What a wonderful day! Let’s start at the beginning shall we with my 5:30 am alarm call being superceeded by DDWT Junior waking up and being as bright as a button. Anyone would have thought that he wanted to come to Sheffield with me – instead of going to Aberystwyth for the weekend and who’d have blamed him *wink*
Getting to the Liberty Stadium at 6:30 am I was surprised at the number of fans already geared up and raring to get on the soon-to-arrive buses for our 7:30am departure. The very wet weather wasn’t having any impact whatsoever on the exhuberant enthusiasm on display.
Panic did set in for myself however when 7:30 came and went with bus number 23 nowhere to be seen. Thankfully, the powers that be decided to shepperd anyone destined for ghost bus 23 onto bus numbers 19 or 22. I was at last on my way to Sheffield by 7:50 am in bus number 22 (a double decker from Watts coaches in Cardiff).
After a brief stop at Sarn services (to pick up the Maesteg Jacks) and then at Strensham services (15 minute food/toilet stop) we eventually reached a village called Bramley (in the Rotherham district of South Yorkshire) around 12:30. This was to be our lunchtime stop in readiness for meeting out police escort into Sheffield. I’m not normally one to have a drink before going to the football, but as today was a break from the norm I sank two bottles of Magners cider in the space of 30 minutes, at a pub whose name escapes me!
Having now fuelled up with Magners (not too mention 4 turkey baps kindly made by Mrs DDWT) I was ready for the big game and giving the Swans my full vocal support. We left Bramley and met up with our police escort (after a 20 odd minute wait) ready for the final leg of our journey to Bramall Lane.
The sight of the 22 coaches meandering their way through Sheffield City Centre waving (and other handmade gestures) to the natives as we swept by was something worth seeing! We finally arrived at Bramall Lane at 14:20 and the excitement levels were almost at fever pitch.
Having got my programme (ready to add to the vast array of others I have) I entered the ground accompanied by my newly acquainted friends from bus 22 (whom treated me to a £3 plastic bottle of Carlsberg export). I finally plonked my backside on my seat (in the front row!) at 14:40 and awaited the team news. Who was Kenny going to play in midfield and defence?
By kick-off time the Jack Army was in full voice and it really did feel like a home game with the amount of noise we were generating.
I won’t say much about the game itself, as that can be read on the official Swans site, and besides you know what happened anyway! But from the time the game kicked-off there was a sense that the Swans could get something out of the game – perhaps it was the alcohol in my blood, but there was a special feeling to the day and the way the fans were so united and focussed is something which I haven’t felt or seen in many years of supporting the Swans.
The 4,500 odd Jacks in the Halliwell stand went through pretty much the entire repertoire of songs – the Swansea City song, Come on City, Kenny Jacket’s barmy army, Bread of Heaven, Hymns and Arias, Men of Harlech, etc, etc. In fact watching the highlights on ‘Match of the Day’ tonight it was spine tingling to hear the songs and volume of them. Talking of Match of the Day, thanks to my prime seating (albeit standing for 90 odd minutes) position I was actually on TV for two of the goals – so thanks Thomas Butler for standing where you did and letting the cameras get a good look. Well done to all of those of you who spotted me as well – nice one Dangerous DB!
As the goals started to go in, it felt more and more like dreamland and I did seriously begin to wonder if I was dreaming it all. In fact I got so excited after we scored goal number 3 I almost fell over the advertising hoarding and did my leg in!
The long but worthwhile journey home was punchtuated with one pee stop (despite the on-board toilets being locked – due to being full, well over flowing actually) and supplemented by a movie – it was so good the name of it escapes me. As news of Arsenal beating Liverpool filtered through on various mobiles, we all began to draw up a mental wish list of who we wanted in Round 4.
We finally got back to the Liberty stadium at around 22:30 – tired by very happy and after playing taxi to some Jacks living in Cwmbwrla, I came home to watch MoTD and blog the events of my beautiful day in Sheffield.