FAN FOCUS: Ashley Hewson
We continue our fan feature as we put our loyal supporters under the spotlight!
Fan Focus gives every member of the Jack Army a chance to share their favourite tales, games and goals from supporting the Swans over the years.
If you want to be involved in the feature, email email@example.com
Name: Ashley Hewson
From: Gainsborough, Lincolnshire
How long have you been supporting the Swans?
For as long as I can remember. I was 4 years of age when I first visited the Vetch and got my first season ticket at 7.
What was the first Swans game you attended?
Swansea 1-0 West Ham, on January 13, 1999 in the FA Cup. I believe it was a replay, and all my friends were expecting us to get beaten because we were facing a Premier League side, but we won 1-0.
The Vetch was rocking and we caused a huge upset. That was an amazing first game to be at.
Why did you start supporting the Swans?
I was born in Port Talbot and I've always been a huge football fan so there was only ever one club for me to support.
I remember going to some games at a young age. I saw the big teams on TV and I loved it, but that was nothing compared to the atmosphere at the Vetch Field. After a few games I was hooked, and I begged my parents to get me a season ticket.
What is your most memorable Swans moment?
Has to be that chip from James Thomas against Hull. When that goal went in, I knew we were safe. I was a young lad but I knew we had done enough to survive. I cried with the person next to me. I didn't know who it was - I didn't care - it was one of the best moments of my life.
What is the best game you've seen at the Vetch/Liberty?
The play-off semi-final against Forest. There was so much on the line and we had 90 minutes to book our place at Wembley. Seeing Darren Pratley's shot from the halfway line trickle over the line, I lost it! I have never celebrated a goal as much as that. Once again, I cried with happiness as we were one step closer to the big boys.
What is the best goal you've seen at the Vetch/Liberty?
Jonjo Shelvey against Aston Villa - the way he hit that ball was magical, swerving from left to right. The Villa fans in the North Stand thought he had missed for a split second. I remember them laughing before they realised that in fact, Jonjo had just scored a screamer.
Can you tell us about the greatest sacrifice you have made to watch the Swans?
I actually dropped out of university to go on the Europa League tour. My attendance was average at best, and they told me if I had any more time off, they would have to kick me off the course. But me being a Jack, I prioritised the Swans. I went to every game and got kicked out of university, but to this day I don't regret a single thing!
Describe to us your typical pre-match ritual?
For home games I normally get the 5am train down to Birmingham, switch at Bristol and then directly on to Swansea. When I arrive in Swansea I head straight to the pub to have a few drinks and soak up the atmosphere before heading to the Liberty. But most of my pre-match time is spent on the train, headphones in, and listening to WWE entrance music.
Who is your favourite Swans player of all time, and why?
Lee Trundle. He didn't just bring goals to the club, he brought mainstream attention, he brought class, he brought style. After all the hard times Swansea had over the years, Trunds carried us into a new era, and I'm delighted he's still involved with the club. In my eyes, he's a club legend.
Who is your favourite current player, and why?
I would have to say Jack Cork - the way he reads the game in midfield is unbelievable. If there was ever a player to one day replace Leon Britton, it's Jack. He's a born leader on the pitch and is definitely captaincy material.
What is your favourite Swans kit from over the years?
Although it brought us bad luck, I would have to say the all black away kit from the season we came up. I loved that kit, I even have an Ashley Williams match-worn shirt, which is my favourite thing I own.
If you could sign one player for the club, who would it be?
As much as having Messi and Ronaldo would be nice, I'm going to stay realistic and say James Chester.
He's a rock at the back, and if there was ever anybody to replace Ash, James Chester is the guy.
What has been your most disappointing moment watching the club?
For me it was the loss against Cardiff in the Premier League, and seeing an ex-Swan scoring the winning goal. That was definitely one of my least favourite moments as a Swansea fan. The five-hour trip afterwards back to Lincolnshire didn't help either.
What makes Swansea City special to you?
Swansea City is special to me because it doesn't just feel like a football club, it feels like a family, everybody is connected, the players, the fans, the staff.
You don't find this in modern-day football - the big clubs are so distant from the fans. Swansea have always kept a close relationship with the fans, and that's what I love about this club. I wouldn't change a single thing.