Barclays Premier League Live event brings back childhood memories for Swans vice-chairman
10th December 2014
Swansea City's involvement in the Barclays Premier League Live event in India will bring memories rushing back for the club's vice-chairman Leigh Dineen.
Aged just four, his family waved goodbye to Swansea as they upped sticks in search of a new life in Kolkata.
He would spend eight years in the country, picking up unique life experience, cherished memories and the education his father - who had taken up a job offer with an American jute company based in India - had wanted him to benefit from.
He speaks fondly of his time in South Asia, and the prospect of returning to India some 40 years on to help promote Swansea City at the forthcoming Live event in Mumbai was a no-brainer.
Dineen is leading a club delegation to India in his role as both vice-chairman and commercial director as the Swans broaden their horizons at the two-day interactive fans park held on Saturday and Sunday (Dec 13-14).
It will also allow him to return to the place he once called home, with a number of extra visits pencilled in for his trip.
"I am going out with the club to do the Live event for four or five days, and then I'll take a few days to visit Kolkata to visit my roots," said Dineen.
"I'll be taking my children too, so I can show them not only the culture but also where I grew up.
"I went out there when I was four, my brother was nine months old - so the four of us, including our dog who we had adopted from the Sandfields in Port Talbot, started a new life.
"The experiences out there taught me a lot. It taught me about serious poverty, but the experiences we had were fantastic.
"Our house was right next to Calcutta Cricket Club. In fact, there used to be a black door in the wall of our garden and when you opened that you were in the cricket club.
"When I lived out there the MCC would come back to my house via the black door in my garden after they had played Tests.
"Fantastic players like Tony Gregg, Bob Woolmer, Alan Knott, Keith Fletcher were in my house, so I was a starstruck six or seven-year-old."
While visiting his former stomping ground, Dineen will also look to set up links between the Swans and a number of groups.
He added: "The Barclays Premier League, in conjunction with the British Council and many other organisations out there, run Kolkata Kicks, which is a programme to help the underprivileged via football.
"So we will be going out there and see a few development centres and see if we can help in any way with that.
"Neil (Taylor) was out there last year with the same project, and I saw what his experience was.
"It's great that they know everything about Swansea City, so it will be nice to see how they are getting on with the project.
"It will help develop our links further. I've set up meetings with people around the city to see how we can bring Swansea City into it.
"I hope it can create links. It's not just about interacting with fans - we will be meeting with groups and people in India who have soccer in their heart.
"It is about starting to build relationships with people out there because I see India, as well as America, as the next two key markets that are going to expand."
The main focus, however, of the trip will be to spread the Swansea City gospel to the Indian public.
With around 24,000 fans due to attend the Live event over the two days, Dineen believes it is the ultimate opportunity to expand the Swans brand.
"It's going to be good fun interacting with everyone in Mumbai," he added. "The fans will know more about our team and history and will hopefully want to follow us in the future.
"We have gone down the route of explaining our history and what we are about. We are also taking Lee Trundle out there along with a football freestyler, while we are doing some coaching as well.
"And, of course, there are marketing activities in place too. We want to integrate with fans and we want Indian football fans to start looking at Swansea City as a football club.
"Other clubs will be doing activities which are more technology-based, but we wanted to be more personal. We are trying to be a little different, that's why Lee will be heading out there.
"We will be giving things out like shirts, memorabilia, staging keepy-up competitions, coaching sessions via Lee and testing their shooting accuracy.
"So it's something which we are very excited about and we can't wait to get the Live event underway."
You can follow the Swans' involvement in the Barclays Premier League Live event via this website, Twitter and Facebook.
What can fans experience at Barclays Premier League live?
The Live Match Zone - the main arena where fans will watch the live Barclays Premier League matches on a giant screen.
The Trophy Zone - fans will be able to get up close to the Barclays Premier League Trophy.
The Club Zone - supporters will be able to learn more about the 20 Barclays Premier League clubs, and through green screen technology, will be able to picture themselves lifting the Barclays Premier League Trophy decorated with the ribbons of their favourite club.
The Screening Zone - supporters will experience the noise and excitement of a matchday before learning all about the winning teams and captains of the Premier League in this exclusive film.
The Pitch Zone - there will be a mini-football pitch where Barclays Premier League clubs will be conducting skills sessions with local football teams, and there will also be the chance for young fans to have a game of football run by Premier League community coaches.
The Skills Zone - there are three football skills pods for supporters to test their accuracy, close control and shooting power.