A big year for Courtney
When the curtain comes down on the 2018-19 campaign, Courtney Baker-Richardson will have reason to be cheerful.
Having joined the Swans from non-league side Leamington in 2017, the striker spent his first season in SA1 honing his skills in the club’s under-23s set up.
This year, however, has been a time where a number of boxes have been ticked for the former Coventry City youngster.
A first Swans appearance, a first goal in senior football and a regular in Graham Potter’s match day squad.
As he’s experienced throughout his career, there were setbacks – being sent off just five minutes into his first-team debut being the biggest learning curve.
But his positive nature means he will look back on the current campaign – however it ends – with much fondness.
“I’ve achieved a lot this season and I’m really happy with the way it’s gone,” said Baker-Richardson.
“Last season I was on the bench for the League Cup game against MK Dons, and it gave me a taste of the first-team even though I didn’t get on the pitch.
“This season the manager has given me an opportunity and I’ve loved every chance I’ve had.
“Making my debut in the League Cup against Crystal Palace was such a big moment for me. It meant a lot on personal and professional level.
“A few days later I started my first league game against Millwall. That was meant to be my big moment, but it turned into a nightmare.
“It was just a case of me being too keen to make an impression, and I got caught up in it all.
“But the manager and my team-mates were incredibly supportive of me, and that was a real boost. We are a very tight outfit and it’s like a family here.
“The manager showed his trust in me by letting me play in the QPR game later that month. He showed faith and I repaid mine by scoring the opening goal.
“It was a big, big moment for me, not because of what had happened at Millwall.
“It was my first Swansea City goal and my first goal as a professional footballer.
“To hear the noise of the crowd when the ball hit the net along with the emotions I felt – I can’t do it justice with words. It is a feeling that is indescribable.
“To this day it is the best day of my life.”
There were better times ahead, with the 23-year-old also bagging his first FA Cup goal in the 3-0 win at Aston Villa before netting in the following Championship clash at Preston.
Having worked his way back up from the non-league system, every big moment is cherished.
“When you grow up you watch the FA Cup and dream of scoring in it, so that was an incredible moment for me to score at Villa Park,” he added.
“I can remember hearing supporters singing my name and that meant so much to me. There was a time where I was being kicked from pillar to post in front of a couple of hundred fans, and there I was scoring in the FA Cup. It’s what dreams are made of.
“But my time in non-league, particularly with Leamington, has helped shape me as a player and as a person, so I am really grateful for that.
“Now it’s a case of making the most of my opportunity. The manager has been a huge help to me this season and I look to repay him with every chance I get.
“I’m a different option for the team and I’ll do whatever he wants me to do in order to help this team.
“I’ll look back at this season as a really positive one for me, but we’ve still got three games left against Hull City, Derby County and Blackburn Rovers so there is plenty of work to do yet.”