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Jack the Lad: Football to put a huge smile on Swans faces

The players had disappeared down the tunnel and the fans heading for the Liberty Stadium exits were celebrating a memorable victory over Premier League leaders Manchester City.

As I walked out of the ground, an excited fan wearing a Swans shirt and a delirious smile looked down at his hands and then lifted them to show his friend.

“Look at that,” he said, “I’ve clapped so hard, look at my hands!”

I couldn’t resist taking a peek. They were almost purple! Then I looked at my own and they were virtually the same colour.

Suffering from stinging purple hands at the end of a game was something of an occupational hazard for Swans fans during that first season in the Premier League.

At the time, I suggested in my Jack the Lad article that there might be an epidemic of people visiting GPs in South West Wales complaining of sore and bruised hands the day after matches.

Such was the quality of the Swans play during that time, fans would involuntarily find themselves bursting into applause time and again as the players strung together another set of passes leaving their opponents bewildered and searching for shadows to chase.

Sore throats would probably have been on the increase too the way some of the songs and chants were being belted out by the Liberty Stadium crowd in appreciation of the team’s play.

Fast forward seven years to the present day and local GPs may need to brace themselves for another influx of croaky-voiced football fans complaining of clappy hand syndrome.

The Swans have been producing pockets of outstanding play all season which have had people talking about a return to the 'Swansea Way'.

What they may have lacked in consistency, the team has made up for with flashes of the kind of attacking passing football supporters had become accustomed to over the past decade.

Some of the individual and team goals scored earlier this season have been right up there with the very best we saw during the rise to and during our time in the Premier League.

But the style and consistently high quality of the football played during the seven-day burst of three home matches against Brentford, Middlesbrough and Stoke City has been every bit as entertaining and enjoyable as those top-flight days.

Just like some of those Premier League performances I have found myself bursting into spontaneous applause, usually accompanied with a huge smile on my face and occasionally a little disbelieving shake of the head at the quality of the Swans’ passing play.

Even the person in charge of the stadium’s PA system seemed to have been affected by the Swans form in the last three home matches – four if you include the superb performance against Man City in the FA Cup quarter-final.

Dan James’ latest breathtaking strike against Stoke was celebrated with Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” booming over the tannoy.

In truth, the Swans faithful needed no encouragement to dust off the old “Swans Will Tear You Apart Again” chant because James and co have been doing just that in recent matches.

The talent has been there to witness all season, to see it allied to the confidence and consistency displayed in the last three matches is surely fantastic news for Swans fans but a potentially worrying development for overworked GPs across South West Wales.

C’mon you Swans!

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Jack the Lad

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