Swansea a 'special club' says John Hartson

Championship play-off final - Reading v Swansea City

Venue:
Wembley Stadium
Date:
Monday, 30 May
Kick-off:
1500 BST
Coverage:
Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & online, live text commentary online. Live on Sky Sports 1
Leon Britton
Leon Britton celebrates after scoring against Nottingham Forest in the play-off semi-final

Former Wales striker John Hartson says Swansea have exceeded expectations by reaching the Championship play-off final.

Hartson will be among the 40,000 supporters at Monday's game against Reading at Wembley.

And he believes the Swans could survive in the Premier League were they to beat Brian McDermott's side.

"I for one didn't think they would do as well as they've done this year," Hartson said.

"Swansea have had an exceptional season. They are 90 minutes away from creating their own bit of history."

Hartson says promotion to the Premier League would not only benefit the club but also the local community.

"It would be fantastic for the economy and the city of Swansea," added the former Arsenal and Celtic player.

"Swansea would get full houses every week. That would mean the money they'd receive as a club we can bring in a better standard of player.

"Brendan will have money to spend and Swansea's a club that runs in the black anyway. They run a good ship.

Hartson used to watch the Swans with his father from the North Bank at their old Vetch home and says the supporters deserve success.

The Welsh club came close to dropping out of the Football League in 2003 and victory against Hull City on the final day preserved their league status.

"It would mean everything to the support," said Hartson. "They've been through the doldrums.

"They were one game away from going out of the Football League and there will be people at Wembley that were there that day at the Vetch field.

"It's a special club and for me it would mean an awful lot to the people of Swansea if we were to go and play in the Premier League.

"Let's just get there. Don't worry about staying there for a year and coming down. Let's go and have a taste of it.

"Look at Blackpool this season, they've enjoyed themselves.

"Financial wise the club will be so much better off having gone up, even if they come straight back down.

"I genuinely believe that if we go up I think we're good enough.

"With the guidance of Brendan Rodgers and his contacts and the way he likes to play, I think we'd survive in the Premier League.

"Brendan's done such a fine job there. He's pulled up trees this season and hasn't spent an awful lot of money [and] he's brought in players that have made a real difference

"I'm sure Monday will be a spectacular day for everybody, irrespective of the result.

"But of course you've come this far and I'm sure that the players and Brendan and all the supporters just want to get the win under our belts to take us to the highest level.

"I've played in plenty of cup finals myself and a lot of it's on the day, I think form goes out of the window.

"Reading are a strong side. Shane Long, who plays up front is a very good player [and] they've got good strong runners from midfield.

"It's not going to be easy and we will have to be at our best to win."

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