Were there any tears in the dressing room when Sousa went?
I don’t think there has ever been tears when any manager has ever left, I enjoyed working with Paolo he was intense when he had to be but he allowed you to be your own person and live your life and he would allow us to have a few drinks as a team and stuff like that. He wasn’t overly bothered about if you had a couple of drinks with your friends on the weekend as long as you done what you were supposed to and that you played for people. As long as you did that then he didn’t mind that, as long as you put the work in for them on the Saturday and played well on a Saturday and that’s how I enjoyed, from where I am from, you work hard to play hard and I’ve always been the same. I wouldn’t literally do it every weekend but obviously if you had a good win then you’d want to celebrate with your friends. All my friends are Swansea fans and so I’d want to go out with them; that’s just how I am.
I got the impression that Sousa wasn’t the most popular in the dressing room?
He wasn’t, no he wasn’t, I know Monk has had a go at him a bit. Obviously Monks was captain and they clashed and these things happen at times, tactically off the ball, Sousa was very good, Monks would tell you the same. Was there tears? I don’t think there was, I remember where I was, Paolo rang me, I don’t think he rang many people. I got on with him, he rang me and I wished him all the best and he wished me all the best.
Leigh Dineen told me in this magazine that he was far from excited by the name Brendan Rogers when Huw mentioned his name as a potential manager. What were your first thoughts?
Umm, I didn’t really know much about him to be honest with you. Id played against his teams, played against Watford when he was there and then our first home game under Paolo was Reading and he was manager there then but I didn’t really know too much of him to be honest. I knew that he had been sacked by reading the season that we had Paolo in charge, I always thought that he was Scottish for some reason, maybe it was just the name.
Obviously a big change for you to go from a well known Champion League winner to someone who nobody knew and just got sacked from Reading?
Yeah but as a player then you just get on with it and take the next guy who comes in on face vaue and that is all that you can do.
what were your first impressions when you got to work?
Brilliant, he is one of them, he pulled me and Monks aside, obviously he knew that Monks was captain and I was vice captain and he got the senior guys on board, me, Gaz, Ash, Leon, Gower, Prats, got us all on board, told us what he thought, told us what he wanted us to do and how he wanted us to dictate things in the dressing room and keep things organised and make sure that everything run smoothly. Honestly, he is one of them that I have all the time in the word for, I really have all the time in the word for Brendan.
You hear very few bad words about him in fairness. At what point in that season did you get excited?
Ipswich away, I’d say then. They were very good, a very experienced club in the championship at the time and we went there and beat them 3-1. Craig Beattie scored a great goal to make it 3-1 and I’d say that was the time when I thought that we had a good chance of at least making the playoffs.
What was your feeling when Neil Taylor got sent off against Forrest? Monk came on for Dobbie and you switched to left back
I think I was thinking ‘fucking hell, we got this far and this has happened after 53 seconds!’ we had a game plan going in and then obviously it is out of the window; completely out of the window. We hadn’t settled in or anything, like you said, I started centre half and you can’t settle after 53 seconds, Tayls is off, as a player you knew that Dobbie was going off and you knew that Monks was coming on so then automatically I’m thinking that I’m going to left back, as I’ve said, it never bothered me, I’m used to playing in different positions and so I’m thinking fucking hell, here we go and especially as it was Mike Dean who sent him off as well because he gave the one at Cardiff and your thinking here we go again.
You’ve told me earlier that was the most tired that you’ve ever been
It was the most tired that I have ever been after a game. Obviously we done really well in the game, kept the ball really well considering that we are down to ten men, obviously the ten men are going to tire and they start to get chances and the boys are throwing blocks in and I blocked one, more of my arm than my shoulder but the ref hasn’t seen it which is great. I got a pic of me and Monks in the house and hes got his arm around me and I got my arm around him and we both look fucking bollocksed. Looking back then I think we done them in that game.
As a fan, i think it’s probably the most proud I have been as a swans fan at any point. The effort put in was incredible.
Yeah, I can see that, I must have shouted at Scott Sinclair more in that game than I ever have in my life just to get back and defend, because he wasn’t the best at defending but fair play that night he put a good shift in. And Nath had a great chance at the end to score didn’t he? One on one with the keeper and keeper had made a good save otherwise we could have gone into the home leg 1-0 up with ten men but as I said, I think that we done them that game, I think that they knew, 90 minutes with ten men and they couldn’t beat us.
After the game, maybe after the tie, did you realise that you were 100% going to play the final? Because before then Monk was coming back from injury, was a part of your mind that he may come back in?
No, I probably already knew. Monks was back fit before that, before the Sheffield United game and he didn’t start and I was captain and I thought that the Sheffield united game was a case of, if you’re going to start in that game then you are going to start in the forest game and once you started in the play offs then I think I would be fine but looking back then I wouldn’t have changed it because Monks is a good friend of mine and I’m glad that what happened.
How did the reading game compare to the Hull match?
Again, nothing will ever compare to the Hull game, if we lost against reading and didn’t make it to the premier league then the club will still bet there, we had a good manager, we had a good squad, we’d have been there or thereabouts the season after. So going into that game, especially for me and Leon who had played in the Hull game, the consequences were never going to be as dire for the club as if we had lost to Hull. So from being so young in the Hull game and going through so much so young, you see things a lot clearer and nothing will ever be as important as that Hull game. As long as the club goes on, the next three or four hundred years, as long as there isn’t another Hull game then the club will be fine.