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DO IT FOR BESIAN; COUNTDOWN TO SWANSEA'S WEMBLEY DREAM Striker looks to inspiring older Fans call for play-off tribute to tragic star.


MORE than 2,000 Swansea City fans have joined a Facebook site calling for a tribute to be paid to tragic Swan Besian Idrizaj in the 40th minute of tomorrow's vital Championship play-off final with Reading at Wembley.

Idrizaj, the young Austrian striker Swansea signed from Liverpool, died from heart failure last year aged just 22.

The club dedicated their season to the popular young man's memory and the anniversary of his death came on the day Swansea beat Nottingham Forest to win a place in tomorrow's pounds 90m match for a spot in the Premier League.

The significance of the 40th minute is a nod to Idrizaj's number 40 shirt, which was retired by Swansea following his untimely death.

Swans fan Nate Martin, who started the campaign, said: "This is an idea that has been floating around in memory of Besian.

"In the 40th minute we want all the Swans fans to stand to show appreciation for Besian Idrizaj who passed away last year."

Swans fan Andrew George, who has been monitoring football websites, said: "The word has got to some Reading fans and some of them will join us out of respect... I'll be there at Wembley and I will stand for Besian."

Another Swansea fan, Dai Collins, implored supporters on the Facebook site: "Forty thousand Jacks... all stand up!" And supporter Barrington Miller added: "Everyone, just stand and make a massive noise at the 40th minute."

Idrizaj signed for Liverpool from LASK Linz in the summer of 2005 on a two-year contract, following a trial spell. He was Austria's young player of the year in 2004/05.

Swansea City took him on trial in August 2009 and he signed for the club on August 22, 2009.

He played three games for the Swans during the 2009/10 season when they narrowly missed out of the Football League Championship playoffs.

Idrizaj, whose parents are of Albanian descent, had previously suffered a health scare when he collapsed twice in the space of nine months.

The 6ft 2in attacker collapsed playing for Wacker Innsbruck in a league match against Sturm Graz in February 2008.

He lay unconscious on the pitch for several minutes and was sidelined for a month. It was initially thought he had suffered a heart attack but he was later diagnosed with a virus.

And in a second incident, in November 2008, Idrizaj was rushed to hospital after a trial match with LASK Linz.

Despite the scares Idrizaj recovered and continued with his footballing career. But fans and teammates were left reeling when news broke that he died in his sleep at his family home in Linz, Austria, on May 15, 2010.

Swans skipper Garry Monk said: "You get close to people training and talking with them every day. He was a lovely lad and he'll always be with us in our hearts."

Meanwhile, in Swansea, businesses have been showing their backing for the club's promotion drive.

The Ramada Jarvis hotel in Swansea's Enterprise Zone has risked a pounds 1,000 fine by its parent company for taking down the company flag and putting up a Swansea City flag in its place.

Ian Harding-Jones, the general manager, said: "It will be a big thing for the city of Swansea because the Premier League is shown around the world not just in Britain."

And Swans fans will not go hungry on the way to Wembley with Peter's Pies dishing out thousands of free pies, pasties and sausage rolls to fans boarding coaches in Swansea early on Monday morning.

The Caerphilly-based firm is the club's official pie supplier.

A spokeswoman said: "We want fans to have a good breakfast on the way up."



Besian Idrizaj died from heart failure, aged just 22
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 29, 2011
Next Article:Striker looks to inspiring older brother to keep him grounded.

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