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Nine years after closing, Swansea mum admits she was happy to see back of Vetch

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 20, 2014

By Geraint Thomas / geraint.thomas@swwmedia.co.uk / @ThomasTheNews

  • An aerial view of the Vetch Field taken in 1974.

  • Glamorgan Street resident Donna Williams reflects on nine years of peace since the Vetch closed its gates.

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IT'S the best part of three years ago now.

But Donna Williams still remembers it well.

It was the morning the wrecking ball came in to begin work on knocking down the Vetch. At the start of the day, all she could see from her back window was its famous North Bank stand. By the end, she had a clear and uninterrupted view for the first time.

When the final whistle was blown at the Vetch Field following the 2005 FAW Premier Cup final, which saw Swansea beat Wrexham 2–1, there was little joy amongst home supporters despite the victory. For while the silverware was appreciated, full-time had also been blown on the famous ground's 93-year history...the Vetch was to be no more as the Swans were moving to the then new £27 million state-of-the-art Liberty Stadium.

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While the vast majority of supporters understood that the move was necessary — indeed it is doubtful if the club's meteoric rise to the Premier League would have happened without it — there were some sad to say goodbye to the spiritual home of Swansea legends such as Ivor Allchurch, Mel Charles and Alan Curtis.

But not everyone. Nine years on and things have changed.

Many residents in the streets around the ground breathed a sign of relief when the Vetch closed its doors for the last time as it meant that they would get to enjoy lazy Saturday afternoons for a change and not worry about parking outside their homes.

Donna, who has lived near the players' entrance on Glamorgan Street for 14 years, says: "When we first moved we tended to avoid match days, we always tried to go out for the day to avoid all the people who used to come down.

"My daughter was only little so we tended to avoid match days as much as we could. We would go to Mumbles or somewhere just to get out. Our car regularly used to get damaged, the wing mirrors broken off, if we stayed at home."

With a capacity of around 11,000 it was a wise move - especially if like Donna, you were more of a rugby supporter.

"At times when we didn't get away you had to turn the television up really loud inside the house because of all the noise outside," she adds.

"I was really happy when I heard that they were going to build a new stadium and looked forward to not having a monstrosity at the bottom of the garden blocking out all our light."

While the old ground slowly faded away, as the powers that be decided on its fate, Donna celebrated again six years later when those bulldozers at last moved in.

"It was noisy the day they knocked it down and the house was shaking," she says.

"But that evening I could actually see the sky through my back windows for the first time."

So far, concrete plans for the land have yet to materialise with a range of proposals from a new housing estate to open green amongst ideas being mooted.

At present allotments and grassland lay where centre forwards and defenders used to clash.

Donna says: "It's fantastic today. The children go out to play all the time and me and my daughter Hannah have an allotment which we use to grow loads of vegetables.

"It's really, really nice. It's a pleasure living here now."

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  • kellers27  |  May 20 2014, 6:51PM

    I am sure the vetch was there when you moved into the house, you should have thought about all the problems before you moved there. Just be ready for when they build flats there and all the drug gangs start to gather just like it is down around the marina flats.

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