Wyndham Evans: 'Capital One Cup win would be Swansea City's greatest ever achievement'
SWANSEA City's history is packed with soaring highs and despairing lows, and a club legend who has experienced both extremes believes winning at Wembley would be the greatest moment of all.
Wyndham Evans made more than 400 appearances for the Swans as they surged through the divisions in the 1970s and 80s, swapping soggy nights at Scunthorpe for European trips to Paris and Frankfurt.
But not even those halcyon days under the tutelage of John Toshack yielded a cup final at Wembley.
Michael Laudrup's current crop will make history when they take on Bradford in Sunday's Capital One Cup final — playing for the club's first ever major trophy a century after it was first formed as Swansea Town in 1912.
And for Llanelli-born Evans, a Swans victory this weekend would eclipse all other achievements.
"To see Ashley Williams or Garry Monk lift the trophy at Wembley would be my favourite ever footballing moment," he says.
"Swansea have had so many ups and downs over the years.
"They've had a fantastic 100-year history and to mark the centenary celebrations with a cup would be absolutely brilliant.
"That sums up what Swansea are all about. There's always been amazing sense of timing about this club."
Having played for the Swans from the fourth division to the first and then seen the club tumble back down the divisions just as quickly, Evans knows how precious and precarious a club's success can be.
Swansea were one game away from relegation to non-league football and possible extinction less than a decade ago, and Evans reckons such recent tribulations will make success taste even sweeter if Swansea win on Sunday.
"A lot of the fans will still remember the games at The Vetch against the likes of Halifax and Grimsby — those memories will make this trip to Wembley even more special," he says.
"It will be a brilliant day out for the fans. They sold the 33,000 tickets in no time and they could have sold twice as many quite easily.
"Because Swansea were down in the bottom divisions so recently, their fans really appreciate how lucky they are at the moment. The players appreciate what they have as well — players such as Leon Britton, Garry Monk and Alan Tate were at the club when they were in the fourth tier.
"Those players are becoming household names now, and this is another chance for them to become heroes."
Just like the preceding 99 years, this season has been a dramatic one for the Swans as their run to the Capital One Cup final has seen Laudrup's side beat Liverpool at Anfield and conquer the European champions Chelsea over two legs.
"Perhaps the most amazing thing is the fact that Swansea are there on merit," Evans adds.
"This isn't just a lucky cup run or a few upsets — they are one of the best teams in the Premier League and they deserve their place in the final.
"To win away at Liverpool and then to beat Chelsea, the European champions, over two legs is a magnificent achievement.
"This team is creating history, the greatest era in the club's history."
Now all that stands between Swansea and their first ever major cup — not to mention a place in next season's Europa League — is League Two side Bradford.
The Bantams will be rank outsiders for the match and, although they have already beaten Premier League teams Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa, Evans believes the Swans will simply be too strong.
"I must say I'm feeling very confident about the game, and that is what matters above everything else," he says.
"As amazing as the occasion is, winning the game is all important.
"Bradford have done brilliantly to reach the final, but Swansea are a better side and if they play their usual game they should win.
"Where teams like Aston Villa have gone wrong is by changing their style to a direct approach like Bradford's.
"What Swansea must do is stick to their passing principles. If they keep possession like we know they can, the Swans will play Bradford off the park."
This will be Swansea's second visit to Wembley in two years after they clinched promotion to the Premier League with their 4-2 win over Reading in the 2011 Championship play-off final.
And while Evans insists winning is all that matters this weekend, he admits he might have to pinch himself when he sees the Swans walk on to that hallowed turf once again.
"It's a bit surreal to think of Swansea playing at Wembley for a second time in two years," he says.
"Some people outside Swansea probably still think of the Swans as a smaller club, but that's all changing now.
"People are beginning to realise what a good team they are and what a great bunch of fans they have as well.
"It will be a brilliant day on Sunday, and probably the best day in the club's history if they win."