Former Swans midfielder Ferrie Bodde has issued his heart-felt thanks to Swansea City fans for their “unbelievable” support during his recent illness.
The popular Dutchman was placed in an artificial coma a fortnight ago after collapsing with a severe bacterial lung infection back home in Holland.
But the 31-year-old woke on the day the Swans and the club paid their own special tribute to him six minutes – his old shirt number - into last Saturday’s Barclays Premier League clash with Aston Villa.
The LED advertising hoarding around the ground lit up with Ferrie Bodde’s name and the words ‘Once A Jack, Always A Jack’. It sparked a minute’s applause and chants from all sections of a packed stadium.
Speaking for the first time since waking up from the coma, Bodde told the club’s official website: “The club, players and supporters mean so much to me. What they did during the game was unbelievable and I will be eternally grateful.
“The support has been amazing and I just wish I could thank everyone personally, but I know that’s impossible.
“I’m just happy to be alive at the moment. It’s been tough, but the support I’ve had has made me fight like a lion. No, that’s wrong, more like fight like a Swan.’’
Bodde has been given footage of the minute’s tribute which he admits he can’t stop watching.
“I was awake on Saturday during the game, but if I’m honest I wasn’t really with it. But I saw all the footage on the Sunday and it was really emotional. I had goose bumps everywhere.
“As soon as I’m strong enough I am coming to Swansea to see everyone; that’s a promise.’’
Bodde, who is now head coach of Dutch amateur club SV Wateringse Veld, joined the Swans for £50,000 under former manager Roberto Martinez in June 2007 from ADO Den Haag and left in July 2012.
He suffered three cruciate knee ligament injuries during his time at the club; limiting his appearances to 59 appearances and 14 goals.
Chairman Huw Jenkins commented when Bodde left the club: "He would have been one of the best players in the Championship and probably one of the best in the Premier League barring the injuries."
Everyone at Swansea City wishes Ferrie a continued and speedy recovery.