Friday, 21 November 2014

"We are nobody's whipping boys" - Exclusive interview with Kevin Johns!

He's one of the city's most recognisable faces, a film/theatre/radio star, and - most importantly - a lifelong Swans supporter... it's Kevin Johns of course!

And it was my great pleasure to catch up with Kev this week to chat about his involvement with Jack to a King, the Arsenal game, Swans managers, and his passion for the club.


Kev Johns - a true Jack through and through!

Chris: It took me long enough, but I finally saw Jack to a King in October. What a brilliant film! I know you've seen it a few times, so what are your thoughts now the dust has settled?

Kevin: I've seen the film five times and every time I watch it I see something different or I see somebody different. I can honestly tell you that I've not watched the film once without having tears in my eyes. And I often see people in there who are no longer with us. I saw the minister Caradog, who married my parents and did my Christening when I was a baby – he was a Swans fan and he sadly is no longer with us and there are others [who feature in the film] that have passed away. They would have all loved to see us where we are today. But I do see something different every time I watch it.

C: It's a great advert for Swansea City isn't it? Such a gripping, almost fictional storyline!

K: I think it's great for the club and introduces us to an international audience. It tells the story that shows that we have not forgotten those who are hugely responsible for saving this club. There were some ugly, dark moments during the Tony Petty period and we fought through. I also think it's a very funny film and very emotional. But the story hasn't finished yet – there's a greater story still to be told!

C: Sticking with film, you were part of Barclay's Spirit of the Game heroes and starred in your own short video for them last month. Tell us about that?
 
K: Well it's a bit embarrassing really. I was aware something was going on since last March. I had a few phone calls from Barclay's asking for an interview and we did that, then they asked if I would take part in their podcast - again something I happily did. But then I was getting more phone calls and more interviews, asking more questions, so I said to the guys at the Liberty “do you know anything about it?” but they said no. Then, after hearing Barclay's wanted to do some filming with me for the Stoke game, I had a phone call explaining what it was all about and that they were making four short films about passion in football. It was all very humbling - there are so many people who do so many things, but I am the guy the club suggested for it.

C: And that led onto the signs flashing around the sides of the stadium on match days that say 'Thank You Kevin Johns'?

K: (Laughing) A friend of mine who I've not seen for 30 years, who works in the British Embassy in Bucharest, sent me a screen shot of the television and said “I'm just watching the match in Bucharest, and look what I see!” Those signs are quite humbling and quite nice. My mum and dad were very proud, and I'm happy for them that these nice things happen.




C: You do have a reputation for being ultra passionate about the club, so you deserve it.

K: I'm just a Swansea City fan. I'm just a supporter of the club who's been given the opportunity to serve the club and do what I do. I still have a season ticket. I was actually asked a few years ago, when we were in the Championship, if I would be interested in doing what I do for a Premier League club. An agent rang me to see if I was interested but I said no I'm not, only because I think a real supporter needs to do that job. I have no second team, I am a Swans supporter – always have been, always will.

C: Moving onto what's been happening on the pitch and the Swans seem to be doing brilliantly at the moment. Garry Monk is clearly the right man for the job. What's gone right this season?

K: I think there seems to be a great team spirit there. In the Arsenal game – in an age where we talk about the salaries the players are on and some of the negative aspects of their lives – I watched a team play for the shirt. They were playing for the badge. And Garry Monk is a Swansea City man, and there are people like him – Alan Curtis and Kristian O'Leary – all in the dressing room, motivating the players. All are passionate about the Swans. I never doubted that one day Garry would be involved with coaching and management with the club. But I didn't think it would happen so soon.

C: I guess no-one expected it to happen that quickly did they? He was just thrown into it.

K: No, it happened much quicker than we thought, but I have no doubts that he's the right man for the job. And of all the managers we've had though the era of success, it's the new, young managers that have done the best job for us. Brendan Rodgers, Roberto Martinez, and now Garry - all are guys who have punched above their weight and succeeded.

C: I couldn't have put that better myself! Now, Man City on Saturday – do you think we'll come away from the Etihad with something?

K: Well I believe anything is possible now. To be honest with you I think why I get so disappointed when we lose is because I never actually think we are going to lose! I expect us to win every game. When we looked at the fixtures at the beginning of the season we kind of thought “oh we've got a run of easy games there,” but they're actually not easy games because teams like Stoke, Newcastle and Sunderland will all be saying “Swansea is a game that is winnable for us.” They have the same mentality as we do. I also thought “Everton, Arsenal and Man City – that's a tough run,” but we've picked up four points so far and I'm thinking now that if we only get four points from these three games I'm okay with that. But I also think that Man City have had better times, it's a different Premier League this year, so anything is possible. I don't think we are anybody's whipping boys. I think we'll come away with credit and the supporters will have seen a good game of football. There's a great team spirit, so there's no reason we can't beat Man City.

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Make sure to get to this year's panto at Swansea Grand Theatre to catch Kev in action on stage! You can follow Kev on Twitter and keep up to date with all Forza Swansea news on my Twitter page.
 

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