Football: Remember the Spirit of '81; Flynn Calls for Repeat of Famous Leeds Win to Ensure Swans Hold on to League Status on Their Day of Destiny

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 2, 2003 | Go to article overview

Football: Remember the Spirit of '81; Flynn Calls for Repeat of Famous Leeds Win to Ensure Swans Hold on to League Status on Their Day of Destiny


Byline: Ian Hunt

BRIAN FLYNN last night called for Swansea City fans to evoke memories of Leeds, 1981, when their Nationwide League existence goes on the line tomorrow. The game - the Swans' first match in the old Division One - has gone down in Vetch folklore after John Toshack's side thumped Leeds 5-1.

Ironically, Flynn was playing for Leeds that day and still recalls the fervent atmosphere generated by the passionate Swans fans. Tomorrow, of course, his foot is firmly in the Swans camp as Flynn tries to guide his team to the victory over Hull which will determine whether the club keeps the Football League place it has had since 1920. Speaking to The Western Mail on the eve of the crunch clash, Flynn said he hoped there would be one notable comparison between tomorrow's Division Three finale and the opening encounter of the 1981-82 season against his former club. ``The atmosphere at The Vetch on Saturday will be like Swansea against Leeds, the club's first game in Division One,'' he said.

``That's what I'm anticipating and that's what I'm hoping for. I remember what it was like playing that day ... the Swansea fans were incredibly passionate, unbelievable rea

y. ``There will be another bumper crowd inside The Vetch - as many as 10,000 people - and it could be Leeds all over again.''

Certainly, Flynn would be delighted with a similar outcome to the time when the Swans ripped into their expensively-assembled opponents in front of the par-tisan Vetch supporters.

``Swansea tore into Leeds that day - Bob Latchford got a hat-trick and Alan Curtis got the last one - and we were sent home with our tails between our legs,'' said Flynn.

``If we could have a similar performance and a similar response from the crowd against Hull, that would be fantastic.'' Those dizzy heights of Division One football seem light years away to Swans fans faced with seeing their club slip into the realms of non-league football for the first time.

Flynn believes it is for those supporters that the Swans must get the three points they need against Hull to prevent that nightmare scenario becoming a rea i t y.

``It's impossible to speak too highly of the fans,'' said Flynn. ``They have been fantastic this season - home and away.

``Look at the support they gave us against Exeter at Easter - they were with us from start to finish.

``No one wanted to leave the ground. No one was saying `That's it, we've lost this one.' They wanted to cheer us on to the final whistle.

``I tell the players that, and I will do so again before the Hull match.

``I say to them, `That lot stick with you through thick and thin.' Let's give them something back. Let's do this for them.''

In a week in which the London media have descended on the Vetch Field to engage Flynn in an endless round of interviews, the Swansea boss could be excused for getting a little ruffled. …

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