Message from Camarthen 2

Thursday, 6 July 2000, 0:00
2 mins read

I did write and thank Robin Sharpe afterwards, but although I shouldn’t say it, the thought of a senior official freezing to death outside while we were enjoying a pint in front of a log fire, still brings a smile to my face.

Of course, we lost, despite leading with an early Torpey goal. The evening had one final twist, however. Nuneaton equalised to take the game into extra time. I realised with horror that if I stayed I would miss the last train back to London, and my flight back to Germany the next morning. I had little choice but to say my goodbyes and leave. The local radio was covering the game and I heard Nuneaton’s second goal in the taxi on the way to the station. Cornforth missed a penalty as I was getting out of the cab. As the train made its way to London, the irony of the situation hit me. I bad travelled all that way to see the game and wouldn’t know the final result until the morning papers. If I’d stayed in Germany I would at least have got the result on Sky. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, which sums up my 15 years of following the Swans rather well, actually.

Ever since I became a father, one of the things I have always looked forward to was the thought of taking my children to the footy. I’ve done all the usual proud parental things. Within days of being born my two boys were signed up with the Junior Supporters’ Club. Both have been kitted out in Babygros with the club badge on. True, they never fitted that well and my second son did develop a rash after wearing one, but there you go. But nothing would compare to the day my eldest son would be old enough for me to take him to actually watch my team, the team I have followed over the last 16 years, my beloved Swansea City.

As that day grew nearer I eased him in gently, taking him to the occasional Carmarthen Town game in the League of Wales. He’d enjoy watching for a while, and could then kick a ball around with the other kids when he got bored. I began to feel that he was ready for the Swans. And that’s where the first seeds of doubt began to cross my mind. As I looked back over the last 16 years, I began to analyse just what following~ the Swans has given me. I was 15 when I was deemed old enough to travel the 3() miles from Carmarthen to home games by train, with friends. Then I could attend regularly. Prior to this I was only able to go with my father, and he worked on Saturdays. In my first full season, 1982-83, we were relegated from Division One. No games against the Liverpool’s and Man United’s next year then, but I knew we’d bounce back. We were relegated again the following year.

All in all, the last 16 years have seen me witness four relegations and just the one promotion, in 1988 when we sneaked into the Division Four play-offs and beat Torquay in the final. (This was the first season of the play-offs and before the finals were played at Wembley. I couldn’t get a ticket for the second leg and had to listen to the promotion on the radio.)

During this time I’ve watched some truly appalling football, seen my club go bankrupt, suffered 8-0 defeats at Liverpool and Monaco, and been humiliated at the hands of Bognor Regis and Nuneaton in the FA Cup. I can’t even bring myself to estimate how much it has all cost me, financially or emotionally. On top of this I’ve had to endure the ridicule, or worse, sympathy of family and friends as we have lurched from one crisis to another. I can still see Kevin Cullis’s face I(remember him – former Cradley Town youth team coach and Swans manager for a bizarre week last season) when I close my eyes at night. On top of this lam surrounded by the Welsh

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“Come on Cymru” and “Come on Cymru 2000” are available to order on-line from http://www.sigmapress.co.uk .

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Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.
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