Jack the Lad: Here's hoping

11th April 2018

As Carlos Carvalhal's team get set to face Everton, loyal Swans fan and website columnist Jack the Lad reminds us that when it comes to football, there is always hope.

Travelling on the service bus from Goodison Park back into Liverpool city centre last December, I have to admit I started to doubt whether the Swans would be visiting the famous old stadium again next season.

The visitors had just been beaten 3-1 and their prospects of avoiding relegation were looking bleak.

It had been a particularly demoralising evening for the Swans.

Wilfried Bony had limped off injured after just a few minutes, the Swans conceded a soft penalty in first-half injury time which Lukasz Fabianski saved only to see the ball rebound off a post for Dominic Calvert-Lewin to equalise.

To rub salt in the wounds, Gylfi Sigurdsson smashed in the kind of goal against us that used to be a trademark score for us.

And just to put the tin hat on things, Everton were awarded a second penalty when Martin Olsson's challenge clearly took place outside the penalty box. Rooney converted to seal the result.

Things weren't looking good. It just felt as if everything was going against the team and they were on a downward spiral.

Following the defeat, the Swans were two points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League table and four points from safety, having won just one of their previous 10 league fixtures.

As my friends and I tried to drown our sorrows in Matthew Street, on our now annual ‘stay away’ in Liverpool, we were even starting to consider the prospect of not having a footballing reason for visiting the city next season.

Over the past couple of seasons Liverpool had become a firm favourite for a weekend away, as we enjoyed the off-field attractions offered on Merseyside.

"Which team in the championship is nearest to Liverpool?" asked one of my friends. "We could stay in Liverpool and travel to the game from there."

I have to admit, as we sat there in the wake of the result, this looked to be the most likely scenario for a return to Merseyside next season.

But we really shouldn't have been so pessimistic. Having followed sport for so many years, we should all have known that you should never give up.

Within 48 hours of the Everton defeat, Swans manager Paul Clement departed.

He was later replaced by Carlos Carvalhal, who has transformed the club's fortunes and put the Swans' Premier League fate in their own hands.

The Swans are still far from safe, but at least now we have more than a puncher's chance of staying up.

It just goes to show, you should never give up until there is mathematically no hope.

There have been plenty of examples of this during the current Commonwealth Games in Australia, especially involving Team Wales.

For example, lawn bowlers Marc Wyatt and Dan Salmon were 6-1 down to the defending champions and red-hot favourite Scottish pair, who were going for a hat-trick of gold medals in the pairs final.

The Welsh pair faced conceding another five shots in the next end to go 11-1 down when Wyatt produced a brilliant wood to gain two shots rather than concede five.

Instead of being 10 shots down they now only trailed 6-3. Inspired by the turnaround, they went on to cause one of the biggest shocks of the entire games so far.

There are bound to be more twists and turns and highs and lows during the last half-dozen matches of this Premier League season.

The important thing is that neither we as fans, nor the players, lose hope between now and the final whistle of the Stoke game here on May 13.

That’s something I should definitely have remembered on that foggy evening at Goodison last December.

Here's hoping we all have the opportunity to go back again next season.

C'mon you Swans!