Author Archives: HanesCymru

About HanesCymru

I teach history at Swansea University.

Swansea Town v Cardiff City 1969 Welsh Cup Final

BY MARK CAREY

22 April 1969, 1st leg, Vetch Field

Swansea Town 1-3 Cardiff City

Swansea goal: Herbie Williams       Cardiff goals: John Toshack (2), Mel Nurse (og)
Attendance: 10,207

Swansea Town’s bid to re-enter the European Cup Winners’ Cup suffered a huge setback as they were comfortably beaten by a strong Cardiff City side. ‘City slickers give Swansea a roasting’ was the title of the article in the Evening Post, with the reporter saying ‘Cardiff went about their task with the thoroughness of a demolition squad’. Cardiff won the game within the first half going into the break 3-0 up. City gave the shaky Swansea defence a battering, whilst they were sound in every department. The away side scored their first two goals within the opening 20 minutes, a 20-year old John Toshack heading into the net off a Frank Sharp delivery. The second came through unfortunate circumstances when Swans captain Mel Nurse bundled the ball into his own net. Toshack then found the net again for Cardiff’s third, another headed effort this time coming off a Don Murray free kick.

Swansea’s performance was far from their best. The only real threat was coming from Brian Evans. Evans was lively upfront forcing Cardiff goalkeeper Dai Davies to make a fine save before later striking the bar. It was Evans who laid on a sublime ball to Herbie Williams as he snatched a consolation goal for the Swans on the 50th minute.

The game will unfortunately be remembered by many for the wrong reasons due to the actions of jubilant Cardiff City fans after the game. Celebrations got out of hand during the train journey home, when a number fans destroyed a carriage on the 9.20 train from Swansea to Bristol. Windows were smashed, seats slashed, lampshades wrecked and fire extinguishers and buckets were thrown onto the track. The train was delayed by 50 minutes due to Cardiff supporters pulling the emergency cord a total of 10 times. The police boarded the train at Bridgend and a police dog was used to subdue the hooligans.

A British railway spokesman expressed his disappointment in the behaviour of the Cardiff fans saying ‘up until the present this has not been a problem in south Wales’. The carriage that was damaged was put out of service indefinitely. Many people regard this as one of the starting points to the fierce rivalry between the two clubs we now see today.

29 April 1969, 2nd Leg, Ninian Park

Cardiff City 2-0 Swansea Town
Attendance 12,617

Goals: Toshack, Lea

Swansea City put in a brave performance in the second leg; however the difference between the two sides was one man. John Toshack. Swansea matched Cardiff’s superior skill and know-how with courage and determination. They may have even taken the lead if only the ball fell kindlier for their forwards. All of Swansea’s hard work was undone by a John Toshack header on the 33rd minute. There was of course still hope as the tie was decided on points rather than goals, and the Swans pressed hard for an equaliser with Brian Grey and Willie Screen having their chances blocked by the battling Cardiff defence.

The tie was decided with Toshack again playing a role in the goal, heading forward for Leslie Lea to smash home from close range leaving Swans goalkeeper Mike Hayes with no chance. Swansea did have one glorious opportunity to pull one back with Evans rounding the defence and with only Davies to beat he pulled his shot across the goal mouth and out for a goal kick. A special mention was given in the press’ reports to a young Carl Slee who was handed the audacious task of marking Toshack and performed his job admirably.

Just as the previous match, violence erupted after the game. Cardiff City fans attacked two of the coaches carrying Swansea fans back home. Causing £150 worth of damage to the first coach smashing the windows and denting the sides, the hooligans were said to be throwing anything they could get their hands on from bricks to milk bottles from front door steps. The police were immediately called by the driver and order was restored. The other coach in question was damaged during the game. The owner of the coach company Mr Trevor Toms was quoted saying ‘it was the worst trouble his company have had in 20 years of transporting Swans fans across the country’.

Team Line ups (unchanged for both games)

Swansea – Hayes, Lawrence, Gomersall, Slee, Nurse (c), Hughes, Grey, Thomas,  H Williams, A Williams, Evans

Cardiff- Davies, Derrett, Carver, King, Murray, Harris, Sharp, Clark, Lea, Toshack, Jones

Referee- L Callaghan (for both ties)

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Gillingham v Swansea City, 12 April 2008

Gillingham v Swansea City, 12 April 2008

By Daniel Brown

Guillem Bauza wrote his name in Swansea City folklore as his quick fire brace just before half-time sealed promotion to the Championship for the Swans. The Jack Army were in a jubilant mood after the game where 1,500 fans made the five hour journey to Kent. For those who could not get their hands on a ticket, Swansea Cityopened its stadium to allow around 2,000 Jacks a chance to witness Roberto Martinez’s men reach the Championship. The win not only took Swansea into the second tier of the league system for the first time in 24 years but also set a club record of 86 points, beating the 85 of John Hollins’ 1999-2000 side.

The away stand failed to provide a roof for the Swans fans and prior to kick-off April showers lashed down on the supporters. The atmosphere that was generated though was electric. The Evening Post described it as a ‘Wall of noise’. The fans, wearing thin, yellow macs to stay dry, were determined to not allow the rain to dampen their spirits. The Post believed had it been a covered stand ‘ears might well have been bleeding’.

Though it seemed Gillingham had not read the script, especially ex-Swan Dennis Oli, who gave the Gills a 22nd minute lead. A tense cloud hovered over the Swansea supporters – both atKent and back at home. Though in every important match, there is always a hero, andSwanseaCity found one in Guillem Bauza.

The Spaniard first bundled in a goal after Andy Robinson’s shot, and then fired his second across the Gillingham goal-keeper from an acute angle. The Swansea fans had barely finished celebrating Bauza’s first goal when the striker gave the Swans the lead, and it would seem the away stand was about to collapse with the sheer bouncing, that was only supported by scaffolding.

This was hardly a stylish performance that the Swans had produced for much of the season, but Swansea laboured their way to victory behind a chorus of Bread of Heaven and Hymns and Arias. Life-long Swans fans, Tony Christie claimed it was ‘one of the best days ever in football, alongside when we were promoted to the Old First Division’. For all fans connected, this truly was a special day in the history of Swansea City.

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Lee Trundle

By Rhys Buckney

When you talk about legends at a club, they normally display loyalty, outstanding quality and a connection with the fans, Lee Trundle had all of this and more. He was an icon, the first of its kind in these parts, especially for a kid who grew up in the 1990’s when supporting the Swans wasn’t as popular as it has become with success. We were brought up on stories of Alan Curtis and Ivor Allchurch, but had experienced a distinct lack of anyone who had this sort of hero worship amongst fans. Then ‘magic daps’ arrived.

There was an air of optimism surrounding pre-season, we had just stayed up on the final day on the previous season in that unforgettable thriller against Hull, and done it playing some fantastic attacking football. Brian Flynn would implement this style by bringing in youngsters such as Leon Britton and Alan Tate who are still club heroes, and more experienced heads like Roberto Martinez, who would become a future manager and later, a figure of much controversy. Trundle had played under Flynn at Wrexham and despite him celebrating a promotion to Division 2 (League 1), he took the gamble to move to South Wales to link up with him again in a move that would change Swansea City forever.

Embed from Getty Images

He started relatively slow for someone who would soon earn and give credit to the loving nickname ‘magic daps’, bagging a rare header against Bury in a 4-2 win. He really announced himself onto the stage though in a following match against Cheltenham. We were losing 3-1, when suddenly the match became the Lee Trundle show grabbing himself a second half hat-trick. Many players in circumstances such as this throw the old cliché ‘there’s more to come’, and having suffered as a Swans fan you’d be forgiven for taking this with a pinch of salt, but he was a man of his word.

Embed from Getty Images

Trundlemania would soon sweep Swansea taking us on a cup run to the 5th round including a thrilling 2-1 win against Preston North End in which of course he claimed the winner. A season of highlights saw him propelled into the spotlight through Soccer AM who took note of his enigmatic skills after the audacious shoulder roll against Huddersfield Town which saw Peter Jackson lose his cool and the plot. Although promotion wasn’t achieved, our new hero had truly arrived. Following seasons would see him sign an image deal with the Swans because over 60% of our sales were Trundle merchandise and his own LT10 clothing line.

Having turned down the opportunity previously to join Sheffield Wednesday when subject of a £750,000 bid, he needed to grab his chance.Bristolcame in with a record £1,000,000 bid for our star striker, who left with a heavy heart, but for the right reasons. He didn’t leave for the money, he left to try himself as high as he possibly could, and nobody could deny him that right.

The move didn’t work out, and he finds himself living locally now, a true testament to a man who was as much of a jack as anybody born in the city. For it was not just the goals, it was everything, it was him. He made time for all the fans, regardless of age, suddenly young boys in Swansea were getting the ‘Lee Trundle haircut’, wearing his boots, and even his signature wrist sweatbands. He was an icon in every sense of the word.

He bonded with the fans, and would have not been out of place if thrown in the North Bank. Stories circulated about him doing this good deed or that, and I personally witnessed him turning up to Ashleigh Road playing fields randomly alone to have a kick around with the children who were playing football there. The matches being played suddenly became a sideshow. He was never too busy for the fan, and his autobiography expresses all this and more.

For me, Lee Trundle will always be the very best, he propelled us to where we are now, yes he missed out on the last ride, but he began it all, without him, we could easily be languishing in League 2. A true Swansea hero.

 Back to Fans on Players

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For the good of Wales?

There was a time when Cardiff City’s owner thought Swans’ fans should get behind Cardiff City for the good of Welsh football.  It did not go down well and contributed to more than a fair amount of abuse heading the way of the Cardiff City owner. Here’s the report on the issue from the Western Mail.

When the Swans got promoted no one asked Cardiff fans to support us and their reaction to being confirmed as Wales’ second team has not always been very positive.

Western Mail, 16 May 2003 

Mixed Swans response to Sam’s call

SAM HAMMAM’S call for people across Wales to get behind Cardiff City’s promotion bid has received a mixed response in Swansea.

The charismatic Cardiff owner believes the Welsh nation should be solidly behind the Bluebirds’ push for a Premiership place to aid Welsh soccer.

But John Lewis, landlord of the Clarence Inn in Swansea’s William Street, just a stone’s throw from the Vetch Field, says his regulars think differently.

He said, “If I’m honest, I think it would be a good thing for the whole of Welsh soccer to haveCardiffup in the Premiership.

“But I’m afraid none of my customers would agree with me. They only support one team in here and that’s Swansea City.”

Long-term Swansea fan and now club director David Morgan agreed, saying, “I’m afraid Swansea and Cardiff are two different cities and two different regions.

“Why does Sam Hammam think his team and his vision of a glorious future have a God-given right to be supported by everyone inWales?

“It was very gratifying to get goodwill messages from individual Cardiff fans when Swansea were fighting for survival. But there was nothing from the club officially – it was down to some of the fans on the terraces who sent us messages over the internet or on phone-ins.”

Eileen Walton, secretary of the Swansea Civic Society, said she would rather see people supporting The Swans, but there was some support last night to backCardiffin a one-off game.

John Button, secretary of the Swansea City Supporters’ Club, said, “Maybe, for this one match, the football supporters of Wales could get behind Cardiff.

“I think most Swansea fans would wish them well and, personally, I would hope they do well.

“We only have three Football League teams in Wales and we very nearly lost our status this season, so the more success we can have the better. If Cardiff do well it will give everyone something to aim for.”

But Button admitted that not all Swans fans would share his view and a strong contingent would be hoping for aCardiffdefeat at the Millennium Stadium on May 25.

“There is such a tremendous amount of rivalry, but I think the genuine football fan would want to see them win.

“We haven’t played them in the league for a few years now, but I think there’s a love-hate relationship there really.

“I’ll bet there were some hopingBristolCityhad won this week, but I think mostSwanseafans would wish them well.”

From the very start of his reign at Ninian Park three years ago, Hammam has pleaded with Swans fans to join him in his quest for Premiership football in Wales.

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“Jack Army Collection: Style + Hard + Cool = Beer + Football + Chicks”

Click to enlarge

Before it became purchase to buy replica shirts and official merchandise in the 1980s, fans used to make their own ways of displaying support for the Swans.  As far back as the 1920s, this involved making ‘favours’ (rosettes or ribbons) or even wearing leeks.

We’ve had one home-made rosette from the 1960s donated to the project. It’s a little faded but it was very carefully made, perhaps with some help from Mum for the embroidery? Mothers, grandmothers and aunties were also employed into knitting many a black and white scarf.

Even after official merchandise became available, fans liked to make their own and the development of cheap printing for t-shirts allowed the imagination to be set free.  Many t-shirts took on the style of concert tour shirts, listing the away games that the Jack Army was visiting in their annual tour of English football grounds.

These t-shirts were all part of the close links that developed in the 1980s between fashion and following football. Labels mattered, being cool mattered, wearing the right gear mattered. Sometimes this  was a little tongue in cheek but sometimes it was deadly serious.

Here’s a great ad for T-shirts from the Love, Peace and Swansea City fanzine, issue 6 May 1993.

 

 

 

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Every now and then, for no particular reason at all, I break into that ‘Super Johnny Cornforth’ chant

I was fortunate enough to live in Swansea for a very brief time. The terraces at the Vetch were part of my initiation in Welsh sporting culture. The bleak, sodden midweek matches which invariably ended as scoreless draws were my favourites.

The rain which sleeted down in horizontal chunks, the tepid black stuff that masqueraded as coffee at half-time, feeling sorry for the guys in the prison, Roger Freestone’s heroics and the undying dedication of the hard-core Swannies are memories indelibly forged in my heart.

Every now and then, for no particular reason at all, I break into that ‘Super Johnny Cornforth’ chant.

Janine Stephenson
Port Macquarie, New South Wales Australia.

Letter to Evening Post, Farewell to the Vetch supplement, 21 March 2005.

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Players’ memories of the Vetch

It’s a fantastic place to be, especially when you are part of a winning team. When the crowd gets behind you it’s a wonderful atmosphere. It’s probably even better in evening games. The crowd is almost on top of you and you can almost hear someone ordering his pasty and tea. It has that kind of aura about it and teams do get intimidated when they come to the Vetch. [Colin Pascoe]

Night games hold it apart from any other ground. The atmosphere was always fantastic. Scoring at the Vetch was special. The fans on the North Bank always rushed forward and that was an unbelievable feeling. [John Williams]

As soon as you go out there the first thing you see is the fans on the North Bank. When it’s packed it’s an unbelievable feeling. [Lee Trundle]

It’s a hostile atmosphere. I have experienced both sides of it and I can guarantee it’s better to be a home player. [Roberto Martinez]

As a winger there is no better feeling than running down the flank in front of the North Bank. [Brad Maylett]

I spent many years on the gantry above the North Bank doing commentary. With the wind coming off the sea, it’s got to  be the coldest place on earth. I won’t miss that. [Dai Davies]

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When Charlo scored it was relief all round!

Preston 1981

By Huw Cooze

I’ve seen many, many games in my 40 odd years following the Swans, none more intense than Preston in 1981. We left the Millers Arms in Ynystawe early in a convoy of six cars, but by the time we reached the M4 just a mile away the convoy had split up.

Despite passing hordes of the Jack Army making their way to Deepdale, we never saw any of our lot again until we hit a pub on the outskirts of Preston. It had not been planned and without the aid of mobile phones it was quite uncanny that all six cars stopped in the same pub. Great minds think alike.

The game itself passed me by although I seem to remember a group of about 50 Blackburn Rovers supporters to our left who had come over to support their Lancashire neighbours hoping for a Preston victory in order for Blackburn to pip us at the post. Why they weren’t at Bristol Rovers supporting their own team was beyond me.

They had something to cheer when Preston pulled one back and news filtered through that Blackburn were winning at Eastville but we were still 2-1 up at this stage as I took leave and went to the toilet.

From my position behind the goal it took quite a while to push through the crowd. The toilets were located to the rear of the stand. There were many grown men there pacing nervously like expectant dads in a maternity ward. They were unable to watch the end of the game. Everyone knew that if Preston scored Blackburn would be promoted and not us.

I got back to my place just in time to see Jeremy Charles score our third goal and seal our place in history. That was the signal for all those ‘expectant dads’ to rush back to the stands to join in the celebrations. Happy days…

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Ivor Allchurch

Open days 16 Sept002Extract from Percy Young, Football Year (1958), describing the writer’s first trip to a Swansea match. He had never seen Ivor play before, although he maintained he was not simply there to see the Swans star.

Within three minutes of the whistle there was a goal. It was Allchurch’s goal. More than that it was the first goal of the new year in the Football League, the start of the battle being set half-an-hour in advance of any other on the same day. With expectations previously aroused, and the circumstances of the goal as they were, it was clear that our hero was peerless. The papers were correct. Allchurch was the finest inside forward in the game. We were at one with our neighbours in the stand – excepting some who came from Newport and illogically supported West Ham. The calmer afterthoughts of half-time, however, brought to mind the close relationship between the miraculous and the merely fortuitous.

It had been this way. Allchurch receiving the ball just beyond the half-way line veered north-eastward, feinting the while. Ten yards from the corner flag the position was without hope. A posse of defenders harassed, and to contrive a neat, carefully pointed pass appeared as impossible as to outwit, single-footed, so many claret-coloured men, whose vigour at least could earn no reproach. Suddenly the right foot was swung. The ball lifted and, wind-swept, went directly and certainly into the distant net.

Was it the single, unmistakable sign of genius, or was it that a speculative ball meant for a hesitant colleague at centre-forward, or for the admirably adventurous Mervyn Charles, marauding to purpose from wing-half, had missed its intention? The answer lies elsewhere and will never, perhaps, be known.

You can read Ivor’s obituary from The Independent here.

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Remember Walter Boyd?

There are players you remember because they were great and there are players you remember because they were rubbish. Then there are the players who we remember because they were different. Walter Boyd was one of those.

Embed from Getty Images

He joined Swansea in 1999 in something of a blaze of publicity. There were claims we had signed a player way above our basement-division station and that he was cult hero in his native Jamaica. More verifiable was the fact he’d made three substitute appearances in the 1998 World Cup and his 30 odd international goals (although the papers didn’t agree quite how many he’d scored).

He was given the number 35 shirt because this was the number of goals he was aiming to score, a figure that would equal the club record held by Cyril Pearce, a player better known to most of us for giving his name to our then new mascot.  Few believed the hype. We’d heard all before and it was coming from a team of directors who were not exactly trusted or flavour of the month.

Boyd made his debut against Rotherham in a cold evening game and scored twice in a 2-0 win. The first was a straight forward affair but the second was a long range curler into the top corner.  Or at least that’s how it looked from the far end of the North Bank. It seemed as though the Messiah had arrived, even if he did look rather bewildered by where he’d ended up.

A few more followed in subsequent games but then straight after coming on as a sub against Darlington he elbowed someone before play had even resumed. He’d been on the pitch for a matter of seconds and there was talk that it was the fastest red card ever.

After that things went into decline. The team was doing well, grinding out the load of 1-0 wins that would eventually bring the title but Boyd seemed to find life in Division Three difficult. To fans it seemed as if Boyd was not quite part of the team and sometimes not quite part of the match. He often seemed to be watching play going on around him.

But Boyd was more memorable for the debates about race he started.  His colour was inescapable and his nickname back home was apparently Blacka Pearl. He wasn’t the first black player to turn out for the Swans but he must have been the first black player who wasn’t from the UK.  Mike Lewis, the club’s general manager, even claimed that Boyd’s arrival could help solve some of the problems with racism that the club was experiencing from a few supporters.

On his debut the old boy who stood next to me on the North Bank jokingly said that should the floodlights fail we would only be able to see Walter’s eyes. This was a joke but some got quite uncomfortable with the way their mates spoke about Boyd. There was a lot of talk that he couldn’t hack a Welsh winter. That was an old cliché that was applied to black players throughout the 70s and 80s and it was often held up to be an example of racial stereotyping. But in Walter’s case it seemed to be true and he even said so in the press himself. But that didn’t stop talk in the pubs and online about whether the comments about Boyd were just because of the colour of the skin. Furthermore, some people weren’t sure whether to call him black or coloured. Quite simply, his presence created debates about what racism was.

Things weren’t made any more comfortable by fans from Jamaica going online and writing defences of Boyd in what seemed to be a parody of Caribbean speech. Perhaps they were genuine, perhaps they were wind ups. It was impossible to tell but they were replicated by Swans supporters unimpressed with Boyd and the team in general.

Boyd ended up being somewhat peripheral to the team’s success in winning the league that year. Being less effective up front than Julian Alsop or Steve Watkin didn’t quite match what we were told to expect when he arrived.  The next season he was injured a lot of the time and the team got relegated.  He only scored three goals that season and no one was surprised or too sorry to see him go.  But Walter still deserves his place in Swansea City history. There aren’t many players in the club’s history who suddenly won us a following in Jamaica.

Martin Johnes

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Training 1920s-style

In the 1920s training wasn’t quite what it is today. A series of different baths was considered excellent preparation for a cup tie, as this 1926 Evening Post cartoon shows. Click on it to enlarge.

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The Club Shop

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.

club shop 1971

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

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It is easier to get into the Kingdom of Heaven than into the dressing rooms

It was the first time I had ever been on the Swansea ground, which, I learned, was called the Vetch Field, but it might just as appropriately been styled the Cabbage Patch – for cabbages were just as plentiful as Vetches. Along one side of the field runs a covered stand, but that was all the covering, for on the opposite side and behind each goal is a mound – the only ground I know which boasts three spion kops. The turf is usually on the heavy side, but the greatest handicaps to the visitors are railings close to the touch-line which keep off the spectators, and the dip on the right wing at each end, which undoubtedly favours the home side, for they know where it is, and therefore do not have to look for it. As regards the dressing rooms, they are under the grand stand, and approached by a subterranean passage lit by lamps, but it is easier to get into the Kingdom of Heaven than into the dressing rooms, during the interval, unless you are a director. I tried to get through with a message from Joe Harris to his old colleague, Brown, who used to play for the City, but was rigorously turned back, whereat I smiled, and the smile broadened when Swansea’s 12th man for the day told me that even he was not allowed in the dressing room that day.

Bristol Sports News, 1922.

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Some ‘Don’ts’ for players, directors & fans from 1912

This is the advice The Cambrian newspaper (13 September 1912) gave to the new Swansea Town when reporting the club’s first ever match.  Somethings don’t change much!

To players

Don’t lose your temper; loss of temper means loss of form, and sometimes the match.

Don’t play to the gallery. Goals count, not pattern weaving.

To Directors

Don’t be too hasty in putting up prices. It often cuts down the average attendance.

Don’t forget that players are human beings, not machines.

To Spectators

Don’t think your team is the only one that can play a clever game. There are others.

Don’t desert your team when they strike a bad match. That’s when they want your encouragement most.

Don’t blame the referee for your defeats. Take them as men.

Don’t go to see one team play. It takes two sides to provide your sport. Give them both a share of your cheering.

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New story added

“I really wanted that scarf”

A new story has been added to the archive about Swans v Man City 1983

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First season losses but ‘clean and scientific Soccer’

In the club’s first season it made a loss of £44, 8 shillings and 2 pence. The directors were still upbeat though and noted that the season’s four biggest games had been hit by bad weather and that the new club was operating in a rugby stronghold. They reported that the team had ‘provided the spectators with such clean and scientific Soccer that success was practically assured from the first match’.

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Players Revolt

In 1927 the whole of Swansea Town first-team refused to sign new contracts after the directors tried to lower their wages by a pound a week and make up for it by a bonus scheme based on the number of games played.

The players said they were objecting to the financial harm they would suffer if they were injured. They also claimed they did not mind if they suffered financially through losing their first-team place because of form, although this was probably a sensible public statement to ensure they did not lose popular sympathy.

In an act of solidarity, the first-team players who the change did not affect, because they were already on lower wages, also refused to re-sign. The players seem to have chosen their moment carefully, making their decision the week before the club was due to leave for a tour of Portugal and Spain.

Yet, despite the strong position the players’ collective action put them in, they failed to secure what they wanted. The next day it was reported that many of players had signed, although it was unclear on what terms. By the following day only two players had not agreed terms.  The club had held out and won. Once some of the players had broken ranks and signed, the others were vulnerable and ultimately replaceable.

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Under construction

Please note that although some material is already up, this website is still under construction in preparation for the project launch in January.

You can take the survey by choosing survey from the menu at the top.

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Sitting on the touchlines

Before the Second World War, people used to sit on the touchline  at the Vetch Field at big matches. This was not popular with either the police or the opposition.  In the interest of their players’ safety, Arsenal asked Swansea Town not to allow the spectators to sit on the touchlines at a 1926 FA Cup tie. 

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1919 derby

In 1919 a  rail strike resulted in specially chartered passenger steamers being used by supporters from Swansea to watch their team play away at Cardiff City in the Southern League. 5,000 supporters made the journey west.

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