By Marilyn Gray
Memories of the Play Off Final at Wembley
This morning dawned like any other, but today was special, very special. The day we could win the cup. It has been such a long journey with many a setback, but finally it has brought us to today. If all goes well this could be a day never to be forgotton. A place in the history books assured. When we think back to 2007 when we reached the play offs against Barnsley, losing 3-2 on penalties it brings back such painful memories. The disappointment was tangeable; and now here we are today on the threshold of the Premier League. History must not repeat itself, so near yet so far away.
Putting all negative thoughts out of our minds we get up and make breakfast. None of us can eat much. The excitement is starting to build up already. Alan is making yet another trip to the toilet. “Sorry, bit of a queasy tummy, he says; but we know it is just the pressure getting to him. To be so near our ultimate goal makes us all ill at ease. Finally it is time to leave. We set off early, our flags and banners streaming out behind us as we drive along. It appears that on nearly every bridge we go under there are people leaning over waving and cheering, with flags flying wishing us luck. People wanting to share the atmosphere. Those unable to have tickets for the match still wanting to be part of the great day,
As we get close to our destination we spot the great arch of Wembley in front of us. When we enter the ground we are greeted by people we have known for many years, all loyal Swansea City supporters. We are all in this together and it is such a treat to be actually at Wembley. Where so many of us have never been before.
Pushing our way through the crowds we make our way to our seats. Ten minutes later the arena erupts with deafening applause as the players emerge onto the field. The players huddle together getting their captain’s final instructions. We are now only one game away from the Premiership.
Reading makes a good start, but Swansea soon settle down. Before long Borinni gets a free kick but the ball sails over the net. The Swans supporters break into their first song. Hymns and Arias echo across the field. The game continues then suddenly in the 20th minute a foul on Nathan Dyer results in a penalty for Swansea. We all wait with baited breath. Sinclair takes the penalty and it goes into the left hand side of the net. The crowd explodes in rapturous applause. Soon after in the 22nd minute a break down the right hand side by Dobbie results in a cross and finds Sinclair to put the Swans 2 up. The crowd goes wild. Singing breaks out again, but this time it is much louder. As half time approaches Dyer makes a run down the right wing, and from his cross it is deflected into the path of Dobbie who strikes it from eighteen yards out. 3-0. Unbelievable.
In the second half in the 48th minute Reading take a corner that finds the back of the net. We sit in silence. In the 56th minute Reading score their second goal from another corner. We sit there in disbelief. Our supporters panic. Reading are back in the game. We can feel the knots in our stomachs, and clenching our fists we will the Swans on. At last in the 78th minute we get our reward, a second penalty. Borinni was needlessly charged in the back. Sinclair calmly step-up to hit the ball to the keeper’s right to score his hat trick at Wembley. 4-2 to Swansea. There are just ten minutes left to the end of the game. Our mouths feel dry, our nails biting into our palms we sit willing the game to end, but the seconds drag by. We know from experience how easy it is to lose a match in the dying minutes of a game. At last the whistle blows. Swansea are in the Premier League. The first Welsh team ever to gain this coveted place. Wembley erupts as never before. We dance, jump up and down and hug one another. Tears are streaming down many faces. History is made. Our very special day has arrived. Our crowd is in raptures. Brendan Rogers and his team get a standing ovation. The cup is presented to the captain Gary Monk and another thundering cry runs out. After such an emotional roller coaster of a ride we can now relax. This was an outstanding game of football, credit to the standard of the Championship and League played out between two equally matched sides’
UP THE SWANS.