Wednesday, 1 June 2011

That Day That I Went To Visit Wembley

The 30th of May 2011 was not just my last day as a teenager, but also the pinnacle of my football supporting 'career'.

I say career as I put in my support (and money) as 'work' and get 'paid' in pure, raw emotion.

As I walked down Wembley Way heading towards the stadium and its impressive arch, there were an array of butterflies with wings of nerves and excitement in my stomach that was already filled with a full English cooked by my mar. She's a good lass.

On the train on our way up, I joked to my dad that it was 'in the bag' and that we had nothing to worry about...

And after the first half where the outrageous Scott Sinclair managed to score two goals in as many minutes, along with a sweet half volley from Dobbie, Swansea went in 3-0 up and I was starting to believe that it was indeed, in the bag.

But Reading weren't going to lie down and did their best to give me and the other 40,000 Swansea fans a heart attack. With two goals in 12 minutes the game was at 3-2, and all I could think of was Liverpool v AC Milan in Istanbul.

It was at this time in the game that the pleasant man in front of me in the crowd, probably best described as your stereotypical football fan nutter, started to hurl abuse at other Swansea fans...

He had tattoos across his back bigger than my face,  an unmissable odour of special brew and threatened to hit my uncle. Maybe i'm too middle class for football, maybe I need to shave my head, get inked and drink the beer with the highest alcohol to price ratio. But I didn't think it was necessary.

When I returned home I saw the very same man on the Guardian website...

This man, angry at the fact that Swansea fans behind him weren't singing after seeing their team concede a second goal, hurled abuse at his fellow supporters. Most fans were in shock, and worried that Swansea may throw away what looked like a comfortable 3-0 lead. I made sure I never made eye contact...

I'm not saying that he should't have been there, he has the same right as any other Swansea fan to be there. But out of 40,000 fans, I was the one sitting behind him. FML.

Thankfully my day was not ruined as a foul on Italian loanee Borini led to Sinclair's second penalty kick, concluding a rare play-off final hat-trick.

With the final whistle, the Swansea fans erupted, like Mt Vesuvius when it rained molten destruction upon the Roman city of Pompeii. Well, maybe not as violent an eruption, but an eruption none the less.

The club that a decade ago was fighting to stay in the football league has now become the first ever Welsh footballing side to reach the Premier League. Magic.

If/when I see Swansea play next season, I'll have seen them play in all four divisions, quite an achievement. One up on all you Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal fans...

I've seen legends of the game such as Steve Claridge whilst in League 2, Lee Trundle tearing defences apart in League 1 and Adam Johnson in the Championship.

I've witnessed moments of magic, and moments of mayhem. Goalkeeping howlers to missed open goals. Awful tackles, penalty shoot outs and even an overhead kick. This is why I love football.

Watching the team celebrate on the pitch after the game, and the whole play-off final, is my greatest moment so far.

Mostly due to what it means to the club, i'm not so bothered about the £90million, but looking forward to playing teams such as Blackburn, Wolves and Fulham week in week out (and Man Utd etc I guess...). Not only that, but the game itself was a great spectacle.

So thanks to all the Swansea team, staff and chairman etc etc. It's greatley appreciated.