Message from Camarthen 3

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

media who waste no opportunity to put down ‘soccer’ whilst giving saturation coverage to rugby at all levels.

Was I really prepared to push my own children down such a route, to put them through the pain and humiliation their father has suffered, and will no doubt continue to suffer. What about school, with all their friends supporting one Premiership club or another? Children can be so cruel and should I leave my sons open to ridicule at such a young age? Hell, yes! It will be character building (probably). And there have been good times. Victory at Wembley in the Autoglass Trophy in 1994. Away wins, including this season, at Cardiff. Knocking Bryan Robson’s Middlesborough out of the FA Cup at Ayrsome Park. Anyway, after an appalling start we’re going well at the moment. Settled in a play-off position, Jan Molby had Swansea playing neat, attractive football. It was with this in mind that on February 15 1997 I took my three-year-old son Jake to Vetch Field for the match against Scarborough.

We sat in the family stand, waited for kick-off and surveyed the scene. The crowd was fairly poor, due mainly to Wales’s rugby game in France being on the telly. Scarborough brought 38 fans with them – Jakey counted them. Who said football can’t be educational? We kicked off. ‘Will there be a penalty, dad?’ (Jakey has a thing about penalties.) ‘We’ll see,’ I replied. Four minutes later and we scored from a penalty. We cheered and hugged each other. He was getting cold and I gave him my Swans scarf, the one my father had bought for me at my first game. Any lingering doubts I had about bringing8 him had long since vanished. The rest of the game was awful. Rumours had spread that Molby was leaving following an argument with the chairman over the failure to sign a striker from Bristol City the day before. The team played with no heart and lost to a late goal. I had seen it all before but it hurt more today. Jakey had given up on the game by half-time and was more engrossed in a Mister Men colouring book.

We made our way out after the game, listening to fans calling for the chairman’s head. ‘Why didn’t we win dad?’ ‘We don’t always,’ I replied, with an irony that was thankfully lost on him. ‘We did score a penalty though,’ he responded enthusiastically. I smiled. It was probably better this way. To see City win and believe it to be the norm would probably be worse for him in the long run. At least now he would know what to expect and maybe, sensibly, reject it outright. perhaps he would be better off supporting Newcastle or whoever, as long as it’s not rugby I wouldn’t mind. But, of course, it doesn’t work that, does it? As we reached the car, still clutching his programme, he turned to me. ‘I had a really nice time, dad.’ The guilt overwhelmed me. ‘Yes, I know you did, son. Sorry.’

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

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