Jack the Lad: Thinking of Lenny

27th August

Loyal Swans fan and website columnist Jack the Lad says every member of the Jack Army is behind Lenny Johnrose.

The headlines on the day were dominated by James Thomas's hat-trick.

The Swansea-born centre forward's goals had saved his home-city club from being relegated from the Football League.

All the success Swansea City enjoyed during subsequent seasons, including the Premier League adventure and League Cup win, would surely have been beyond the club had the club lost to Hull City on that fateful day back in 2003.

Thomas's name has quite rightly gone down in Swans folklore for his three goals in that historic 4-2 win.

The identity of the man who scored the Swans' ‘other’ goal that day is often overlooked.

But Lenny Johnrose's name is very much on the minds of Swans fans at the moment.

The former Swans, Bury, Burnley, Hartlepool and Blackburn player recently announced that he is suffering from motor neurone disease.

For those not familiar with this cruellest of conditions, there is no cure and half of those affected die within two years of being diagnosed.

And for those not familiar with the importance of Johnrose's goal on that rainy day in May, let me fill you in.

The Swans had been 2-1 down and very much on the ropes, but Johnrose's strike put Brian Flynn’s team back into the lead at 3-2 and paved the way for Thomas to net the match-clinching fourth goal with a delightful chip.

But the importance of Johnrose's goal pales into insignificance in light of the news the player revealed in an emotional and incredibly courageous radio interview recently.

The midfielder displayed many admirable qualities during his 40 appearances for the Swans.

A powerful and imposing figure on the pitch, Johnrose even filled in at centre-half when called upon.

But the strength he showed on the pitch is nothing to the strength he is displaying now as he speaks out about his illness.

The great Liverpool manager Bill Shankly was reputed to have said: "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

Far be it from me to disagree with the great manager, but football doesn't come anywhere near being as important as life and death.

Swansea City and all its fans will always owe Lenny Johnrose a huge debt of gratitude for the part he played in the most important game in the club's history.

You are in our thoughts more now than ever and you have the support of the Jack Army every step of the way.

C'mon you Swans!