Belfast Telegraph

Monk: Swans fairytale far from over

Swansea's story hits the big screen in the West End on Friday night - but manager Garry Monk believes the fairytale at the Liberty Stadium is far from over.

Jack to a King tells the story of a club which went from the brink of extinction to living the dream and has its London premiere in Leicester Square on the eve of Swansea's visit to Chelsea for a Barclays Premier League summit meeting.

Swansea head to Chelsea as league equals with both sides having won their opening three games, but it's a far cry from the days when players had to cut a hole in the fence to practice after being locked out of their training ground.

Monk has played a big part in Swansea's climb over the past 10 years as player, captain and now manager and still struggles to comprehend the club's rags to riches rise before locking horns with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.

"The Chelsea game fits in with the story because it's one you would not believe unless you witnessed it," Monk said.

"That's why I want people to watch it. It gives you a big insight.

"There's plenty of clubs who went up and through the leagues, we did it ourselves before.

"But the actual circumstances the club found itself in and what we had to go through will leave people surprised.

"This means a lot to a lot of people and it's probably the perfect time for a film."

Monk joined Swansea in 2004 a few years after the club nearly went into liquidation, salvation coming in the form of a combination between Supporters' Trust members and a consortium of local businessmen.

But he still had to endure some pretty basic training facilities before Swansea rose through the divisions and reached the promised land of the Premier League.

"We used to train on a cow field and get locked out by the council, so we had to cut a hole in the fence and all the players were crawling through it," Monk said.

"We got changed in our cars with our muddy boots and dirty kit in the boot.

"But when I first came it was the very start of the progress. The stadium was a shell, but you could see the potential and the direction the club wanted to go.

"Any player should know what they are representing and any new players who come in are given many things to understand the philosophy of the club, not just on the pitch but off it too."

Swansea's story got some silverware in 2013 when the club won its first major trophy in 101 years of trying - the Capital One Cup when beating Bradford 5-0 at Wembley.

That triumph took Swansea into the Europa League and Monk feels that achievement is possible again through a high Premier League placing, despite intense competition from clubs with greater financial resources than the Welsh club.

"If we stop now we have wasted all that hard work," Monk said.

"We are never going to be a financial power in this league, but we can make sure we are competitive.

"W e experienced Europe last year and that was something we really enjoyed, and we would like to get back to at some point sooner rather than later.

"We have shown we can win a cup, but we would like to do it through the league as well.

"People say the Chelsea game is a top-of-the-table clash, but we are not going to be title contenders at the end of the season.

"We know exactly what we are, we are a club looking to progress and all the new players who have come in buy into that."

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