Tonight’s tough home fixture with West Brom will be an emotionally charged affair as it will be the first opportunity for Swans fans to properly pay their respects to Kevin Austin through a minute’s silence before kick-off followed by a rendition of the “Austin is our hero…” song shortly after.
Fans and former teammates alike were left devastated at the news over the weekend that Big Kev had lost his battle against pancreatic cancer and had passed away at the age of just 45.
The popular left back, brought to the club by Kenny Jackett in 2004 and part of the squad immortalised as the last to play at the Vetch Field, won promotion from League 2 and help lift the League 1 title during a four year spell in South Wales.
Despite his quiet and kindhearted nature off the field Austin was a bruising presence and fierce competitor on it – which led to the “Austin is our hero, he’s solid as a rock” terrace chant that will be sung loud and proud tonight.
The club has arranged a picture tribute on the giant scoreboards in the third minute of tonight’s game and that will be the cue for the Jack Army to fill t
he night with the sounds of AUSTIN IS OUR HERO ~ HE’S SOLID AS A ROCK!
The sheer volume of tributes that have been poured in since the tragic news broke shows just how highly Austin was regarded by all that met him, not just as a player and a professional but also as a man.
Former teammates such as Andy Robinson, Leon Britton and Izzy Iriekpin took to social media to pay their respects and you could just feel the sheer raw emotion behind their words; but it was a tweet from ex-Swan Bryan Wade that really caught my eye and left a lump in my throat. For me, those words from someone that never played with or against Austin sum up the great esteem he was held in throughout the game.
It’s been a tough time for Swans fans recently with Austin’s passing coming so soon after former goalkeeper Dave Stewart was snatched away from us at the age of 71. Stewart was between the sticks for the whole of the Second Division campaign that saw Toshack’s side gloriously promoted to the First Division. Like Stewart, Austin played a significant role in our club’s rise to the top level, albeit in Austin’s case he was at the start of that particular journey rather than at the end. Both players will always have a place in Swansea City history and in Swans fans’ hearts.
On behalf of all at ATFV I’d like to extend deepest condolences to Kevin Austin’s family and friends at this sad time…and I hope that you will all join me in a heartfelt lyrical tribute on the terraces tonight as the match clock strikes 3.