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Your Say - Swansea Love Story



They say you don`t choose your football club -- it chooses you. But if that were true, I`m not sure we`d see quite so many '70s-born success-era Liverpool fans prancing about on Wind Street every Saturday night. And while we`re at it, how many times did you see a new Blues shirt around town before a Russian oligarch docked his yacht in Chelsea Harbour? I thought as much. But I digress. What I`m really interested in is whether this is the season I`m found out as a sham of a football fan. Whether a club chooses you or not, is it possible to support two football teams in the same league?

If I am to be found out as a superficial fan, it`ll occur in late autumn -- the 19th November, to be precise. If football were a marriage, the 19th November is the day my wife discovers I`m having an affair right under her nose. Perhaps I`d better explain: Manchester United is my wife, and Swansea City is my bit on the side -- my Imogen Thomas, if you like. Actually, they`re more than that. If you`ll stick with me through this laboured analogy, they`re the fully-fledged lover I can almost imagine leaving my wife and kids for. And the 19th November is the day my two clubs come together in the league for many a year. The day I get busted.

As Scott Sinclair buried his second penalty in the Reading net, I felt the same cocktail of euphoria, excitement and apprehension as everyone else. I`m a delighted Swans season ticket holder who`s been splitting my weekends between Old Trafford and the Liberty Stadium over the last four or five years. And, as the East Stand song goes, 'I just can`t get enough`.

But suddenly there was a very real sense that my fellow United fans would no longer think it was cute that I supported a little hometown football league club on the side. I suddenly support a rival. Isn`t someone who supports two clubs the worst type of fan?

I can`t pretend I`ve been a lifelong Swans fan (but how many of the 18,000 that now pack out the Liberty can?). I`d see the odd game every season as we struggled through the lower divisions; I did my fair share off freezing my balls off on the North Bank. But I can`t claim to have been a true fan in those days. I`d call myself a fair-weather fan if the weather was ever fair (clue: it wasn`t).

In fact, all my earliest football memories revolve around United: Brian Kidd running onto the pitch to celebrate Bruce`s title-winning goal in `93; Kanchelskis tearing Norwich apart on the break; Mark Hughes`s equalising volley against Oldham in '94; a young Ryan Giggs; a Paul Scholes pass; a Roy Keane tackle; replica shirts with 'Irwin 3` on the back. I remember vividly the treble-winning year in '99 and the 2008 Champions League victory in the Moscow rain. United and I, we have history.

I`m certainly not the only fan who`ll see the Swans take on their boyhood club -- their 'other` team -- this season. But I seem to be the only one who sees this as nothing short of a problem. Most of the mates I grew up with supported a top-tier club. Lots of them are, or were, fellow United fans, many of them are Liverpool followers and a smattering of them support other clubs. But what I cannot fathom is the willingness with which they`ve eased these clubs out of their lives -- often with gleeful abandon. One mate who supported Tottenham all his life felt affronted I`d even had the audacity to ask who he`d support when Swans met Spurs. He was even adamant that he wouldn`t be happy just beating Spurs, but positively slaughtering them. What happened to loyalty? What happened to a football club being for life?

So am I a sham fan? That`s for others to answer. Whatever happens, I can`t wait for the upcoming season. As for the question of where my loyalties will lie when United and Swansea meet in November? Best not to ask as you probably wouldn`t like the answer -- although until I`m watching from the East Stand I can`t be sure exactly how it`ll pan out. Although could the opening game of the campaign against Manchester City be any more perfect for a Swans and United fan looking for an upset? To quote City`s former manager Kevin Keegan, "I would love it if we beat them. LOVE IT."

Are you interested in writing for Vital Swansea? If so, please email us at swansea@vitalfootball.co.uk

Gareth Evans on twitter - @garethevansno7
The Journalist

Writer: Gareth Evans Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday July 28 2011

Time: 7:06PM

Your Comments

Are you a sham fan? It's worse than that mate. Your everything a proper football fan hates. You'll be watching the Swans from the East Stand this season but wondering if you might actually want the Swans to win? Do yourself, and us, a favour and buy a season ticket for Old Trafford. Let a Swans fan have your seat. And BTW, you did not feel the same cocktail of euphoria, excitement and apprehension as everyone else. Far from it. You certainly did not feel what I did. Go back to your true love, and let someone who is a lifelong Swans fan watch a game instead. I don't understand Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea fans etc. who live hundreds of miles from their clubs. Glory hunting kids. I especially don't understand them when they are Swans season ticket holders but will probably want us to lose. Off you go.
bfjack
@bfjack Cheers for reading. You're not the first, and won't be the last, to say I'm not a 'proper' Swans fan. That's fine. I've learnt to live with those jibes by now. But what on earth makes you think I don't care about the Swans or 'probably want us to lose'? I suggested one particular fixture would be a strange experience, nothing more.
garethevansno7
sadly a lot of the season tickets have gone to "glory hunters" i have always had the swans as my 1st choice team strangely wolves were my prem team b4 (thanks dad!) no contest mind wen we play wolves who i support.still an interesting article and im not sayin ur just a glory hunter.pretty sure ur a big swans fan though understand wat bfjack says as 16,000 really shud go 2 100 % jacks
SwanPaul
@SwansPaul Well, i'm not sure someone who travels down from London (where I work) to watch a 9-man City lose to Scunthorpe in the League Cup on a miserable Tuesday night would fall into the glory hunter category - not exactly a glamour tie, I'm sure you'll agree :-) But on the season ticket point - and this certainly isn't aimed at you or anyone in particular - why didn't these thousands of 100% jacks simply renew their season tickets in March like me and my mates did, then there wouldn't have been such a scramble for tickets, ensuring the stadium was indeed packed with 100% Jacks?
garethevansno7
sorry gareth, can't agree with being able to have 2 clubs - you have a club and that's it. You can change jobs, move house, change wives, even change gender now, but you can't change your club! It's a life sentence. And, tbh, if you do want MU to win at the liberty, which you imply, then you should at least do the half-decent thing and not sit in the home end for the game
jackb
sorry gareth, can't agree with being able to have 2 clubs - you have a club and that's it. You can change jobs, move house, change wives, even change gender now, but you can't change your club! It's a life sentence. And, tbh, if you do want MU to win at the liberty, which you imply, then you should at least do the half-decent thing and not sit in the home end for the game
jackb
doh!, sorry, finger trouble, could the double post and this be removed by admin, cheers
jackb
if you're a 100% jack you'll want swansea city winning every single game, every cup game, every league game,every friendly, and every other meaningless game but you still want a winning result. otherwise you're not a true jack in my eyes. i followed a prem team when i was a kid but i'd love it if we beat them, every single one of them in the premier league.
eye_nose_hat
 

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