Swansea Fans Prepare for Premier League Debut; NEWLY PROMOTED SWANS HEAD TO MANCHESTER CITY
Byline: ROBIN TURNER
SWANSEA City's "Jack Army" will be on the move to Manchester tonight to watch the club's debut in the Premier League.
Around 2,500 black-andwhite-flag-waving Swansea fans are expected to make the journey to the newly named Etihad Stadium, the home of the oil-rich superstars of Manchester City.
Just eight years ago, a cash-strapped Swans team nearly went out of the Football League, with only a last-gasp 4-2 win against Hull City keeping them up.
Tonight they enter the super rich global arena that is the Premier League with Manchester City and its billionaire (pounds 550bn) owner Sheik Mansour of Abu Dhabi clear favourites to win.
Bookmakers are quoting odds of 15-1 on a Swansea win, as 11 official coach loads of fans, plus buses and cars, make the 225-mile journey.
Broadcaster and singer songwriter Mal Pope, a long-term Swansea fan and a club president, called the clash a David and Goliath affair.
But he said: "Goliath had never heard of David until he felt those five stones. People have to remember all the pressure will be on Manchester City. They are the team who have spent tens of millions and are the team everyone expects to win.
"I think there could be a surprise because not everyone can deal with pressure." Swansea City is eagerly awaiting a restocking of its club shop by shirt suppliers Adidas.
A club spokesman said: "Our entire stock of 6,000 2011-12 season shirts sold out in a few hours.
"In past seasons we had struggled to sell 12,000 all season and that was with discounting at the end - the demand from fans has been amazing.
"We have already sold 4,000 away strip shirts and more than 1,000 shirt orders from all over the world have come in over the internet as people start to take notice of the Premiership new arrivals."
Broadcaster, writer and historian Professor Peter Stead, one of the so-called "three professors" who are ever-present at Swansea City's home games (the other two are Professor Huw Bowen and Dr Martin Johnes), cannot make it to the Manchester City game.
Dylan Thomas Literary Prize chairman Prof Stead said: "I'm going to have to make do with watching the game on TV on Monday night but I have my season ticket and my first away game will be the Arsenal match.
"My wife and myself have been promised tickets for the game by friends in London.
"But the Manchester City game will be a tremendous opener, a real David versus Goliath battle in terms of money at least."
Newspapers have been quick to write off Swansea's chances ahead of the Manchester City game. …