Joy as Euro zone beckons for Swansea City
IT was the sweet moment of triumph Swansea had waited a century for.
Any nerves among the fans were quickly dispelled as the boys in white scored twice before half-time, then fired another three past Bradford to complete the Capital One Cup rout.
When the final whistle went, the scenes of jubilation at Wembley were echoed across Wales and beyond as the Swans booked themselves a place in soccer's history books — and in Europe.
As club chaplain and announcer Kev Johns summed it up: "It's for everybody who has worn a Swans shirt and worn a Swans scarf. This is for 100 years of support.
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"It's absolutely brilliant. We've just won one of the major trophies in British football and we're going to Europe. We also scored five goals at Wembley Stadium.
"The atmosphere has been fantastic and the fans were just amazing.
"As a Swansea City fan who has watched them since childhood, this was a great moment for me."
Broadcaster and entertainer Mal Pope said: "There was a lovely atmosphere between the two sets of fans. They were all just so pleased to be there.
"There was a lot of good banter. And then the game itself was a thoroughly professional job. We played them off the park — you could see how good our team was."
He paid tribute not just to the Swans fans, but also the Bradford supporters who, at one point, sang and waved flags for 12 unbroken minutes — earning applause from their Welsh rivals.
Mal also revealed his fellow broadcaster, comedian Owen Money, had put a 33-1 bet on the Swans winning 5-0.
"I don't know how much he won but he's a very happy man," said Mal.
Swansea Council leader David Phillips said: "The eyes of the sporting world were on Wembley and it's our club which will be the toast of football. I want to pay tribute to Michael Laudrup, his playing staff and the backroom staff for this magnificent achievement.
"Credit must also go to Huw Jenkins and the Swans board for the way they have steered the club to British football's top table and to a tremendous Capital One Cup final in the club's centenary year.
"The Swans fans were fantastic and built on their growing reputation as some of the most loyal and passionate supporters in the country. They can now look forward to a European adventure that not so long ago would have been little more than a dream.
"The past few years have been a footballing fairy story for the Swans. A decade ago Swansea was on the verge of dropping out of the Football League. But now this club is in the Premier League and is looking forward to European competition next year."
Swansea Council said the Swans' presence in football's richest league competition generated a £58million economic lift and hundreds of jobs for the city in its first season alone.
Visits from fans of clubs from across Europe will add even more to the economic feelgood factor.
Mr Phillips said one of the most significant features of Swansea's time in the Premier League had been the warmth of the welcome visitors had received at the Liberty Stadium and in the city as a whole.
"It's been a talking point among visiting fans and local businesses alike, and I'm sure this will continue both in the Premier League and the Europa League next season when we can look forward to hosting visitors from across Europe."
Cabinet member for regeneration Nick Bradley said: "The Swans are putting our city on the map, not just in the UK, but across Europe and the rest of the world.
"Their achievements and the style of football they play means interest in Swansea has never been higher, and that's potentially great news for the local economy as their stock continues to rise and rise."
National Assembly for Wales presiding officer Rosemary Butler hailed it a famous result for Michael Laudrup's team and for the city of Swansea.
"It is the first time a Welsh club side has brought the League Cup back to Wales which means it is wider than the sport of football," she said.
"It is an historic day for Welsh sport and one that will live on through the years to come.
"I am so happy for the club's supporters and the residents of the city as a whole, and I suspect there will be a few sore heads in Swansea this morning."