THIS CLIP truncates the emotion football can evoke in each one of us. A Swansea City fan’s journey from abject horror to relief while young Alfie Mawson swatted away a 90th minute Romelu Lukaku cross from precariously close to his own goal line. For a few seconds, we were all this fan. Swansea hung on to beat Everton and move out of the drop zone that day. They never looked back. This week, we caught up with Sioned Dafydd (pronounced Sh-awn-ed Daf-id), a Swansea-native, longtime season ticket holder, student at Bangor University and intern at the club. We asked her what she experienced in this moment, how she lived Swansea’s survival and what Wales thinks of Bob Bradley.
MiB: Let’s start with some background. Talk about your Swansea City lineage.
SD: I come from a long line of Swansea City supporters. My dad took me to my first game when I was seven years old, down the Vetch Field, which was our old stadium. I’ve grown up with the club and been lucky enough to see us go from strength to strength and climb up the leagues. It’s my hometown club and it makes me proud to see how the Premier League has benefitted the city as a whole. Swansea has just completely changed over the last few years thanks to all the investment that’s come in because of SCFC. A lot of people were relieved when we knew we were staying up. You’ve got local businesses and schools that are affected by the league. That’s the thing about Swansea. The works goes on after the 90 minutes, and you feel it in the city.
MiB: Your reaction in the clip conveyed the stakes for your club. What was going through your mind in that moment?
SD: All that was going through my mind in that particular moment was, “I have to be here for this team.” This season has been such an emotional roller coaster for all of us. Especially in the last month or so. Every single moment counted. We had to adopt this almost animalistic instinct for survival because so much has been riding on each play.
MiB: The clip spread quickly across the Internet and even made a suboptimal television show in the U.S. What was the reaction from friends, family and social media when they saw you?
SD: You always see clips of men going nuts during the games, but to see a young woman go completely mental, I don’t think that’s something people are used to really. So I’ve actually had quite a few girls Tweet at me saying they want to see more of this from women.
MiB: Last weekend, Swansea beat Sunderland Saturday, meaning that if Palace beat Hull Sunday, you were staying up. How did you live that Palace vs. Hull game?
SD: I didn’t watch the first half. I couldn’t put myself through it, so I put my headphones on and went for a run. There was so much riding on it. But when I got home and saw Palace were 2-0 up, I thought, “Oh, okay.” And then that third goal went in, and I think that was the first time since October that I was completely relaxed. I don’t think anyone thought we could do it. At one point, when we lost to Boro [3 - 0 Dec. 17], I thought, “Game over.” But we did it and I’m still smiling about it.
MiB: We are slightly biased. But, reflecting on the season that was, how do you look at Bob Bradley’s tenure?
SD: There was a lot of anger and frustration. I’ve actually met Bob before and he was really, really nice. I think he was out of his depth. He was put in a situation that he wasn’t ready for. We weren’t all ganging up on him. But as a fan, you want the best for your club. The truth is, Bob Bradley wasn’t the best option for us. And it showed. But you know, I hope things go well for him and he flourishes wherever he goes. It just wasn’t meant to be.
MiB: For American Swansea fans making the pilgrimage to the Liberty Stadium for a game, what is the one place they must stop for food and/or drinks?
SD: A coffee shop called Coast Cafe, which is down in the Swansea Marina. They make the best coffee you’ll get in Swansea, and Paul Clement even stops there sometimes.