown at every level since his debut in 2002. However, his delay in signing any sort of deal has sent a shockwave through the club, and fears that this may be the last season we see Leon in a Swansea City shirt. A major stumbling block appears to be Britton’s desire to see his daughter on a more regular basis which would mean moving closer to London. I’m sure that no-one would hold a grudge were he to leave for these family reasons.


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Feelings among fans may be quite different, however, if, as rumoured, Wigan were to come in for Britton. A move to the Latics would mean that he was no closer to his daughter and would put his legendary status with Swans fans at risk. Having said this, we have no reason to believe that Leon would ever consider talking to our old friend Roberto. Despite wanting to keep contract talks private, Sousa decided to make them public, a move criticised by Britton. Maybe Sousa should take more care in what he tells the media, as upsetting a player who is reluctant to sign probably isn’t the best way to change his mind.

History One thing is for certain, Swans fans do not want to see Leon Britton go down the same path as Andy Robinson. A fans’ favourite, on his way to becoming a Jacks legend, who let greed get the better of him when he moved to Leeds and doubled his salary. These days Robinson finds himself disliked by the fans who once adored him and surplus to requirements at Leeds. Maybe the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Verdict Leon is a player of undoubted talent and, whatever his reasons for not signing

the contract, we must trust that he will make the right decision for the right reasons. We have had our fingers burnt before with Andy Robinson and have fallen for false promises from Martinez. But when one of our longest serving players has to take his time over signing a new contract we need to respect his wishes and allow him to make the decision in his own time. We now have to put talks of signing or not signing to the back of our minds until the end of the season when we hope Leon make the right choice. By Jack Davies


Scandal Rocks Football Following the recent shocking events in Angola, Steven Carroll looks at other occasions where the beautiful game has stunned people to the core.

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icture the scene. You’re approaching the Angolan border on Friday evening as you prepare for your continent’s International tournament. Thoughts going through your mind are probably to do with your first game and settling into your hotel. Then out of nowhere gunmen appear and kill three of your travelling party and injure several others. Unfortunately shocking incidents in sport are becoming more regular what with the recent terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, Bloodgate involving Harlequins RFC and the Crashgate affair involving the Renault Formula One team. Such incidents have not happened in this country although football has still shown an ugly side over the years. Let’s have a look at a few times this has occurred. January 1995 Eric Cantona attacks fan The “King” as he was known at Old Trafford had been inspirational in Manchester United’s success over the previous few years since joining from Leeds United. However Cantona also had a dark side and this was shown at a game at Crystal Palace where he kicked defender Richard Shaw and was subsequently red carded. What followed was to the amazement of the Selhurst Park crowd the Frenchman aimed a “kung fu” kick at a Palace fan after he gave him some stick.

As a result he was banned from football for eight months and ordered to do 120 hours community service. In response to the uproar Cantona issued his most famous quotation off "When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much." The United number seven served his ban and added more medals to his name before retiring in 1997. September 1998 Di Canio pushes the ref Paulo Di Canio had his first taste of British football at Celtic before signing for Sheffield Wednesday. The Italian was the Owls top scorer in his debut season and had become firm fan’s favourite at Hillsborough. What followed at the start of the next season is what Di Canio is probably most famous for, when after disagreeing with referee Paul Alcock’s decision to send him off he pushed him to the ground. As a result he was given a ban of eleven matches and fined £10,000. At the end of the ban Harry Redknapp signed him for West Ham where he was also loved by the fans and scored what was voted Premiership goal of the decade by Sky Sports News viewers for his Volley against Wimbledon in


2000. Di Canio even went onto to win the Fifa Fair Play award the following year after he caught the ball rather than scored an easy chance because Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard was down injured. August 1999 Man Utd pull out of the FA Cup Manchester United were regarded as the best team in Europe when they won the League, Cup and European cup in the 1998/9 season. As a result of these triumphs they were to compete in the World Club Championships in Brazil the following season. At the request of the FA they travelled to South America for the tournament but due to fears of player burnout controversially withdrew from the FA Cup becoming the first team not to defend their title. To make up the numbers a side that had lost in the round before were awarded another chance in what was dubbed as the “lucky loser”. United ended up failing miserably in Brazil, Chelsea beat Aston Villa in the last ever final at Wembley and no team has pulled out of the world’s oldest cup competition since. May 2002 FA Sanction Wimbledon’s move to Milton Keynes Wimbledon had been struggling with poor crowds for years and it had been suggested many times that they might move to an area with more potential. Milton Keynes had shown strong interest as they were a new city without a league team and despite a year of fan protests the move was accepted in May 2002. Livid supporters severed all ties with the club and formed AFC Wimbledon who are now in the Conference Premier after achieving much success in their short history. Milton Keynes are two divisions above them, meaning that the two could

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come face to face in a few years time, and if you don’t know who you’d support I’ll leave you with this thought. How would you feel if the Swans decided there was more potential to move the team to mid Wales leaving us without a league team purely for money making reasons? That’s how fans of AFC Wimbledon must feel. February 2008 Premier League to expand abroad It had been predicted that after the influx of foreign owners that the next step would be to take top flight matches abroad. The proposal that was put forward was to play a 39th game in any part of the world that would be willing to pay big money to host it. Quite rightly this plan was slated by many in the game and the football supporters federation dubbed it gam£ 39. After much abuse chief executive Richard Scudamore called off the idea and said there were still plans to play abroad but none were as radical as the first concept. Anyone fancy watching the Swans against Blackburn at five in the morning if we reach the Premier League. Didn’t think so. November 2009 Ireland robbed of World Cup place Calls for video technology are nothing new in modern football. With the amount of cameras and coverage the beautiful game now gets it should be possible to introduce it for certain incidents. However it still hasn’t been brought it and it means people like Thierry Henry can get away with a handball that he should have been penalised for which sent France through to this year’s World Cup. The FAI appealed to Fifa for the match to be replayed but this was turned down. The Irish were understandably furious and were left to contemplate another free summer.


SoS: Swansea Oh Swansea, a new fanzine for a new decade

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Swansea Oh Swansea Issue 1