Dress up smart for the new big screens!
23rd August 2014
I hope you're all going to be looking your best when you visit the Liberty Stadium this season.
The reason for my concern is a significant new arrival for the current campaign.
It has nothing to do with the arrival of the likes of Bafetimbi Gomis, Gylfi Sigurdsson or Ecuador World Cup star Jefferson Montero.
My request is due to another introduction to the Liberty this season - the big screens.
There were many things that grabbed my attention during the summer's World Cup in Brazil.
Fantastic goals from the likes of Robin Van Persie, James Rodriguez and Lionel Messi.
Stunning attacking performances like those produced by the Netherlands against Spain and Germany against Brazil.
And there was the long awaited thrill of once again watching Swans players performing at the World Cup, although unfortunately they weren't emulating the achievement s of the local boys who shone for Wales in the 1958 tournament.
But one thing kept occurring to me during match after match at the tournament - the crowds appeared to be exceptionally young and good looking.
Almost every time the cameras cut to the fans in Brazil, they looked as if they had been plucked from the pages of Vogue.
I know cities like Rio are fabled to be the playgrounds of the "beautiful people", but this was ridiculous.
I'd love to see them looking that good on a windy, wet Wednesday night in the middle of February in Swansea or Burnley.
And very few of them made the schoolboy error of waving at the big screen where they had just seen themselves, rather than into the camera.
I was beginning to wonder whether FIFA might even have scoured Brazil's model agencies to hand-pick members of the crowd sitting near TV cameras. Surely not?
Perhaps they were using some new revolutionary camera lens which made everyone look particularly handsome, beautiful and young.
If so, as someone who is neither handsome, beautiful or young, I hope the Swans have splashed out on similar lenses to capture the pictures being beamed up on to our new big screens!
I really don't fancy a 20ft high picture of my ugly mug being broadcast around the stadium.
Not only did the cameras at the World Cup seem to make everyone impossibly good looking, they also seemed to make everyone remarkably happy - even those whose team had just conceded a goal.
One minute downhearted fans bemoaning a conceded goal would suddenly break into broad smiles and leap around like loons into the camera as if the score had suddenly been disallowed and awarded to their own team.
The transformation was almost Lazarus-like as the restorative qualities of the magic camera would suddenly inject new life and enthusiasm into fans, despite their team having conceded a third, fourth or fifth goal.
During the tournament, someone even suggested big screens should be put up in doctors' surgeries. Instead of the name of the patient being called out or flashed up on a scrolling display on the wall, a live picture of the ailing person should be broadcast on large TV screens.
Aches, pains and worries would be instantly cured and banished as the patient skipped out of the waiting room, punching the air in delight.
The reactions of some fans reminded me of an incident I saw watching a Wales v New Zealand rugby international on television a few years back.
With the match delicately balanced, New Zealand went over for a crucial score.
A few yards from the spot where the All Black touched down, a fan leapt from his front-row seat, arms pumping high into the air in delight.
Nothing strange about that, there were Kiwis all around the stadium.
But this was no Kiwi. This chap was wearing the latest Wales replica shirt.
And he didn't appear to be celebrating the try.
No, as the drama of what turned out to be the winning try was unfolding almost within touching distance in front of him, his wide and excited eyes were apparently fixed on a spot high in the sky some 120 metres away.
The focus of his wrapped and ecstatic attention was presumably the image of himself dancing a jig of delight shining brightly out of the huge jumbo screen, suspended high above the opposite end of the Millennium Stadium pitch.
As New Zealand were trundling ominously towards the Welsh line, some of the fans in that corner had obviously worked out the cameras would be on them.
For some, the chance of seeing themselves flash up momentarily on the big screen was more of an attraction than the international rugby match they had paid the thick-end of £40 for the privilege to watch.
Now I know in this celebrity-obsessed X-Factor-loving era, everyone's ultimate ambition is apparently supposed to be achieving their 15 minutes of fame.
But I can't imagine ever seeing a true Swans fan leaping up and down in delight here at the Liberty in the wake of the home side conceding a goal, just because he or she as spotted themselves up on the big screens.
They will undoubtedly be a welcome addition here at the Liberty, particularly the amount of money they are likely to generate for the club, but I truly hope they don't change the atmosphere in the stadium as they appear to have done in Cardiff.
The matching red and white woollen bobble hat and scarf was the uniform of choice donned by the Welsh rugby supporter of the seventies.
Now, devotees of the Millennium Stadium are just as likely to be seen sporting a sparkly pink Stetson and matching feather boa. The women are even more extravagantly dressed!
Please, let's not follow suit . . . unless perhaps an Elvis suit on the last day of the season!
Hopefully we can just use the screens to replay a season of spectacular Swans goals, keep fans informed and help generate extra finance for the club, while the real focus of attention stays on the pitch for those all-important 90 minutes.
The players will always be the centre of attention here at the Liberty Stadium. Let's get behind the Swans right from the off here this season and give the players the support they need to make sure there's plenty of footballing highlights to keep those big screens busy and our eyes on the pitch!
Come on you Swans!