Do you remember the club shop at the Vetch?
It was tiny, little more than a converted front room in a terraced house. And on a Saturday afternoon it would be jam packed with fans trying to part with some money and not always succeeding. If you wanted to browse the limited stock you had to get there early or go mid week. If you did go when there wasn’t a game on, you might see a player or even get served by one. I saw Cyril the Swan in there once too.
It’s not clear when it opened but in 1971 the material on sale was very meagre.
The small size and being located in a side street and opposite a busy pub weren’t exactly good for business and the match programme for the Swans’ first game in Division 1 told fans that they had to ask the police to be let through the barriers if they wanted to buy something.
That year (1981) the club were selling seven types of scarves, ranging from a ‘silk’ one saying “Up, up and away Swans” for £1.20, to a ladies headscarf for £3.50. There were lots of types of pens too and a car sun visor for £1.60. Adult replica shirts were £11.64, which today would be about £35 once inflation is taken into account. The club was also selling men’s tracksuits at £30.99, which today would work out at about £93. Who said football was cheap in the past! I suspect the club must have sold many more of the 64p rulers that imaginatively declared “Swans rule OK”.
The merchandise available varied over the years in quality and quantity but by the 1990s visiting the shops of other lower league clubs when we played them away made you realise how far behind the times we were falling.
The club shop was as far from the Liberty’s superstore as a corner shop is to Tescos but it was all part of the charm of the Vetch.
Some responses from the fans:
“Do you remember the old club shop?” Oh Yes, more than 7 people in there, jam packed! #jackmemories” Neil
“I only lived a few doors away on William st, and used to go and buy random bundles of programmes for £1 and pennants.” William Grove.
“Dad’s ‘football in the community’ office was upstairs…” Ian Curtis
“Memories of the mountain of pointless match day programmes for sale QPR v Barnsley in old div 2! Got loads in attic!” Dean Daniel
“It was classic and iconic -forget your modern day superstores. Was it Myra who worked there, the old girl? #clubshopisahouse” Jacs y Gogledd
“Myra we loved you. What about the programme shop down the corridor?” Richard Bailey
“Yeah but no matter how many was in there, good old Maria sorted the tickets out no fuss
#fablady” Robert Day
“Wow those were the days! Buying tickets,programmes and a few replica shirts in the little old box room!
#goodtimes” Jason Evans
“Did 6th form work experience in the ‘commercial dept’. There was a huge mushroom up in a corner of the back room ceiling!” Nick Clark