Ten years ago we had just lost 4-0 to Hartlepool in Division Three, the bottom of the division was daunting, staring relegation out of the football league in the face was something most Swansea City fans did not want to think about. Since then the Swans have come on in leaps and bounds, successfully proving themselves as an excellent, footballing Premier League side.
However, heading into the League Cup Final the Swans were facing an entirely different challenge, a trip to Wembley against League Two side Bradford City, a side that have experienced the Premier League in the past.
The Swans understand better than a lot of football teams the ups and downs that a football club can go through, whether that is relegations, promotions, the club almost being liquidated to fan representation on the board. So it seemed fitting that the Swans would face a club in the lower tier of football who had had an amazing journey in the Capital One Cup, beating three Premier League teams along the way to reach the final.
For me this trip to Wembley was something I didn't think I would ever see or be a part of when I first started supporting the Swans. Coincidentally, the first time I ever watched the Swans was at Wembley in 1994. The game vs. Huddersfield saw a Swans win in the Autoglass Trophy, but it wasn't so much the result of the game that got me supporting the Swans, it was the atmosphere, the noise of the 'Jack Army' was just electric and you could feel the passion in the air. I needed to be a part of that.
Having personally witnessed the Swans struggle in the lower leagues, never really having much of a run in major cup competitions and having to withstand seeing the club go through times such as the 'Tony Petty' era, the thought of a trip to Wembley for the League Cup Final just seemed both wonderful and not fully realistic.
On paper it would be easy to say before the final that the Swans were the favourites and should easily beat Bradford, but football doesn't always follow what should happen.
So in the lead up to the final it is safe to say that I have been getting increasingly nervous, with patches of optimism which speedily turn back to nervousness. Bradford had proven themselves in this competition already against Wigan, Arsenal and Villa. They weren't to be written off as a League Two side that the Swans would beat without any pressure. The Swans needed to go into the final not only knowing what they needed to do, but they also needed to not underestimate Bradford.
The day of the final brought with it feelings of excitement, nervousness and an early start from Swansea. The bus journey up was filled with conversations of 'if and when we win' as well as anticipation at the thought of entering the Europa League.
Wembley Way was full of a buzz, Bradford and Swansea fans walking amongst each other, some in fancy dress, others in club colours. Every single fan was there to see their club win the trophy and enter Europe, but only one set of fans would get what they wanted.
The Swans dominated possession over the 90 minutes, passing the ball around nicely, however this did not stop my nerves, even when Dyer scored in the sixteenth minute, I still refused to believe it was going to be a simple match. There's something about the surroundings of Wembley that makes you believe that anything can happen.
One thing that stood out for me though was the passion that emulated from the Bradford end. Even when they were down to ten men and losing 4-0, their fans stood up, sung loud and waved their flags. The pride and passion of supporting your club is something both sets of fans have in common.
The Swans may have been the winners on the day of the final, winning 5-0 and getting into Europe, but hopefully Bradford will look at their progress in the League Cup and be proud of themselves, both clubs deserved their day at Wembley. Two clubs who have both been on magnificent journeys and both deserve success.Suggest a correction