In her second column for ATFV Hanna Cordingley shares with us how she got her teenage kicks watching the Swans beat Leeds at Elland Road. Ah, the joys of being young, wide eyed and innocent again!
After a long journey my family and I arrived in Leeds late on Thursday afternoon.
We met up with one of Dads friends from university for a drink in a pub by the hotel. After that we all had what can only be described as an awful nights sleep, which probably isn’t the best after being in the car all day.
Poor sleep over and Friday arrived in all its bleary eyed glory. It was the day before the match, or the calm before the Swansea storm.
After having breakfast at The Cobbles, and seeing some family on my Dad’s side, we ended up going shopping (I’m not complaining); we headed to a few shopping centres and being a typical teenager I walked out with more than I went in for…oops.
Dad then took me to Elland Road to take some pictures and to see where, as a boy, he supported Dirty Leeds (not happy with this – Ed.). To be frank the Swans could learn one or two things about merchandising and setting up a supporters shop. (Hang on, you’re Frank now? I thought you were Hannah?? – Ed.)
Friday night was filled with face stuffing and laughter, in a lovely Italian restaurant with possibly the craziest Italian waiter I’ve ever met – and I’ve spent two weeks in Italy so that was quite an achievement!
Waking up on match day was like waking up the day of an exam… you feel unprepared yet there’s nothing you can do to change that!
While having breakfast we kept our heads down and tried, TRIED, not to talk about football…which wasn’t the easiest thing to do.
Since my dad grew up in Leeds we visited some family friends and met new additions; there was a little good natured joking about the game and the “what could have been” conversation about Dan James.
We finally headed down to Elland Road for the long awaited top of the league game. From those walking with us towards the stadium there was a sense of excitement tempered by a feeling of trepidation. It was the anticipation of seeing Cooper’s team continue their winning start to the season combined with the nervousness of playing the favourites for the league on their home turf.
Once we reached the ground we headed straight for the Howards Bar, the away supporters bar underneath the John Charles Stand, which is a great idea. Many Swans fans had already gathered there and were watching the early kick-offs, but that became less of a priority as more and more fans piled into the bar intent on starting the usual chants.
There were several verses of ‘Joey Rodon’s magic’ and many renditions during the game, which may have resulted in my voice becoming very hoarse!
Waiting for the line-up to be announced was like seeing all your presents under the tree on Christmas Day…you know what your hoping for but when it’s unwrapped you have to act like its exactly what you wanted/needed.
Tingling with anticipation we entered the ground and were met with more noise and excitement. Walking up the steps and seeing an already pretty full stadium – and Elland Road holds a whopping of 17,000 more than the Liberty – was a little intimidating at first. However, as soon as the rival chants and back and forth banter between the home and away fans began, all while the players warmed up in front of us, everything felt natural.
A long blast on referee Darren Bond’s whistle indicated the game had begun and the long awaited clash was underway. The atmosphere fairly crackled, intimidating and inspiring for away fans in equal measure, and even when the home fans began conducting our verses of ‘Hymns and Arias’ and ‘Take Me to the Vetch Field’ the all round mood remained good natured and loud…very loud!
Although the first half wasn’t the best performance the fans were great, especially while singing “he could have been yours, he could’ve been yours, Daniel James, he could’ve been yours” (loving your work with this one, Jack Army – Ed.)
As the game wore on it looked more likely that we’d have to settle for a draw at best, but again that didn’t stop the travelling jacks from singing our hearts out… there were a few chants of ‘Swansea Reject’ in the direction of Pablo Hernandez, which didn’t go down well with those in the Leeds stands.
With the clock ticking towards 90, and just after Eddie Nketiah’s headed miss, the fourth official held up 4 minutes of time added on and honestly I wasn’t very hopeful for anything by this point. However…
…Grimes launched a last minute corner, causing panic at the heart of the Leeds defence. Somehow the home side scrambled the ball clear only for Rodon’s magnificent tackle to keep it in the danger area, and the resulting Roberts’ cross was partially cleared to Routs whose speculative shot found its way into the net.
I was so happy to have been proven wrong by SUPER WAYNE ROUTLEDGE. The crowd went into the biggest, craziest celebration I’ve ever witnessed at a football match and I’ve got the bruise on my leg to prove it! A seat was broken and I ended up with two men in their early 50s maybe late 40s landing on top of me… but it was worth it so I’m not complaining!!
The celebration from players was truly something else too; those on the pitch seemed so proud of what they had achieved and seemed genuinely happy to be doing so in a Swansea City top, the bench went equally crazy with Dhanda and Ayew running straight to Cooper.
But there was still a few minutes left of injury time, and everything died down except the odd chant of ‘cheerio’ as many Leeds fan began to bid farewell.
The ref’s final whistle blew and the atmosphere was insane… “we are top of the league” was sung more times than I can count, and no one was in a rush to go anywhere as players came over and began cheering and clapping, and handing out their shirts to adoring fans. There was an odd squeal as Joe Rodon took his shirt off, although that might have been me. Yes, it WAS me!
Steve Cooper came over looking like what can only be described as a proud Dad…and we gave him the big build up to his Dad Dancing Three Fist Pumps. he can dance like a dad whilst pumping his fist in the air all he wants as long as he keeps winning, his passion is infectious and has won over the fans instantly.
It really is a game I’m going to remember, and I’m sure all the other Jacks there feel the same. We went to Elland back for three hard earned points and I loved every minute of it!
Ps…WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE through the whole of the international break!!