Swansea City
Vetch Field

Ground No. 61
Visited - Saturday 30th April 2005
Result - Swansea City 1-0 Shrewsbury Town
Competition - Coca-Cola League 2
Attendance - 11,469

Knowing that Swansea were due to move to their new home at the end of the season, I'd been looking for an opportunity to go to the Vetch Field since about November, but time after time when Wolves weren’t playing on a Saturday, Swansea were either away or had had their own game moved. There had been a few night games, but with the ground soon to be demolished, I wanted to go during daylight, so to get some good pictures. With this in mind it eventually came down to the choice of missing out on the Vetch, or missing a Wolves game, unfortunately it was the latter option that lost out, so after ordering tickets from Shrewsbury it turned out to be the Vetch’s last ever league game that I chose to go to.

After an early start, I left home at 6:20am, and was on the train to Birmingham half an hour later. A quick change at New St, and the journey onwards to South Wales went comfortably, reaching Cardiff at about 9am. I took the time to have a quick walk around the Millennium Stadium, reliving some memories from the play-off final two years ago, before going back to the station and getting another train to Swansea.

The train arrived there at 10:40am, and I made the brief walk from the station to the ground, before taking advantage of an open gate and going in to take pictures. Going all the way round, I really was quite impressed by the ground, which although clearly showing it's age, oozed character everywhere you looked.

Running the length of the pitch at one side is the huge North Bank, a large terrace with a low roof supported by several pillars. The black, white and yellow striped wall at the back of the stand takes you back to an age of stands only seen in pictures now. Opposite is the Centre Stand, which is all-seated and raised from pitch level. It's not the biggest stand in the world, but the numerous pillars, and gable in it's centre make it fit in perfectly. Behind one goal is the East Stand, a strange contraption, which only runs for half of the pitch's width, and has two tiers, with terracing below, and a steep section of seating above that. The final part of the ground is the West Stand, which is perhaps the strangest of all. A fair sized terrace, it has a tier of seating overhanging it, which has been covered over to create a roof that looks rather odd to say the least. This is where the away fans are situated and perhaps unsurprisingly the facilities are awful, with the toilets being actually worse than their dubious reputation. All in all though, despite falling far short of the standards of many modern (and even not so modern!) grounds, it still ranks up there as one of my favourites.

After I'd finished taking pictures, I walked back into the city centre for a little while, before making a brief visit to the new stadium (name still to be decided at present). Although it is no doubt an improvement on the Vetch, I couldn't really find myself getting to like it, due to its similarity to the other ‘McStadiums’ appearing up and down the country. If anything, it looked slightly cheaper than others, although no doubt it is still waiting for the final touches to be added (hopefully!)

Once finished there, I walked back into town and went on an unsuccessful pub hunt, before arriving back at the Vetch and going into the West Terrace at about 2:30pm. The ground was already full by then, but I managed to find a spot at the front of the terrace and waited for the game to start.

When it did, it didn't take the home side long to take the lead, buoyed by a carnival like atmosphere from the home fans, Adrian Forbes broke through the Shrewsbury defence, and poked an effort home past the oncoming keeper. Undeterred though, Shrewsbury pressed for an equaliser, going close on several occasions, with Sam Aiston in particular causing havoc in the hosts defence, but the first half finished with the score 1-0.

In the second half, neither team really looked that bothered, and the game petered out into a typical end of season affair with Shrewsbury probably having the best chances to go on and win the game, but it wasn't to be and rather fittingly, Swansea finished with a win from their final (league) game at the ground. When the added time was announced, the Swansea fans in the North Bank had already come out of the stand, and were bordering the touchline, so when the final whistle eventually sounded there was a huge rush of white shirts onto the pitch, celebrating the end of an era.

I stayed behind in the away end to get pictures of the fans on the pitch, before going out of the ground, and back in through the North Bank exits and onto the pitch myself. Having a wander around, I went in a few of the other stands, before eventually leaving the ground one final time.

Due to delayed trains, the journey back didn’t go too well, but I got home eventually, glad that I'd chosen this game over Wolves. The Vetch Field is a real classic, and its demise is a sad event for all of football as more of the games history faces the brute force of the bulldozers in the name of progress.

The North Bank Turnstiles

Rear of the North Bank

Rear of the West Terrace

The Players Entrance

Entrances to the East Stand

The Club Shop

The Centre Stand

The North Bank

The West Stand

The East Stand

The North Bank

The East Stand

The Centre Stand

Vetch Field Panoramic


1 comment:

  1. Glad to see you back Tim!

    Almost 6 years after the last game the ground has only just been pulled down