Jack the Lad: Mission Impossible? Maybe not

14th March 2019

Loyal Swans fan and website columnist Jack the Lad knows the odds are stacked against Swansea City on Saturday, but they've relished the underdog tag before.

The way many people are talking about this Saturday, the Swans' walk out music should be the theme tune to Mission Impossible.

Mission Impossible? I'll give you another two words . . . Luke Moore.

And while we're at it, here's another two words . . . Wigan Athletic.

Granted, Manchester City are a great side. Possibly one of the greatest this country has ever seen. The Swans are undoubtedly up against one of the toughest assignments in their history.

But Mission Impossible? No. Everything is possible. Especially when history throws up a couple of precedents.

I know our 1-0 win against City, courtesy of Moore's header, was just a shade over seven years ago and we were then a Premier League side, but the result was still a shock to the footballing world.

Roberto Mancini’s men arrived at the Liberty as Premier League leaders, and they had already beaten new boys Swansea 4-0 at the Etihad on the opening weekend of the season.

You have to remember that when the Swans were promoted, the bookies reckoned there was more chance of bumping into Elvis than seeing the Swans survive for a second top-flight campaign.

So although we were a Premier League club back then, we were still very much in a different league compared to mega-spending, champions-elect City.

Substitute Moore’s winner in the closing stages of the game sparked some of my favourite celebrations seen at the Liberty, as the north east corner mimicked City’s “Poznan” celebration.

If that result doesn’t provide you with enough inspiration and belief, the odds were stacked even higher against Wigan Athletic when they faced City in the fifth round of the FA Cup in February of last year.

Although the Latics had enjoyed a shock win over City in the 2013 final at Wembley, the two clubs’ fortunes had moved in starkly differing directions in the subsequent years.

When they met again, City - like this season - were still going for the quadruple and red-hot favourites to progress to the FA Cup quarter-finals, while Wigan were in League One.

The league leaders had lost just twice in their previous 41 matches, had scored nine goals in their last two games and had built a 16-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

But Wigan produced a heroic rearguard action, aided by the sending off of Fabian Delph, to beat a City line-up featuring the likes of John Stones, Ilkay Gundogan, Fernandinho, David and Bernardo Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane.

Significantly, some of City's stars won’t be available for Saturday’s clash at the Liberty Stadium.

And that’s another crucial factor which Swans fans can take heart from - the match will be played on home turf where we have produced some memorable giant killings in the past.

Back in 1999, the Swans became the first side from the fourth tier of British football to beat a Premier League side when they shocked West Ham 1-0 at the Vetch, thanks to Martin Thomas' winner.

The venue may be a few miles up the road this time, but it will still be the loud and proud Jack Army filling it and getting behind the Swans.

I know it was a disappointment being relegated from the Premier League, but let’s take on the mantle of underdogs against one of the big boys, and relish it.

Last season, we went out at the quarter-final stage with something of a whimper when we lost 3-0 to Spurs.

Perhaps the players had other things on their minds with Premier League relegation looming. Let’s make sure we get right behind them on Saturday and make them feel 10-feet tall as we go all out for Wembley glory this time around.

Just imagine if we do beat City and reach our first FA Cup semi-final in over half a century.

We might just push Warren Gatland’s rugby team off Sunday morning’s back pages. The way their Grand Slam clash against Ireland has been hyped this week, that really would be approaching something near to Mission Impossible!

C’mon you Swans!