Dorus de Vries is one of the great goalkeeping names in Swansea City’s history.
After all, he was the club’s last line of defence when they achieved the ultimate promotion back in 2011.
Having impressed with then Scottish Premier League side Dunfermline Athletic during the 2006-07 season, de Vries signed for the Swans when he became a free agent at the end of that campaign.
The 6ft 1in stopper – formerly of SC Telstar and ADO Den Haag – made an instant impression at the Liberty, appearing in 58 of the Swans’ 59 matches in all competitions in his debut season in South Wales.
He was an ever present in League One for Roberto Martínez’s side as they won the title and boasted the fourth-best defensive record in the division, conceding just 42 goals in 46 games.
“I loved my time at Swansea,” reflects de Vries, who went on to make a total of 203 appearances for the club between 2007 and 2011.
“It was incredible to be part of the journey in terms of where the club was when I first arrived to where they are today.
“Winning the League One title was a very special moment, especially topping a division that contained big clubs like Leeds United and Nottingham Forest.
“We carried the momentum of that promotion into the Championship and we were pushing to get in the Premier League each season we spent in that division.”
The Swans finished eighth in their first campaign back in the second tier since 1984 and, once again, de Vries was an ever present in goal.
He also played in every league match of 2009-10 as Paulo Sousa’s men climbed a place to seventh, and kept a club-record 25 clean sheets in all competitions – surpassing Roger Freestone’s previous best of 22 – to win the Football League’s golden glove award.
“Of course, it was a very proud moment to surpass the record of a club legend like Roger,” smiles de Vries.
“But I only played a small part in breaking that record.
“To keep that many clean sheets is down to everyone in the team. Not just the goalkeepers and the defenders, but the midfielders and forwards defending in front of us, too.”
The Dutchman’s final season in a Swans shirt was the most memorable of all as Brendan Rodgers’s team gained promotion to the Premier League.
He made the last of his 203 appearances for the club in the 4-2 victory over Reading in the Championship play-off final in May 2011 and, unsurprisingly, the campaign is one he looks back on fondly.
“It was a great experience to be pretty much an ever present in the Swansea City line-up that season,” de Vries says.
“In the summer of 2010, the board made a great decision in appointing Brendan Rodgers as the club’s new manager.
“Things clicked very quickly with the team and the manager, who also made some great signings. It turned into a memorable season.
“The Championship is such a tough division with the number of matches you play and getting promoted, especially via the play-offs, is no mean feat.”
Despite promotion, de Vries signed for Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer of 2011, a decision he admits he came to regret in time.
He made just 20 appearances in two seasons with Wolves, mainly playing understudy to Wayne Hennessey and Carl Ikeme before moving across the Midlands to join Nottingham Forest in 2013, where he clocked up another 63 appearances in just over three years.
In August 2016, de Vries was presented with the opportunity to reunite with ex-Swans boss Rodgers and former team-mate Scott Sinclair at Celtic.
He jumped at the chance to join the Glasgow giants on a two-year-contract, and has since put pen to paper on a one-year extension.
“It’s fantastic being part of such a massive football club and one of the best supported teams in the world,” adds de Vries.
“Celtic Park is magnificent and you get a feel for the history of the club whenever you walk through the doors.”
He made five appearances during his debut season, one of which came in the memorable 5-1 victory over Rangers in the Old Firm derby, and has played seven more games so far this term.