FAN FOCUS: Neil Passmore
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: Neil Passmore
From: Swansea, but currently living in Aberdeen
How long have you been supporting the Swans?
Around 35 years, as it was around the age of 11 that I really became interested in football. This coincided with the Swans' rise and promotion to the old Division One under John Toshack in 1981.
What was the first Swans game you attended?
It was the Welsh Cup Final against Hereford United in May 1981 and I stood in the enclosure. I can remember the rivalry between fans, the atmosphere, the singing and chanting, and even the smell of the grass, being so close to the pitch, with Leighton James right in front of me on the left wing, losing his contact lenses! And we won 1-0!
It was my first time at the Vetch and from that moment I was hooked. The love affair had started. From then on, my parents bought me season tickets for the West Terrace, next to the away fans (always making for a great edgy feel to the matchday experience!).
I also used to attend all the youth and reserve games, and the assistant groundsman always asked me and my friend, Mark, to go over on the empty North Bank to be unofficial ball boys.
Our reward for helping retrieve the ball was that we got to take penalties on the hallowed turf in front of the East Stand when the game had ended.
What is your most memorable Swans moment?
It has to be the play-off final at Wembley in 2011. After watching the Swans in our two seasons in the top flight in the early 1980s, it was a dream to see us get back to the top again 30 years later. The pre-match tension, followed by the highs of a three-goal lead, then the lows of Reading's comeback and finally the sealing of the win with Scotty's hat-trick and the exhilaration of the after-match party that went on and on...and continues today!
What is the best game you've seen at the Vetch/Liberty?
I would probably say our 12-1 win in the European Cup Winners' Cup against Sliema Wanderers of Malta. I'm proud to have been there when we got the biggest win in the club's history.
What is the best goal you've seen at the Vetch/Liberty?
Gary Stanley's left-foot shot from at least 35 yards out against Manchester City in 1982 sticks in my mind. Gary was near the dugout when he hit it. Joe Corrigan's understudy, Alex Williams, didn't have a chance.
Can you tell us about the greatest sacrifice you have made to watch the Swans?
Living and working in Scotland for the past 20 years, most trips to see the Swans involve travelling a distance!
But probably it would be all the wheeling and dealing and arrangements required when we got to Wembley in 2011.
I was working in the Scottish prison service at HMP Aberdeen, but my bosses knew how important the Swans are to me, so they gave me a long weekend off to drive the 550 miles/11 hours to Swansea, then travel up to London with my brother-in-law and nephew.
Describe to us your typical pre-match ritual?
These days, being hundreds of miles away and north of the border, I'll read the pre-match write-up in the morning papers, then sit down in front of Sky Sports and watch the game live (or watch Jeff Stelling) and keep in touch on the Twitter and Facebook feeds.
But if I'm down in Swansea (or at an away game - I was at Old Trafford and St James' Park last season) I'll just get down to the ground hours in advance of kick-off and savour the atmosphere and build-up, thanking my lucky stars that I've got a ticket to see my boys.
Who is your favourite Swans player of all time, and why?
Alan Curtis. Legend.
Swansea through and through. Cut him, and he'll bleed black and white. And what a lovely guy. I remember one summer when I played for a local Swansea church team. During close-season, Alan agreed to give us some coaching sessions down the Rec. After he had put us through our paces, we finished with something I'll never forget.
Alan had a bit of fun with us and challenged around eight of us to get the ball off him. Even with eight against one, I learned that day that as a professional he was on a different planet to us - we couldn't get near him with his drag-backs, shielding, body swerves etc. He was an absolutely dazzling player!
Who is your favourite current player, and why?
Gylfi Sigurdsson - class and skill personified, but with a temperament and calm nature that fits well with our ethos as a club. A superb professional, but not a primadonna.
What is your favourite Swans kit from over the years?
Again, probably for the memories, but I'd go for the old Division One Patrick top from 1981-82 - plain white with the badge in the middle. The red away one was nice too.
If you could sign one player for the club, who would it be?
Diego Costa - just so he couldn't torment us any more with his goals, exceptional ability and his theatrics!
What has been your most disappointing moment watching the club?
The times when we were bankrupt, almost becoming non-existent. I can still see the Evening Post front-page headlines in my head, and I'll never forget the gut-wrenching empty feelings I had back then.
That's why I'll always say I'm Swansea 'Till I Die, and never moan or complain even when we sometimes think things aren't as perfect as we'd like them to be!
I remember the bad old days, and we're now a world away from those times, thank goodness.
What makes Swansea City special to you?
We may be Premier League, but we're Swansea City, with the local, family feel and a heritage that we have brought with us down the years. We're Swansea folk, Swansea people, proud Swansea Jacks - and the heart of the club and community means we'll never be pretentious, but will always be down-to-earth, appreciating what we have, and who we are. We're Jack Army!