So, the time has finally come as Swansea City fans gather up their scarves and hats, don their new shirts, check their sat navs and AA Road planners, pick out their toilet stops and plan their trip to Manchester City and a journey to the Etihad Stadium.
For the converted, a four and a half hour drive is in order from Swansea as a convoy of 2,500 fans make the trip north from South Wales to face Roberto Mancini’s ‘fantasy’ football side on Monday night.
For most, the excitement is tinged with extreme tension. Swansea’s game is being broadcast live on Sky Sports, the nation will be watching. Panellists will study our squad, our formation, our line up and make their own opinions as to our strengths and weaknesses.
City are sure to blood their new signing, £32m man Sergio Aguero from Argentina will surely lead the line, while the giant Yaya Toure is sure to take up his position in midfield. The guile and craft of David Silva is a worry for any side, let alone one which is newly promoted, while of course Carlos Tevez could also make an appearance.
Can the Swans pull off a shock? How will 5ft 5 Leon Britton shackle the 6”3 Yaya Toure? Will Ashley Williams cope with Balotelli? Will Alan Tate stay on the pitch? Can we hold for a draw? Or are the Jacks in for a long and extremely unpleasant long drive back to Wales?
We have a few crumbs of comfort to take into the game. Manager Brendan Rogers has managed to bring in a few new faces during the summer. Steve Caulker has arrived from Spurs to strengthen the back four, England under-21 internationals Wayne Routledge and Leroy Lita have been brought in from Newcastle and Middlesbrough, while last seasons top goalscorer in the Championship Danny Graham will lead the line.
Two confident pre season performances have yielded two impressive wins, against Celtic 2-0 and Real Betis 1-0, and for Swans fans there is plenty of optimism.
We’ve played some great football to get to where we are now. Games at the Liberty are great fun to watch. We have two flying wingers in Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer who have the one essential ingredient of football, pace.
The pass and move ethic, founded under the leadership of Roberto Martinez is still ingrained in the squad.
We have no real need to fear Man City. Yes we have a smaller squad, yes we are the perennial underdogs, but defeat would not be the end of the world. The club has plenty of things going for it.
I’d still be a happy man driving back down the motorway, a heavy defeat would surely have a dampening effect for an hour or two I admit, but even a loss would not stop a small smile from breaking out as we pass our capital city.
The Swans have done it, we’re there. We’ve reached the holy grail of UK football.
Yes, we could be in for a long hard season, but as with Blackpool last year, it should make for a very enjoyable, if not bumpy ride, and this is one rollercoaster every Swans fan will want to enjoy for years to come.
I for one, am buying a ticket.
David Jones is an article on writer on www.onlinebookmakers.co.uk, a bet365 free bets directory.