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Swansea City's Alan Curtis at 60: Fabulous player, very fine coach — and top man

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: April 16, 2014

By Gareth Vincent

Swansea City legend Alan Curtis celebrates his 60th birthday today.

Swansea City legend Alan Curtis celebrates his 60th birthday today.

Comments (8)

SWANSEA City, Wyndham Evans suggests, would not be Swansea City if his old mate was not around.

Alan Curtis, one of Swansea's all-time greats, turns 60 today.

But it will be a while yet before this legend of the Liberty thinks about saying his farewells.

Swansea, after all, will not let him.

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"I think Curt will be at the club for as long he wants to be," says Evans, one-time team-mate and lifelong friend of Swansea's first-team coach.

"You can't really imagine the club without Curt."

Huw Jenkins, who has kept Curtis on board even as managers have come and gone, hopes he will be on the payroll for a few seasons yet.

"Alan started out with us as a young kid and, as a player, was one of the main focal points of our rise to the old First Division," the Swansea chairman says.

"He has been with us in some capacity almost ever since, and he has experienced our second climb to the top level as a coach.

"For him to be here now, working in the Premier League, typifies what our club is about.

"Forget the fact I am chairman. I think as a supporter, I would like to thank Alan for the way he has served our club.

"I wish him a happy 60th birthday — and I hope he will still be working for our club for many years to come."

Curtis has already put in around four decades' worth of service.

Signed straight from school in 1972, the Rhondda-born forward would soon establish himself as an adopted Jack.

He made well over 400 appearances for Swansea across three different spells as a player and scored more than 120 goals.

Curtis left Vetch Field to join First Division side Leeds United in 1979 — but had returned in time to play his part in promotion to the top flight in 1981.

Perhaps his finest hour as a player came on Swansea's opening day as a Division One club.

His former club Leeds were thrashed 5-1 at the Vetch, with Curtis scoring a goal which is still replayed today.

"Bob Latchford scored a hat-trick, but it was Curt who gave us the most problems," remembers Brian Flynn, a Leeds player on that sunny August day.

Flynn played alongside Curtis with Leeds and for Wales, and he would work with him as a coach with the Welsh Under-21s and, most memorably, at Swansea.

Flynn was director of football and Curtis was on the staff as Swansea scrambled clear from relegation to the Conference in 2003.

"As a friend, Curt is one of the best you could have," Flynn adds.

"As a player, you would always want him on your team because of his individuality and his team ethic.

"And as a coach he is even better.

"He has a fantastic knowledge of everything to do with football and he is great coach during the week.

"He has been a vital cog all along for Swansea City.

"When Roberto Martinez got the manager's job, the first thing he did was to get Curt on board. I think that says it all."

Flynn was not aware of what went on until afterwards, but he has since got to know all about a speech Curtis gave to Swansea's players at Rochdale 11 years ago.

Hull is the game that everybody remembers, but the stakes were just as high at Spotland the week before.

"Curt took the warm-up and he got the players into a huddle out on the pitch," Flynn says.

"He gave them a motivational speech about how much it meant to people — and it worked."

Evans, another of the elite bunch who have played for Swansea in all four divisions, remembers how Curtis would let his feet — plus those snake hips — do the talking.

"He was without doubt the best player I played with, and he is one of the greatest Swansea City have ever had," the former full-back says.

"He was a class act on the field — and he is exactly the same off it.

"He has got time for everyone and he knows football inside out.

"If Curt pulls you to one side and has a word, you listen."

As every Swansea fan knows, Lee Trundle was a forward with outrageous talent.

But one of Swansea's most recent striking heroes always took Curtis's advice on board.

"He is a legend at this club," Trundle says.

"I have been lucky enough over the years to work with him and I took plenty of tips off him.

"When you look at what he has done for Swansea, he is someone to listen to and to look up to."

There are those who suggest that Trundle is the obvious long-term successor to Curtis, a legendary player who has the personality and the qualities to serve the club long after he has hung up the boots.

Trundle is flattered by the idea that he could follow in Curtis's footsteps.

"As a man, I don't think you will find anyone better than Curt," he adds.

"If anyone thinks that I can be compared to him, then I see it as a massive honour."

When Brendan Rodgers left Swansea and took various staff with him, Curtis stayed on.

When asked why he had not joined the exodus, Curtis insisted he could not leave SA1 because no-one else knew where the kettle was.

Here was a typically humble response from someone who has never got too big for his twinkling boots.

But that is Curt.

Fabulous player, fine coach — and top man.

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8 comments

  • cantaff  |  April 18 2014, 10:08PM

    That game against Leeds brings all the memories back .As a young lad supporting the Swans being there on that August day to witness Alan weave his magic its a goal I'll never forget. Class act, have a good one.

    |   1
  • abertawejack  |  April 17 2014, 11:13AM

    Happy Birthday Alan Boyo and thank you for the wonderful memories from way back. A lot of people may/may not know that Alan works tirelessly behind the scenes visiting youngsters. I once asked the late, gentleman Ray Davies, (Haverfordwest/Carmarthen coach) if he knew anyone who could visit a young lad and avid Swans supporter, as the lad had broken his leg he could not go to see the Swans play, Alan Curtis not only called to see him but took along Swans memorabilia, of which he still has today. Thats what the Swans are all about in my eye's. Have a great "60th" Alan boyo, I hope you get spoilt rotten, which is the least you deserve.

    |   2
  • brochadav  |  April 16 2014, 9:49PM

    Happy birthday Curt, put the kettle on, you deserve a cuppa!

    |   2
  • KP287  |  April 16 2014, 4:32PM

    Often wondered why Curt never went into management, seeing as he was always alongside the management team... Head and shoulders above, what we have now... A true club legend...

    |   4
  • Ladyyoty  |  April 16 2014, 11:49AM

    Happy Birthday Alan a lovely man who always has time to talk to people ,hope you have a great day at Newcastle on Saturday all the best Alan .

    |   12
  • abercanaid  |  April 16 2014, 11:01AM

    A GREAT SERVANT TO THE SWANS. HAPPY BIRTHDAY A.C.

    |   9
  • CastleFieldJa  |  April 16 2014, 10:11AM

    Happy birthday Curt. Thanks for all the brilliant memories and in anticipation of those to come. More than great player, a great man.

    |   9
  • yankytaff  |  April 16 2014, 9:09AM

    Let's hope the team give him a really good present on Saturday, Happy birthday Alan

    |   10

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