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Swansea City chairman Huw Jenkins hoping for less Wembley stress this time round

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 23, 2013

tense The last time Swansea were at Wembley, Huw Jenkins says it was difficult to enjoy the game. The Swans chairman will be hoping to see Garry Monk hold the silverware aloft once again tomorrow.

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NYONE who sits within earshot of the Liberty directors' box knows Huw Jenkins can get a little stressed during matches.

This is a chairman who, you could say, wears his heart on his sleeve.

Jenkins is a passionate supporter of Swansea City as well as the head of the club's board of directors.

Hence his emotions tend to come to the fore when the team are in action.

"I get tense," Jenkins concedes.

Tomorrow, of course, will be no different.

In fact the tension is likely to be greater than usual given that Swansea go in search of their first ever major trophy.

Then again, as Jenkins points out, the nerves should be slightly easier this weekend for the Welsh contingent than on their last trip to Wembley.

"The stakes are not so high this time," he says.

"This game is a massive opportunity to keep the club moving forward and to gain recognition, but it's never going to be as pressurised as the game we had against Reading.

"When we played Reading, winning or losing was everything.

"This game is different from that.

"The tension will not be the same."

Jenkins is not suggesting that the stakes will not be significant.

Swansea have an opportunity tomorrow to write what would be perhaps the finest chapter in their 101-year history.

A club whose trophy cabinet has housed only second-rate silverware up until now could end up bringing home one of the English game's top prizes.

And that would be some achievement for the Jenkins regime, who have helped turn Swansea into one long success story since they came so close to dropping out of the Football League a decade ago.

"I always get tense during games because we want to win every one," Jenkins adds.

"Whether it's a cup final or a league game, we always want to compete and we always hope we can win.

"But this game, to me, is there to enjoy. We are going to Wembley and we want to play our football and enjoy it.

"Ideally, of course, we also want to win the game."

Big days out at Wembley are always more memorable for the team who come away with the right result.

Swansea have managed that on two of their three previous visits to the home of the English game — most recently, of course, when Brendan Rodgers's team overcame Reading in May 2011.

The Championship play-off final was one of the most significant games Swansea have ever played.

It was also one of the most draining.

Rodgers's team looked to be cruising at half-time when they went in 3-0 up, but there was agony for Jenkins and Co in the stands as Reading fought back to 3-2 and then hit the woodwork.

Only when Scott Sinclair completed his hat-trick ten minutes from the end could Swansea begin to relax.

And only when the clock ticked round to stoppage time did the Jack Army start to celebrate. "It was a strange feeling," Jenkins recalls.

"There was so much pressure that day, and it probably took a while to take it all on board when we won.

"It didn't really sink in then what we had achieved and what was to come for us the following season.

"Eventually I thought about our climb up the leagues and about getting to the Premier League, but that was a long time after the final whistle.

"I think this time around we will be able to enjoy it a bit more.

"There's still a big prize up for grabs this time, but what we were playing for last time was bigger."

When Swansea took on Reading, it was hard to forecast which of the clubs would come through and reach the Premier League.

As they prepare to face League Two side Bradford City, however, there is no question who is expected to take the spoils.

"We are on a hiding to nothing in a sense because we are the favourites," Jenkins says.

"But Bradford have done very well.

"They have competed really well in all the games they have played on this run.

"They have beaten three Premier League clubs and they have deserved to go through every time.

"Without any doubt, if we are not at the top of our game, we are not going to have a chance of beating them.

"We know that — we wouldn't expect it any other way.

"We have got to make sure we are focused on playing our game and playing to our full potential.

"If we can do that, we hope it will be enough."

The reality is that if Swansea perform at their best, Bradford will do well to cause a shock.

And if the Premier League club can avoid what would be a massive upset, Jenkins and the rest will be celebrating a landmark trophy triumph in Swansea's centenary year.

On top of that, of course, they will be planning for a foray into Europe.

"I think it's quite appropriate that we have got to a final for the first time in the club's history," Jenkins says.

"And although in some quarters the Capital One Cup is looked upon as a lesser trophy, we think it's great.

"We are going to Wembley to try to win a cup and, on top of that, we have the chance to qualify for Europe through the English system for the first time.

"That would be a fantastic achievement for us as a club."

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  • naterab  |  February 24 2013, 4:27AM

    Just stop chelsea1955. Enjoy the day and stop looking for any possible way to criticize the board of chairman. It's a wee bit annoying.

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  • chelsea1955  |  February 23 2013, 2:27PM

    Jenkins if you cannot handle the stress, stay home and count the Sky money and give your seat to a fan that cannot get a ticket, I had to pay a tout £150 I WILL HAVE STRESS NEXT PAYDAY thanks to the Swansea Board

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