Swansea City are champions of the Capital One Cup 2013 - quite a feat for Michael Laudrup's first season in charge!
Around 30,000 Swans fans made their way from South Wales along the M4 to London for their second Wembley final in three seasons. After a frosty early start, the beer (on my bus anyway) was cracked open at around 8am, along with chants, singing and a hefty case of sausage sandwiches!
We made it to Harrow at around 11:30am and continued drinking in the warmth of The Moon on the Hill, which was rammed with Swans fans. Maybe a little too rammed, so we eventually moved to the slightly more manageable one a few streets away - The Junction. The atmosphere was superb - I can't imagine the Bradford-designated pubs were as loud as our ones!
I made my way to Wembley via tube and arrived at 3pm and found my seat which had a great view. Only as I sat down I realised how cold it was... any energy I had left was knocked out by the icy chill that swept the stadium. I knew I should have bought a half/half scarf...
The interesting opening ceremony was atmospheric as you would expect, as were the fireworks and dramatic music. And the flags left on the seats were also a nice touch.
With the long build-up over, the main event - the 90 minutes of football - was actually a bit of an anti-climax for me. Not the five goals or Swansea winning, but the actual feel of the match. It felt more like the first round of the cup, only at Wembley.
Unfortunately this was down to Bradford not really turning up. Unlike their fans - who were superb throughout, out-singing Swansea at times and celebrating until the end - the actual team seemed burned out and/or overawed by the situation. Probably the case of one massive game too many. Even though I wanted Swansea to win, a couple of nerve-wracking Bradford chances - similar to the play-off final vs. Reading - would have made for a little more excitement. But it felt a little bland.
Still, 10,000/1 at the start of the cup, Bradford surpassed the expectation of their fans to get to the final, but it was always going to be Swansea City's day and the team thoroughly deserved to lift the cup.
From what I remember, Swansea dominated possession and territory, outplaying Bradford in every aspect. Take nothing away from Swansea though, who would have probably beat any opposition yesterday, such was the quality of football they played.
The goalscorers were a little unexpected. At no point did I have Dyer to be on a hat-trick - I don't think many would have. It's a shame he didn't get his third goal. It's undecided whether de Guzman should have surrendered the ball to him for the penalty, but de Guzman was in his right to want a goal on a plate at the final and therefore was probably right to take the kick.
Ashley Williams lifting the trophy with Garry Monk was another nice touch of the day - both men deserved it for their service to the club.
We shuffled out of the stadium and found the way to the mini-bus that would take us back to Swansea. Five hours later we arrived - knackered, hungry, cold but happy! A great day and one which may not be topped for some time!
Europe, here we come!
Check back soon for an important announcement about the future of ForzaSwansea.com.