Swansea triumph in League Cup as Bradford wilt at Wembley
Capital One Cup final proves a bridge too far for League Two outfit as Swans hit the big time
Bradford City 0 Swansea City 5. They beat Wigan, they beat Aston Villa, they even beat Arsenal. But Bradford couldn't beat Swansea on the biggest stage of them all.
Instead the League Two side who had knocked out three Premier League clubs en route to the Capital One Cup final were given a footballing lesson, and a sound thrashing, by Swansea at Wembley.
"It has not sunk in," said Swansea captain Garry Monk after the game. "We have deserved to put a major trophy in the cabinet."
The Swansea fans have waited a long time for such a trophy – since the club's formation in 1912, to be precise – and they celebrated long into the night after completely dominating their Yorkshire rivals. The result was never really in doubt once Nathan Dyer gave Swansea the lead on 16 minutes and Michu doubled their advantage five minutes before the interval.
The second half followed a similar pattern, Dyer scoring his second just after the break and Jonathan de Guzman firing home from the penalty spot on the hour mark after being felled by Matt Duke. The Bradford keeper saw red for his troubles, but Swansea eased off in the last half hour, adding just one more goal when De Guzman tapped in on the stroke of full-time.
For Swansea the victory completes a stunning transformation in their fortunes. In 2001 the club nearly went bankrupt and it required a supporters' buy-out of businessman Tony Petty to rescue the club from insolvency.
The following season the Swans were nearly relegated from the Football League but 2003 saw the start of a turnaround. "It's been unbelievable, the last 10 years," said midfielder Leon Britton, a former Arsenal youth player who joined Swansea in 2002. "We nearly dropped out of the Football League and now we're in the Premier League and in Europe. We've done what we've always done and passed the football."
Europe was also on the mind of Michael Laudrup, the Swansea manager who arrived last summer in place of Brendan Rodgers. "As a manager it's absolutely at the top, winning a trophy for the first time in 100 years," said the Dane, who won the European Cup with Barcelona in 1992. "The first trophy is always special, and now next year in Europe... it's a nice experience."
While Swansea can look forward to the Europa League next season, playing against some of the top teams from Italy, Spain and Germany, for Bradford it's back to League Two and Fleetwood, Rochdale and Barnet.
"We pressed in the second half but the early goal killed us," admitted Matt Duke. "It is disappointing but this is a massive plus for the football club, a massive achievement and we have to remember that."