I’ve been waiting 28 years for Swansea City to play Manchester United. The last time the two teams played was during the 1982-83 season when the Swans were in the old First Division. Ever since then, I’ve kept my fingers crossed for 28 years whenever the draws were announced for the FA Cup and Carling Cup. And every year I was left disappointed. Until now, that is, when the Swans take on United this Saturday in the biggest home match in Swansea City’s 99-year history.
My expectations going into this game are the same for Swansea’s opening game of the season against Manchester City. I don’t expect Swansea to win, but I hope they’ll put in a good performance and that the score will be decent even if they do lose the game.
I’m not worried about Swansea City’s performance on Saturday. They’ll continue to play their system that has been working so well for them this season (and previous years) of spraying the ball around the pitch and keeping possession. Buoyed by the noise of the Swansea Jacks, Brendan Rodgers’s side will do what they do best. It’s Manchester United that is the question mark. I don’t know which United will show up. The one that has so many holes in defense. The one that lacks confidence in possession, or the United side that is so decisive in attack where they seemingly score from almost every opportunity.
If anyone is to change the fate of this game, it’s Manchester United. The first 15 minutes of the game will be crucial to see which United shows up.
While a draw for Swansea would be an incredible achievement, no one is expecting Swansea to win this match. When a manager like Brendan Rodgers looks at the fixture list for a season, he’ll be looking at picking up wins against the likes of West Brom, Bolton, Wolves and other teams that will be around the club in the table. His team will go out and he’ll expect them to play to the best of their abilities. But no one expects them to win, so why not go out there and play your best and show the world what you’re made of? If there ever was an opportunity for Swansea to win some credibility and to dazzle fans of the sport by how well they play, Saturday is it. Perhaps 1% of the global TV audience who will be tuning into this game will be supporting Swansea. The 99% are either Manchester United supporters or fans of the beautiful game.
I’m sure that before the game kicks off, I’ll be nervous. But it’ll be more of a nervous excitement than a fear of Swansea letting me down. I have my faith in the Swansea players and in the supporters who will be making the Liberty Stadium a beautiful venue to hear their hymns and songs of Wales.
I’m proud to be a Swansea City fan. And Saturday will be a day to celebrate 28 years of waiting. Even if they lose, I’ll be happy.
I just hope the Swansea boys do me proud.