Lee Trundle : The magician who found a home in Swansea
Tuesday, 2nd Aug 2022 09:00 by Keith Haynes & Colin Wallace
When Lee Trundle signed for Swansea City from Wrexham, and that was nineteen years ago, he, let alone any swans fan could have predicted what an impact he would make at the club. Lee is now forty five, but fifteen years ago today he left Swansea for pastures new. And after such a fantastic time in the city it was indeed a difficult decision.
Had he known of course the pathway the club was on he would have stayed, we all know that. But hindsight is a wonderful thing so Lee left the club for Bristol City, of all clubs ! He left for a transfer fee of around a million pounds, remarkably he had played one hundred and forty six games, scoring seventy eight goals. He was a regular contributor on Soccer Saturday at SKY TV and became a bit of a national name amongst football fans.
His skills on the ball and ridiculous off the cuff control, be that rolling it over his shoulder or tricking his opponent this way and that, swans fans delighted in his attitude and commitment to Swansea City. The fit was almost magical, the bond almost unbreakable. Then he went.
And that was fifteen years ago today.
Lee wrote a parting letter to Swansea City fans. And this is what he said.
Trundle's Open Letter
To all in the Jack Army
IT'S difficult to know whether to laugh or cry at the moment.
In one of the toughest weeks of my life, I've achieved my dream but at the same time had to wave goodbye to another. I've never, ever made a secret of wanting to play at the highest level I can, of wanting to test myself against better players and prove my ability on a bigger stage.
But to do that I've had to leave Swansea City and walk away from a huge part of my life. I started late in my career but I've always had the belief in my ability and felt that one day I could play professional football and perform on a big stage.
I've already done that with Swansea - when I stepped down a division to arrive at the Vetch I knew I was joining a club with the same dreams and ambitions as my own and by and large the move has proved successful for both parties. It was my first time living away. Before then I'd just travelled from my home in Liverpool to play for Wrexham, but moving to Swansea got me immersed in this club.
Living among the fans and speaking to people day-to-day meant I saw just how much it meant to supporters to see the club on the up. I saw the emotion and passion first hand and I couldn't help but get caught up in that. I became part of it. This wasn't just my job, this was so much more than that and I don't think there can be too many relationships like it in football - I think there was a bond, something special.
I couldn't help but fall in love with this club - but this week I had to think about my career. And I don't think many will understand how hard it's been to let that go. Leaving you - the fans - behind was why I spent most of last week agonising over what to do. That's why it was never a straight-down-the-line call - there was so much emotion attached.
But to be a million-pound player when I didn't even turn professional until the age of 24, and to have a chance to play in the Championship was hard to ignore, however strong my feelings for Swansea. I knew this could be my last chance; if I went in a few years would I be able to do myself justice, bearing in mind I'm almost 31 now. Would I ever be able to prove those doubters wrong after all. When the chance of this move came up I knew I could have the platform to silence everyone who said I was a lower-league player and nothing more.
I didn't regret turning Sheffield Wednesday down almost two years ago - I still don't. We were so close to the Championship then I thought I could reach it with Swansea. It wasn't to be and, though I didn't give up, I knew I wasn't getting any younger. Things change quickly in football - I couldn't risk looking back at the end of my career and blaming myself for blowing my big chance.
That's why I still knew I had to go, even when the club offered me more wages to stay. It was never about money. And can I go on the record to say there has been no bad feeling between me and the club over this. There has been no demands, no shouting... just a lot of respect for each other. I can tell you now: Huw Jenkins and Roberto Martinez were both desperate for me to stay, but they knew they couldn't offer the one thing I craved and that was starting the new season as a Championship player. It's still a massive regret I never made it to this level with you - it will be always - but one day Swansea City will be where they deserve to be, and that day will be soon.
There will be some who will want to badmouth me for leaving, for not turning down the chance a second time, but I just hope the majority can remember the good times and appreciate what I've done for the club, like I appreciate what the club has done for me. Whatever the future holds for us both, I know I will always say that I was proud to be a Jack.
Not many players leave a heartfelt message when they leave a club, and even if they do it’s pretty much just a run of the mill adios, but Lee had felt a connection. Only seven goals in his fifty three goals at the robins saw him on the road on loan at Leeds, Preston, Chester and of course back to Swansea for twenty games. Nowadays he plies his trade in the Cymru South division at Ammanford where he continues to destroy teams at random. Since 2019 he has played sixty seven games and scored seventy three goals. It’s an astonishing statistic for a forty five year old footballer.
Lee is now a permanent fixture at the swans, adored by the younger generation who never saw him play, and remembered fondly by those that did.Yes, it’s fifteen years ago today when Lee left Swansea City, he gave it a go but seriously there only has been, and only ever will be one city and one club in his heart.
And that club is Swansea City.
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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