How’d the Swans get on?

The long wait

I must have been about seven, when my Dad came home and asked the family a single question, ‘How’d the Swans get on?’ There was a short silence then Ninna, my grandmother, piped up, ‘they won 6 -1 and Jack Fowler scored five’. I was delighted but Dad ignored her. Then my Mam gave him a cup of tea but made no reference to the question. That left Matthew and me to respond. I thought about it, looked to Matthew for inspiration but he just stared back at me. I was baffled but that was the end of the matter as Dad settled down to drink his tea.

This happened every other week and seemed to go on for ever.  I just had no idea how to find the answer. Then…

Durrumdurrumdurrumpetydum, Durrumdurrumdurrumpetydum, Durrumdumdumdumdumpdum. SPORTS REPORT on the Wireless, 5 o’clock Saturday …. THE FOOTBALL RESULTS.

Next time Dad came home late on Saturday afternoon, I was ready for him. ‘We beat Doncaster Rovers 2-1’. There was a hint of a smile when he drank his tea. That evening, I had a great tea. Even when I found out that he only ever asked about the Swans after he had, already, been to the match, it was still a great tea.

As time went on, I asked him about the matches, and he told me about what had happened and all about Ivor Allchurch and Cliff Jones, of Terry Medwin and Johnnie King, Harry Griffiths and all the others. I couldn’t get enough of it and my imagination was on overload. I desperately wanted to see them play.

But, I had to wait a little longer. Dad and his wicked sense of humour hadn’t finished with me, yet. He asked the question when the Swans weren’t even playing. This time, the famous result from 1924 took a little longer but, eventually, Jack Fowler’s achievement rang out loud and clear and, this time………..we all ignored it. Mam poured a cup of tea and retired to the kitchen. I turned to confront Matthew. After all, with his background in football – he came to live with us on Cup Final Day in 1953 and his name really was Stanley Matthews – he just had to know something. But he blanked me and walked off into the kitchen to discuss with Mam what he was going to have to eat. Dad drunk his tea.

Some Saturdays, we all went to Aunty Nora’s house in Paxton   Street. She was one of Ninna’s sisters and her house seemed to contain the whole family. 7 other great aunties and uncles, cousins, husbands and wives, friends, neighbours, workmates and, usually, a couple of people no-one had ever seen before.  When we got there, the small terraced house was jam-packed with people and the miracle of feeding the 5000 was already underway, as wave upon wave of cups of tea flowed through the house. There were dozens of conversations, lots of laughter and a fog of smoke from cigarettes and pipes. Then they started to go in dribs and drabs, twos and threes said their goodbyes and off they went to the match. ‘Can I come?’…….’Can I come?’ …. I went from uncle to uncle….. ‘You’d better ask your father’……’Can I come?’……….’When you’re a bit older, it won’t be long, I’ll see you after the match’

Hence I was relegated to the sub’s bench with the non-players, non-supporters and non-interested. Anyway, I used to get a glass of pop and , most of these non-supporters were great aunties and they really were great aunties and I had a fine time.

After an eternity, they came back. Everyone talking about the match and I would flit amongst the groups and listen to what I could hear about Tom Kiley or Charlo or Davo………

Being There

One day, I was sitting in Auntie Norah’s waiting for my pop, when Dad said ’If you’re coming, you’d better get your coat on’ and, immediately, I was outside in my coat waiting for Dad. Soon, I was walking past the jail with all the other supporters, going to the match and chuffed to bits. Then we were there, on the terraces behind the goal at the Town End. I could see the top of the double decker and lots of close-ups of big damp overcoats but nothing else. I thought that I would never see the Swans.

After a long time I heard a roar from the crowd and I was picked up and transferred man to man to the front by the railings right behind the goalposts. I was in amongst some other boys who seemed much bigger and had obviously been there before. I could see the Swans in front of me around the penalty area and they scored a dozen goals with several balls and no opposition from the other team who were down the other side of the pitch, also scoring lots of goals. It was like three goals and in but without changing the goalie.

The ref. blew his whistle, tossed up, the teams switched over, the game started and I was there watching the Swans down the Vetch.

I cannot remember much about the game itself. But I do remember feeling a huge anticipation at the start, just actually being there, the atmosphere, the spectacle, the speed that everything happened and I just felt so good. This was my top experience in 8 years. I still got fragments of that feeling in other times down the Vetch and occasionally at the Liberty but the full monty did not come again until Wembley in 2011.

After my debut as a Swans fan, I remember going to the match occasionally but not often. Sometimes I’d go to the front but more frequently I stayed about 10 rows from the front with my family. On those occasions I was put behind a group of ‘short’ people who suddenly grew and threw their arms up when something exciting happened and, again, I was watching the top of the Double-decker.

However , I got to know who the players were and soon decided on my favourites. As the years went by , I went to different parts of the Vetch searching for a place where vertically-challenged people were able to see. If you got in the Enclosure an hour before kick-off, you could get to the front, look over the wall and see everything all through the match – even better if you could find a box to stand on

During most of the fifties and sixties, my Dad had a season ticket in the Double-Decker and he used to sit next to my uncle Tom. For ten years from the mid fifties, I was the nominated substitute to have the ticket if Dad could not go. In the ten years, I only managed a couple of appearances – my Dad was very keen on the Swans.

My visual memories are few but I do remember Terry Medwin scoring with a header right in front of us and Cliff Jones missing a penalty and Cliff didn’t miss many penalties. But I clearly remember one of the times when Dad could not go. He had a gum disease and the treatment was to take all his teeth out. Even I, as an 11 year old, thought that it was a bit drastic. But there did not appear to be any alternative. So I got the ticket. He was scheduled to have half his teeth out on the Saturday morning of the match and my fear was that he would make a remarkable recovery within an hour and claim his ticket back. I really should have had more sympathy but I was concerned about the ticket.

Anyway, come the day, I held the ticket tightly in my hand, caught the 58 bus and got off at the Tenby. Then, I streamed down Richardson Street with hundreds of other fans. Uncle Tommy lived at the bottom of the street, just a corner kick away from the Vetch.  No time for a cup of tea, and we were in the wooden cathedral of the Double-Decker in no time. Tom had a similar sense of humour to my Dad and, during the match, he said to me with a dead-pan expression on his face, ‘Your Old Man would be all right with them out there, they haven’t got any bite in front of goal’ and everybody seemed to agree and stamp their feet to make the rumble of the double-decker.

Dad told me about the team of 1955/56. The Swans had been top of the Second Division and were on course to get promotion to the First Division for the first time. Centre Half Tom Kiley got injured in mid-season and the Swans did not replace him. They lost matches and momentum and were, comfortably, not promoted. He couldn’t forgive the Swans’ board for depriving him of seeing them in the First Division.

As the decade wore on, the team of ‘55 started to break up and I don’t recall them getting near to promotion again. I saw some of the big teams of that era playing in cup matches and friendlies, Arsenal and Burnley – who were top of the First Division at the time, and Manchester United and Hibernian played friendlies.

In the early sixties, when I had grown enough to see at least half the pitch, I started going to the North Bank. The mid-fifties squad had gone by then, apart from Ivor returning in mid-decade. But there were dozens of new Swans who took their places over the years. Many of them inspired me to come back again to watch them. Names from the sixties spring to mind, especially the local boys, Herbie Williams, Brian Hughes, Barry Jones, Brian Evans, Barry Hole and Dai Gwyther.

About this time, it was expected that we go to Aunty Rosa’s (great aunt and grandmother’s sister number three) for a cup of tea before the match. This event was smaller than the one at Paxton Street in the early fifties. There with about 30 people attending and they were a slightly different squad of relations but still, a good sprinkling of the originals from the fifties. Rosa lived half way down William Street and her garden backed on to the terraces behind the goal at the Town End of the ground. There was a ten- foot wall with a ladder up it and the Vetch’s six-foot, corrugated iron fence on top of the wall. Some of the family used to climb up the ladder, stand on a box on top of the wall and watch the match peering over the fence while holding on to it for dear life.

The first time I went to William Street, one of my uncles told me he was at a recent pre-match gathering at the house, when somebody knocked at the front door. He answered it and there were two men standing there. They pushed him out of the way, ran through the house and out the back. Then, they climbed up the ladder, over the fence and were never seen again. A few weeks later a different uncle told me the same story but it was him who opened the door. I heard of several different hands on the door during that season and as so many people had told me the same story, it must have been true.

Back to the North Bank. In the fourth round of the 1964 FA Cup, the Swans had drawn their away match with First Division Sheffield United and the replay was at the Vetch on a Tuesday evening. The ground was packed and the atmosphere was noisy and exuberant. It was a great match, and with all the North Bank kicking every ball, it wasn’t surprising that we won and all went home happy. Then we drew Stoke City in the next round.  Another First Division team and another replay at the Vetch. It happened again. Wonderful atmosphere, brilliant match and we were all cheering and shouting until we were hoarse. Actually, I don’t know if they were good matches but the excitement was really something else

We got Liverpool, away, in the sixth round and I didn’t go but I watched Noel Dwyer’s finest hour on the TV highlights. Who could stop us now ? We had beaten the cream of the country. Wembley, here we come!

So, Tom, Dad and I set off to an incredibly wet Villa Park and the Semi-final against Preston.

They were below us in the league, we had already beaten them earlier in the season. The other two semi final teams were First Division teams playing each other. This was our year. My father and Tommy told me separately that the Swans would be in the First Division now, if they had replaced Kiley when he got injured in ’55 (a view endorsed by several other supporters within earshot). We took our places, under the stand, behind the goal and out of the pouring rain.

It was a great occasion, except the Swans were playing in sort of pinky, orange shirts. As I remember it, the game was pretty even in the first half until Jimmy McLaughlin scored just before half-time. Lookin’ good for the second half. We seemed to be holding them comfortably until that fluke goal by Singleton who scored from 150 yards out with Noel Dwyer standing on the penalty spot. Then there was the soft penalty when Alex Dawson ’went down easily in the box’ and there was no way back. We were out of the Cup. What a disappointment.  What a way to lose.  Somehow, all the talk about coming back next year didn’t convince.  What’s with all this rain in Birmingham? It was a tedious journey home and I couldn’t have been more miserable.

But hope springs eternal.  The man, who everybody that was older than me told me was the best, was coming back to the Swans. It was the mid sixties, Ivor wasn’t the Golden Boy any more; he looked older. I had been too young to appreciate him when I was a kid in the fifties, was it too late to appreciate him now 10 years later when he was coming to the end of his career?  Not a bit of it. The first time I saw him he scored a goal from 25 yards which just went in like a rocket. The way he passed the ball, the way he ran with it, the way he read the game and conducted the team like an Orchestra. Those guys, who told me about him, they were right. I got to the matches earlier after that day, I didn’t want to miss a second of him.

In late 1965, I moved to London and kept in touch via a weekly copy of the Sporting Post . I didn’t find many people who could hold a decent conversation about the Swans who were not in a very good place themselves. Nevertheless, I kept on trying to recruit new Swans fans even though it was such a barren place for converts..

But there was one person who restored my faith in my beliefs about the Swans. In 1968, I went on an FA Coaching Course. I was in my early twenties and completely out of my depth being mixed in with professional coaches and old ‘pros’ who were looking to move into coaching at the end of their playing careers. I met a guy called John Dick. He was a Scottish International Inside Forward who played for West Ham in the fifties and early sixties, I remembered him playing. When he found out that I was from Swansea, he made a point of coming over to tell me that Ivor Allxchurch was the best player he had ever played against in his career.

The Good guy from Cardiff

I came back to Swansea at the start of the next decade and my visits to the Vetch were less frequent than before. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the football they played under Harry Gregg and Harry Griffiths and I, particularly, remember Danny Bartley tearing down the wing with the ball. Also, Alan Curtis, Robbie James and Jeremy Charles were beginning to make an impact.

My best memory from this era was of the Swans playing Hartlepool United in 1978. I decided to take my two sons, Steve and Andrew aged 8 and 6, to see the Swans for the first time. I managed to get tickets in the double-decker near to where my father had his season ticket years ago. I chose wisely for the Swans won 8 – 0 with Robbie James and Alan Curtis getting a hat-trick each. Steve and Andrew absolutely loved it and the next generation of fans had been inaugurated down the Vetch watching the Swans.

Then came the man from Cardiff City. What did he know about the Swans? Who did he know ? Where are we going, now? Cardiff City!!

First of all, he knew Shankly and how Liverpool played, and he knew Ian Callaghan and Tommy Smith. He took a good team added a sprinkling of ‘names’ and created a promotion. Then, he added some more quality players and we went up again. Eventually, we were confronted by Preston again. This time Singleton wasn’t playing and the Swans were on a roll. I couldn’t go to Deepdale so I took my radio and locked myself in a room to discourage assaults on my concentration. I endured a very tense 90 minutes, then we were in the First Division for the first time. I was absolutely delighted.

After the match, my Dad phoned to tell me that we nearly got to the First Division in 55/56 but the Swans wouldn’t replace Kiley when he got injured. I figured, now that we were IN the First Division, that would be the end of the 55/56 nearly-promotion story.

More good players came and some Yugoslavians who became very popular at the Vetch. Then we started the new season with a bang. Five goals past Leeds in the first match, a hat-trick for Latchford and a goal for Curtis on his return. After a couple of months, we were top of the league. Top of the whole football league. These were marvellous days.

The highlight for me was the Liverpool match. Liverpool were a superb team. Passing, moving, running and creating chances with Graeme Souness running the game from the space he took round the pitch with him. They seemed to have the ball all the time but they couldn’t score. Swans defended resolutely and didn’t do much attacking. In the second half we had a free kick just about where Singleton would have been two decades before. Leighton James took the free kick and arrowed it in the top corner giving the goalie no chance to make a save even though he was well-positioned. There was no fluke about it, just a marvellous strike.

Liverpool redoubled their efforts and Souness got even better. Then in injury time, Alan Curtis who had hardly been in the Liverpool half, got the ball in the centre circle. He was well-marked with 2 or 3 other defenders covering and the nearest Swan was halfway inside his own half. He turned and headed off on a mazey run towards the Liverpool goal. He left all the defenders in his wake and slid the ball past Grobbelar. A superb goal, Swans 2 Liverpool 0. We’d been completely outplayed but scored two of the best goals I’d ever seen at the Vetch.

The second year in the first division saw the Swans start well enough but we had lost Colin Irwin to a knee injury and Ray Kennedy to illness. Both were relatively new and expected to strengthen the squad but neither could contribute what they were capable of . This weakened the team which slowly became less competitive and the downward spiral took a hold and the dream was gone. Still, Toshack remained the most successful manager the Swans had ever had up to that time. My initial misgivings had been blown away and he enabled the most exciting Swans era that I could remember. .

The In-between Years

After the glory, The Swans were caught in the First Division relegation money trap and eventually went into receivership. The newspapers said that Swans were finished but Doug Sharpe, together with a couple of other directors and the funds from a visit from Manchester United who played at the Vetch, came to the rescue. Sharpe carried on with good financial practices and took the club out of receivership by the beginning of the 85/86 season by which time we were in the Fourth Division. He appointed Terry Yorath who built a team which got us promotion and respectability in Division Three during his two and a half years with the club.

This heralded a period of pottering around in the lower Divisions and yo-yo-ing between the Third and Fourth. Although I don’t remember when it was changed, the Third Division became the First Division and the Fourth the Second. That sounded better but didn’t really make any difference. I remember the Swans having some good seasons and good managers with plenty of optimism, but it didn’t seem to be sustainable. We were not able to consolidate the gains and kept slipping back into the lowest division.

In 1990, I moved to South East England with my job and a new phase of supporting the Swans began. Again. my Mam used to send me the Sporting Post every week to keep me informed and Radio Wales football commentaries were heard in many a dark corner of Berkshire even though getting good reception was often a bit tricky.

A big landmark for me was the Swans getting to the Autoglass Trophy Final at Wembley in the nineties. It is less than 40 miles from where I live and practically a home match. So, I took my Dad to see the Swans at Wembley Stadium for the first time. He was not in the best of health and it was quite a logistical challenge to go back and fore to Swansea twice in the weekend. But we made it and we had a brilliant time.

We came to another cathedral of sport, not as good as the double-decker but, nevertheless, THE place to be at that certain stage of the season. Seeing the twin towers and half the stadium filled with white and black scarves, shirts and flags was special. Then watching John Cornforth’s team play on the beautiful pitch was a real treat. We played Huddersfield Town and were drawing 1 -1 after 90 minutes, with Macfarlane scoring our goal. Same score after extra time and then penalties. I was confident they were not going to spoil my day and, sure enough, we won.

That day had it all. We saw Cornforth receiving the cup and the team parading it in front of the black and white half of the ground which was filling the place with song. Unforgettable. We stayed until most of the crowd had gone and enjoyed just being there for a while. I took a photo of Dad waving a Swans scarf with the twin towers in the background – something we never thought would happen. On the way home, he put on his most confidential tone and told me that we’d have been at Wembley years ago if we’d have replaced Kiley that season so long ago.

A few years later, I went to Wembley again to watch the Swans in a Second Division Play-Off. This time I experienced the crushing disappointment of losing a play-off final. We were just about the better side but it was 1-1 with extra time almost due. Northampton had a free kick on the edge of the penalty area, they lined up the free kick, the Swans lined up the wall. Ready? Not quite as the ref moved the ball a yard or so to the right and blew the whistle and the Northampton player smacked the ball through the gap provided and into the net. Game over. First Division gone. Go home.

At the beginning of the Millenium, we won the Second Division Championship . This was brought to me entirely by BBC Radio Wales. Every Saturday afternoon I listened to the match. Sometimes, I couldn’t get Radio Wales reception and I would have to wait for the Radio 5 round-up. The game at Rotherham would decide the Championship and all I could hear was buzzing and bleeps, whichever radio I tried and whichever aerial I stretched. In exasperation, I took the car out and ‘glory be’- or words to that effect – I could hear the commentary, I drove home and listened to the match sitting in my car, in the garden with the engine running.

It was 1-1, near the end and I was getting very low on petrol, when the Rotherham fans ran on the pitch, I was nervous about the consequences to the result and nervous about running out of petrol. After an age they went back……..then the Swans fans went on the pitch and my petrol gauge was showing empty. This was the most stress I had ever experienced at a football match that I did not attend. That brief pitch invasion seemed to last for hours, I was now very worried. After three eternities, the final whistle blew and we were Champions and my stress levels were halved. I ran round the car three times then switched the engine off. Justice had been done but my mind quickly focused on whether I would reach a petrol station before running out.

Best Vintage?

Between 2000 to 2011, there were more changes at the club than had happened in all of the eighty-odd years before. In the early noughties, we were in desperate straits. We were in financial and management disarray, teetering on the brink of oblivion on at least two occasions and drifting back towards the brink most of the rest of the time. Later, we were one match away from being relegated to the Conference, there was an unhealthy level of turn-over in players, no stability in running the club. I didn’t know what was happening but, like the afternoon of the Rotherham match, I was very worried.

The low point was the short, but disastrous, reign of Tony Petty who bought the club for nothing, stopped paying the players wages and started to sell them off. He was eventually ousted before he put us out of business and things started to turn around when Mel Nurse and his consortium took control

Gradually, the club was placed on a sound financial basis by a Board of directors who were financially capable and cared about the club and a Supporters Trust who owned 20% of the club and had the capability, resources and good sense to provide appropriate and much-needed help.

Mike Kent was involved in the Supporters Trust and we worked for the same company and we had known each other for about 25 years. He worked in Swansea and I was located near Reading. He used to visit me when he came up here and tell me all the stuff about the Swans that hadn’t yet got into the papers.  In the early noughties, he was unusually subdued and talked only problems when he talked about the Swans. He was not cheering me up at all.

Then, one day, after Mr Petty’s exit, Mike came in like a whirlwind. He was a freshly animated Mike and he said that they (the Trust) were going to save the Swans (or words to that effect), and what I needed to do was join the Trust without delay and make whatever contribution I could. So I did and have been a member ever since. I continued my chats with Mike, but he was much calmer now.

But, before Mike got too complacent, in 2003, we nearly dropped out of the league. We were near the bottom of the Second Division and games were running out. I saw the Swans play Carlisle about 6 matches before the end of the season. When I arrived on the North Bank, it was nearly half-time, and I asked the guy next to me what the score was. ‘Nil – Nil,’ he said and I watched the second half when the Swans looked like a tidy side but couldn’t score. On the other hand, Carlisle were dreadful. Then, both teams scored and I thought ‘a point’s a point’ and went off to see my Mam.

Mam had lived the 50 or so years since I was eight without an inkling of how the Swans were doing, at any time, despite my constant prompting and encouragement. When I went in to her flat, I was about to say, ‘How’d the Swans get on?’ When she said, ‘They lost 2-1’. ‘What do you mean they lost? It was 1 – 1, I was there, I saw it.’ ‘I heard on the radio, it was 2-1 to Carlisle’

I wasn’t used to Mam being assertive about the Swans so I went out to buy the Sporting Post. The Sporter told me that the Swans had lost 2-1. Carlisle had scored before I got there. Why did that bloke say nil-nil?

Back at my Mam’s I had a cup of tea and interrogated her about where she got her information. Sure enough, she was a reformed character and it wasn’t long before she was criticising Radio Wales for talking about Cardiff all the time and not covering the Swans enough. I was absolutely delighted that she was, finally, following the Swans. Then, while driving home after the Carlisle match, it dawned on me that we were in real trouble and Carlisle had just done themselves a power of good.

The relegation fight went down to the wire and we had to beat Hull City in the last home match, or we drop into the Conference. We did it and James Thomas became my hero.

Behind the scenes, the club built on the foundations with some inspired selections of manager. Each one was exactly right for his time. They all used their own key skills to great effect and the Swans went from strength to strength. With Flynn, Jackett, Martinez, Sousa then Rodgers in charge, we developed a little bit every year. We won three promotions in 8 years and, along the way, the FA Trophy, a few Welsh Cups and played an attractive brand of passing football known and respected throughout the UK.

Back in 2003, we needed Brian Flynn’s inspiration to rescue us and then we needed Kenny Jackett’s ‘hard to beat team’ to get us out of the bottom division.

In 2005, we had the final game at the Vetch followed by the Welsh Cup Final on the Tuesday after. I went to see the first of these ‘last’ matches and after we beat Shrewsbury to get to the brink of the First Division, I stood on the Vetch field turf for the last time, mind you, I’d only ever stood on it once before. But I felt pretty sad about it.

The next season was even more eventful. We won the FA Trophy at the Millennium and the Welsh Cup and lost the play-off against Barnsley. I went to the Millennium Stadium for the Barnsley match and endured another big disappointment because we should have won. Also, I went to Gillingham. My son, Steve and his family had been living in Canada for 8 years and came back to the UK to live in Kent. He suggested that he, Andrew and I should go and see the Swans play in Gillingham and he got some tickets for us.

We arrived to a temporary seating area to see a bumpy and bouncy pitch and a sky that relieved itself on us every 20 minutes. Swans, under Roberto Martinez for only a short time, tried to play some football but Gillingham had played there before, they tackled like demons, whenever they got the ball, they kicked it towards the sky and it came down in our penalty area or in the middle of our fans behind the goals. When defending they booted the ball over a stand that looked very much like the Centre Stand down the Vetch. The Gills got their tactics spot-on and got the result. It really was not our best day out for years and we went home thoroughly deflated.

Roberto became established as Manager, we started to play the fluent passing style of Football and became Champions of the First Division. We were back where we should be, what many of us old timers reckoned to be Division Two. The Swans had changed up a gear under Roberto and he nearly took us to the play-offs in his first year in the Championship. Then, just when I thought he would take us all the way to the top, he went to Wigan. I thought he was going to stay for ever. He’d built a fine team and a great relationship with the fans, it was so disappointing when he left. The disappointment deepened when his successor concentrated on consolidating an already, strong defence but completely forgot that we were supposed to score goals at the other end.

Roberto’s departure meant the break-up of a group of players who had who helped us through the best and worst days of the decade and stayed on to contribute to rebuilding the club and making it respected again. Leon Britton, Alan Tate, Gary Monk and Roberto deserve a special mention.

At the end of the 2009/10 season, Brendan Rodgers took over. His philosophy was to keep the ball, pass it in triangles, don’t give it away and keep passing till we found an opening. (I thought that Roberto had come back with a Northern Irish accent.) He took us to the Play-offs in 2011 and I was there. A wonderful occasion when the Swans played their brand of passing football that graced the New Wembley Stadium.

Andrew took me as I had taken my Dad to the Autoglass Final nearly twenty years before. My Dad would have loved this match. He would have loved the football, the passion of the players, the stadium and the fact that we scored plenty of goals. But he had passed away in 2001 and missed all the excitement of the noughties. Steve, couldn’t come to Wembley because he was on holiday in Spain with his family but he and grandson Owen watched it on TV.

Swans went three goals up in the first half. Stephen Dobbie making Sinclair’s second then volleying in the sweetest of goals to make it three. But Reading came back and exploited corners to pull back two goals. Then they hit the post. An absolutely critical moment , because it didn’t go in and after that, we looked in command. Then we had a penalty and Scott Sinclair completed his hat-trick and we were home and dry.

I had that same feeling as the first day down the Vetch; I was just totally happy to be there. I also found it a bit strange that, during the day, no-one mentioned Tom Kiley or 1955. I decided that Dad would have liked Andrew to know about it so I told him the story in the car going home. He said, ‘That was over fifty years ago, Dad, and Tom Kiley didn’t play today either, but we are in the Premier League.’

Now it’s 2012 and the Swans have a new set of goals and we have some new names on the white shirts and we are battling in a hugely competitive and difficult league and Brendan Rodgers is sticking to his footballing principles and recruiting wisely and continuing to make it work and we’ve beaten Arsenal and Manchester City and ……………………………..To Be Continued

(Bill Johns)

One response to “How’d the Swans get on?

  1. Pingback: It’s all taking longer than we thought…. | 100 Years of Swansea City FC

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