South East Wales

Swansea City's old Vetch stadium demolition begins

The main demolition phase has got under way at the Vetch - Swansea City's historic football ground.

The club moved to the new Liberty Stadium six years ago.

Work to clear the Swansea council-owned site has been made possible with a £700,000 regeneration grant from the assembly government.

The local authority is still struggling to find a developer for the site, which has been earmarked for housing.

Demolition of the stands, terraces and floodlights is likely to take between four and six months.

A planning application to landscape the site has been submitted and, if approved, should be complete by the end of the summer.

The council intends to landscape the area until a developer can be found.

But there have been calls for it to be used for allotments in the meantime.

The Vetch was local football's home from the time it opened in 1912 until its final game in 2005, when fans grabbed pieces of the hallowed turf or snatched seats as keepsakes.

But as the landmark is torn down, it is clear the club's old home still holds fond memories for many people connected with its history.

Peter Stead, historian and lifelong Swansea fan said: "It was a remarkable ground, an eccentric ground and a shambolic ground.

"The Vetch was terrific, we loved it.

Image caption Some of the seats were ripped out by fans keen to grab mementoes at the final 2005 game

"Now here's the final demolition after 100 years of the Vetch being at the heart of the soul of Swansea."

Alan Curtis is now a coach at Swansea, but played in the team's famous 5:1 win over Leeds in 1981.

He said: "It somehow always seemed to generate a fantastic atmosphere.

"I always seemed to spend more time there than at home."

Professor Huw Bowen, supporter and author of a history of the club said the demolition was "a poignant, sad and moving experience".

"It was a dump but it was our dump," he said of the ground.

Swansea supporter Marilyn Croft said driving past the demolition site had brought a touch of sadness.

"I know it's got to come down and there needs to be something else built there, but the Vetch will always be our spiritual home."

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