Jack the Lad: We've come back from worse

10th May 2018
Club

Loyal fan and website columnist Jack the Lad says that while the prospect of relegation hurts, the Swans have come through much tougher moments - and they will do so again.

As a former Welsh international footballer-turned Hollywood film star once said: "It's been emotional."

And whatever happens this Sunday afternoon, I can guarantee you it's going to be emotional.

First of all, before I even discuss the Swans, our visitors Stoke City will be playing their last match of a 10-year run in the Premier League.

Even though they've known their destiny since last weekend, it's still going to be a difficult day for them as they say farewell to the top flight.

Now on to the Swans.

If Southampton lose to Manchester City, and the Swans not only win, but overturn the South Coast club's far superior goal difference, there will be the mother and father of all parties at the Liberty Stadium, the like of which has never been seen in the whole of Wales, let alone Swansea!

Now as someone who preaches the mantra: ‘You must never give up, there is always hope’, Sunday causes me a problem.

Realistically, the Swans are down. All sense and all reason says we will be playing in the Championship next season.

However, while there is that tiniest flicker of a flame of hope, no matter how weak and vulnerable to the slightest breeze, I simply can't give up hope.

Stupid and unrealistic, I know.

But that's me. Until something is mathematically impossible, even a ‘friendly’ family game of Monopoly, I can't give up. I wish I could, it would save a lot of wasted energy!

As a famous Jack once wrote: "Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

And whatever happens at Southampton, we still have a match to win on Sunday. If we are to drop out of the Premier League, let's make sure we go with one last win under our belts.

If we do go down at the end of Sunday afternoon, then we go down with dignity, our heads held high, just as they were when we entered the Premier League.

Being relegated would not be the end of the world.

It's not as if the Swans would be consigned to the local Sunday League Reserve Division Five to play the likes of the Dog and Duck Second XI.

This season's Championship contains nine clubs who have been champions of England.

Nottingham Forest have also won the European Cup twice, Aston Villa won it once and Leeds United reached the final. Not the worst place in the world to be playing your football.

For those of you old enough, cast your mind back 15 years to May 3, 2003.

As half-time approached at the Vetch, the Swans were 2-1 down and under the cosh against Hull City in a game they had to win to keep their Football League status.

Many felt that if the Swans lost that afternoon they wouldn't have just gone out of the league, they could well have gone out of existence – and this was not the first time they had faced that very real threat.

If someone at that precise moment had looked into a crystal ball and offered me the option of the Swans playing in the second tier of English football at the start of the 2018-2019 season, I'd have snatched their hand off.

If they had told me they would be playing in the Championship having spent the previous seven seasons playing in the Premier League, I'd have led them into a darkened room and advised them to lie down until they felt a little better.

Relegation would obviously bring disappointment, but there should also be a celebration of those magnificent seven seasons we've spent in the Premier League.

That's right, SEVEN seasons. Remember what the bookies thought when we were promoted?

There was more chance of seeing Elvis than of Swansea City staying in the Premier League, that's what!

We didn't just survive that first season, we thrived, and during our SEVEN seasons enjoyed some unforgettable moments.

At times we lit up the Premier League and attracted unreserved praise from around the globe for our exploits on and off the pitch.

Apart from Spurs, we beat all of the Premier League's top guns here at the Liberty Stadium in either the league or cup. Not only that, we also won at Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.

We topped the league, achieved an eighth-place finish, won the League Cup at Wembley and qualified for the Europa League where we were eventually narrowly defeated by Italian giants Napoli.

Even this season we enjoyed a run to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the first time in over half a century.

When the Swans plummeted from the old First Division to the Fourth and almost into oblivion back in the early 1980s, I honestly never believed I would see them anywhere near the top flight again, especially when the Premier League was established.

We've come back from worse than this. The club will still be here next season, let's make sure we find our way – the Swansea Way – again.

Whatever the result on Sunday and wherever Swansea City play their football next season, the overriding feeling at the end of the match should not be sadness, regret, anger or any number of other negative emotions.

It's going to be emotional on Sunday and that overwhelming emotion should be pride.

Let's have the mother and father of all parties anyway, even if it is to pay the Premier League a very fond farewell.

C'mon you Swans!