Swans hit the big screens!

4th October 2014
Instead of blowing a whistle, perhaps the referee should snap shut a clapper board and shout "action" to get this afternoon's match under way.
After all, neither club involved in this afternoon's match are strangers to the big screen. 
Both have made their mark at the movies. Newcastle United and St James' Park played a central role in the Goal trilogy of films, while the Swansea City story has been playing to cinema audiences in the shape of 'Jack to a King' during the past few weeks.
One is the story of a part-time gardener from the wrong side of the tracks in Los Angeles, who overcomes poverty, asthma, jealousy and umpteen other obstacles to score a last minute winner for the Magpies against Liverpool to clinch a Champions League place! Not content with that, the hero eventually earns a transfer from Newcastle and goes on to win the Champions League with Real Madrid!
The other is a totally unbelievable and ridiculously far-fetched rags to riches tale!  It tells of a club saved from the brink of financial ruin by a collection of local businessmen who had no experience of running a football club.  
A club which then came 90 minutes away from relegation out of the Football League. The film tells how that same club rose up the divisions to take its place alongside the mega-rich giants of the Premier League - all in less than a decade.
If you'd tried to pitch that unlikely tale to a film company you'd have been laughed out of the office. Even the Roy of the Rovers editors would have thought it to fanciful.
The major difference between the stories is that Goal! came from a writer's pen, while Jack to a King is pure fact. Proof positive that fact can indeed be stranger than fiction.
Jack to a King may be a documentary and not benefit from a slick cinema screenplay, but it has everything else you would want from a Hollywood blockbuster.
Perhaps the most striking quality the film has in abundance compared to most Hollywood blockbusters is a disarming honesty.
James Thomas admitting "it was never a penalty" when discussing the second goal of his hat-trick against Hull City - the win that saved the Swans from non-league obscurity.
Then modestly suggesting that the Hull keeper - a former team mate at Blackburn - may have taken pity on his poorly struck penalty and dived out of the way of it!
You won't find that kind of modesty and self-deprecation coming from most Hollywood heroes and leading men.
Another of many examples of heart-warming honesty came from director Martin Morgan admitting his disappointment at Roberto Martinez's decision to leave for Wigan. 
When have you heard a director of a football club admit he was genuinely upset by the departure of an employee? Morgan virtually begged Martinez to stay in order to realise his Premier League ambitions with the Swans.
That kind of honest show of emotion is the stuff Hollywood scriptwriters can only hope to conjure in their imaginations, let alone reproduce on film.
And what about the twists and turns in the Swansea City plot? It would take the most imaginative and brave team of scriptwriters to dream them up.
Forget for a moment the club's remarkable rise from scraping together enough petty cash to cover the float for basement league matches to that unforgettable £90million match at Wembley.
What about the story of the two teenage boys, one from South Wales, the other from Holland, who were brought together by that basement club as pen pals and went on to become directors of that club in the Premier League?
John van Zweden only picked Swansea because he thought he'd have more chance of the lowly Swans printing his plea for a pen pal than he would if he tried the likes of Chelsea or Manchester United. 
Now he is on the board of the Swans with his pen pal David Morgan in the Premier League, rubbing shoulders with the like of Roman Abramovic and Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed.
Jack to a King is full of fascinating sub plots like that, and it also has all the other features you would want from a blockbuster, including stirring speeches, which wouldn't be out of place in Braveheart or Henry V.
Alan Curtis' speech to the players before the Hull City match is the stuff of Swansea City folklore, while the film also pays tribute to Kevin Johns' part in rousing the crowd at Wembley before the Premier League play-off match against Reading.
And what about the remarkable link between those two very different games? One game saved the Swans from falling out of the Football League and the other sent them to the exact opposite end of the spectrum and a place in the Premier.
But both matches ended in a 4-2 scoreline, with a player scoring a hat-trick which featured two penalties. Come on, even Disney wouldn't have dared try that!
The film obviously has heroes aplenty, but like any good story it has a character the audiences loves to hate in the shape of Tony Petty.
And some of the humour is provided by Petty's nemeses - the mysterious boys in balaclavas. I won't give any more away about their little cameo, in case you haven't seen the film. 
Mind you, there may not be many in Swansea who haven't seen it.
I was surprised how many people were at the cinema the night I saw the film. It was the night after the 3-0 win over Everton - almost a fortnight after its release. But the cinema was almost full.
Mind you, it was a Wednesday, so I wonder how many customers of a certain mobile phone company were there that night?
There were certainly more in attendance than when one Swans fan took his girlfriend to watch the film. Although it was only a few days after its release, they found they had the entire cinema to themselves. However, this may be explained by the fact they went to watch it in the centre of Cardiff.
It's a shame our friends from up the road didn't take the opportunity to enjoy the film because it truly is a movie for anyone who loves football, anyone who loves a rattling good tale of overcoming adversity, and anyone who loves a story where the underdog has its day.
And who knows what the future holds? There's already enough material available for a for a Jack to a King sequel. And the way the Swans are going, there's every chance it can join that rare breed of film - a sequel that's even better than the original.
C'mon you Swans!