Jack the Lad: Excitement's in the air
Loyal Swans fan and website columnist Jack the Lad explains why he is relishing the start of the new Championship season.
The name of the league may be different, and the teams we play may be different.
But on Saturday, we will make our way to the Liberty Stadium filled with the same old tingle of excitement when we watch the team in white walk out on to our immaculate home turf for the first time this season.
Many of the players wearing those famous white shirts may be different from last season.
But there will still be 11 of them out there representing our club, our history and our city.
They hold the key to our hopes, ambitions and fears for the coming campaign.
So we will get behind them, just as we have done in past seasons, whether that’s been in the Premier League, the Championship or the old Fourth Division.
The Premier League was a fantastic experience, but I have to say, I am just as excited about the start of this season as I was for any of the seven we played in the top flight.
In some ways, even more so.
While the top flight provided us with some fantastic highs and unforgettable memories, I doubt if I’m alone in saying that the past couple of seasons weren’t the most enjoyable I have experienced as a Swans fan.
Instead of looking up, we largely seemed to be looking down. Our ambitions were mostly about surviving rather than thriving.
We may have lost some of the glitz, glamour and hard cash associated with the Premier League, but we are still Swansea City and the excitement of a new season stretches out ahead of us over the next nine months.
Make no mistake about it, the Championship is a high-quality division which will pose new and exciting challenges and nothing can be taken for granted.
This season will be as much of a challenge as any we undertook in the Premier League, but there seems to be a freshness and anticipation about this campaign which has been missing over the past couple of years.
And our return to the Championship will re-ignite some old rivalries with teams we haven’t faced for many years.
For example, mention the name of Saturday’s opponents and the memories will come flooding back, especially for some of our, let’s say ‘older’ supporters.
An FA Cup semi-final in the 1960s, promotion to the old First Division in the Eighties, belting goals from Andy Robinson and Lee Trundle in a Noughties FA cup tie and, on a more personal note, a cracking weekend spent in nearby Blackpool when we last played Preston in this division!
Each team we play this season will bring back similar memories and each and every match will create new ones.
And the 1,000 or so Swans fans who travelled up to Sheffield last Saturday will certainly have returned from South Yorkshire with some happy memories and stories to tell.
United, City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs and all may have been removed from our fixture list this season, but the most important name of all is still there… Swansea City FC.
C’mon you Swans!