Fans’ memories

This section contains some of the memories from the early responses to the survey. This is just a very small selection of what came in. More can be read in the book Swansea ’til I die.

Eileen Morgan – 1280 games

I became a fan in 1978, after Swansea beat Hartlepool 8-0, I asked my father if we could go and see the next game at home. After that I was hooked. Mark, 43

Always thought of myself as being committed but as the years go on and it gets more expensive it’s harder to do. Matt 31

As a child I supported Manchester United along with the Swans like all glory hunters, but as I grew up I completely lost interest in a club which I had no ties too. Rhys, 22

You can change jobs, move house, change wives, even change sex nowadays – but you can’t change the football club you support – just not possible. David

Once it’s in your blood it don’t leave. If you are a true Jack you are married for life. It’s like having children you love your children irrespective of what they do, you love the Swans through good and bad I just can’t get enough. Martin, 49

I used to catch a bus into Swansea from Dunvant to the bus garage then walk to the old Vetch, and then a bus back home afterwards. Now we take the car, walk to Rossi’s and have fish and chips before each match. We then buy a programme, and wander around the ground, then into the club shop. We always take a radio so we can listen to Anthony ‘Connell’s live commentary. Cath, 46

It may be nostalgia but as a child the Vetch Field was magical. It held the ethos of Swansea as a city, working-class, quirky, the floodlights were beautiful as is our coastline and scenery. The Liberty severely lacks that, though it has improved – particularly towards the end of last season when the atmosphere was fantastic. If you consider match day experience with regards to safety, practicality, cleanliness, facilities etc then Liberty is definitely better. Anon, 18

The facilities have improved and the atmosphere is still electric, it’s not better or worse than the Vetch. The Vetch has a special place in every Swans’ fans heart. The history, quirkyness and stories are what made it great. Mark, 22

My Uncle Barrie Hole played for the Swans in the early 70s, my mother frequented the West Terrace in the 1950s and was best friends with Cliffy Jones’ sister Freda. Mum used to babysit Cliffy’s kids before he moved up to Tottenham. My grandfather told me of two anecdotes regards the Swans. He was told by a copper in Liverpool at the end of our 2-1 win in the FA Cup quarter final to “get out of the City quick as there’s sure to be trouble and don’t stop till you reach Shrewsbury.” He also told me that the Swansea fans used to sing I’m forever Blowing Bubbles in the early/mid 1920s and always got mad when he heard West Ham fans singing it. “It’s our song” he used to shout at the tv when Match of the Day was on. David, 42

I won the half time flyer at the Vetch! Went on the pitch to collect my money and Kevin Johns jokingly said my ticket wasn’t the right number and I almost died of shame right where I was standing. And he wouldn’t let me back on the north bank with an envelope full of cash…bless him for looking after the females! Clare, 37

Best memory of a game is probably Bury away when Willy Gueret got arrested. The atmosphere that day was awesome as was the Wembley game in May last year, every Swansea city memory makes me feel happy or sad that particular day! I would not ever want that to change! It is the beauty of life and of being a true football fan. Jim, 36

I’ve followed the team, attending matches both home and away, religiously since the early 1990’s. Following the Swans is part of the fabric of my life, I cannot conceive what life would be like if the Swans were not a focal point for my activities and a structure for my time. The last few years have been a halcyon period in my life because of the success we’ve had in that time. Very simple really.  … Even though the fortunes of the team have fluctuated wildly over the years I have supported them, the club have always played a huge role in the background of my existence, and have been the thing I have planned my everyday life around. Without the Swans, how would I idle away time on rumours or arguments on forums? How would I plot the months between August and May? What would I do? No idea. Supporting the Swans is a kind of totalising world revealing, in that I cannot envisage there not being a Swans to support, even in the darkest days of Petty and May 2003 (ironically, that became the greatest day – even against May 30th 2011). My friends, my social life, my moods – all intricately dependent upon the Swans. I celebrate this, rather than bemoan it! STID 🙂 Leighton, 32

A particular memory again revolves around the 1964 FA cup game at Liverpool. My father drove us up to Liverpool and the car broke down near Llandovery. He hired a replacement car to get us there and on the way back fell asleep momentarily at the wheel. We crashed through a hedge in the countryside ending up in a field and as it was so dark couldn’t see a way out so he exited the same way as we had gone in. Through the hole in the hedge. Alive to tell the tale and ready for the semi final at Villa Park which we lost to Preston. Anon, 60

My dad was a big supporter like myself.  He died in 2011, before he could have a smile about us being in the Premiership. I remember crying at Wembley after we had beaten Reading 4-2 because the only person I wanted to share my elation with was my dad, and he wasn’t here anymore. He left me a mint copy of Swansea City vs Preston at Villa Park, semi final of the FA cup 1964. It seems quite apt that Swans’ first Prem away win was at Villa Park, and I was there. I looked up to the sky and just smiled, I think my dad knew why. Andy, 43

Brentford home midweek 1996. Jan Molby scored the winner with a penalty in injury time. I was stood on the east part of the north bank. I was one of a few who got that part of the bank singing that night, it was normally the end down by the away fans.  Molby commented years later how it was like they plugged the fans in as well on night games at the vetch. I’d like to think I played a small part of that that night. I was hoarse for days after that game, probably close to my swansong as a north bank chanter. Stephen, 42

I first started supporting The Swans & going regularly to matches in 1977. I’d been to a couple of games previously, but not as a serious supporter. Then, following a visit to see Everton vs Forest with my father whilst on holiday, we went to see The Swans play Barnsley the following weekend, 27th Aug  1977, we won 2-1 & that was it! 35 years on, I’m still a Season Ticket holder, travelling from Colchester for every game. Rob, 46

I remember the early starts for games at Doncaster and Barnsley. Usually one coachload with maybe another dozen or so by car. Always stopping off for a few pints on the way home at Derby or Birmingham. XXXX would sing in pubs before games to get people to buy him pints. The away fans were so few that we would often be handed tickets by the players outside the ground. We rarely paid. One Easter we left Swansea at midnight, drove to London to watch the morning kickoff on Good Friday at Brentford, then to watch Chelsea play Luton in the afternoon where my mate went to sleep on the Shed. A night out in the West End, then off to Watford for the game on Saturday afternoon. I think we lost both games and I had my scarf pinched by a Swans fan outside Vicarage Road. Hey ho. It seems extraordinary that we would travel the length of the country to watch division one games and just paid on the turnstiles. We never bought tickets. I remember the minutes silence at Anfield for Bill Shankly and how the Liverpool fans were outraged the Swansea support (10,000?) hadn’t respected it. What most people don’t know is that one nutter in the Swans support shouted out ‘Burn the Bastard” half way through and the sound the Liverpool fans had heard were the swans supporters rounding on the individual concerned. Unfortunate. I remember the disbelief at Toshack’s appointment. I remember the first time I saw Jeremy Charles play. How good was he? I remember being introduced to Mel Nurse in the entrance lobby at the Vetch minutes after he had signed from Swindon in 1969. It was very easy to be in contact with the players in those days. I even watched the reserves away once – at Reading. We won 6-2. One of my early heroes was Geoff Thomas. I met him at Mumbles Cricket Cub a few years ago. What a thrill. Although I never made it, whenever the Swans were playing near Leeds, the small band of away support would always make an effort to stop off at John Charles’ pub where he insisted on playing his own records (made when he was in Italy) which he had on the juke box. I’m told they were terrible. I remember the minute silence for Roy Evans and Brian Purcell at a game against Doncaster. There were 5 or 6 Doncaster fans on the North Bank who began to sing God Save the Queen during the silence. They didn’t get past the first few bars. Another world. I saw Kenny Morgans play in a Boxing Day friendly on Ashleigh Road about 10 years ago. I believe therefore I may be one of the last people to have watched a Busby Babe play a game. Kenny of course played for the Swans after Munich. There was a power cut in the supporters club at Somerton Park one year. All conversation stopped. For a moment the place went absolutely quiet in the pitch black and then a Swansea voice piped up at the back somewhere…. “I’ll have a pint of Dark”. You couldn’t make it up. I must write it all down sometime. Anon, 55


One response to “Fans’ memories

  1. Carl Dent 32

    I have fond memories of the vetch growing up. Me and my friends from school would walk into town from Townhill with rolls of toilet paper and carrier bags full of torn up Evening Posts to throw in the air as the team ran out onto the pitch. Matches that stand out for me are West Brom in the playoffs (Andy Macs own goal), Autoglass semi against Wycombe on St Davids day and obviously James Thomas saving us from going down… STID

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