Jacks on the road

South Wales Daily News, 27 Match 1926

Description of Swans fans in London for the FA Cup semi-final against Bolton Wanderers. The Swans were playing in blue that day. 2,300 went to support the Swans, including 710 from the Cardiff district!

The battle cry of every Welshman in Londonto-day was ‘Play up the Swans.’ Early this morning, the first excursion train rolled into Paddington. A number of railway officials, who have experience of Celtic enthusiasm, gathered to witness the human avalanche. Almost simultaneously, about 100 railway compartment doors opened, and in a moment the station was in the hands of the Welsh. Then the huge mass moved into the adjoining streets.


Residents who had been awakened by the excitement looked out of their windows to enquire the cause of the early morning invasion.

‘Who are the Swans?’ enquired an old lady. A young man wearing an Ystalyfera muffler answered ‘Wales!’ The old lady banged the window down, and muttered something, but nobody cared what it was.

Practically every excursionist wore a blue and white rosette, much to the chagrin of the enterprising hawkers, who had raidedCovent Gardenfor a supply of leeks. Whether Paddington liked this happy boisterousness or not, it did not matter, as the crowd moved towards theWest End, singing Welsh tunes with great gusto. The restaurants that were open made a roaring trade.


The excursionists seemed to have come from all parts ofSouth Wales, a large contingent travelling from Pembroke. They were all inLondonto cheer and inspire the Swans on to victory. It was a stirring scene to see this large, cheerful-crowd bubbling over with enthusiasm. Inter-club rivalry was forgotten, and a former Llanelly Rugby forward was proudly displaying a saucepan covered with blue and white ribbons. The Vetch Field fraternity smilingly acknowledged the sweet compliment.


A few hundred Bolton supporters arrived inLondonlast night and attempted to paint theWest Endred but they will be looking blue today.

It was a coincidence that the Swans’ colours were similar to those of the boat race enthusiasts, and there were many knowing and sympathetic glances between the two sections. The Varsity drawl blended with the musical accent of the Welsh. They had one thing at least in common and that was the colours they sported.


The second army of supporters arrived shortly before eleven, and Paddington was filled once more with the native tongue ofWales. To the dismay of hawkers, who had increased numerically, all the new arrivals were wearing blue rosettes, daffodils or leeks. An ardent supporter carried a replica of the Cup, with a photograph of Fowler in front.


Close behind him was a batch of musical enthusiasts who were singing that well-known Swans’ tune, ‘Fow, Fow, Fowler’. A couple of Londoners listen intently, but the words were too much for them, and one remarked to the other, ‘It’s Welsh they are singing, Bill.’

A feature of the excursionists was the large number of ladies, and they certainly were not afraid to show their favours. Three of them wire blue hats and when a precious youth commented, “They have to see the Boat Race,” the women of Wales promptly reminded him that they were members of the proletariat.


Now compare the above account with this story of a visit to watch the Swans at QPR in 2012.

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