Becoming a Swansea fan, a Boston tale

With the new season nearly upon us, I wanted to take the time to write about my first

experience in the UK. Before I can go into the beginning of the 2018/2019 season, I feel that I need to

mention how I came to be a Stateside Jack.

The story starts in 2012, my freshman year of college at a tiny school in the middle of

Massachusetts called Wheaton College. Once upon a time I had the opportunity to join the

soccer team. It ultimately did not pan out but one of the older players, Luke, was really into this

player named Leon Britton. Luke was a phenomenal midfielder - strong, a great passer of the

ball, and though he was not tall in stature, he was one of the leaders on and off the pitch. So I

decided to check this Britton guy and his team out. Prior to 2012 I never really watched soccer

on T.V., even though I’ve played since I was 4. It was about this time I had seen Swansea play

Arsenal to a tough 2-2 draw in the FA Cup with Danny Graham scoring a late equalizer, elating

the Liberty Stadium and making me a fan in the process.

Fast forward a few years, a chance meeting on Xbox live led me to the Stateside Jacks. I

happened to be playing FIFA with some friends online where a friend of a friend joined and

mentioned his favorite team was none other than Swansea City. I quickly believed I was being

deceived and messed with, who else could possibly like Swansea? “Get outta here nobody else

likes the Swans..” lo and behold that’s when Leo became the first other jack bastard I ever knew

and met (Thanks Leo!) I was subsequently added to our Facebook group and now...here I am

sharing my story!

Alright so enough background - Last summer I wanted to explore the UK and more importantly,

go and support the Swans live. I visited a friend of mine who was doing an internship in

Colchester, England for a few days and then I took to exploring the UK on my own. It was

definitely scary - I had never traveled on my own and had to plan everything from hotel

accommodations to train tickets to when and where I’d eat. With that said, the 10 days I was

alone was some of the most fun and introspective days I’ve had in my life.

August 4th 2018 was the first match of the season under Graham Potter and the Swans were

away. I was staying in Manchester at the time and took a train east to Sheffield wearing my

orange Leroy Fer jersey with my SSJ badges on each shoulder. The anticipation for the match

grew and grew with each stop through the countryside. I got off the train and followed a crowd of

red and white striped kits from afar, anxious to not cause trouble as an away supporter

thousands of miles from home. The August sun beamed down on the mile or so walk to Bramall

Lane. I entered the stadium without a hitch, got a beer and headed to my seat. This match will

always be one of my favorites I’ve attended in my life because even though only 900 or so

Jacks made the trip up to Sheffield, it sounded more like 9000 throughout the game. The

Sheffield United fans? A library for most of the match, until they got the opening goal of the

game early on in the second half. I also found out very quickly how ruthless the fans in the UK

can be to opposing players/ referees, wanker this and wanker that. This lead did not last long as

an equalizer from Oli McBurnie was the first ever goal from the swans I’d ever seen. The scenes

were electric - Oli and several swans celebrated with some of the jack army behind the net as

people were hopping the barricades left and right to give the man a hug (who would have

thought then that Oli would be a member of that club in the premier league just a year later :/ ).

It was only 17 minutes later that little Yan Dhanda made his debut and his first touch went into

the back of the net giving the swans 3 points for a 2-1 win. I still get chills thinking about that

goal, even a year later. After the match, I got quite a few questions about my badges as I posed

for a picture behind the net to commemorate my first match in the UK, which subsequently was

shown on Swans officials Twitter page. I made some acquaintances on the walk back to the

station and felt very welcomed by fellow Swans supporters. Once the train came into the station,

I was one of the few supporters heading to Manchester and was greeted with a standing ovation

from the Wednesday supporters returning from their first match of the season. It was a very

enjoyable ride back to Manchester to say the least.

Big news!

"Hiya! Our first annual Stateside Jack's get together is going to take place. This year we have decided to be hosted by the NYC Jack's. Trust me, no regional or personal biases went into that decision. This southerner actually first suggested the heart of yankeedom. As part of our first annual meeting we will be holding several events. The first is an online auction and the second is an in person raffle. This is where yall come in. Myself and Marc will try to get items from both Swansea and the US for items. However we would very much like to ask for possible donations or even ideas. If you have a donation or idea, please private message myself. There is no hard deadline yet on when to message me. We are still working on an official date to host this shin dig. This meeting will be annual with locations alternating from Swansea to somewhere Stateside. Although I highly recommend just going to Swansea whenever you can, except during the stateside meeting of course. It's a wonderful place full of wonderful warm hearted people. Again, please private message for donation or ideas. Thank yall so much and cant wait to have a great time with yall in the heart of yankeedom! (Sorry not sorry for my sourtherness!)

New Season Approaches!

With the season quickly approaching I think it is time to get this ship up and running! Before I move forward, I want to again thank everyone who has helped build this group and turn it into what it has become today! Without each of you this group would not be almost 400 registered members!

As many of you know, running a group like this requires countless hours of unpaid work and without the support you all provide form buying merch and spreading the word about Stateside Jacks it would be tough to stay afloat!

We are currently looking for new members to step up to the plate to join the board in continuing to make our group the best supporters group in the USA! With that said, the following departments will be looking for assistance:

Social Media

Event Planning

Graphic Design

Newsletter Committee

Member Ambassador

Facebook Moderators

Finance

Please note, we do not expect you to drop everything for this club and the roles you volunteer for, but we do ask that you respect our time as we will respect your time. Any and all help is welcomed so please do not feel shy to comment below with questions or message me directly. (still waiting to hear from Jon and others to see if they is still on board this season)

Thanks, Marc

Thank you

Members,

I just wanted to say thank you for making this season an unforgettable one. I would be lying if I said I wasn't concerned going into this season wondering if we would have the same interactions throughout the season as the year before. Having the team go down really gave us the opportunity to not only show local Swansea fans, but to each other, that our passion for this club goes beyond the Prem.

Thank you, to Jon, David, Brian for coming on the infamous conference call and taking on all the criticism that came along with it. The mental fortitude you all showed was admirable.

Thank you to Brain and Dave from The Football Farm podcast for consistently putting on a show for us without asking for any monetary reward every week providing us coverage on our team.

Thank you to those who made the pilgrimage to Swansea. It makes no difference if you went with the large group in April or if you have traveled at any point on your own. Wonderful memoires were made and the idea of having American fans for Swansea has finally (I think) been accepted by the locals. Massive thanks to the Williams family for actually taking us under their wings in Swansea and being the best group of people we couldn't have been luckier.

Thank you, to those who hosted viewing parties throughout the season at all hours of the morning and consistently promote our club on social media platforms and represent this group the best way they can.

Thank you, to everyone who has purchased shirts, partook in game day threads, and even gone as far as getting a Swansea tattoo, you all are the bread and butter of this group. I can't thank everyone enough for making this group of 348 members what it is.

Ah, just one more time,

Thank you.

Let's try this again.

Dear Stateside Jacks Members,

We would first like to apologize to everyone for how cryptic our previous statement was. We felt there was a need to inform everyone that we have spoken to the club since our first statement. The club did agree to chat with us, but unfortunately there was much of the conversation that we can not disclose due to our Stateside Jacks agreement with the club.


We would like to clarify the following before we continue; The Swans Trust was aware of the conversation that would be held between Stateside Jacks and the board. Stateside Jacks does not have any equity in the club nor plans to acquire any equity in the future. We are strictly a supporter group for the club created by fans of the club who happen to live in America, Swansea expats and Americans alike. There were no negotiations during this conversation because it was nothing more than a discussion about our frustrations with the current dealings of Swansea City AFC.


While we are not at liberty to disclose all of our questions/comments and responses, there are a few things we can disclose. After our initial post, there was a large amount of frustrated comments and slander thrown towards Stateside Jacks as well as personal threats, which is unacceptable behavior in general. Everything we do is out of love for the club, we have not earned, nor will earn a penny from our association with the Swans.


Here is what we can say about our short, one hour conversation:

1. Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan were not on the call, however two active members of the board were

2. There was no discussion of stock options or plans for SSJ to gain equity in the club

3. We expressed our desire for the club to be more transparent with the Swansea fanbase regarding their current financial status and transfer decisions.

4. The owners have acknowledged that they've mismanaged their PR and wish to change the image of their interaction with the club


We want to assure each of you that the we are doing everything that we can from this side of the pond. While we do not have a stake in the club like the Trust, we just didn’t feel right sitting by doing nothing while the trust fights the good fight. We all want the same thing, which is for Swansea to go back to “The Swansea Way”. The club does wish to work with us as well as the other supporter groups in order to build a relationship of honesty, understanding and trust. As always it is the Stateside Jacks committee’s responsibility to represent the voice of its member base, in doing so we will be as transparent as we can on the outcome of our discussions with the caveat that we will not be able to disclose any information that we consider as private.



Onward …