There's Only One Roger Freestone
Thoughts on the career of Swansea City's Roger Freestone, the only professional footballer ever to be interviewed by R*E*P*E*A*T
Very few players ever earn the tag "Legend" at a football club. Some do it because of split second events that can seal trophies, promotions or avoid relegations. Others do it because of unswerving loyalty and service to a club over the course of their careers.
However, loyalty without performance is useless. Jonathan Coates is loyal to the Swans, and has played well over three hundred games for the club, but no-one can seriously state that he has earned the right to be called a club legend.
Roger Freestone deserves the title more than any other player or person during my time as a supporter of the club, and more so in my opinion than anybody since the glory days.
How many other players would have stuck with the Swans during all of the trials and tribulations that we have contested over his 13 years at the club? Thompson, Cullis, Lewis, Petty, McClure, Adams, et al, the names are all familiar, and the feelings they evoke still bite deeply.
How many players would have turned down many superior offers, both financially, and in terms of league position, to remain at a club that they love as much as we the supporters do?
It is a measure of the man, that he has been the number one choice in goal for the Swans for almost every single season that I have been a supporter. Not because no other club wanted to secure his services, but because he had no desire or inclination to leave. He was a Jack, something that linked him to every die-hard fan of the club we love.
When I started coming to the Vetch, the first choice keepers were Mark Kendall and Lee Bracey. As you can imagine, the arrival of Roger from Chelsea the following season was something of a culture shock. We finally had a keeper will peerless communication skills, who dominated his box and was a shot stopper par excellence, even if the occasional goal kick ended up in the North Bank.
Only in the past year or so have time and old injuries started catching up with the man who was criminally only capped once by his country, and has consistently been amongst the top ten goalkeepers outside the Premier League.
No player deserves the tag "Legend" more than he does. It's certainly going to take some getting used to the fact that he's not there anymore, and the manner of his departure is undoubtedly disappointing, but every Jack must salute Dodger. The greatest Swans Keeper ever?
By JobCentre Jack