The Lars Word: Swansea, Chester and me

Lars resort: Swansea as a holiday destination

A little family history from Lars Knutsen, a lifelong Sunderland supporter whose Scandinavian roots were already known but who now declares the Swansea connection …

I have a confession to make – I have a strange relationship with Swansea. Not just the football club, but the city.

My grandparents moved there from Norway in 1919, my Dad was born there, and I have extended family on the West side. It has been a regular holiday destination for my family, and it is traditionally a rugby and cricket city, until the last few years…

I was very young when venturing to the Vetch Field to see a Swansea home game on Boxing Day 1968, and although the internet helped me with the date, it is still an indelible memory. I wandered into the ground and Chester so dominated the match, winning 5-0, that I had to ask what colour Swansea were playing in.

Such are the vagaries of football – the Welsh side are now attracting top European talent, not least their Danish manager, Michael Laudrup, who was at his peak as a player when we moved to live in Denmark from England in 1986; he was one of the most elegant midfielders of all time … and to be honest where are Chester now? I’ll answer that question: the club that produced Lee Dixon and Ian Rush are in the Blue Square Bet Conference North, along with Colwyn Bay, Solihull Moors and Vauxhall Motors.

Swansea rose to the old First Division in 1981 under John Toshack, but a few years later the team were back in Division Four. Some further seasons of mediocrity followed, but the team’s rise to prominence has been compelling in recent years. It as if the club is run on principles of good football and whether Roberto Martinez or Brendan Rogers or whoever is manager they will play a passing game.

Last season Sunderland drew 0-0 at the Liberty Stadium, and we beat the Swans 2-0 at the SoL. I am predicting a win for The Lads tomorrow, but it will be a game where good football and the higher principles of the game rule. No “treating the ball as if it has an infectious disease” in this match.

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