Jack the Lad: Keeping it in the family

7th March 2018

Loyal Swans fans and website columnist Jack the Lad toasts the Ayew brothers - and looks back at the other siblings who have represented the club down the years.

Once upon a time the TV exploits of the Mitchell brothers kept the good citizens of the East End awake at night.

But last Saturday night, it was our very own Ayew brothers who would have given West Ham fans a sleepless night after they were sent to bed with images of their team being savaged by the Swans fresh in their minds, thanks to a rare top billing on Match of the Day.

The brothers' performance in the 4-1 win at the Liberty Stadium deserved every one of the rave reviews they received from the TV pundits and beyond.

A goal from Jordan and a hat-trick of assists from Andre, who was playing against his former club, ensured the brothers played a starring role.

After the match, Swans manager Carlos Carvalhal said: “I think it’s fair on a day like this to talk about the collective. We have two brothers in our team, but it looked like we played with 11 brothers today.”

I know Carlos was speaking figuratively, as he likes to do, but in one match back in 1956, there may not quite have been 11 "Swansea brothers" taking part, but there were six on the pitch who all hailed from the town!

When the Swans lined up against Leeds United at Elland Road, they had two sets of Swansea-born brothers in their side.

The first set consisted of Swans, Spurs and Wales winger Cliff Jones and his sibling Bryn, who both played for the club between 1952 and 1958, when Cliff left for White Hart Lane and his older brother joined Newport County.

The second pair of brothers who played in that 2-2 draw were the legendary Allchurch boys – Len and the ‘Golden Boy’ of Welsh football, Ivor, who totted up more than 800 league appearances for the Swans between them.

Incredibly, there was a third famous Swansea footballing dynasty represented on the pitch that afternoon – but on different sides.

Swans and Wales stalwart Mel Charles lined up for the visitors, while his brother John, who never played a senior game for his hometown club, turned out for Leeds, where he made his name before going on to seal his legacy as a superstar of the world game with Juventus.

The brotherly theme is certainly nothing new to the Swans, they have a long and proud history of brothers signing for the club, including Gilbert and Cyril Beech, Tom and Len Emanuel and Barrie, Alan and Colin Hole.

The last brothers to play in the same Swans side before the Ayews were local boys Tony and Willie Screen, who were both regulars in the team between 1970 and 1972.

Older brother Willie made his Swans debut back in 1967 – the midfielder playing more than 150 times for the club before leaving in 1972.

Tony, who made his name as a defender before being converted to a striker, made his debut two years after his brother and also racked up more than 150 appearances.

So, the Ayews follow a rich tradition of brothers to have played for the Swans.

Hopefully, along with their "band of brothers" in the current Swans team, they will terrify the Terriers on Saturday and carry on causing sleepless nights for Premier League opposition for years to come. Who needs Phil and Grant when you've got Jordan and Andre?

C'mon you Swans!