Jack plaque honour for top players on Swansea City wall of fame
MANY are called, but few are chosen. Twenty names have been added to the newly-unveiled Robbie James Wall of Fame outside the Liberty Stadium.
Esme Allchurch and Gwen Griffiths — the widows of inductees Ivor Allchurch and Harry Griffiths — did the honours in sparkling sunshine ahead of Saturday's match against Everton.
Several of the inductees to be honoured were present at the ceremony, and spoke of their pride at being chosen.
Swans legend Lee Trundle, who was not involved with his new League One side Preston due to injury, told the Post: "It is a massive honour. Ever since I came to Swansea I had an affinity for the club. This is where I played my best football, and I had a great rapport with the fans."
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Trundle not only scored 83 goals during two stints with the Swans but wowed the Jack Army with some wonderful skill.
The 35-year-old said: "There are so many great names here — it is a huge honour."
James Thomas, whose hat-trick in the 4-2 victory over Hull on the last day of the 2002-03 season saved his hometown club from relegation from the Football League, said: "This is something I never expected — to be chosen with names like Ivor Allchurch, I feel a bit embarrassed to be honest!"
The 33-year-old had to retire in 2006 due to a persistent knee injury and now works for the Welsh Ambulance Service.
Former Wales international John Cornforth made 149 appearances for the Swans between 1991 to 1996, scoring 16 goals. Asked what it meant to have his name on the Wall of Fame, he replied: "Absolutely amazing. It's something I have dreamt of.
"I'm a humble Geordie who has been taken into the family."
The 44-year-old, who qualified to play for Wales through his grandmother, has been coaching in Asia for the past five years.
He said he had fantastic memories of his time with Swansea City, citing the Autoglass Trophy final win against Huddersfield at Wembley in 1994 when he was captain.
Another player to see his name on a Jack plaque was Keith Walker.
"It is obviously a great honour," he said.
The former defender described his stint at the Vetch from 1989 to 2000 as 11 good years.
"I have seen many people come and go, and I always enjoyed my time here," said the Scotsman, who joined the Swans from St Mirren.
"It's great to come back and see some old faces."
The unveiling was his first visit to the Liberty Stadium. He also checked out his former stomping ground — what's left of it — in the heart of Sandfields.
The Wall of Fame was the brainchild of the Swansea City Supporters' Trust, which unveiled the Robbie James bust in 2008. Trust chairman Phil Sumbler said 100 names would eventually be added — 10 every year from now on.
He stressed that the individuals selected — player and non-player — were being added in no particular order. The key criteria was that the person had played a significant part in the history of the club, now in its centenary year, and had helped shaped its direction.
Addressing supporters before the unveiling, club chaplain Kevin Johns joked that the crowd around the Wall of Fame was bigger than at the Vetch when the Swans played Gillingham in January 1999.
"Where were you?" he quipped.
Concluding a prayer, he said: "Once a Jack, always a Jack."