It could’ve been such a different story for Swansea City; almost finding themselves relegated out of the Football League in 2003. It took a last-gasp escape on the final day of the 2002-3 season to avoid that fate. And it was a chance that, to be fair, the Swans took. In these times of Ultra HD tellyboxes, made themselves into a half decent force in the top flight. But all things must pass. After seven straight seasons in the Premier League, they fell back into the second tier in 2018.
Of course, by the time they pulled off their miracle escape, we’d already met each other by that point. Wayne Turner‘s reign as Boro’ boss didn’t have too many high points. But we did spring a surprise in the LDV Trophy at the Lamex. The following season, the footballing gods paired us together again. This time it was in the FA Cup – and this time it’d be at their former gaff. This time, they’d win – though not without controversy.
After that, things took a different turn for the Swans; the South Welsh club rising up to become a Premier League side and putting much greater distance between us. There would be another excuse to meet, however; the 2018-9 Football League Trophy draw making us take on the Swans’ U23 side. Or should that be Cygnets?
It’s no shock to learn that Wales is a rugby nation. So, the area around Swansea was slow to convert to football. It’s why the formation of Swansea City didn’t occur until 1912. Back then, it’s worth noting that it wasn’t a city – so they were known as Swansea Town. Town was swapped out for City in 1970. It’s irrelevant to the overall tale though. Well, that’s what we think. How often does a name really impact your fortunes?
The first port of call for the Swans was the Southern League. Within 10 years of coming to life, they were given their place in the Football League. By this point, they were already making their mark in the Welsh Cup too; picking up an inaugural title in 1913. As they grew in stature, their milestones started gathering. The 1925-6 season saw them get through to the FA Cup semi-finals. And the 1931-2 campaign delivered a second Welsh Cup.
The early 1980s saw the Swans soar into the stratosphere. Well, they were promoted to Division One in 1981; a year in which they won the first of three straight Welsh Cup titles – taking their tally to eight. In 1983, however, it all went massively wrong. By 1986, they had collapsed into Division Four. It was a rapid fall through the trapdoors. They’d go on to spend the next bit of time in the bottom two divisions of the Football League looking to reclaim lost glories.
How to get to Swansea City – Travel Information – Distance: 209 miles
It’s three-and-a-half hours to Swansea on a good day – and you’ll find that motorways are the best way to do it. There is, of course, always the option of taking a cross-country route via Oxford, Cheltenham et al, but we’ll leave that to you.
Around the M25 and onto the westbound M4 is pretty much all you need to know to get on with. You won’t be doing much else until you come to the outskirts of the city. Junction 45 is probably the easiest way into Swansea, following the A4067 for Swansea North. But it’s worth bearing in mind that Junction 46 is where the Felindre Park and Ride site is (below).
Take the first exit at the roundabout and follow the road down until it brings you down to the stadium. You might opt to come off earlier at Junction 42 and down along the A483, before turning up the A4217 by the River Tawe bridge, but traffic might be against you.
On a matchday, there’s no parking at the stadium. And there are restrictions in place in local streets too. So, your best bet is to use the Felindre Park and Ride site, which can be found just of Junction 46 of the M4. This will cost £10 per car and opens two hours before kick-off. It’ll close two hours the other side of the game too.
Landore Park and Walk is much closer; three minutes on foot. Again, it’s £10 a car and is more likely to fill up quicker than Felindre. The postcode is SA1 2JT.
Services to: LONDON PADDINGTON
BoroGuide has vast experience of Swansea as our old university town. And it means that we know how walking from the station to the Liberty Stadium isn’t simple. Google says it’s only a half hour walk, however, so maybe you want to chance it?
Turn right out of the station and head up the High Street, turning right for Prince of Wales Road. Go right again for Bethesda Street; continuing parallel to the railway until you come round to Neath Road. Then, turn right here and continue until you’ve passed under both branches of the railway; one going left, one right. This brings you out onto the roundabout where the stadium is.
But, seriously – have a drink on Wind Street and grab a cab.
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