Cardiff City: friend or foe?

We have now had several hundred surveys filled in or returned to us.  Thanks to those who have taken the time to complete the form, even though it does take some time.  Your memories are invaluable to a project such as this and they will be preserved on the site.

One very interesting thing emerging from the surveys is that during the 1950s and 1960s significant numbers of fans from Merthyr, Treorchy, Treherbert, and Aberdare watched the Swans one week and Cardiff City the next.  [In fact, and this might come as a surprise or shock to some, I know a couple of people who still attend the home games of both Cardiff and the Swans.  Between games they receive counselling]  When the two clubs played one another during the 1940s and 1950s, supporters mingled quite freely, and on the North Bank at the Vetch the Bluebirds fans congregated at the ‘town end’.  Although banter and only the occasional left hook was exchanged between the different sets of supporters, there was no full-scale violence of the type that became common place later.

It is possible to date very precisely when ‘aggro’ began to occur between fans of the Swans and Cardiff.  This happened on a large scale in Welsh Cup ties in 1968-9 and 1969-70 when trains and coaches were trashed and full-scale fighting broke out for the first time.  This set a pattern of heightened tension which continues to this day, even though there have been long periods when the two clubs have not actually played one another.  So a couple of questions:

1.  Do you have fathers or grandfathers who used to go to both Ninian Park and the Vetch?

2.  When, if at all, did you first experience violence at Cardiff- Swans games?

Let us know, and tell us your stories.

Some replies from Twitter:

smalclacene: “Thought my dad was only man to have held SCFC and CCFC STs. Then my neighbor admitted the same. Valleys boys, see: confused.”

Steven Carroll: “I’ve heard of someone who’s had seasons for both. Can’t understand it personally.”

There are some more articles about the rivalry here.

6 Comments

Filed under 1940s, 1950s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, fans, Hooliganism, vetch

6 responses to “Cardiff City: friend or foe?

  1. Scott Mackay

    Does your surmised timescale coincide with when Cardiff was made capital? Possibly it was 10 years of brewing “chip on shoulder-ship”?

  2. Martin Johnes

    Cardiff was made capital in 1955 and while the decision was relatively uncontroversial at the time it did lead to a slow-building tension that the city was getting more investment from the government than Swansea. Once the Bay project got going in the 1980s that resentment was probably well founded. BBC Wales tv and radio also gain far more autonomy in the 60s and their apparent preference for their Bluebirds didn’t help either!

  3. Morriston Jack

    I’ve worked in Cardiff for many years, and more recently I have received more grief from ‘them’ than ever experienced before. Not sure any of that was about ‘Chips on Shoulders’ on our part, but unless your talking about Cardiff actually despising us for all manner of reasons, especially our 2nd visit to the ‘Top League’, before they’ve even managed one?

    National press are far more gracious about our rise to the top than Welsh tabloids (Our Evening Post/Swansea Sound excepted)

  4. Pembrokeshire Jack

    I’m not from Swansea and quite frankly it doesn’t matter a jot to me whether or not Cardiff or Swansea is the capital. What I do care about is the absolute evil that has tried to ruin my sport – violence and hooliganism. Having witnessed the evil that is Cardiff City ‘supporters’, on numerous occasions, I have nothing but contempt for them and the club which appears to have done nothing to change this and seems to be very proud of this reputation. We certainly don’t have the same problems at Swansea City FC.

  5. slloydwalton

    The first time we got to the Premiership I used to train in a Swansea top and ran into a lad I knew who came at me with an axe. Proud as punch out running an axe man in my Swansea top. I caught up with him weeks later outside an Indian restaurant. It was a massive upwelling of resentment that Swansea should be the focus of attention. Now here we are again with Cardiff looking for attention in the Carling Cup. To be fair I don’t like Liverpool but Swansea owe that club more success than Cardiff so good luck Liverpool. Toshack was a Cardiff man, would be interesting to hear his thoughts on the matter and whether he now sees Cardiff as a boring side show.

  6. huwswans100

    Thanks MJ. Not sure about your last comment. To be fair to the Western Mail, it is giving a lot of coverage to the Swans, and it is very keen indeed to support this project in any way it can!

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