. . . Swans legend hails current crop ahead of cup final
Alan Curtis believes Swansea City will be bursting with pride when the club take in their first major cup final on Sunday.
The Swans face Bradford City in the Capital One Cup Final at Wembley in three days’ time, with Michael Laudrup’s men looking to become the first side in the club’s history to win major silverware.
Swans legend Curt, now First Team Coach at the Liberty, feels the remarkable rise through the divisions over the last few years has restored pride in a team now on the brink of qualifying for European football next season.
And he revealed he feels that sense of pride every time he steps foot around the city.
“All I hear from people when I’m out and about is ‘Who are We? Jack Army!’ – you can feel the pride is back after a tough few years for the club,” said Curt. “You see Swans shirts everywhere – not just in the city, but the surrounding areas too. That is very pleasing to see.
“The last few years has been fantastic. We have had a remarkable rise as a club.
“The Hull game is still the most important for the club because we had to win and ensure we stayed in the Football League.
“The Reading game was vital because it enables us to play in the Premier League.
“But this is tangible proof that we are a Premier League club that can play at the highest level.
“The fact we have a great opportunity to win a major trophy just shows far and incredible the journey has been in the last few years.
“And, I must say, the supporters have enjoyed every ounce of success we have had.
“They have stuck by the club through thick and thin. We have had some very dark days, so to see them celebrating victories in the Premier League and preparing for a first major cup final is hugely satisfying.”
The final itself, as Curtis admits, is a great football tale as it sees two clubs who have both experienced life at the bottom and top of the English system going head-to-head in a major domestic final.
Bradford, currently in League Two, spent two seasons in the Premier League following promotion in 1999.
But they have shown their quality on the route to the final, disposing of Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa along the way.
The Swans, now in the top flight, rose from the fourth tier after narrowly escaping the drop out of the Football League in 2003.
And Curt sees a lot of similarities in the clubs competing for their first League Cup winners trophy this Sunday.
“They have done fantastically well, and it has been a great journey for them,” he said.
“Their cup run encapsulates everything that we have done in the last few years.
“Both clubs have great stories. Bradford have been in administration – we know all about that.
“They have gone up the leagues and dropped back down, like we had in our first rise to the top.
“Now they are in major final, so full credit to them.
“But I think people realise the journey we have been on. A lot of clubs will respect what we have achieved on the pitch, and how we have gone about it.
“We have full respect for what Bradford have achieved. It just sharpens the focus that they have come through some very difficult games.
“It should be a fantastic occasion.”
Curt will be in the dug-out on Sunday alongside the likes of Laudrup and assistant manager Morten Wieghorst.
But while he has to remain focused during the game, he will also be feeling all the emotions of the Jack Army.
“I’m just like any fan of the club,” he added. “I’m still getting used to the fact we are in a major final.
“Personally, it will be a fantastic occasion for me. It means everything to me.
“But I always stress this – it’s great to get to the final, but you have to win.
“We are the Premier League team, and we have to show our Premier League quality.
“We know if we win then there’s European football on the fixture list for next season.
“I’ve played for the club in Europe via the old Cup Winners Cup.
“It’s fantastic because you play against clubs with different cultures and styles.
“The fact that we could possibly offer European football in the summer would obviously help attracting players in the summer.
“But the main thing is that we would be on the honour's board having won a major domestic trophy. That is an unbelievable thought.”
You can watch Curt’s full interview now on Swans Player.