Curtis hails Britton's Swans milestone
27th January 2016
Alan Curtis has hailed Leon Britton as someone who has "epitomised what Swansea City is all about" after the midfielder reached a personal milestone.
The 33-year-old hit a significant landmark as he recently made his 500th appearance for the club.
The little midfielder has made a big impression at the Swans since originally joined on loan in December 2002, and has represented the club in the top four divisions of English football, along with competing in the Europa League, FA Cup, Capital One Cup, Football League Trophy and FAW Premier Cup.
A huge favourite among the Jack Army for the role he played in three promotions, a Capital One Cup success and a Football League Trophy title, Britton is also revered by current interim manager and club legend Curtis - a man referred to as Mr Swansea City.
"If there is one player who has epitomised what Swansea City is all about in the last 12 years, it is Leon Britton," said Curtis.
"When he first arrived at the club on loan we were languishing at the bottom of the football league.
"Leon has made a huge contribution to the journey from that point to reaching the Premier League, winning the League Cup win and featuring in Europe.
"We have had a number of players at Swansea who have been instrumental in that rise - including Garry Monk, Alan Tate, Ashley Williams and Angel Rangel - but Leon stands out as a shining light.
"Not just for his playing ability but also the way he conducts himself off the park. He is a huge example to players who arrive at the club and new players see what the club is all about through Leon."
Britton's future seemed uncertain in the summer, with clubs in America's MLS rumoured to be showing an interest.
But he stayed at the Liberty and decided to battle for his place, and that proved the right decision as he remains a key figure in the Swans' plans.
"He certainly was not written off at the start of the season, but with the situation we find ourselves in at the minute we need Leon's experience more than ever," added Curtis.
"He knows what the club is all about and where we came from - he knows the values of the club.
"The crowd have always appreciated him and whenever we play well, it is usually down to Leon setting the tempo of the game.
"He received a huge standing ovation after a superb performance against West Brom on Boxing Day - I took him off because I wanted him to enjoy that moment as he deserved it. The fans were going crazy shouting 'Leon, Leon, Leon', and I was so happy he had that reception.
"He deserves every single bit of praise he gets. He's a really good player, a great pro and a top bloke to have around the club.
"For him to reach 500 appearances for this club shows what playing for Swansea City means to Leon. It's a rarity these days that it's accomplished, but it doesn't surprise me that he's reached that landmark."
WHAT THEY SAID. . .
Swans team-mate Angel Rangel.
"Leon is a Swansea City legend. It's not just for the amount of appearances he has made or the time he has been here, it's also about the quality of performances and consistency year after year.
"He's a role model not only for youngsters in the game, but also professional footballers too. His attitude every day is spot on.
"Everyone recognises his contribution to the club. I remember the supporters made so much noise earlier this season when he was warming up (against Newcastle). Every time he does anything on the pitch it raises the crowd - they love him and what he stands for.
"He's the best player I've seen in my time at this football club."
Swans legend Jeremy Charles.
"Leon has been a constant and key figure throughout the club's rise from the bottom of League Two to the top-half of the Premier League.
"His contribution to Swansea City can't be praised highly enough.
"In the modern game players don't tend to play anywhere near 500 games for one club, but it shows Leon's importance to the team, along with his commitment and consistency."
Former Swans manager Brian Flynn, who signed Britton in 2002, believes the midfielder could be seen as the club's finest ever player.
"You are talking about some big names at Swansea over the years.
"You have people like Curt, Robbie James, Ivor Allchurch - what a list to be involved in.
"Just to be mentioned in the same breath as those players is quite something, but I think Leon has got to be top three.
"Then it's down to your bias whether you have him first, second or third.
"Right now, I am sure a lot of people would have him at number one."
Former team-mate and current Swans club ambassador Lee Trundle.
"When I arrived he was a winger, so he was responsible for a lot of my goals. He went past people and put the ball into my feet, so I loved playing in the same Swansea team as him.
"To reach 500 games at any club is remarkable, but what the club and Leon has achieved in that time is unbelievable.
"That's why he will go down as one of the club's greatest players."
Swansea City Supporters Trust.
"His first season was to be a memorable one, culminating in the Hull game and the start of a remarkable footballing journey.
"It is a particular journey which the Supporters Trust takes great pride in, having launched the 'Battle for Britton' fundraising campaign in 2003.
"The money raised from the campaign helped secure the permanent signing of Leon and the rest, as they say, is history."