An exciting time for Welsh football
9th April 2016
Momentum is apparently growing for the establishment of a National Football Museum of Wales.
What a fantastic idea, and what better time to fight a campaign for the nation's own tribute to the beautiful game?
With the Welsh team preparing to compete at the finals of a major tournament for the first time since 1958 and the Swans' success in the Premier League over the past few years, these are exciting times for Welsh football in general.
Plaid Cymru is proposing the museum be developed in Wrexham. While I'd obviously prefer it to be established here in Swansea, I have to admit there is a fairly strong case for establishing the institution in North Wales.
Wrexham is where the first international match was played in Wales, where the oldest international ground in the world - the Racecourse - is located and where the Football Association of Wales was formed.
But even if the museum was to be established in North Wales, there's no doubt there would be a huge Swansea flavour to its contents.
Whether it be the exploits of the Swans themselves, or players who were born in the area, this part of South West Wales will be well represented - with some local players already having been inducted into other footballing halls of fame.
For example, former Swansea City legend and Wales striker Ivor Allchurch was inducted into England's National Football Museum Hall of Fame last October.
Ivor won 68 caps for Wales, scoring 23 goals in the process, helping his country reach the Quarter-Finals of the 1958 FIFA World Cup - along with half a dozen other Swansea-born players.
As well as the Swans, he played for Newcastle United and Cardiff City, scoring 249 goals in 691 appearances.
The "Golden Boy" of Welsh football joined over 130 other players including fellow Welshmen Ryan Giggs and another Swansea-born footballing hero John Charles, who have been honoured at the Manchester-based Museum.
Esme Allchurch, Ivor's wife, and his sons John and David, were presented with the Hall of Fame Award by his former Swansea and Wales team-mate Cliff Jones.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to see the likes of Allchurch, Jones and Charles heading up a Hall of Fame in Wales's own footballing museum.
Be it Swansea born and bred players, or those who came to the city to make their names with the Swans, there would be no shortage of Hall of Fame inductees with Swansea links.
Surely there would be a place for Ivor Allchurch and John Charles' respective brothers Len and Mel, along with Mel's son Jeremy, who not only played for Wales, but also scored the Swans' historic first goal in Division One, back in 1981.
Other Welsh players from that Swans Golden Era who would surely make the cut would be the great Robbie James and his namesake Leighton, who would claim a spot simply for scoring the winner on the only occasion Wales have beaten England at Wembley.
And team-mate Alan Curtis would warrant a wing of the museum all to himself thanks to his contribution to club and country over the past 40-odd years!
There would be plenty of modern day candidates for the Hall of Fame too, including the man who has captained Wales to the Euro 2016 finals, Ashley Williams, and his team-mate Neil Taylor.
And surely they would be joined by players like Leon Britton, who may not be eligible to pull on the red shirt of Wales, but has made a massive contribution to Welsh football through his incredible Swans achievements.
The Swans' exploits as a club would take up a significant proportion of any Welsh football museum's exhibits.
Wrexham's humbling of champions Arsenal in the FA Cup back in 1992 may be fresher in fans' memories, and would certainly be deserving of a prominent display, but the Swans arguably achieved an even greater giant killing during the 1914-15 season.
When Blackburn Rovers arrived at the Vetch, they boasted four England internationals, a former Scottish international, and were lying second in the old First Division, having won the previous year's title by seven points.
The Swans were in Division Two of the Southern League, a team largely made up of inexperienced professionals and their replacement centre-forward for the match was an amateur who had been playing rugby union for the town's rugby club until just a few months earlier.
But it was that former rugby player, Ben Beynon, who scored the goal that sent the Football League Champions crashing out of the cup.
Yes, I know, Cardiff deserve a mention for winning the competition in 1927. I'm sure a corner can be found somewhere in the museum to commemorate their achievement too!
As well as hitting the early Cup headlines, the Swans were also Welsh trail-blazers in Europe.
In 1961 they became the first Welsh club to compete in Europe when they qualified for the European Cup Winners Cup.
Of course, in more recent history they became the first Welsh club to play in the Premier League and the First Welsh club to win the League Cup.
That little lot should get the proposed museum off to a decent start whether it's based in Wrexham or Waunarlwydd!
C'mon you Swans!