My Favourite Game: Leon Britton
We conclude our celebration of the Swans’ 4,000th game in league football* by catching up with another former player to relive his favourite from the years gone by.
To round off the series, we sit down with Leon Britton to reminisce about the 3-2 victory over Leeds United in December 2007.
The Swans were flying high at the midway point of the 2007-08 season.
Roberto Martinez’s attractive brand of football had led them to the top of the League One table after the opening 20 games.
In late December, they welcomed fellow promotion-chasing Leeds United, who had overcome a 15-point deduction to sit just three behind the Swans in third place.
Nevertheless, the hosts were on a four-match winning run and full of momentum, having also won each of their previous five at the Liberty Stadium.
As Britton remembers, it made for a huge occasion in SA1.
“It really was a massive game. We were both fighting for promotion,” he recalls.
“To be fair, Leeds always travel well with their fans so it made for an incredible atmosphere at the Liberty.”
The Swans took the lead in the ninth minute thanks to Andy Robinson’s curling free-kick but were pegged back just three minutes later, as Jermaine Beckford pounced on Dennis Lawrence’s error before equalising.
Garry Monk headed the hosts back in front midway through the half, but they were reduced to 10 men soon after when Ferrie Bodde was shown a straight red card for a rash challenge on Jonny Howson.
Despite Jason Scotland making it 3-1 before the break, that set up a very nervy second half for the Swans, who were pegged back once more by Alan Thompson’s brilliant free-kick.
“It was a really fiery game,” Britton reflects. “I remember Ferrie getting sent off and having a word or two with Dennis Wise as he came off.
“That allowed them to come back into the game and Alan scored an amazing free-kick.
“We were worried because it was a big moment in the season and we’d performed so well in that game.
“However, the fans got right behind us and really pulled us through to get the points.”
Victory moved the Swans five points clear of second-placed Nottingham Forest at the top of League One.
That provided a huge platform to build on for the remainder of the season, which culminated in the title and promotion to the Championship.
“We played some amazing football that season under Roberto,” Britton smiles. “We were beating teams and scoring lots of goals, but there are times when you have to grind out a result and that game was a prime example.
“To hang on with 10 men against a side that were also going for promotion was one of our best wins at the Liberty Stadium.
“That set the tone for the rest of the season and gave us that confidence that we could really push on going into the New Year and beat any team in the division.”
*The total does not include games played in the Southern League or play-off fixtures.