Arsenal v Clwb Pêl-droed Dinas Abertawe: history, who plays, drink prices…

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By Billy the Dog McGraw

The last time I saw Swansea play Arsenal I seem to remember that the ground was overlooked by a prison, and that those spending time at the pleasure of Her Majesty would lean out between the bars and shout abuse at us alien visitors from the land of St George.

I actually recognised a few of the lads inside, and we exchanged a little jolly banter, as I raised a glass of the stuff they could not get on the inside, and we all shared a jolly laugh.  Returning to the streets after the game I found my car was done over, but I took it in good stead, and restricted my retribution to torching just a handful of the streets around the ground that evening while waiting for the AA.

So, what you need to know is that Swansea is in a foreign place.  Maybe a principality, but they like to call it a country.   Welsh TV runs a high profile series called Cheerio Cymru in which failed asylum seekers are invited on the show and asked questions about Welsh culture.  The people who get most answers right are given £5 to take home and spend in their country.  Those who fail get given a daffodil and a map of the M4 and M50, along with details of how to avoid the authorities if attempting to hide out in England.

Clwb Pêl-droed Dinas Abertawe as the local club are properly known locally has won the Welsh Cup ten times and have as their all time achievement the fact that in December 1981 they were top of the First Division.

Like Arsenal Clwb Pêl-droed Dinas Abertawe has a fairly new ground, in their case called the Liberty Stadium.  They share it with Ospreys Rugby Onion club who play another game that I don’t understand.

Their supporters tend to call the club Swansea City and they are known as  ‘Jacks’ either following on from 17th century sailors called Swansea Jacks or because of a dog called Jack. Puzzling.

Interestingly Swansea City spent time in the Southern League – a league that Royal Arsenal formed in the 19th century (see Tony’s forthcoming book “Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football” – that will cost you a pint  Tony).  Much of their time has been spent in the Third and Second divisions where they will on occasion have met the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, a bunch of hearty roughs who play near to the Emirates Stadium.

In 1967 Swansea decided to visit pastures new and trotted along to division four, a season in which they played us, of all people,  in front of 32,000 people at their old ground, in the Cup.  After the experience they changed their club name, before going all the way from division four to one in a short space of time, and getting very excited with three promotions in four seasons – something on Wimbledon have done before them.  They even beat us in that first season up!

But then they went down again and sacked the man who had brought them up (John Toshack) and all the people they owed money to went to court to get their money back.  This was reminiscent of Arsenal in 1910, as told in the book Making the Arsenal (that will be two pints Tony).  Swansea  were wound up by court order in December 1985 and were back in their spiritual home of division four in 1986.

On the way back up again they beat Torquay in a play off game which is wholly unacceptable (three pints Tony).  (NB to rest of world, Tony also supports Torquay Utd).

There’s lots more history, but I am getting bored, so to skip to the end in 2001 the club was sold for £1. and then on to a bunch of Australians who sacked most of the team, and then the Australians sold the club to another consortium, and the Colin Addison took over.  They had John Hollins as a manager too!  What a small world.

So now you know.  As for us…


Sagna Koscielny, Mertesacker Gibbs


Ramsey The Welsh,  Arteta

Theo van Persie Benayoun

And if that vaguely resembles the team then the back ups will be…

Fabianski, Djourou, Ryo, Park,  Arshavin, Coquelin, Ryo,  Chamakh,  Oxlade Chamberlain, Ignasi

which when you come to think about it is quite a good bench.  And quite good men sitting on the bench.

Missing are

  • Diaby and Wilshere (the ankle twins)
  • Vermaelen has had his surgery
  • Rosicky, (kicked in an international)
  • Santos short of match fitness so might play as a sub
  • Gervinho, Song and Jenkinson all suspended
  • Squillaci has a calf, which I think is a reference to an injury, rather than his interesting in farming.

As for Swansea, they have an official web site, and I have been on it.  I clicked on the link to the Matchday homepage and it says “The page you are trying to reach may have expired, or been moved.”  Hey ho.

The fixtures page confirms they are running neck and neck with us, having one point.  But they are out of the league cup having lost 3-1 to Shrewsbury.  They got a point drawing 0-0 with Sunderland.  Their defender Tate broke his leg playing with a golf buggy.

Finally on to drinks.  We’ll be meeting at the Auld Triangle as usual, but just beware the beer prices – the pub is engaging on random pricing, which means the bar staff just charge you whatever you feel.  One way to deal with it is to order your drink, if you don’t like the price, just leave them on the counter and walk away.  If enough of us do it, they might see sense.

Final score: Arsenal 9 Swansea 1, Swansea to score first.  And in the pub Tony is buying.

Arsenal History …… Making the Arsenal …… Arsenal Uncovered


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Arsenal’s “25″ is actually 32, as Wenger works the system

Bem Vindo André Santos

Per Mertesacker: the fact file

12 Replies to “Arsenal v Clwb Pêl-droed Dinas Abertawe: history, who plays, drink prices…”

  1. To see my native language on my favorite site has filled my heart with joy, lifting the gloom on what has been a really shit day 🙂

    Arsenal 5 Swansea 0 (Merty had trick, Rambo double). Being a CCFC boy, Ramsey is gonna be well up for this one, he could win the game by himself for us. And after his man of the match display on Tuesday, Swansea are gonna get battered bless em. Mine’s a lager!

    I’m ignoring the Park issue for now, can’t let it spoil my mood…

  2. I have to admit it took a bit of a gamble and several pints of Beaujolais to get the name sorted in Welsh. Glad it worked, and this will allow me to go home for my friday evening top up, secure in the knowledge of a job well done.

  3. This is going to be a tough one for us Swansea 0 the Arsenal 11@ Billy the dog i wish you where near my pub Nakulabye you would drink you self lame.

  4. Now listen to me boyo

    My auntie’s close relative was the Chief Constable of South Wales years ago and down there they don’t take too kindly to the English slagging off the boys.

    They have this thing down there called the Tafia. Which broadly means a bunch of Welsh boys and girls who sort you out if you don’t play fair. Like giving the head of the council’s son a job when there’s a better candidate on the short-list…..

    There are rules down there you know. The first of which is that if the beer at the Con Club’s the cheapest in town, then all the good Labour voters join the Con Club because they believe in the values of the Con Club selling them cheap beer….I know this because I was told never to mention politics when we went for a pint there…….

    The other thing you need to know about down there is that Swansea and Cardiff fans are like Arsenal and Spurs fans – they don’t really like each other, see. West Walians down there you know. Different breed to those on the Taff.

    The other thing about Swansea is that it takes almost as long on the train between Cardiff and Swansea as it does between Cardiff and London. All those extra stops, see. Bridgend, Port Talbot, Neath, all having inter-cities stopping there. None of them cities really you know. But it keeps all the valleys happy, having a stop at the bottom of the cwm.

    If you really want to know about Swansea, you’ll know it’s not just a town but a valley. Old mining valley, good caves too. And there’s a lovely pub on the road up the head of the valley too. So if you want to be real tourists going to the away game, you can take the A40 Head of the Valleys road and stop off at the Abercrave Inn. I can’t remember the proper spelling, but it’s something like that……

    I know all this because my uncle (sadly missed) and auntie live(d) there for years. They know everybody, see. Because they taught them all in school and my auntie was brought up there too, see.

    So when you think about taking the piss out of them, just remember this: they can swear about you in welsh and you’d know no better. But if you swear about them in English, they’ll understand every word…….

    Proud people the Welsh…….

  5. Loved the article Billy, come to Finland and I buy you 2 pints (or 1 when I sometime get that chance to come to London to see Arsenal).
    I hope Parks visa will be sorted out soon. (might say something mean to people handling that visa thing in Finnish and smile so they would not have a clue what I say).

  6. Entertaining post, Billy. Just that there are 2 Ryo’s sitting on your bench…are you sure both are not wearing the same jersey number?

  7. Rhys – best post I have seen from your good self in many a long year. Keep it up.

    Ryo x 2 was I am sure an attempt by Billy to stuff the opposition with oddity.

  8. Guardian has the same team as Billy save with Arshavin on the wing. It also has Ryo doubtful with a calf injury. But some of the rest of its stuff is amusing…


    Subs: Fabianski, Almunia, Mannone, Miquel, André Santos, Djourou, Benayoun, Eastmond, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chamakh, Park

    That puts 3 keepers on the bench. Even Billy didn’t do that.

    Leading scorer Walcott 3. Nice one.

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