Community club feeling in Swansea impresses students

JOURNALISM PIECE 4
Swansea University will continue to sponsor the West Stand until May 2018: Michael Cleghorn

Swansea University students have been left impressed with the impact Swansea City AFC have had on their community.

The Welsh University of the Year moved to establish a greater relationship with the Premier league side by sponsoring the West Stand for three years until the end of next season, which has led to increased advertising of the university, as seen in EA Sports’ FIFA 15 and more recent editions of the popular franchise.

Journalism piece 4 FIFA 17 picture
Global advertising of the university in FIFA 17: Michael Cleghorn

Both organisations are an important part of the city, and the university’s students have experienced the positive influence the club has on it.

“It seems that the whole community is behind the club,” said 21 year old English student Mark from Bournemouth.

Liverpool fan and economics student Joe, 20, cited the positive impact the club has on local restaurants and retailers, adding, “I think it brings a sense of community… it is something any person can get behind and support and then find others who are the same.”

Arsenal fan and English student Tom, 21, from Peterborough, further agreed, stating that the team brings “a sense of togetherness to the city,” and that “even those who aren’t local may support them as a second team.”

For students, living in Swansea has changed their attitudes towards the club. “In my first year they became a quasi-second team, so I took notice of their results and rooted for them, but the novelty wore off,” admitted Tom.

Mark and Joe’s attitudes towards the team have changed permanently since moving to Swansea in September 2014 and 2015 respectively.

“Before I hadn’t really noticed them but now I would say I am a fan,” declared Mark, who said he follows the transfer rumours and news surrounding the club. Joe suggested that they are now akin to a second club for him. “I now have a level of empathy for the club and the supporters. It is kind of similar to at home in that my main supported club is Liverpool but I also support Plymouth Argyle as they are my local club and I feel like I can support them also as I see no real threat from them towards Liverpool.”

Mark and Tom heaped praise on the atmosphere generated by the Jack Army on their trips to the Liberty Stadium, but Joe is yet to watch a game there as he has “no real desire to go unless it was against Liverpool.”

Despite the university’s relationship with the club, Swansea City have not influenced these student’s academic studies in any way, except for acting as “a way of relaxing and escaping from university work for a day, or even just an afternoon,” according to Mark. This is unsurprising given the non-sporting nature of their courses, but the impact the club has had on the city-wide community has endeared these student’s hearts and many more.

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