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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May, 2005, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Fans plunder Vetch for souvenirs
Swansea City fans with souvenirs from the Vetch Field
Fans dug up the Vetch Field pitch for mementoes
Swansea City's Vetch Field ground has been plundered by the club's own fans, hunting for mementoes of the final match played there.

The Swans defeated Wrexham 2-1 on Wednesday in the FAW Premier Cup Final on Wednesday.

The club said it expected the reaction at the final whistle, which saw hundreds of fans taking away seats, turf and other reminders of the Vetch.

Swansea is moving to a new stadium at Morfa for the start of next season.

The club said on Thursday that one stand had been completely cleared of seats by memento-hunting fans and large areas of the pitch and advertising hoardings had also been taken.
Swansea City fans with souvenirs from the Vetch Field
Seats were taken from the stands by supporters

Some fans even took to the field wielding trowels and screwdrivers.

By Thursday, offers to sell pieces of turf and signs from the ground had already appeared on internet auction sites.

But Swansea's secretary Jackie Rockey told the BBC news website the club was relaxed about the plundering of the Vetch Field.

She added: "It was always going to happen - it has happened with other clubs when they have moved stadiums.

"There's quite a bit of the pitch left, but there isn't a seat left in the centre stand.

"People did bring trowels and screwdrivers but we expected it.

"There was even someone in the Wing Stand with an axe.
The Centre Stand at the Vetch was cleared of seats
The Centre Stand at the Vetch was cleared of seats

"But it was all done in high spirits."

Ms Rockey said the club had been forced to close the stadium to further souvenir hunters, adding that plans were being made for the use of items unclaimed by fans.

She said: "Things like the nets, turnstiles and floodlight lightbulbs will probably be auctioned off.

"We've had to close the club to fans on safety grounds.

"People will be working at the Vetch for another month or so and we can't have fans walking around the ground in its present state."

'Swansea tradition'

Lifelong Swansea fan Paul Morris, of the club's supporters' trust, said he had secured his own memento from the ground, adding that some of the traditional items from the Vetch should be preserved at the new ground.

"I've got some turf which a friend gave me - I'll probably keep it in the garden and put the odd Subbuteo figure on it," he said.

"I believe there are plans to take the main gates with 'SCFC' on them to the new stadium and things like the Vetch's clock may also be earmarked for Morfa.
Swansea City fans with souvenirs from the Vetch Field
Signs and advertising hoardings were taken by fans

"Things like the clock are Swansea tradition - I think it should have pride of place in the supporters' bar at the new ground."

Despite the Vetch souvenir hunt, South Wales Police said they had received no complaints of theft or criminal damage.

The force said it was agreed prior to the game that fans could remove items providing they could be taken out safely.

The Wrexham match, with a crowd of 9,000, drew to a close Swansea City's 93-year tenure at the Vetch Field.

The club will move to a 20,000 all-seater ground with the Neath-Swansea Ospreys rugby side.

Cultural historian Peter Stead told BBC Radio Wales the final whistle had brought "amazing scenes".

He added: "I've never seen anything like it - they swarmed across the pitch.

"I saw one small child walking away with a huge advertisement (hoarding), he could hardly carry it.

"These people thought the Vetch was theirs.

"They were moving out of their own home and they wanted a part of it."


SEE ALSO:
Triumphant exit delights Jackett
11 May 05 |  League of Wales
Swansea 2-1 Wrexham
11 May 05 |  League of Wales
Curtis ambivalent at Vetch exit
09 May 05 |  Swansea City
Fans' farewell to hallowed Vetch
01 May 05 |  South West Wales
The Vetch 1912-2005
29 Apr 05 |  South West Wales


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