DERBY DAYS: Alan Curtis

31st October 2013

Each day this week, as part of our big Welsh derby build-up, we put a former Swan under the spotlight as they recall their memories from past meetings with Cardiff.
Today, Swans legend and current First-Team Coach Alan Curtis talks about playing on each side of the divide, being booed by both fans and his most memorable derby moment.

"I remember Frank Burrows saying I had the experience to handle the pressure of playing for Cardiff against Swansea. It didn't feel like that to me at the time.
"It's not the best of feelings being booed by any supporters, but getting booed by both sets was quite unique to say the least.
"It just shows the rivalry between the clubs and cities. Cardiff fans weren't too keen on me playing for their club at the time, and Swansea fans didn't want an ex-player of theirs turning out for their rivals.
"My move to Cardiff was at a time Swansea were going through a period of administration, and I actually spoke to Wyndham, Speedy, Robbie and Jeremy before I joined Cardiff because I really respected their views.
"They understood and told me it would be fine. Saying that, I don't think they spoke to me for the next six months!
"People can say it was split loyalties, but playing for Cardiff was just about doing my job - playing for Swansea was my passion and love.

"The one game that stands out for me was the 3-3 draw at Cardiff. In those days we played them at Christmas and Easter.
"We went up to Ninian at Christmas - it was the year we went up to the old First Division.
"It was a typical derby full of passion and commitment, and the atmosphere was greater than any other game.
"We had led 3-1 with about five minutes to go and we were absolutely coasting the game.
"But they pulled one back and then, out of the blue, John Buchanan scored an unbelievable free-kick from about 35 yards into the top corner.
"It was devastating, but after the game we were having a few drinks with Bob Dwyer and some of the Cardiff players and talking about a great derby that would have earned both clubs credit.
"I have heard people debating whether the current players understand this derby and if they can handle it.
"We have players here who have played at the Nou Camp and the Bernabeu along with Old Trafford, Anfield, The Emirates and Stamford Bridge, but I think the passion may surprise a few.
"I've spoken to some of the players throughout this week. With each day that passes you can sense the atmosphere cranking up a bit.
"The players say wherever they go - whether it's the petrol station or popping into Tesco - supporters are pleading with them to beat Cardiff.
"Even myself, when I buy a paper I'm stopped in the shop or someone is beeping their horn and winding down their window to say 'make sure you win on Sunday.'
"We have to show the passion of the supporters but also have the coolness of a professional footballer and play our game.
"If we do that, then we won't be far away from what we want to achieve."

Welsh international striker Alan Curtis was an influential figure in Swansea City's thrilling rise under John Toshack. Signing professional at the Vetch Field in July 1972, he was leading marksman in Swansea's 1977-78 promotion success and moved to Leeds United for £350,000 in June 1979. He re-joined Swansea in December 1980 and featured in consecutive Welsh Cup final triumphs, joining Southampton in November 1983. Later with Stoke City, Cardiff City, Swansea again, Barry Town and Haverfordwest, he has since served Swansea in various capacities including assistant-manager, head of youth development and first team coach.