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Tate reflects on Hull heroics

PUBLISHED

06:00 5th May 2013

. . . the final chapter in our week-long special marking THAT win over Hull


May 3, 2003. A date etched into the memories of the Jack Army and engrained in the history books of Swansea City.
It was the day the Swans avoided relegation from the Football League thanks to a final-day 4-2 win over Hull City at a packed Vetch Field.
A hat-trick from local lad James Thomas and one from Lenny Johnrose was enough to beat the dreaded drop as Exeter were relegated despite winning their last three games.
Each day this week we have brought you an interview from a wide range of people involved in that day, from the players and management to supporters singing their hearts out on the North Bank.
Here is our final interview, featuring a man that went to Hull and back unscathed before playing a key role in the club's rise to the top.
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As a 20-year-old on loan from footballing giants Manchester United, a final-day scrap to save a club’s Football League status – and possibly existence – was alien to Alan Tate.
From the higher echelons of European football at Old Trafford, the defender was at the heart of Swansea City’s battle at the bottom of the English football pyramid.
On loan from United he may have been, but Tate was already feeling like a Jack at heart.
Later on, he would become a full-time Swan, joining on a free transfer.
And this was the start of a beautiful relationship for Tate and the Swans, with both rising through the ranks.
Survival against Hull was pivotal to that.
Here, Tatey reminisces about his pre-match motivational movie, his advice to hat-trick hero James Thomas and what it meant to stay up…


"In terms of how far the club has come, the Hull game feels like a million years ago. But in terms of remembering the game itself, that feels like yesterday.
"I remember the day before the game the local paper had a big ‘24’ on the front page, going on to read: ‘24 hours until the Swans’ destiny’.
"I woke up on the morning of the game and it was pouring with rain outside. I had all my family down that weekend and I managed to kick them out early so I could watch Rocky IV!
"The conditions were horrendous when we arrived at the Vetch, but we prepared like it was any other game as normal.
"After taking an early lead, we ended up going 2-1 down and you were thinking at that stage that we had one foot in the Conference.
"But we managed to get into half time at 2-2 and then when Thommo got the fourth goal, we knew we were safe – even though I was screaming at him to take it round the keeper!
"I just about managed to get off the pitch at the final whistle, but Brits and Neil Cutler got caught up with all the fans!
"Those of us that were on loan at the time hung around after the season ended to find out about the other lads’ contracts.
"We were told to go back to our clubs but we didn’t want to - we were all in it together.
"All we wanted was the best for the football club.
"Since then, however, the progress has been remarkable and it doesn’t bear thinking what might have happened if we had lost that game against Hull.
"I remember being told that the youth teams were going to be scrapped, so there probably wouldn’t have been the likes of Joe Allen, Shaun MacDonald and Jazz Richards – just a few players who have played a major part in where we are today.
"But just look at this club now! It’s a remarkable football story."

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