In a week that is expected to see our seven year reign in the Premier League almost certainly draw painfully to a close it is perhaps ironic that two of our most popular players in recent history will also close the door on their Swans playing careers.
On Thursday we learnt of the decision by the club not to offer Angel Rangel a new contract beyond this summer. This will bring to an end an eleven year and 373 game playing career at the club where he has always been proud to call “home” and where Swansea fans too consider him to be one of our own.
In his 11 years at the Swans, Angel took every level he represented the club at in his stride and played his part in some of the greatest days in the Swans’ history, including captaining the Swans on that unforgettable 3-0 Europa League win in Valencia!
The official club statement can be read here:
Angel joined the Swans back in 2007 after being spotted by Roberto Martinez while scouting a different player. It was Angel who stood out in that game and was subsequently approached by Roberto. He was instantly sold on the idea of coming over to Swansea.
However, according to reports the deal almost fell through as his club Terrassa demanded €15,000 as a transfer fee despite only one year remaining on his contract. Apparently the Swans were only prepared to offer €5,000. Not wanting the opportunity to be missed and in his determination to join the Swans, Angel then went out and raised the extra €10,000 himself !
We mustn’t forget too the heart warming story of Angel and his wife Nikki driving around the city of Swansea in the winter snow looking for homeless people to help. It’s no wonder that Angel is thought of in such high esteem by the club and fans alike. A true Swansea Jack!
So with playing time limited for him this season Angel will now assess his options as he looks to extend his playing career for another season or two away from the Liberty.
And just as news of Angel’s departure from the club was sinking in we sadly learnt on Friday of the decision of club legend Leon Britton to retire from the game.
The official club statement can be seen here:
In arguably one of the finest Swans careers ever Leon believes the time has come to call it a day having represented the Swans in every division since his arrival from West Ham way back in 2002, 536 appearances ago!
Leon’s story is one which the Supporters Trust takes great pride in, having launched the ‘Battle for Britton’ fundraising campaign in 2003 to raise money to pay his wages. Monies were raised from fund raising activities such as raffles and many bucket collections to which Swans fans generously contributed. The money raised helped secure the permanent signing of Leon and the rest, as they say, is history.
Last year the Swans Trust published its own tribute to Leon which you can read here:
As a Supporters Trust we will be hugely disappointed not to be able to watch Leon gracing the field any longer but also delighted with the news that he would be remaining at the Swans as a club ambassador. We believe he is ideally suited to the role and will prove to be a tremendous appointment.
The official club statement on Leon’s new appointment can be read here:
We also hope to see Angel back at the club in some capacity in the not too distant future but in the meantime would like to offer them both our sincerest thanks for everything they have done and achieved for us on the pitch. They will both go down as Swans playing legends and we wish them every success in their new ventures.
They are, and always will be YJBs!
Both Angel’s and Leon’s contribution at the Club was recognised recently by the Supporters’ Trust with the announcement that they would both be added to the Robbie James Wall of Fame. We hope that both will be able to attend the ceremony early next season when the names will be unveiled on the Wall. Keep an eye on the Trust website for more details.