“He signed it on the bonnet of his car, and, in Roberto’s words I was ‘running up the stairs like Linford Christie’"

3 June 2019

Swansea
Photo: Getty Images After 19 years of service, club secretary Jackie Rockey is leaving Swansea City. Her biggest memory was when Swansea was promoted to the Premier League under former manager Brendan Rodgers.

After 19 years of service, club secretary Jackie Rockey is leaving Swansea City.

In a big interview on the Swansea City homepage, she tells a few stories about the big changes the club has gone through.

Kasper Kronenberg kk@offthepitch.com

“It’s so different now to what it was. It was so basic (at the club’s former home, The Vetch). We only had a kettle in the tiniest kitchen you can imagine. We went out and bought a microwave and a toaster – the only problem was we couldn’t use them all at once because it blew the fuses. Jason Smith would come in and reset the fuse box that was based in my office.

“They were the things that made the Vetch the place it was. We all loved the Vetch – it was a special place full of character.

“At the Liberty we have plush hospitality lounges and boxes – it’s really nice. At the Vetch we had Sylvia and Doris in the kitchen. On a match day, Doris would make a giant pot of curry for the board room – it was always curry!”

Chaos for secretaries

Jackie Rockey, club secretary for 19 years at Swansea City, has left the club as agreed 18 months ago. Since then her successor, Ben Greenwood, has worked closely with her in order to be ready for when Rockey is not around any more.

“When I closed the gates at the Vetch for the last time it was emotional, but this is different because my time at the club has come to an end,” said Jackie.

“I said 18 months ago I was finishing on May 31 this year. Ben Greenwood is taking over from me, so he has been with me for the past 18 months learning everything there is to know. It has been a very emotional past few months as the date of retirement approached,” she said.

“I said ‘Ash, sign this because the deadline is almost up.’ He said he needed to speak to his agent, but I explained there was no time and he wasn’t joining unless he did it there and then.

Her tasks covered a wide range of things, including making sure that new players were registered properly.

“Transfer deadline day is my least favourite day in the job. I know fans love it, but it’s chaos for secretaries as you are dealing with players coming in, and then, all of a sudden, there are a few players going out.”

No time

“Ashley Williams almost didn’t join the club! The deadline was at 5pm, and Roberto Martinez said Ash was on his way. It was 4.45pm and there was no sign of Ash. The same at 4.50pm. At 4.55pm I took the paperwork downstairs to reception and Ash pulls into the car park.

“I said ‘Ash, sign this because the deadline is almost up.’ He said he needed to speak to his agent, but I explained there was no time and he wasn’t joining unless he did it there and then.

I’m glad I ran up those stairs! I was called Rockey the Rocket for years after that.

“He signed it on the bonnet of his car, and, in Roberto’s words I was ‘running up the stairs like Linford Christie’ in order to fax the documents over to the Football League in time. It just went through in time. I’m glad I ran up those stairs! I was called Rockey the Rocket for years after that.”

Kenny Jackett and Michael Laudrup

Jackie Rockey has worked with 19 managers in her 19 years with the club.

Including caretaker-managers, the full list includes: John Hollins, Colin Addison, Roger Freestone and Nick Cusack, Brian Flynn, Alan Curtis, Kenny Jackett, Kevin Nugent, Roberto Martinez, Paulo Sousa, Brendan Rodgers, Michael Laudrup, Garry Monk, Francesco Guidolin, Bob Bradley, Paul Clement, Leon Britton, Carlos Carvalhal and Graham Potter.