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Wayne: Swans play-off win helped me find my home

When the final whistle blew at Wembley and the Jack Army celebrated the Swans’ promotion to the Premier League, Wayne Routledge was sat at home watching on.

Routledge, then of Newcastle United, liked what he saw as the Swans beat Reading 4-2 at Wembley. Less than three months later, he was part of Brendan Rodgers’ squad as they prepared for the club’s first taste of the Premier League.

A winger who had played for eight different clubs prior to arriving at the Liberty, Routledge’s career was about to find its “home”. All thanks to that Championship Play-Off final win over Reading.

“It’s funny how football works,” said Routledge, who has just signed a new one-year deal with the Swans. “My son was sitting on my lap the other day and the play-off final against Reading came on.

“It took me back to the day I was watching it live on TV.

“Even though I wasn’t a part of it, that game was a big moment in my career. It paved the way for me to move to Swansea.

“When Stephen Dobbie scored the third goal I was thinking ‘wow, this is some team’. Then Matt Mills scores Reading’s second goal and it’s game on.

“But Fabio Borini gets a penalty and Scott Sinclair bags his hat-trick and Swansea are heading for the Premier League. Then I was heading to Swansea not too long after.”

Routledge’s career had started with Crystal Palace, where he quickly earned himself a reputation for a tricky and pacey winger.

A move to Tottenham Hotspur followed, before loan spells with Portsmouth and Fulham. He was on his travels again after joining Aston Villa on a permanent deal, but spending time on loan with Cardiff City.

He returned to London after joining QPR, but after just one-year at Loftus Road he made the move to the north east to link up with Newcastle United, for whom he helped win the Championship title.

A few months later he was back at QPR on loan, and helped the Hoops to promotion to the Premier League.

At that point he had made 293 appearances in all competitions for the eight clubs he had represented.

After eight years with the Swans, he has played 260 times in a spell that has included winning the League Cup, an adventure in the Europa League and seven years in the top flight.

It’s safe to say the unexpected move to SA1 has proved more than what the 34-year-old could have asked for.

“If you would have told me at the point Sinclair’s second penalty hit the net that I would spend the next nine years of my life in south west Wales then I wouldn’t have believed you,” added Routledge.

“I had quite a lot of clubs before coming here, but I’ve found my football home.

“I had always moved purely for footballing reasons in the past, and now I look at myself after eight years in Swansea with a solid family behind me and three kids. It’s just wonderful.

“And the memories of playing football have been wonderful too. Yes, the last few years in the Premier League were tough, but the football we played and the plaudits we won in the first few years were incredibly enjoyable.

“The win at Wembley started this journey for me!”

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