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What an absolute honour : King Curt is an MBE.
Thursday, 31st Dec 2020 11:00 by Keith Haynes

It has been announced that Alan Curtis has been awarded an MBE for services to Welsh football. Today we have a look at Alan Curtis, the player and from my perspective a personal view on him as a person. When you think it has taken this long for him to be awarded an honour like this it makes it that much more sweet to taste. Alan Curtis MBE. It has a certain ring to it, does it not ?

Let’s start as Curt reflects on his first experiences at Swansea
Following in his uncle Roy Paul’s footsteps, Curtis joined the Swans as a professional aged 18 after impressing in a successful trial match between Mid Glamorgan versus West Glamorgan After completing his A Levels in economics and history, the classroom was ditched for the changing room as Curtis took in his first pre-season with the first team. And so came the first sight of Curtis gracing the Swans shirt, even though they got off to a bumpy start. “We were relegated in my first season – I didn’t play much of a part that year - and then Harry Griffiths took over and he was the catalyst just like Roberto Martinez was for changing things around. “Harry talked about the Swansea Way back then, and we had local lads coming through like Robbie James, Jeremy Charles, Nigel Stevenson, Wyndham Evans and myself. “He encouraged us to play football and we revelled in it.“I played with no fear but it was a big learning curve in professional football. You can’t prepare for the physical side of things. I look back at those days with great affection because I met some great characters and it prepared for me for the rest of my career.”

A magical spell was around the corner, with John Toshack guiding Swansea to three promotions in four seasons en route to that 1981 triumph over Leeds.


The magical Toshack era

For a while it seemed Toshack's team would do the unthinkable and win the Football League title, only for a springtime dip in form to see them finish sixth. "We were a tight changing room," Curtis recalls."The likes of Wyndham Evans, Nigel Stevenson, Jeremy Charles, Robbie James - we all grew up together and enjoyed that fantastic run."


That day back in 1981, Swansea City 5 Leeds United 1

I was there when Robbie died
Curtis picks out Robbie James as the finest he played with. "Robbie's best position was midfield but you could stick him at full-back, centre-back, up front - you could literally play him anywhere," he says. Curtis was present in 1998 when James, by then player-manager of Llanelli, collapsed and died during a game aged just 40. "I can visualise it now, him going down," he says. "Harry Griffiths had done all the jobs at the club and I'm sure if he'd been alive, Robbie would have followed that path like me. "What happened was tragic. His legacy is what a fantastic player and person he was."


The finest player Curt ever played with, Robbie James

A snapshot
Alan Thomas Curtis MBE born on the 16th April 1954 is currently the honorary club president of Swansea City. That in itself is an honour for Alan. He began his career with Swansea City in 1972, and spent the next seven years with the "Swans", winning promotion out of the Fourth Division in 1977–78 and out of the Third Division in 1978–79. He was then sold on to Leeds United, but struggled in the First Division and was sold back to Swansea in 1980. He helped Swansea to win promotion out of the Second Division in 1980–81, but a period of decline for the club followed and he moved on to Southampton in November 1983. He played on loan at Stoke City towards the end of the 1985–86 season, before he joined Cardiff City in the summer. He helped then to win promotion out of the Fourth Division in 1987–88 and to also win the Welsh Cup in 1988. He made another return to Swansea during the 1989–90 campaign, and later ended his career with Barry Town, winning the Welsh Cup in 1994. Playing in thirty five games for Wales Alan, the boy from Pentre, Rhonda and his wife Pauline, whom he married in 1974 are a family forever associated with Welsh football.


Curt in the dirt, as we remember him in that fantastic Swans strip


Fighting for the shirt, our Curt

Curt on his MBE
After a career in the game spanning nearly 50 years, Curtis is set to be recognised for his sterling contributions to Welsh football in the New Year's honours list. While he also played for Leeds United, Stoke City and Southampton, it's Swansea where his heart is.“ I am really proud to accept the honour. I knew about it a month ago and the difficulty has been to keep it a secret” Humble as ever, now people do say Alan Curtis is a good bloke, a nice chap etc. One of the loveliest men in the game. Well, I can confirm that. Way, way back around seven years ago Alan Curtis stood alongside me at a book launch for my second book on the remarkable rise of the club to the premier league. Colin Pascoe had also come down, it was an honour, Alan stood there with me for three hours signing books, generally chatting and being the man he is, helpful, thoughtful and kind. He didn’t have to do it, there was no reason to do so. He just did it, it was an act of kindness and generosity that will stay with me forever. Both Alan and Colin that day were elevated way above the levels many of the footballers I have met in a long career of football writing. It was very humbling.

Curt’s memories
The best games in my career came against Preston and Leeds. I’d not had the best of times at Leeds, so to come back to Swansea and score in the opening game against them was special for me. We led the table at some points during that season, and in hindsight, we could have won it. But the period of going from the Fourth Division to the First Division was the best time of my career. It was a fantastic journey.

However, when all is said and done, the remarkable life in sport for Alan continues, okay he can enjoy Christmas Day with the family these days, no more cold mornings on the training ground. For Alan though it’s about Swansea City, on receiving his honour he thought not of himself but of his parents and of how proud they would be. When he was seriously not sure about continuing at the club he thought of the fans and buckled down and did what was expected of him. There have been many times when football has kicked Alan in the face, he returns smiling, undaunted and with a belief that today and tomorrow will be better. It was a pleasure to spend the times I have with him, his bright sparkling blue eyes and calm, gentle voice capturing his football memories perfectly. Alan Curtis MBE, what an absolute honour sir.

Swansea Independent Gallery


Smiling, winning and in a swans shirt, Alan Curtis MBE


Roy Paul, Alan’s uncle and hero


Getting in some practice at Swansea Uni


Alan Curtis MBE, tea, no sugar, white

What are your special memories of Alan Curtis ?
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Catullus added 11:37 - Dec 31
So many memories from him ripping Trevor Cherry apart to him taking training sessions with Mumbles Rangers and none of us realising how hard we had worked until we hit the showers, utterly exhausted.
Nobody in Welsh football is more deserving of this than King Curt, a fantatsic player, a true gentleman and a complete legend.
1

NotLoyal added 11:59 - Dec 31
Absolutely and spot on. Every club has one, and Curtis is it.
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