Something had to be done. Years of battling against the ESC (Evil Silver Cheats) as I called them became an exhausting avenue of painful effort like flossing with razor wire. Only a small incongruent band of us continued the role play of anarchic caged monkeys, throwing our shit at those who laughed at our impotencies through the ribald pages of various fanzines. I was described by Mike Lewis in the official matchday programme as someone with dubious sexual tendencies and a leader of a subversive enemy within whose acolytes hang on every word (this is probably the only time in my life when I’m likely to be compared to Michael Barrymore, Jesus and Charles Manson). Many Jacks were at that time blissfully ignorant about the stripping down of our beloved Swansea City by London venture capitalists, who leered up the club’s dress and found something worth exploiting while its hair was being tousled by a man in strangler’s gloves.
Silver Shield's Neil McClure was heading for the oversized supernova marked ‘exit’ with our pitchforks embedded in his bulbous derriere; but inside the building lurked a sweaty Machiavellian bastard and companion to a fake Israeli spoon bender, who would eventually feel the cold grip of the law trying a similar act at Exeter City. Mike Lewis sat astride a collapsing citadel, presumably prising off the light fittings and smelting the Welsh Cup before hawking the flatlining pigeon-guano encrusted corpse to a waiting Australian expert in rendering every last ounce of decaying flesh. Something had to be done. I couldn't continue to throw brickbats from behind the pages of an irrevent view in a sea of detritus.
My decision to contact Supporters Direct was a result of an article I had read in When Saturday Comes, which chronicled their work with other clubs of a similar ilk, size and supporter base. It was one of those lightbulb moments; and while I did not leap out of the bath, rushing down the street in a trail of enthusiasms and Matey, I felt this was precisely what we needed to form a proficient opposition to the circling raptors and graffiti a line in the Vetch terra.
I contacted Dave Boyle from SD, and invited various luminaries and shakers from inside and out the gilded halls of cyberspace and an assortment of cerebral troublemakers; amongst them two quiet sentinels. This gathering of concerned souls arranged in a small room at the Corus Sports Club in Port Talbot. I seem to recall an unusual pre-meeting tension like a summit of wisened old TB-ravaged gunfighters waiting for the arrival of Frank Miller’s gang; which was apt considering that the club was facing High Noon. Of course, that was my insight. It could have been the fact that the buffet my mother ordered for our meeting had been eaten by the golf section, who pissed off leaving a table full of crumbs & soiled napkins for us to clear up. Clearly a metaphor for the battle ahead.
The meeting was constructive and ran over by a considerable time. I have very little recollection in my autumn years of the discussion points other than being pinched on the leg for somewhat 'flexible' discourse chairing. This was exactly the direction we should go, and the next steps to achieving it. After that it was a case of getting Dave Boyle very drunk to the point of propping him up in the corner of the local Chinese take-away and opening the windows to my spare bedroom following his departure to rid my habitual space of his bowel and cigarette smeech. My daughter has post-traumatic shivers to this day.
My input, apart from this formative meeting, was mostly developing an identity for the Trust, specifically its mission statement. From that point –and for personal reasons- I cast myself into the wind like the spores of a forgotten dandelion clock. The growing internet became a beacon casting light across the clarion calls of opposition; and the mobilisation of hearts and minds was not too dissimilar to the way that social networks saved BBC 6Music (which like the Swans, went on to greater things and is now considered indispensible). I still wonder what could have been achieved at the Trust with my and my shotgun outrider DJ-S’s input. Considering the extroversion, anarchic ideology and gobby sentiment, the club would indisputably be 100% fan owned; but probably aspiring to finally climb out of the Skrill League following sponsorship by a local confectioner's. Seemingly those shadowy introverts at that formative meeting were already plotting a course to defeat Petty, assume ownership and save this beautifully flawed football club. I –along with thousands of Jacks- will be forever indebted to them.