Believe it or not, the question I have gotten asked most frequently in my lifetime is how I became a fan of Swansea City FC. Not actually – in fact I’m pretty sure it’s only come up once or twice – but now that we’re on that topic, let me tell you how it came to be and why I’m probably the biggest Swans fan in North America.
Growing up, my dad was a fan of a few teams, settling on Nottingham Forest before becoming a Man U fan after the company he worked for became their sponsor. But that wasn’t good enough for me, so I took to FIFA 13.
The first copy of a game I have continued to buy (or hold out for so I could get it on my birthday) for the past eight years, FIFA 13’s career mode opened up a can of worms I’m sure people close to me wish it hadn’t. It did this by introducing me to Swansea City.
Looking for a team still in the Premier League that I could build from the bottom up, I found the Swans and never looked back. With star striker Wilfried Bony up top, the holy trinity of Jonjo Shelvey, Wayne Routledge and speed-demon Nathan Dyer in the midfield and Angel Rangel and Jordi Amat in the back, there was no way you couldn’t swoon over this loveable group of underdogs. What made them even more enjoyable, though, was how sneaky good they were as a unit.
With my leadership at the helm and the settings set to professional, this Swansea team that had spent the past several years hopping back and forth between the Premier League and Championship completed a near perfect season, with Bony and Dyer pacing the competition in goals and assists respectively.
It was a blast for me to bring this team no one had ever heard of to the top of the world’s best league. From then on, I made it my goal to do the same each proceeding year. And goddammit, for the past eight years, through new consoles, new controls and new rosters, the one constant was that Swansea City, led by manager Arthur Anymoredonuts, finished at the top of the table year in and year out.
The success I found in a video game has translated into real-life meaning, as this year is the closest I’ve followed the Swans, as they try to claw their way out of the Championship and back into Premier League play. And although the roster looks pretty different from when I first fell in love with this team back in 2013, the appreciation for the Swans and their manager, who looks eerily like Ned Schneebly from “School of Rock,” is undying.
I’ve got the flag, the passion and the memorized lyrics to the absolute banger that is Wilfried Bony’s hype song. Now all that’s left to do is to get out to Wales for an in-person game, something that I genuinely hope happens. All because I chose some random team in FIFA 2013.
So, with all that in mind, I’ll leave you with this:
Swansea O Swansea oh city said I
I’ll stand there on the north bank untill
The day i die
Take me to the vetch field
Way down by the sea
Where I will follow Swansea