Although I have been a follower of football since I was about 10 when I adopted Arsenal as my team to follow. I never actually went to a proper football game until I was about 13 or 14 when I went to see Swansea City play at the Vetch Field. I then chose Swansea as my main team to follow. This is probably heresy to many football fans who only follow one team all their life, but in my defence I was born in London and my family are from Swansea, so I’ve got both bases covered!
So as a youngster I used to watch Swansea play at The Vetch, and managed to see them play at some away matches. Living near to Sheffield during my late teens and early 20s saw me watching Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United on a regular basis. I also used to watch Chesterfield play with my old boss. But going to work abroad when I was 26 saw me lose interest in football to a large degree and even when I eventually moved back to Sheffield and was able to attend football matches again I rarely bothered, although a visit or two to Bramall Lane and Hillsborough did occur infrequently.
However a move to Wales did re-awaken an interest in the fortunes of the Swans and football generally. Having a son and a mate living locally who both liked football meant the inevitable. We would have to go to a football match together. It started off with a free ticket to watch the local Welsh Premier League team, Haverfordwest County. I really enjoyed the match and since then I have been a regular at home matches. We’ve also attended games in Aberystwyth, Llanelli and Carmarthen.
As for Swansea City well being a Jack is a bit like being on a roller coaster, lots of ups, and many downs. Swansea have twice now made the journey from being bottom of the Football League to the top of the league in a very short time. I’ve witnessed both journeys. The latest one started in the last year the club were still playing at the Vetch Field when they made the jump from League 2 to League 1 under manager Kenny Jackett. The close season saw the club move from the rather tight, scruffy, somewhat unique Vetch Field to the wide modern concrete structure that is the Liberty Stadium.
The move from the old Vetch Field to the Liberty Stadium was a good move and the family and I have been regulars as Swansea have climbed from League 1 to the Premier League in just a few years. The highlight of this progression was the Championship Play-Off Final at the new Wembley Stadium in May 2011 when in a thrilling match Swansea beat Reading 4 – 2 to clinch promotion to the Premier League and it’s riches. That day in London is a day I will never forget as 40,000 of us made the long journey to London full of nerves and trepidation, but returned victorious knowing that our team, from an often forgotten and ignored part of the world, would join the world’s most famous football league, the Premier League.