Preston, May 2nd 1981 – 32 Years On

What some of the 10,000 said (with thanks to


I had given up smoking cigarettes for about 2 months before Preston.

Just the odd cigar here and there. That day I smoked 40 Tom Thumb cigars. Govt health warning! following the Swans can be a danger to health!

Peter Bevan

I was lucky enough to be there and it was a day never to forget. The Swans supporters were behind the Preston goal in the first half were virtually talking the ball into the net!! Leighton James’s goal was a cracker but the result was in doubt until the final minutes when Alan Curtis passed to Robbie who passed to Jeremy Charles and the rest is history!!

 One True Jack

What a superb day that was at Preston. To see so many Swans fans there was brilliant and we sang our hearts out and spurred the players on to one of our most famous victories in the Clubs history. I remember when we eventually left the ground and made our way back to the coach to take us back to the railway station that I managed to buy the local Sporting Post (Pink). For those who cannot remember, Blackburn were playing Bristol Rovers away that day and they needed to better our result to have a chance of promotion. Now Blackburn at the time were Preston’s rivals (I assume they still are). There was a cartoon in the Sporting Post of a wife, standing at the bottom of the staircase answering the telephone, draped around the ballistrade was a scarf which had Blackburn on it. The wife is saying ” he cannot come to the telephone at the moment, he’s in the bathroom washing his mouth out with soap and water because he has been to Deepdale this afternoon supporting Preston “. I thought that was hilarious. The thought of Liverpool, Arsenal and Man Utd would be visiting the Vetch Field come August was mouth watering to say the least

 Chris P

I remember it coming through on the radio as a 20 year old, after spending the previous 10 years or so, being taken by my father. The next few years watching a steadily decline in my football watching mates. Until it got worse, then you just seamed to be part of someones joke. But 25 years on after watching everything in between I know I have the right to coment on what i see. A few things aint been great,Money,Managers,etc. But if you support this team, our home team called “THE SWANS” you can not expect a clean ride. Do you want a merrygoround or a rollercoster.

For me…………A rollercoaster every time. How could i swap.

But my 10 year old son thinks its promotiom, cup wins and cup wins ect, how will he react, will he not wont to go anymore, by the way he is a season ticket holder. So its great to remember but i find this new generation think this is the norm. Give the team space why do you think that our away form was better than our home? Was it the presure Or fickelness of the croud. Im sorry to digress also about the spelling.But what the hell. May i just give a last cheer to my mates that still love what it stands for even tho they were not there 25 years ago. It wasnt there fault they wer just that bit younger, and for that i will always be greatfull.

 Clive Hughes

Well the only way of describing that day is to say that no other football day comes close.

Who knows what the future will bring, but nothing will beat that moment, when the final whistle went, to confirm we were to play in the highest league for the very first time. People might argue that the Hull game comes close but of course that was for very different reasons.

To get to the ground 2 hours before the game and see hundreds of Swans fans walking around. Cardiff on LFT was a sight but this was extra special. In the ground about an hour before the game and the away end was filling very quickly. By kick off it was ‘sardine’ time. It all added to the atmosphere, something that can’t happen again. Of course there were nervous moments, but in the sunshine nothing was going to stop that team. The scenes at the end can’t be described but just watch the Glory Years videos.

It was still ‘sardines’ half an hour after the game as we slowly left the ground. Again a sea of black and white all with the biggest smiles you will ever see. Across the road from the ground was a park. The long road alongside was where many coaches were parked, as far as the eye could see…… and further. The M6 home……. every other car/coach decked in black and white and those signs to Manchester & Liverpool suddenly had another meaning

Wimbledon Jack

Great memories of the day especially Leightons cracker and Charlo getting the important third. Will always remember our coach breaking down on the M6 on thw way back. We must have got home about 5am but were too busy singing to care. Fantastic day!!!


i was a kid of 13 all those yrs ago i remember my old mans face when the whistle was blown for the final whistle he just started cryin sayin we had done it he just picked me and brother up and carried in his arms from deepdale to the train station singin all the way and when we got back to swansea there was only one place we where headin that was to the vetch to wait for tosh and the boys until well past four o,clock in the mornin boy i will never ever forget that day as long as i live no matter what Swansea City achieve that will remain the greatest day of my life

Rob H

I was up in Blackpool for the weekend on tour with a local football team. A gang of us went to a night club there on the Friday night and found the place packed with Swans supporters wearing swans shirts with flags and banners. On the Saturday we went over to Preston in our Brian Isaacs bus. I remember the bus parking on a long straight road and when we got off all you could see from one end to the other was buses from Swansea , i don’t think ther was many buses left in Swansea that day. I sat in the stand opposite the dug outs ( i wish i’d gone behind the goal ). All game i shouted and kicked every ball. At 2-0 i was dreaming, at 2-1 my stress level went thro the top of my head. The swans supporter sitting behind me had an epileptic fit, probably brought on by the tension and was stretcherd away.I celebrated Jeremy Charles goal like a demented fool.When then final whistle went i remember just sitting in my seat quietly ,exhausted trying to take in what had been achieved.

Swan Lady

I count myself very fortunate to have been one of the ten thousand that were up at Deepdale in 1981. It had been a meteoric rise from the old Fourth Division to the brink of the first, with trips to grounds such as Torquay and Newcastle along the way. The bus journey up to Preston was one of nervous excitement, we saw several Blackburn coaches travelling down to Bristol in the opposite carriageway and I remember being far too tense to eat any of my prepared sandwiches before the game. The majority of fans were all squashed in behind the goal, thankfully we got in early for a good vantage point. The game itself is well documented and it wasn’t until Charlo’s goal made it three that I started to really believe that my beloved swans would actually be playing in the highest league the following season. Tears flowed at the final whistle, we’d done it and the relief and joy was overwhelming. We were allowed onto the pitch at the end and I collected a few blades of the grass which unfortunatley got lost over the course of time. Someone had brought a couple of bottles of champagne and we all toasted our heroes on the way home.


I was 13 years old and went to the game with 2 mates, one of whom now lives in australia and the other one died 6 years later after being taken ill at the Vetch. We stood at the front shouting til we were hoarse and when the final whistle went it was like a tidal wave of emotion. How we could do with a Curtis and James at the Liberty this season and then the skill the flair the fluency would see us championship bound I’m sure. I remember the police removing the stick from my flag for safety reasons, the stick was so weak it could’nt hold the flag up anyway so we draped it over the front fence and spent the whole game moving it so we could see! On the way home I remember seeing buses full of miserable Blackburn fans lol we made silly faces at them….well we were only 13!!!

 Dave Williams

I was 29 and my brother 26. Our Dad had died in 1976 and with about 3 or 4 minutes left to go I remember my brother saying he wished Dad had been with us to see this and it was just what I was thinking at the time.

What a day.

 Mike from Cranleigh

What a day it was. I remember passing masses of coaches on the trip up there.

As for the game the first 2 goals were scored at our end,Leighton James curled a cracker in.

Most of all remember the 3rd even though it was the other end of the pitch I remember Jeremy Charles “waving” the ball into the net.The place erupted.

Got back home just in time to watch the highlights on MOTD… gives me goose bumps just thinking about.

That season I only missed one league game home and away. AWESOME

 Robert Oliver

The friday before the game i was not going. as a 15 year old i was gutted . dad came home about 11.30 from Fords club a little worse for wear and exited. He woke me to tell me there was a spare seat on the mini bus and to be up at 6.00 in the morning. no fear of that i didnt sleep for the rest of the night. but i did,nt get tired all day i was on a high, cheers dad

 Nick Russell

As a young 19 year old, this was my first journey outside of South Wales,in my trusty Triumph Dolomite. I drove up with my brothers and sister-in-law, to stay with my aunty in Rochdale.

We set off from Rochdale with the car covered in Swans scarves, a big Welsh flag hanging out of the window, and a huge Dragon in the rear window. After a couple of miles I was pulled over by a police car, and expected the worst.

After explaining where we were going, the copper smiled and told us to enjoy the day,and then provided an escort out of Rochdale, with his lights flashing!

My other abiding memory was trying to get my sister-in-law over the fence at the end, so we could run on the pitch. Not a dignified sight!


I was working in the W Midlands and had to travel down to Swansea to get a bus. Worth every second. I was amazed at how many Swans fans there were and that we never considered anything except promotion. I hope it’s not a once in a life time experience. Thanks to Tosh and company. Sad Robbie isn’t here to share the anniversary.



One response to “Preston, May 2nd 1981 – 32 Years On

  1. Pingback: Preston North End v Swansea City 1981 | 100 Years of Swansea City FC

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