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Roger Freestone on Swansea City, chicken jalfrezi and coming out of retirement

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 17, 2014

By Gareth Vincent / gareth.vincent@swwmedia.co.uk / @Gareth_Vincent

Former Swansea City keeper Roger Freestone.

Former Swansea City keeper Roger Freestone.

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ROGER Freestone finds talk of Swansea City's disappointing season a little difficult to compute.

Ten years since his sterling stint as Swansea's goalkeeper came to an end, Freestone will dust off the gloves tonight to feature in the Swans4Cancer game at The Gnoll (7pm).

Up against a Swans4Cancer charity XI — managed by club vice-chairman Leigh Dineen — will be Brian Flynn's Swans Legends side.

Among them will be the likes of Freestone, John Cornforth and Kevin Austin, players who turned out for Swansea when the club were scrapping their way round the lower divisions.

Perhaps it is understandable, therefore, that Freestone is unconvinced by the suggestion that Swansea have just endured a frustrating campaign.

"People say it was a disappointing season, but they forget where we have come from as a club in such a short period of time," says one of Swansea's all-time legends.

"I think we should be grateful for what we have — Premier League football and a great stadium to watch it in.

"It was only 11 years ago that we nearly went out of the league.

"You could never have thought then that the club would get anywhere near the standard they are at now.

"And not only that, it's the way we're playing football now. It's great to watch."

These days Swansea are splashing out on multi-million pound signings and paying salaries which feature numerous zeroes.

It wasn't that long ago that any sort of transfer fee was a big deal, and wages were not always guaranteed to reach bank accounts.

Freestone, a £45,000 signing from Chelsea in 1991, was among those Swansea players who were told on Christmas Eve 2001 that they would not be getting paid.

"I am not sure some of the players now would believe what went on," Freestone nods.

"The club have moved forward such a long way, but the nice thing is that it is managed so well now.

"If they cannot afford something, this board of directors won't buy it. That's a good way to operate."

Freestone reckons Swansea's approach means they will cope should Premier League football be taken away any time soon.

"Even if we got relegated, I think we could push back up," he adds.

"But the way we play and the way the club is run, I don't see it happening anyway."

Another thing Freestone does not anticipate is him doing much work tonight.

After leaving Swansea, he had a very brief stint at Newport County before packing in football completely.

Since then, he has made a couple of appearances in Sky TV's Masters series for Chelsea and Swansea, but that is about it.

These days, the 45-year-old acknowledges, his fitness regime does not amount to much.

"If you can call eating chicken jalfrezi and chips doing exercise, then I have done plenty," he smiles.

"I struggled to do much training when I was still playing, so I was definitely not going to do it once I was retired."

Freestone, who made more than 650 Swansea appearances, has turned down previous invitations to play since his retirement.

"It hasn't really interested me," he admits, "but I am playing in this one because it's such a great cause and because a group of Swans fans have put so much effort in to getting it organised. Hopefully there will be a lot of people there and they will raise plenty of money.

"But I just hope they are not expecting me to come for any crosses, kick or make any saves.

"My plan is to stand there telling the people in front of me what to do."

Swansea City Legends v Swans4Cancer XI kicks off at 7pm at The Gnoll tonight, with proceeds going to Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK. Seated tickets are priced £5 and £3 concessions, with standing tickets £3 and £1.

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