Before the final game of the season, ALEC JOHNSON has been considering which players should get a run out. And he's not limited it to the current squad! Here is his Swansea City dream team, including some of the best ever players to pull on a white (/black/red/orange) shirt.
Looking ahead to the final match of the season, and considering who I would give a run out to with only a place or two at stake, our comfortable position in the table sparked thoughts of a dream team of our past running out at the Liberty against Fulham.
Before I take bullets for not including any of the early sixties heroes, my first match wasn’t until March 16th, 1979 against Gillingham, aged eight. We won 3-1 and I was instantly addicted. Since that day, I have kicked every ball, made every tackle and shanked every pass with the lads on the pitch, from the North bank, East stand and more recently South stand, plus many away ends up and down the country.
So, limiting myself to players that I have witnessed in my time, the squad listed below considers our current playing formation which I believe to be the most effective, also adding the contribution that they made to the club in a Swans shirt.
Michel Vorm – I firmly believe that he is the best keeper ever to play for this club. I actually don’t remember him ever being solely responsible for giving a goal away in his two seasons and we should retain him at all costs.
Angel Rangel – How well has he developed? The best £10k investment ever in my opinion and he continues to improve each season. I don’t believe there’s a right back challenge from anybody in the past thirty years.
Terry Phelan – Signed by Terry Yorath and sadly only with us for a season, Phelan was an incredible athlete who dominated the entire left flank through his pace and energy. His ability to get beyond the opposing right back and create options in the final third put him in the wing back category but let very little past him either.
Chico Flores – It’s incredible to think that we can find established players of this calibre out there for just £2m, Chico has turned into a complete centre half. The mistakes have dried up as have the karate kicks! Chico is good enough for any side in the country as he consistently dominates his opponent.
Ashley Williams – Ash completes the back four despite not having his best season in a Swans shirt. He started slowly giving away a few goals and at times has lacked the pace to prevent players ghosting in behind him. However, generally rock solid, consistent and committed he makes the best ever starting eleven by some distance ahead of what could be his final game for the club.
Robbie James – A complete midfielder, Robbie could sit in front of the back four a la Leon Britton style, break up the play but he had the power to burst through the pack and create chances in the opposition half. He also had an incredible eye for goal and scored so many long-rangers, often in vital games. Also, a genuinely wonderful character off the pitch, sadly taken away from us fifteen years ago - I would make Robbie the club captain.
Alan Davies – The little man had the most incredible feet, he could do anything with a ball and pick the pass to change the game. Alan also deserves inclusion for that free kick at Ninian Park which he hit with the outside of his foot from thirty yards. One of the most gifted players ever to play at the Vetch.
Michu – Sitting in front of these two, Michu would have had the freedom to roam around the final third. We have only seen the best of Miguel when he is playing off a front man, he has the capacity to wander around into space anticipating the second ball and hurt the opposition. Besides his deadly finishing, he seldom gives the ball away which is rare for a player in the final third and finishes each game in a state of collapse due to his endless work rate.
Alan Curtis – For the younger brigade that never witnessed this genius with a ball at his feet, think of a Welsh Messi. Ok, not quite in that league but the same attributes - small but incredibly strong and quick feet, Curt could go inside or outside making him very unpredictable and deadly to mark.
Leighton James – The best crosser of a football ever to wear a Swans shirt, dazzling with both feet and very direct. He wasn’t the hardest worker on a pitch but with Phelan sitting behind him Leighton would be free to preserve energy and hurt teams in devastating fashion. Better on the pitch than with a microphone that’s for sure.
John Toshack – Big John was often only considered a manager of our club, but his impact as a player was almost as big. Before signing for us, he was considered one of the best strikers in Europe having won everything with Liverpool just a few years earlier. Purely from a playing perspective, it was a privilege to have Toshack in a Swans shirt just through his prime and in this team he would hit 20-plus goals a season.
Roger Freestone – Awesome shot stopper who controlled the penalty area in the air by reading the game perfectly from corners and free kicks.
Bob Latchford – Justifies his inclusion for that first season in 1981 - a predator with his feet or head, that played to score.
Jan Molby – A majestic player who played with his head up. Despite his size Jan dominated the midfield though his vision and awareness. The big man never gave a ball away in his time on the pitch at Swansea.
Nigel Stevenson – Speedie was always dominant and a genuine hard man of the back four, quiet yet motivating I don’t remember him ever having a bad game, and would recommend not to tell him if he ever did!
Chris Coleman – Cookie replaced Phelan and it was like for like in style if not size. Physically massive with a crisp left foot who often played in the middle when called on.
Nathan Dyer – His pace and energy terrifies defenders, bring him on after an hour after the Curt and Leighton have worn the full backs down.
Joe Allen – I believe Joe will get better and better, had a good few seasons with us and needs including for that Ninian Park celebration.
Having only missed a handful of home games in thirty years and despite not going away as often as I would like, I don’t believe there are any glaring omissions in this squad, but fire over your missile to @71_alec or feel free to add your comment below with your pitch on who and why.
Individually I believe every one of them would hold their own in any top four side, assembling them collectively would have put us right in among them.
Dare we dream!