SWANS100 – Be a part of your football club’s history!
Swansea University and the Swansea City Supporters Trust have received £47,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to support a unique community heritage project celebrating the Centenary of Swansea City Football Club (the Swans) in 2012. The aim is to create an on-line archive in which the experiences of Swans’ fans will be recorded and preserved for future generations.
The archive will contain taped interviews, fans’ responses to a questionnaire, photographs and memorabilia. Although the project is more about the history of supporting the club than what happened on the pitch, there will be other material on the online archive including a searchable record of all of the Swans’ matches over the last 100 years. The project will also generate leaflets and education packs explaining and exploring the place of the club in the local community’s history. It aims to use football to encourage children to learn about not just history but maths and literacy too and later in the year there will be an essay competition for children on why they love the Swans. The material will be collected from existing local archives and libraries but most of all from the fans themselves. The project wants to encourage people of all ages to record and reflect on their own involvement with the club and explore the club’s heritage for themselves. This might be by completing the questionnaire and adding their memories to the archive, by volunteering to carry out taped interviews, or carrying out research into local newspaper archives. There will also be roadshows around Swansea and southwest Wales which will allow people to bring in their memorabilia for photographing or scanning, and provide an opportunity for capturing the stories that go with the images.
Swansea City Football Club was founded in the summer of 1912 as Swansea Town, and played its first professional game against Cardiff City at the Vetch Field – the club’s home until 2005. It has been an integral part of the Swansea community since the beginning, its fortunes as varied as the City’s own, and the 100th season finds the club in fine form with a place in the Premier League.
Commenting on the award, Phil Sumbler of the Supporters Trust said: "The celebration of 100 years of professional football in Swansea is something in which the whole community of Swansea should be proud to be involved. A project of this nature is extremely thrilling for all of us and as a Supporters Trust we are delighted to link up with the Club and University to work closely together on this commemoration. Given these exciting times for the club on the pitch, the undertaking of this project will also ensure an exciting period off the pitch. The most inspiring part for me is the legacy that it will create for future generations to enjoy and that can only be a good thing."
Project leader Martin Johnes, a historian at Swansea University, a Swans season ticket holder and author of A History of Sport in Wales, said “Football plays an important role in the lives of communities and the people who live in them. For a hundred years and through thick and thin, the Swans have helped make Swansea what it is. They’ve made their supporters laugh and cry and put the city on the map. For some fans the club is why they live but for others interest has fluctuated according to fortunes on the pitch and what else is going on in their lives. We want to record as many of these stories as we can.”
Jennifer Stewart, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in Wales said “Heritage is for everyone. It’s not only about Wales’ wonderful buildings and landscape, but it is also about our communities and the things that our communities are interested in and passionate about. In the year of the Olympics, I’m really pleased that this project goes to show that HLF funds sports heritage, too!”.