Jeremy's joy with perfect FA Cup tie
8th January 2016
No matter what the outcome is from the Swans' FA Cup tie at Oxford United, one man at the Kassam Stadium will be happy come the final whistle.
Jeremy Charles will watch two of his former clubs do battle on Sunday - one looking to cause an upset, the other hoping to avoid becoming a top-flight scalp.
Swansea-born Charles served his hometown club with distinction - scoring 53 goals in 247 league games - playing a key role in the Swans' rise from Fourth Division to English football's top flight.
And, following a spell with Queens Park Rangers, he helped Oxford to their finest hour - winning the League Cup in 1986.
So it's no surprise when Charles, whose father Mel also served the Swans for seven years, sits on the fence when discussing where his loyalties lie come Sunday afternoon.
"It's the best of both worlds for me because Swansea and Oxford are the clubs that are close to my heart," reveals Charles, who was inducted in the Robbie James Wall of Fame in 2013.
"I was fortunate enough to enjoy a lot of success with my hometown club. Playing for Swansea meant everything to me, and playing in three promotions and Europe was an incredible time in my career.
"My time at Oxford also gave me fantastic memories. The season I joined we went up to the First Division and then went on to win the League Cup."
Typically modest, Charles - nephew of Wales great John Charles - doesn't mention the fact he scored in that final at Wembley - coincidentally, against his former club QPR.
Injury would cruelly cut short a promising career, with Charles going on to work within the Swans' development set up before heading to Southampton, where he would work with the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Adam Lallana.
He would later set up coaching schools in Oxfordshire, where he now resides, while his link with Oxford remains via an ambassadorial role for matchday hospitality.
And, as guest of honour for Sunday's game, the 56-year-old can fully concentrate on the cup tie.
"Oxford play nice football and we obviously know how Swansea like to play, so it should be a really entertaining game," says Charles.
"It's a really nice spectacle, and I'm really looking forward to it.
"Swansea will obviously be firm favourites, but you never know how it will go in the cup. That's the beauty of knockout tournaments."
The occasion will also give Charles the opportunity to meet up with a cherished former team-mate - Alan Curtis.
"It will be great to see Alan again," adds Charles. "I've gone back to the Liberty to watch a few games and met up with Alan, Speedy (Nigel Stevenson), Leighton Phillips, Leighton James and Wyndham Evans. It's always nice to meet up with them.
"I think Swansea have made a good decision in giving Alan the job to manage the side for the rest of the season.
"He is a person they fully respect, and he will give everything he has to ensure the club moves back in the right direction.
"Swansea is in his heart and the players are in capable hands. I'm sure they will move further away from the relegation zone under his leadership."
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