Monday 25 February 2013

From Landore to London: Swansea City Champions!

Once again we came, we saw and we conquered Wembley!

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!


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  1. Tony (via contact form)25 February 2013 at 20:57

    Hi Chris, found your blog whilst reading up on yesterdays game. Would just like to say from a Bradford City fan of 37 years, your team, your supporters, your club were absolutely magnificent on the day. We had a fabulous day out despite the result and the memories will last forever. Good luck for the rest of the season and especially next year in Europe. Best wishes. Tony

  2. John (via contact form)26 February 2013 at 11:39

    As a longstanding Bradford City fan (since 1969) and season ticket holder I would like to pass on my sincere congratulations to Swansea City for winning the Capital One Cup final on Sunday. Despite the fact that my team were hammered, myself and all around us thoroughly enjoyed the occasion, made even more memorable by the reaction of the superb Swansea fans in applauding the way we supported our team and, for the final 20 minutes, helping us Yorkshiremen turn the event into a carnival. Being one of the fortunate survivors of the Bradford City fire in 1985 I can assure one and all that the atmosphere both inside the stadium and around the environs of Wembley provided a fitting soliloquy to the 56.

    My only sadness is that our team didn\'t really turn up! Stage fright, an enormous pitch and playing against a quite superb, incisively passing team 72 places higher in the league put paid to any hope of a fairytale finish to our astonishing cup exploits, but we all feel we won simply by just getting to the final. Michael Laudrup is an excellent manager and I\'m sure other clubs will come calling (Arsenal spring to mind) - I truly hope you can hang on to him.

    Finally, may I wish you the very best of good fortune in Europe - keep playing the way you do and I\'m sure you\'ll do well.

    Best wishes and thanks for a memorable weekend.