A game we'll never forget

9th December 2013

In the time honoured fashion of British football programmes, I'd like to start this week by welcoming the players, supporters and officials of Hull City.
I'd normally leave this duty to the important people at the club like the chairman, the manager and the captain.
But this week I wanted to make sure that everyone from Hull was feeling particularly welcome in Swansea, and show there were no hard feelings about you pipping us to become the UK City of Culture for 2017.
I noticed the reaction of some people involved in Swansea bid was perhaps a little less than gracious following the announcement a couple of weeks ago.
My only defence for them is that following all the success that has been enjoyed by Swansea and its football team over the past few seasons, one or two people may have forgotten how to accept defeat with dignity!
I won't dwell on what was said, but I would like to sincerely congratulate Hull on its success. 
I'm sure the vast majority of people in the Swansea Bay area would share my sentiments.
I hope you have a fantastic year and it brings you all the success and recognition you are hoping for, and more.
Despite having never been to the city, whenever I hear the name Hull, I always smile as it brings back a particularly happy, if extremely stressful, memory. 
Swansea City 4 Hull City 2 is a scoreline which will live forever in the memory of all Swans fans.
Even for those who weren't there, or those yet to be born, tales of the memorable day the Swans avoided relegation, will be handed down with reverence to future generations.
It seems incredible that just over 10 years ago, the Swans came perilously close to losing their league status.
I can still clearly remember the almost unbearable tension during the days leading up to the match.
And it was multiplied tenfold as I took my place on a packed North Bank, directly underneath one of the holes in the roof. If you remember the weather that day, it wasn't the best place to be.
But the constant dripping of rain from above was the last thing on my mind as, along with almost 10,000 other Swans fans I headed every ball, slid into every tackle and shouted my support until I was hoarse.
I'd never experienced a atmosphere like that before that day and I've never experienced one since. Every single tackle and throw-in won by the Swans was cheered to the rafters as if they were goals.
And the goals? Well, let's just say I wasn't so much worried about the holes in the North Bank roof, I was more concerned about the structure being completely lifted off!
The huge sense of relief around the ground at the final whistle completely swept away the anxiety which had built up over the previous week.
And talking of culture, there was even a play written about the momentous day - "To Hull and Back".
Although it would have been fantastic for the Swansea Bay area to have won City of Culture status, you can argue that the win over Hull 10 years ago was a far more important one than the recent contest.
It's been estimated the City of Culture title would have brought in around £70m to Swansea, which would unquestionably have been a massive boost to the city.
But, given the power of hindsight, if I had to chose between Swansea beating Hull 4-2 back in 2003, and winning the recent vote, I know which one I would go for every time.
The decision isn't just based on the fact that I'm a football fan either. I'm just as big a fan of music and art . . . well, almost!
The City of Culture status may have brought in around £70 million, but just look at what Premier League football has brought to the city.
It is estimated that the Swans first season in the Premier League alone was worth £58 million. We've had another season and a half since.
Then there are the benefits which can't be measured. You just can't buy the kind of publicity and exposure the City of Swansea has received all over the globe since reaching the Premier League. 
You can only imagine what an equivalent advertising campaign would have cost the council?
It's also impossible to quantify the feel good factor which the city has enjoyed as the Swans climbed the leagues and shone in the Premier League since that Hull City win
Premier League football is just one of the things that wouldn't have happened to the city had the Swans lost that match back in 2003.
There has to be a question mark over whether the club would still be in existence, let alone in the Premier League.
There must also be a massive question mark over whether the Liberty Stadium would have been completed along with the development of the Morfa retail park.
And although Swansea may not have gained the 2017 title there's still plenty to look forward to on the cultural side. We don't have to have a title to be a cultured city.
Many of the plans earmarked for the year of culture will go ahead anyway.
And I'm sure the Dylan Thomas centenary celebrations alone will bring a massive amount of enjoyment and exposure to the city.
So, while it's an undoubted disappointment to miss out, let's not get too greedy. Let's just say it's 1-1 between Swansea and Hull at the moment.
I hope Hull enjoys every moment of its year in the spotlight as the City of Culture.
But that is where my goodwill message ends. There is only one City I want to come out on top in this evening competition.
To paraphrase that famous piece of football commentary from 1981 when Norway beat England: "William Wilberforce, Philip Larkin,  Maureen Lipman, John Alderton, J. Arthur Rank, Amy Johnson, Mick Ronson, Roland Gift, Joe Longthorne . . . I hope your boys take one Hull of a beating tonight!"
Come on you Swans!