On the 27th May 2006, I, like 55,000 other people were at the Millennium stadium to watch Swansea take on Barnsley in the play off final. Our average crowd of that season was 14,000; up 6,000 on the previous season and up over 10,000 on three years before that. As the game went to penalties, I couldn’t watch, I left my seat and listened to the groans from below deck.
That loss really hurt!! Really hurt!!! Wales losing to Portgual? Meh……
Because me (and probably) you are like 90% of Wales and we haven’t followed our country as much as we should have!
Truth be told when Wales were losing 5-1 at home to Slovakia in front of 28,000 people, not only was I not one of those people who attended the Millennium Stadium but the chances are that I was watching England playing on the other channel.
It has been the same for many, many matches over many, many years! Most of us (if we are honest) have not followed Wales through the bad times!! The attendances say so too!! 2 years later only 6,000 people bothered to watch Wales play Georgia at the Liberty stadium!!
And then we try and flick a switch! Jump on a bandwagon and become die-hard Welsh football fanatics!! It doesn’t work; it hasn’t worked!!
There are people today feeling the same was as I felt the morning after that Barnsley loss and hat off to you! But the majority of us feel like the tag along Swans fans that went to Cardiff on that day for a little jolly.
You only feel real emotion when you go through the bad times! It is the rule of football!!! The high of the Belgium victory was far higher for the 28,000 people who watched us get thumped by Slovakia! And the low today is bad; really bad!!
Whilst those of us who have seen the international weekend as a ridiculous break from real football are left pretty much unaffected; disappointed but without the gut retching feeling of agony which football is supposed to do to us!
I want that feeling!! I want it for my country as I feel it for my club and so I’m going to make this pledge!!
From now on I promise that:
I will follow Wales through thick and thin
I will choose to watch them over England on the other channel even if I have to put up with ITV commentary!!
I will (and this is hard) applaud (at least once!!) any Welsh player that comes to the Liberty stadium (even Joe Ledley!)
Purchase a Welsh flag and hang it out of my window for EVERY Welsh football game!
Attend ANY Welsh football match at the Liberty stadium if tickets are not too much hassle to get hold of
Learn (properly!!) the whole anthem and sing with absolute pride!
And when we next reach a semi-final, whether we win or we lose, the emotion will be as it should be. There will be pure ecstasy or complete meltdown because that is how supporting a football team should always be.
Huge credit to those of you who never gave up on us! Come on to the rest of us! We need to raise our game!!! Take the pledge and share it!!