Monk started his career at Southampton before heading off for pastures new with both Barnsley and more recently Swansea.
And now he will lead his team against his former side tomorrow in a Championship encounter. Incredibly just five years ago Swansea were fighting to save their league status whilst Southampton – just two weeks later – played Arsenal in the FA Cup final – a fact that highlights the difference in fortune between the two sides in that period.
And the decline of Southampton – so long a top flight club – saddens Monk who told the Evening Post “I spent a long time at Southampton and I can’t speak highly enough of the place
“I got my football education at the club and there were some really good players there at the time.
“There were internationals, people who were well known throughout the game, but sadly those sorts of players have moved on now.
“I’ve still got a lot of friends who work at the club and it’s sad seeing what’s happened there.
“Rupert Lowe, the chairman when I was there, is back now, but I don’t think there’s a lot of money there nowadays.
“They were in the top division for 20-odd years, yet I read in the paper the other day that they are only filling half of the stadium at the moment.
“For a club of that stature to be where they are now is sad. I hope they can come back stronger than ever.
“It seemed that every time I got in, we were playing against one of the top sides,” Monk recalls.
“I played against Manchester United, Arsenal, Newcastle and Everton, so I guess I was thrown in at the deep end a little bit.
“We played United and Arsenal in the last week at The Dell and I actually played right-back in both those games.
“I marked Quinton Fortune and then Giggs for the last 20 minutes, then it was Pires against Arsenal.
“Thankfully, we won both the games, because I have some great memories of those times.
“I wasn’t enjoying it at Southampton towards the end,” Monk adds, “and I maybe should have left a year or two before I did.
“I was probably a bit naive back then. When I did play for Southampton I felt I did pretty well and then I found myself back out of the side with more experienced players taking over.
“At the time I was wondering what more I had to do, but I understand all that now.
“I thought about leaving quite a lot but every time I seemed to think ‘Right this is it’, I got thrown back in at Southampton. They would offer me a new contract and I would be on the bench for a few games, then I would be back out in the cold again.”