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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 August, 2004, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
Fans kick-off farewell to Vetch
Vetch Field
This time next year the Swans will have left the Vetch
The next 10 months will be emotional ones for football fans in Swansea as their team plays its final season at the Vetch.

This time next year the club will have moved to a new 20,000 all-seater stadium on the outskirts of the city.

Few question the need to leave the ground - home to the Swans since 1912 - it has poor facilities, no hospitality boxes, and just a 11,000 capacity.

Swansea City Supporters Trust is planning a year of events to mark the occasion.

It's so hard to describe but at the end of the day, it is home and it's where we all grew up watching football
Phil Sumbler

The Trust's Paul Morris has been a regular at the ground for 36 of his 49 years.

"I don't remember my first game, but the seemingly deafening noise made by the 'double decker' regulars stamping on the board is an early enduring memory," he said.

"I graduated to the North Bank in 1970 and it was from there I was to watch some of the most memorable matches.

"Villa in 1971, Spurs, complete with Ossie Ardilles in '78, Chesterfield in '79 and of course Leeds in '81 are just a few that stick in the mind.

'Run-down'

"Lady Vetch has been mostly kind to me and although she may disappear soon, so many memories will live on in all of us."

The Trust and club is putting together a limited edition box set of prints, cds and mementos for supporters.

It was launched at a special lunch on Friday on the eve of the team's first home game against Northampton.

Glen Donnachie is one of those with mixed feelings ahead of kick-off.

Glen Donnachie
Fan Glen Donnachie has mixed emotions over the move

"The sight of the new stadium going up at a rate of knots makes you wonder why we put up with the Vetch for so long," he said.

"Run-down, cramped, totally unsuited to the requirement of the modern game, it's probably one of the least visually appealing stadiums in the football league.

"Paradoxically, though, that's part of the appeal.

'Different stories'

"It's a bit glib to suggest that in modern times a football terrace is the closest we'll get to true community spirit.

"But it's a fair bet that the sanitised, antiseptic nature of a modern stadium will never quite have the place in our hearts that the Vetch currently occupies."

And the memories will also live on for Phil Sumbler, who writes and produces the Swans fans' website Jack Army.

North Bank
Most agree the Vetch has seen better days

"I have watched the Swans from every area of the ground and in each you get different stories to tell of the game," he said.

"Bits fall off the stadium when the crowd make a big noise, the old clock above the centre stand works once per season, the paintwork crumbles, and the signs looks like something time forgot.

"You think all these things, and you wonder why it is so special.

"It's so hard to describe but at the end of the day, it is home and it's where we all grew up watching football."


SEE ALSO:
Baby named after Vetch
09 Apr 04  |  South West Wales
Fans' petition over stadium name
26 Jul 04  |  South West Wales
Jackett lauds new stadium
23 Jul 04  |  Swansea City
Morfa Stadium gets go-ahead
06 Jun 03  |  South West Wales


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