It's important to remember where we came from

14th March 2015

Every now and again during the heady days of success the Swans have enjoyed over the past few years, I like to look back to see where the club was 10 years before - just to keep my feet on the ground.

I look at league position, results, who we're playing now, and who we were playing then.

Whether the Swans are on a good run, or a comparatively poor one, it just helps keep everything in perspective.

If we are in the middle of a mediocre patch and some of the less realistic fans are starting to call for the manager/chairman/tea lady's head, it just helps to remind me how far we have come in the past decade and how well we really are doing - despite a temporary dip in form.

If, like now, things are going well - chasing our highest ever finish and points tally in the Premier League - it reminds me where we have come from and that we shouldn't get too big for our boots.

When we were promoted to the Premier League, I remember thinking: "Whatever happens, I hope we don't forget where we came from. Even if we can stay in the Premier League, I hope we don't become 'Big Time Charlies' and start looking down at other clubs."

Over the past four or five seasons, a comparison between our current situation, and where we were 10 years previously, has always made fascinating reading - because we have always come such a long way in a comparatively short time.

A look back at where we were in 2005 and where Liverpool were makes for particularly interesting reading.

For a start, on this date back in 2005 the Swans were playing in League Two while Liverpool, of course, were one of the major forces in the Premier League and Europe.

Although we didn't have a match on this exact date 10 years ago, which was a Wednesday, the previous Saturday the Swans had drawn 2-2 against Rochdale in front of 6,804 at the Vetch.

The scorers in that game make for interesting reading. Netting for the Swans were Andy Gurney and a player who was to become a player the fans loved to give some stick on his visits to Swansea - Grant Holt, who put through his own net.

Holt also scored at the other end, the start of an annoying habit he seemed to develop against the Swans, particularly during his Norwich City days.

Rochdale's second goal was scored in the dying minutes by a certain young forward called Rickie Lambert, who of course can currently be found on today's visitors' books.

The match was also notable for Lee Trundle being sent off in the 37th minute only for Dale's Paul Tait to follow him just a minute later.

The Saturday after, we also drew 2-2, this time against Northampton Town, in front of 5,799 people at Sixfields.

By contrast, 10 years ago today, this evening's opponents Liverpool were playing in the Premier League against Blackburn Rovers at Anfield in front of over 37,000 people.

The following Saturday - the day the Swans were at Northampton - Liverpool were beating Everton 2-1 in the Merseyside derby thanks to goals from Steven Gerrard and Luis Garcia.

Their recent fixtures had included a 3-1 Champions League win over Bayer Leverkeusen and they're next European tie was against Italian giants Juventus - another 2-1 win at Anfield.

I'm sure this run of fixtures will be seared into the memories of Liverpool fans, but just to remind Swans supporters, who may not be quite as familiar with the fixtures, this was the season that Liverpool won the Champions League in Istanbul.

While the Swans were playing the likes of Macclesfield, Cheltenham, Cambridge and Lincoln between this period and the end of the season, Liverpool were facing a string of glamour games.

Despite that, while Liverpool rounded off their season with that memorable comeback from 3-0 against Milan, the Swans were enjoying some celebrations of their own.

On the penultimate weekend of their League Two season, they bade a fond farewell the Vetch with a 1-0 win over Shrewsbury Town . . . Adrian Forbes slipping the ball past a young goalkeeper by the name of Joe Hart.

The following week Forbes was celebrating an even more significant goal when he scored in the first minute of the Swans' visit to Bury. It was the only goal of the game and the win clinched promotion to League One.

Cue wild celebrations at Gigg Lane, which even resulted in Swans' fans favourite 'keeper Willie Gueret being led away in handcuffs by police!

Although these victories were achieved in the bottom tier of English football, while Liverpool's win over AC Milan was recorded at the very pinnacle of European football, they were no less important to Swans fans and to the club itself.

The level of celebration by supporters and players at Gigg Lane clearly illustrate that.

The win over Shrewsbury at the Vetch marked the end of an era for the club, but also the start of an exciting new one which would see them playing at a purpose built Liberty Stadium.

The win at Bury was vital as it meant they would be starting life at the new stadium in a higher division - ensuring bigger crowds at the smart new venue and kick-starting the rise which would lead to the Swans' return to the top flight a handful of seasons later.

In terms of importance, some may think I am mad to compare the Swans promotion from League Two with Liverpool becoming Champions of Europe for the fifth time.

But everything is relative. Without that initial promotion, the Swans may not have found themselves where they are now 10 short years later.

A decade ago today the European Champions elect and the League Two promotion hopefuls were playing at opposite ends of the English professional league structure.

Tonight, the Swans and Liverpool are separated by just four league places and 11 points in the top tier of English football - a league which is described as the richest and most watched on the planet. 

Here's hoping the gap will have been reduced by another three points by the end of 90 minutes tonight! Who'd have thought it 10 years ago?

C'mon you Swans!