Nostalgia plays a big part in the life of a football fan, consistently finding its way into the narratives we create to feed our love for the game. But sentimentality for the past isn't limited to fans of clubs who have fallen on hard times – periods of failure (or even lethargic inactivity) are often celebrated as much as periods of glory, a way for fans who lived through those dog days to say: "I'm not just here for the good times...I was here when we were shit, and I'll still be here when that normal service is resumed."
In case you didn't know (and I'm not sure how you wouldn't, because I go on about it a lot) – I'm a supporter of Swansea City FC. My stepdad took me to my first game when I was 11 years old and, apart from a brief period when I thought that music might be more important than football, I've been a devoted member of the Jack Army ever since.
The story of Swansea's recent rise through the divisions of the English league has been well-documented (it even made it to the big screen last year). Like many supporters, I've grown to accept that the shiny, new Liberty Stadium – which the Swans moved into in time for the 2005/06 season – has been a crucial factor in the club's success, but I still crave the days when my mates and I would pile into a bus at Morriston Cross and head down to the seafront for a visit to the Swans' former home: the cobbled-together collection of crumbling brick, rotting wood and tin cow-shed sheets known as the Vetch Field.
It was this thirst for nostalgia that saw me start the Twitter account @SwanThisDay in 2013. I had been hoping that someone else would start tweeting a daily Swansea City 'on this day' moment, but if you want something done, sometimes you just have to do it yourself. After two years of limiting myself to 140 characters or less, Scott Mackay contacted me to ask if I would consider expanding on a few of the more memorable moments for his excellent website The Swansea Way. It seemed like a natural progression and, with the 10th anniversary of the Swans' last games at the Vetch Field just around the corner, I had a good place to start.
That first series of posts for The Swansea Way, looking back at the final five games of that historic last season at the Vetch, is now complete, and can be read by visiting the links below:
15th April 2005 – Swansea City 1–0 Oxford United
23rd April 2005 – Bristol Rovers 2–0 Swansea City
30th April 2005 – Swansea City 1–0 Shrewsbury Town
7th May 2005 – Bury 0–1 Swansea City
11th May 2005 – Swansea City 2–1 Wrexham
Today marks 10 years since Swans defeated Wrexham in the last of those games, and the turnstiles of the Vetch Field were closed for good. A couple of years ago, I had a poem about that final game published in a book on the history of the Sandfields. The book's now sadly out of print, but you can read the poem here.
And, if for some reason you haven't had your fill of my ramblings about Swansea City and the Vetch Field, I'll also be on BBC Radio Wales tomorrow evening (Tuesday 12th May) after 7pm (if they haven't cut my pre-recorded interview for being too boring).
Update: The Radio Wales programme commemorating 10 years since the last game at the Vetch has now been broadcast, and is available for a limited time as a downloadable podcast from the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/rws