MEMORY MATCH: Danny Graham
24th October 2016
In the latest installment our 'Memory Match' weekly feature, former Swans striker Danny Graham reminisces on the final-day win over Liverpool in the club's first Premier League campaign.
Going into the final match of Swansea City's first season in the Premier League, Danny Graham was the club's top goalscorer with 13 strikes in all competitions.
The Gateshead-born forward "thoroughly enjoyed" his time with the Swans, following a then club-record move from Watford in June 2011, and recalls a "carnival atmosphere" going into the Reds game at the Liberty Stadium.
"The fans were treating it as a big party and I can remember loads of them turned up dressed as Elvis," laughs Graham.
"It was a fitting occasion, hosting a massive club like Liverpool at the end of what had been a tremendous season for us.
"We got some massive results that campaign, beating Arsenal and Manchester City at home and getting a draw at Anfield."
The most notable efforts during the first half of the final-day clash with Liverpool came from Gylfi Sigurdsson, who came close to giving the Swans the lead on two occasions.
Like Graham, Sigurdsson was a new arrival during the 2011-12 season, having been loaned to the Swans by German club Hoffenheim for the second half of that campaign.
"People really stood up and took notice of Gylfi that season," says Graham.
"He is a two-footed player who can set-up a goal or score one himself. He has gone on to have a fantastic career and I always thought that would be the case as soon as I saw him play a few games."
In the second half, an overhead kick from Andy Carroll forced a fine save from then Swans goalkeeper Michel Vorm.
With the clock ticking towards the 90-minute mark, it seemed a goalless draw was on the cards.
However, with only four minutes remaining, a slick passing move involving Scott Sinclair and Angel Rangel fashioned an opportunity for the home side to score and Graham duly obliged with the finishing touch.
"I can still picture the goal," Graham adds.
"The ball got played out wide and Angel Rangel saw me pull away from the centre-half.
"Instead of going straight in (to the box), I stood off a little bit before making my move and Angel found me with a great ball.
"There wasn't long to go and it always makes it extra special when you get a late winner."
As well as the strike being Graham's 14th of a fine debut season, it also happened to be his 100th career goal.
Graham also counts Middlesbrough, Carlisle United and Sunderland amongst the list of 12 professional clubs he has represented to date.
"It was obviously a special moment for me getting my 100th goal that afternoon, though I only found out later that I'd achieved that," says Graham, who netted 21 times in 62 appearances for the Swans between 2011 and 2013.
"As a striker, you always got chances playing in that Swansea side," he continues.
"We had players like Angel Rangel, Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer who were all fantastic in terms of supplying the strikers.
"Gylfi, who I've mentioned, had a really big season for us that campaign with Joe Allen pulling the strings in midfield too.
"It wasn't only those individuals though, the whole side was set up to attack as a team and also defend as a team."
Now 31, Graham has played over 400 matches as a professional footballer.
Having seen his Sunderland contract expire, he signed permanently for Blackburn Rovers at the start of this season, having impressed by scoring seven times in 18 league appearances on loan with the Championship club earlier in the year.
"I'm enjoying myself massively at Blackburn," says Graham.
"I had a tough time at Sunderland and I'd be the first to admit the move never worked out for me.
"That's part and parcel of football, though. I'm enjoying getting regular game-time again at what is another great club.
"I'm still in touch with a number of players down at Swansea City and I always look out for their results.
"It was a great place to live as well as to play during my time with the club.
"It was incredible to be involved when they were playing in the top flight having been in the bottom division of the Football League only a few years earlier.
"There was obviously the League Cup win in 2013 and a subsequent season in Europe after I left and they remain in the Premier League now, of course. That's great to see."