It is the morning after the night before and to my amusement last night I set my alarm clock this morning to play the Swansea City song on Amazon Music. To my disappointment when it started playing it wasn’t the dulcet tones of Roger Evans but it did wake me up and remind me that last night we reached the Championship play-offs for only the second time.
That really was an incredible night of football and one of those nights where everyone would love to say “I was there” but the reality is – thanks to a certain global pandemic – very few people were there to witness the Swans turn around a three point and five goal deficit to reach the play-offs.
Whilst we couldn’t have been there watching the end of the 46 game season it will be one of those nights that you remember exactly where you were when Wayne Routledge headed the ball into the net for the all important 4th on the night. It was the first time we had been back in the play off spots for 18 games but if you are going to be there make sure you need to be there at the right time.
I had to come back into the room pretty quickly after leaving it in celebration to make sure the goal hadn’t been cruelly ruled out by a moment of fate and then sat nervously watching a clock tick away on a score from Nottingham completely oblivious to how long I was supposed to be watching it for as the app wasn’t for telling me how many minutes had been added. To be honest I had no idea how many minutes had been added at Reading either, I could have been stuck in this period of time forever just wondering whether either referee was going to calm my heartbeat enough for me to enjoy the moment even more.
We have all been hugely critical of a Steve Cooper side at some stage this season. Heavily so when we lost to Luton at home but note that they stayed up so never take too much notice of that defeat. And also note that we took 17 points from the last 27 to reach the play offs and, over the last 6 games of the season, only Leeds (18 points) and Fulham (14) secured more points then we did. This side reached the play offs because we deserved to be there no matter how much the freak results on the last day helped us, over 46 games we were the 6th best team in this division and that is good enough for me.
Last night was one of those nights that you simply won’t forget though. Football can be a cruel mistress at times and we can all remember the sad times. For us the memories of surrendering our Premier League spot two years back are still raw but with a performance like last night who is to say that we couldn’t gain it back in a couple of short weeks time. We are, after all, a team in form.
I do genuinely believe the last 25 minutes of last night’s games will live with me for a long time. When Routledge scored his first it was just a relief that at least we were winning and that was all we could do on the night was to ensure we won. As news came in of Stoke goals, hopes rose and when Cullen scored our third it was just one more goal. Just one more goal. One. Not two, three or four but one. And when Routledge placed that perfect header into the back of the net, there is nothing more I can say for that moment other than “I love football”
Today I will largely be living in the memory of last night. Tomorrow, I will let the nerves start to take hold for Sunday. This journey is – for now – carrying onto it’s next stop.