A message from Steve Cooper
It has been almost seven weeks now since we were last together at the Liberty Stadium, and while the game we love has rightly been put aside for much more important matters, the sense of community and togetherness should never be lost.
As we start another week of lockdown, I wanted to speak to you all directly as supporters of Swansea City to let you know where we are as a club, and to say that as staff and players we hope you and your families are finding a way through these uncertain times.
Life will have changed so much recently for all of you. Some of you will have been working for the NHS, or other key worker professions, or have family and friends who have done so. Others will have had to deal with the illness of loved ones.
The patterns of all our lives have been disrupted and even the small comfort that watching our club can offer has been taken away.
They do say that football is the most important of the least important things and we will continue to be a presence in your lives. We cannot wait for the day when we are safely back playing in front of our fans at the Liberty.
In the meantime, we have opened the Liberty to the NHS who are running nursing training courses for new and returning healthcare workers to get up to speed as quickly as possible.
We have also tried, as much as we can, to call our supporters to check-in with them. I have really enjoyed those conversations. It has been impossible to speak to you all, which is why I thought it would be appropriate to write to you.
Our club is built on the great community spirit of the city of Swansea and the region. In the short time I have been here I have been humbled by the passion and the loyalty of our supporters.
Every time I have spoken to one of you on the phone over the last few weeks, I have been struck by the concern that you have shown for us – the players and staff - ahead of whatever issues you have been facing. I just want to say that we do care about you and your families.
The players have all been given their own fitness programmes to work on from home and I speak to them regularly. Talking on the phone or on video call is not the same, and as a manager and coach I miss that face-to-face contact.
Nevertheless, every time I have got in touch with them, our players – young and more experienced – have been very responsive. I wonder if, in part, this has drawn us even closer together.
One thing is for sure, when the games begin again, we will need you, our magnificent support, more than ever. This club has sung Hymns and Arias in triumph and adversity and I cannot wait to hear it again. I wish I could tell you when that time will be.
I recognise that those of us who work in football are privileged to do so and we do not take that lightly. Many of you will be juggling changed work circumstances and also childcare. That is not easy for any working parent.
Many of you will have been asked to take pay cuts or been furloughed and I know from the experience of my family how difficult that can be.
I have faced some tough opposition every week in the Championship, but getting my kids focused on home schooling tests all my skills to the limit – not to mention family emotions! When we finally send our children back to school, I suspect we will appreciate the work their teachers do even more.
For those of you with family members in the NHS, this is an uncertain time, but we can take great pride in what they do. My older brother Neil is an NHS directorate manager and I have some sense of the huge demands being made of those on the frontline.
I want to pay tribute to Gerallt Davies, whom many of you will know. Gerallt passed away this month after testing positive for Covid-19 and will be greatly missed at the Liberty. He was a paramedic at Cwmbwrla Station in the city, our St John ambulance manager on matchdays, and an MBE recipient. For his family and his colleagues his passing is a devastating loss and we feel it to as a club. We will not forget Gerallt.
You will have seen the recent statement from the club in which the players and staff have agreed to take wage deferrals of 20 per cent over three months to help the current financial position.
As players and staff, we approach the resumption of games with real determination. Like so many of you, I have never missed football so much and the great hope it can give to our community and our city. We will be sure to give everything to prove that we are worthy of representing this proud club.
I wish you all well and look forward to seeing you back at the Liberty and on our travels – whenever that happy day comes.