South West Wales

Capital One Cup final: Swansea City fans arrive at Wembley

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Media captionBack in his native Denmark, Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is already a superstar and widely regarded as the country's greatest ever sportsman

Tens of thousands of Swansea City fans are arriving at Wembley for one of the biggest days in the club's history.

The club sold their 33,000 allocation weeks ago for the Capital One Cup final against League Two side Bradford City.

A convoy of coaches travelled up from the Liberty Stadium for a game which could secure Swansea's first major trophy and European football.

The Swans are favourites but Bradford beat three other Premier League sides to reach the final (16:00 GMT).

A victory for Swansea would also see them qualify for next season's Europa League, as League Cup winners.

John Freeman, 56, a fan for 48 years, said: "Following the Swansea had always been like being on a rollercoaster, but the ride's well worth it now.

"Wembley is a treat for everyone: they could have taken 50,000."

Image caption Swansea-born Dean Williams is ready for a 4am wake-up in Auckland, New Zealand for the big game

Among the early arrivals walking up Olympic Way at Wembley were Elfon, from Morriston, and Cher, from Swansea who left south Wales in the coach convoy at 06:00 GMT.

"I've been a fan for 30 years," Elfon told BBC Radio Wales. "I've seen them go up, go down and go back up again. I remember the days of Toshack.

"This is what I have been dreaming of for 30 years," he added, admitting he would take a 1-0 with a goal in the 90th minute - as long as the Swans win.

Former Swansea goalkeeper Roger Freestone - a one-time temporary Swansea manager - called their Wembley appearance unbelievable.

"When you think 10 years ago they were down in the doldrums," said Freestone. "They were 90 minutes away from being kicked out of the Football League.

"Now they are Wembley, an established Premier League side, with a new stadium. It's looking so rosy."

Former Swansea player Leighton Phillips said the team were favourites: "It's going to be painful for the side that loses today because this is going to be in their memory for years and years."

Team mascot

Swansea director Martin Morgan said: "We're living the dream. Ten years ago were were playing Hartlepool. It's fantastic. It's a brilliant day out for Swansea, it's a brilliant day for Wales. Hopefully we can do the city and the nation proud."

The team's mascot will be 11-year-old Tyler Lucas, who won a competition to lead City out at Wembley after producing a collage of his favourite player, left back Ben Davies, including a scarf.

"I did a little collage with Swansea players in the background," he said.

"My nan knitted a scarf and out of foil I then made a Capital One, which Ben Davies is holding and I did fireworks in the background.

"They told me I'll be going out with [captain] Ashley Williams. I'm over the moon - I'm still in shock."

There are also divided loyalties, with Swansea fan Steve Grey now living in Bradford with his partner Dawn Caton, a Bantams fan.

They have travelled up together, but are sitting at different ends.

"It's all been in good fun, I think Steve is probably having it worse at work than at home," said Dawn.

Image caption Fan Scott Williams's view from the coach during a much-needed services break on the M4

Steve said his building had a "wear claret and amber day" to honour Bradford - but he wore his Swansea top.

"The banter has been absolutely fantastic, even people who don't know me at work have been coming up to me saying, 'are you that Swansea fan?'

"Word has got around."

A fleet of coaches of Bradford supporters set out from Yorkshire at the same time as the Swansea buses.

Fans are planning a minute's applause in the 56th minute of the match, to remember the 56 fans who died in a stand fire at Bradford City's match with Lincoln in 1985.

If you are a Swansea fan at Wembley or anywhere else around the world you can send us your photographs of the big day using the form below and we will publish a selection.

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