Max Boyce ready to lend his voice to chorus of Swans support
HE is known the world over as the voice and soul of Welsh rugby but now Max Boyce is lending his inspirational magic to the Swans.
Max's most recognisable anthem, Hymns and Arias, has been adopted by the Swansea faithful and was heard on terraces throughout the Championship last year ending up, victoriously, at Wembley for the play-off final.
Then on the Swans' debut in the Premier League, at the home of Manchester City on Monday evening, the Glynneath-based entertainer's lyrics drowned out the home supporters' chants.
The fact was even picked up by the Sky commentators, who beamed the match all over the world.
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Now, despite being the sacred soul singer of Welsh rugby, Max is to make his involvement with Brendan Rodgers and his boys official by singing before kick-off at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday's Premier League home debut.
Max said: "Swansea approached me after the Wembley win when the crowd were singing Hymns and Arias to ask if I would sing it before the first Premier League game.
"I said yes, not knowing who it would be against.
"We now know that it's Wigan."
Although Max was not at Wembley to see the side's finest hour to date he made sure he was watching on television.
"I think it's great for Wales. When the Swans got to Wembley my rugby club in Glynneath opened especially for the game and it was packed out," he said.
"It was great to see a Welsh club in the Premier League whether it was Swansea or Cardiff, it would have been great if both had made it."
The song had been sung at Wembley before — by Max himself, as he explained: "I sang it at Wembley in 1999 but that was at a rugby match, when Wales were using the old Wembley as home while the Millennium Stadium was being built."
The lyrics were tweaked that day, and a famous Scott Gibbs-inspired Welsh win followed, something the Swans have no doubt noted.
He said: "I wrote a special version that day and now the Swans have asked for the same. Maybe they hope it will bring them some luck.
"I have looked at the lyrics again and it obviously involves the word Wigan, but I'm not going to say more because it will spoil the surprise.
"I will be singing it with my guitar and accompanied by the Morriston Orpheus Choir, and hopefully it will bring a bit of passion and fervour to the proceedings."
And Max hopes the crowd join in like they did to his amazement last Monday evening.
He said: "They were singing it up in Manchester on Monday night and all the City supporters were booing the song, it was brilliant!
"That game went out to 400 million people around the world. It was sung in all those countries and they must have wondered what the song was about. I never thought I would hear it sung at a Premier League soccer match."
A spokesman for the Swans said: "We are delighted that Max took up our offer to welcome us into the Premier League with a new version of Hymns and Arias.
"The fans have taken Hymns and Arias as their new anthem and it's going to be a proud and emotional day."
And Swans fans in the East Stand have a rebranded home to watch their heroes from.
Brendan Rodgers was joined by Ospreys outside half Dan Biggar yesterday as the stand was renamed the Eteach Stand for the next three years.
The renaming comes a day after it was announced that the North Stand was to be called the Croeso Stand for the Swans' first Premier League season.