Sunday, 11 December 2011

Swansea City - The Liberty Stadium


Swansea City FC
Liberty Stadium
Morfa
Swansea
SA1 2FA








Ground Number: 120
Tuesday 22nd October 2006
Swansea City 2-3 Wycombe Wanderers
Carling Cup 1st Round






SWANSEA CITY AT THE LIBERTY STADIUM

Swansea City moved into the Liberty Stadium in July 2005, the opening match being a 1-1 draw in a friendly game against Fulham. Having been promoted in their final season at the Vetch Field, the Swans would start life at their new ground in League 1. They were always in and around the playoffs and in 2008 won the league to go up as Champions. They coped with the step up well and within three seasons were going up again, following a 3rd place finish and victory in the playoffs against Nottingham Forest and Reading. Seven seasons were spent in the Premier League, their best finish of 8th coming in 2015. In 2018, Swansea City were relegated from the Premier League following a bad run at the end of the season. Swansea have had more moderate finishes since returning to the Championship but sit 9th at the time of my latest visit with a chance of making the end of season playoffs.

In the FA Cup, the club have made two FA Cup Quarter Finals since moving to their new home, losing 3-0 to Spurs in 2018 and 3-2 to Manchester City in 2019. The League Cup was won in 2013 with a 5-0 win over Bradford City. They also reached the Football League Trophy area final in 2008, losing to Milton Keynes. The club also enjoyed a season in Europe in 2013/14, playing 12 games before losing to Napoli in the last 32.

Other uses for the stadium include rugby with the venue being shared by Osprey's who get considerably lower attendances than the football. It's also hosted six Wales internationals and a host of concerts including The Who, Elton John, Rod Stewart and Lionel Richie. It also hosted a conference for political party UKIP in 2014. The record attendance of 20,992 came for a game against Liverpool in 2016 and is the third-largest stadium in Wales behind the Millenium Stadium and the Cardiff City stadium.

  



MY PREVIOUS VISITS

My first visit to Swansea City's new ground, the Liberty Stadium was in August 2006. This game was the start of our run to the Carling Cup Semi-Final, where we eventually bowed out to Chelsea, despite managing a 1-1 draw at Adams Park in the first leg. But the game I am going to concentrate on came the following season, where a reserve side lost 2-0 to a second-string Swansea team in the Johnstones Paint Trophy. Before I got the time off to go to Swansea, I had to do my usual penance at work from 5am up until 1pm. Having missed out on a better job earlier this week I am there for the foreseeable future. And to make matters worse they didn't have any of my favourite Yorkie Cookies - what is the world coming to?!? Once I had finished I met Paul down the chippy and we made our way to the coach which left at one. Much animated conversation amongst the regulars about the usual subjects ensued – I can’t see Johnny P joining the Stefan Oakes fan club anytime soon! At about 4 we stopped for our obligatory stop at one of the UK’s delightful service stations. This one, the “First” service station in Magor looked a bit like a time warp from the 1970’s We enjoyed a fairly trouble-free trip down and got to the Liberty Stadium just before 6

Swansea were looking for revenge following us putting them out of the Carling Cup on our way to the semi-final last season. Before the game, Paul and I went to another chippy before making our way to the ground.. Wycombe made a number of changes including in goal where Przemyslaw Kazimierczak made his debut following his loan move from Bolton a couple of weeks ago. Swansea also fielded a patched up side as the Johnstone's Paint Trophy was obviously low on each respective managers priority list. The fans were not that interested either, just 43 made their way from Wycombe, the lowest ever support in the Football League for a competitive game if I’m not mistaken. In an uneventful game, it was Swansea who took a 2 goal lead and could have had more in a first half where Wycombe looked in trouble on quite a few occasions. The second half was a bit better and we probably just shaded it but couldn’t find the net. Reuben Reid was probably the best Wycombe player causing a few problems for the Swansea defence. But the dream of winning the JPT is over at the first hurdle for Wycombe and they can now concentrate on the league, bar the FA Cup which starts next month.

THE GROUND


THE LIBERTY STADIUM is Swansea's new stadium, after years spent at their former ground, Vetch Field. It is a smart, modern stadium, holding around 20,000 and is one of the better new builds. It also has quite a lot to do around it, with a retail park nearby, and a chippy right across the road. There sadly aren't many options for a drink though.

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