FAN FOCUS: Ryan Smith

3rd May 2015

We continue our weekly fans 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

Name: Ryan Smith
Age: 21
From: North London, but lived in Swansea since I was three.

How long have you been supporting the Swans?
My first game was in 2001, but I've been watching the Swans regularly since 2003.

What was your first Swans game?
My first game was when we played Rushden and Diamonds at home. A goalless draw, if I remember correctly. It was far from a classic, but it was the night of the protest against Tony Petty. The atmosphere was very strange, but I've been hooked ever since.

Why did you start supporting the Swans?
My dad David Smith used to run one of the unofficial sites, so I was constantly surrounded by the Swans for as long as I can remember.
He used to take me to games with my brothers, and I just loved going to the Vetch. I remember when I first started going, I used to stand at the back of the North Bank with him and I couldn't see a thing. When I was a bit older, my brother and I went down to the front so we could see something, which, at the start, was usually a defeat. But I still wanted to be there - I was hooked.

What is your most memorable Swans moment?
There are so many, it's hard to narrow it down to just one! I think the promotion at Bury has to be my favorite - outnumbering the home fans at an away match doesn't happen often!
The atmosphere that day was unbelievable. After so many disappointing seasons, to have a bit of success was a massive relief to so many people.
Also, the Wembley appearances, Brentford in the play-off semi-finals and our historic win in Valencia deserve a mention too.

Best game you've seen at the Vetch/Liberty?
The best game at the Vetch was definitely that Hull game. I remember feeling sick throughout the entire match at the thought of going down. My nerves eased when James Thomas scored that beautiful chipped goal.
Meanwhile, the best game at the Liberty would have to be Nottingham Forest in the play-offs. Winning that game meant everything! The chance to go to Wembley for the first time to and play for the opportunity to play in the best league in the world was amazing, and the atmosphere was incredible. It was an amazing effort by Pratley to seal it.

Best goal you've seen at the Vetch/Liberty?
James Thomas's chip against Hull, perfectly weighted right over the keeper's head on a dodgy Vetch Field pitch was absolute genius.
At the Liberty, Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick against Arsenal was an unbelievable finish against one of the top four. Then Gomis scored straight after! That was an enjoyable five minutes!

Your greatest sacrifice to watch the Swans? 
More of a sacrifice to show my love of the Swans was getting the name of club legend Roger Freestone named tattooed on the back of my leg after a drunken night out. I don't regret it though!

Your typical pre-match ritual?
Nothing exciting. I used to go to the Builders Arms before a game at the Vetch, but now we're at the Liberty, I head to Frankie and Bennie's instead.

Who is your favourite Swans player of all time, and why?
It's a toss-up between Roger Freestone and Alan Tate. Both of whom are club legends and loyal, which is hard to find in football these days. Alan Tate stands out because he's been with us since the beginning of our rise to the Premier League.

Favourite current player?
Fede Fernandez. He is a quality centre-half, and I hope he stays with us for a number of years. He's quick, strong, tall and can make a great challenge when it is needed.

Favourite Swans kit from over the years?
I like the centenary kits. I think the white and gold home kit looked really smart, and the away kit was awesome as well as it took the colours of the welsh flag.

If you could sign one player for the club, who would it be?
Without going for the standard Messi/Ronaldo answer, to suit our system I would have Didier Drogba when he was in his prime for Chelsea. He was absolutely ridiculous in his first spell with Chelsea, scoring goals for fun. A big, strong and quick centre-forward with a great end product would score a few in our team I think.

Your most disappointing moment watching the club?
It would have to be the Barnsley League One play-off final. After beating Brentford in such a good away day, I really thought we'd go on and get promoted again - and we were so close! That whole season came down to penalties, and we lost unfortunately. Luckily, we didn't stay in League One for very long after and have moved onwards and upwards!