Jack the Lad: More than just another club
Loyal fan and website columnist Jack the Lad laments the passing of Kevin Austin - and explains why being a Swan is about more than just football.
The Swans may have lost 4-1 to Norwich City at the Liberty on Saturday afternoon, but the result was put into perspective later on in the evening.
The disappointment of defeat was soon overridden by a deep sense of sadness as I heard the news of former Swans player Kevin Austin's death.
The old ‘Austin is our hero’ chant described him as a rock, which is the perfect metaphor for the imposing defender.
Kevin was one of the rocks on which the Swans' recent successes were built.
Having joined in 2004, he helped the club win promotion to League Two in 2005 and was part of the squad that lifted the League One title under Roberto Martinez in 2007-08, as well as the 2006 Football League Trophy.
He not only helped the Swans to success during his 150 appearances, he also established himself as a firm favourite with the fans and his team-mates, who have roundly described him as a gentleman in their sincere and heartfelt tributes.
As much as the Swans' success means to us, supporting a football club goes far beyond what the team achieves on the field.
Yes, we all want the team to win and results have the power to make or break our weekend.
But the bond shared between supporters, players and staff of a football club goes way beyond what happens on the pitch.
We support Swansea City Football Club, not just the 11 players on the pitch at any one time, and when something happens to one of our own, we all feel it.
Unfortunately, there have been a number of examples of this in recent months, but what they have done is once again illustrate that Swansea City is more than just a football club.
It is a community which cares for those who have contributed to its history, whether that is on the pitch, in the offices or in the stands.
It's been heartwarming to see the love and support being extended to former Swan Lenny Johnrose in his fight against Motor Neurone Disease.
And the applause which rang around the stadium during the 34th minute last Saturday will surely let young Swans player Jack Evans know he is not alone in his current fight against cancer.
Jack, I'm sure I speak for all Swans fans everywhere when I say our support for you goes far beyond the boundaries of the football pitch and our best wishes are with you every step of the way during your treatment.
For anyone going through a difficult time at the moment, remember that being part of the Swans is far bigger than what happens on the pitch – we all look out for each other and we’re part of something much bigger than ‘just another football club’.
C'mon you Swans!