It seemed strange to be watching men in red versus men in white and to support the men in white but if I tell you that it was a game played with a round ball and we were in Hereford then it becomes a bit more understandable. Local HBTSR supporter Gareth Davies (Ex Welsh International) arranged for us to watch Hereford play and to invade the pitch at half time to do a penalty shootout.
Some of us had rarely seen a football match and were quite surprised by the ability of players to lie as if dead until the ref made a decision and then get up and run off or roll as if in agony before taking a penalty. But it was fun. Phil and Julian led the chanting and I think we scared the opposition supporters (all 9 of them) when we joined with over 2700 Hereford fans in cheering.
The day started in Swansea at around 9 when people made their way to Tesco to meet up with our good friend Stuart and Bluebird coaches. Wayne and Maria met everyone there before leaving Julian, Kevin and Raz in charge. Wayne went home to pack for his holidays and Maria and Phil set off in hot pursuit of Stuart.
Meanwhile Talgarth’s answer to Subway, Janet, Jean, Kate and Heulwen were ensuring that we were never going to be a sandwich short of a picnic! And in Bronllys, the team from October (and some newbies) reassembled and very quickly a feast started to take shape. Everyone who came brought food and the supplies piled up. Pat and Margaret came with Birthday cake from Pat’s surprise party the day before. We didn’t have time to embarrass him by singing.
Lorna was back in charge of the kitchen which now has a sink and cupboards and some surfaces – actually it was easier to fill the tea urns when we had a hose but I didn’t think we should complain. Sarah and friends made flatbreads for hours and made it look so easy – especially after the juggling and size decisions. Lu arrived with plates and cutlery just seconds before the bus arrived (just in time technology Bronllys style) and the tea urns eventually boiled. The rice rushed to Sue’s house to be cooked and we were able to welcome our guests and share tea and coffee and cakes.
The decision was made to brave the elements with a walk to Bronllys castle for Gez’s history lesson about how the English, who were really French, built the castle to keep the Welsh under control and how we had the chance to support Wales and Ireland that day to get our own back (but most of us wouldn’t see that as we were going to watch football…). Meanwhile back at the hall, packed teas were put into bags and boxes and loaded onto the coach and the lunch was ready to serve. We all made it to the top of the tower although the view was a little misty/wet/grey.
As if by magic, a lunch of differing vegetable stews, chickpea with spinach soup and rice and flatbreads and other breads and salad and cake (so many delicious kinds) vanished, leaving only smiles and sighs of contentment and all too soon it was time to set off for Hereford. Maria’s car was filled again with donations that will be shared at the drop in.
Although this very popular trip had been oversubscribed, a number of people were unable to make it on the day leaving a few spaces on the bus that those of us wanting to avoid washing up (and sadly miss the rugby) were able to take to watch football. It gave us the chance to admire Stuart’s commentary and his driving and the comfort of the coach.
Arriving in Hereford (where it is still legal to shoot Welshmen), we met Gareth who handed over a very large wad of tickets and then met us again inside to organise the penalty shootout details and show us to our seats. We all posed for photos and practiced our chants of ‘Come on you, Bulls’ and imaginatively ‘Hereford’. We were all fizzing with excitement and smiles could hardly have been broader.
At halftime the UID team with Maria, Phil, Chris, Steve, Ailsa and young Rhys from Talgarth were able to go onto the pitch and score some goals/take photos. Even the fountains in the pitch spraying water didn’t dampen our spirits (we’re Welsh, we’re used to being wet). We didn’t win the Raffle but we showed Hereford how to score as the final score was 3-1. Some ladies we met on our way back to the bus enquired about us and asked that we come again as we had brightened their day!
L and S who had nipped to the shops were back before anyone noticed they were missing and were thrilled to tell us that they had never been to a football game before. Sue said she hadn’t either and they all agreed it had been a great experience.
The journey back was quiet as people caught up with sleep and quietly discussed the game. Sue, Brenda, Ailsa and Steve left the coach at Bronllys so it could continue on its way home to have picnic teas.
And then we discovered that Wales had lost – our live feed having been lost when we boarded the coach with over 15 minutes of extra time played and Wales hanging on to a 5 point lead…. Still even that couldn’t spoil an almost perfect day out.
- Gareth Davies and Hereford United for the opportunity to attend the match.
- Bluebird coaches and Stuart for providing such luxurious coaches, such friendly commentary and competitive prices as always.
- Wayne, Phil, Maria, Kev, Raz and Julian for helping organize this trip.
- Sue and Gez and friends for organizing the food and walk.
- Lorna for taking charge of the kitchen duties.
- Paul, Karen, Steph, Mac, Erica, Pat, Margaret, Barbara, Reg, Janet, Nick,Margaret, Carol, Tom, Sue, Janet, Brenda, Virginia, Melrose, Steve, Steve, Adele, Avril and Roger for working so hard and bringing food.
- Sarah, Chris, Sarah, Richard, Dan and Ems for Flatbread duties.
- Janet, Jean, Kate and Heulwen for Sandwiches.
- Morrisons for crisps, biscuits, drinks etc
- Bronllys stores for bottled water.
- Co-op for bags.
- Katy and Jack for Tweeting good luck messages!
good luck to @uidswansea in the penalty shoot out at the Hereford game today 💪🏼
— Jack Butland (@JackButland_One) 18 March 2017
Thanks from the Swansea lot to everyone who contributed to such an amazing day. Thanks to Gareth and Hereford United for their kind support and Sue, Jez and all at Bronllys for providing incredible food and a warm welcome. M E
What a great day again for our friends. They shouts and whistle calling on terraces were fun to witness, and the penalty shoot great fun. S&G
To all at Hereford FC
We are volunteers with Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Support Group and Unity in Diversity, who together with a large group, attended the above game last Saturday, as guests of the club.
We would like to place on record, our appreciation of the fantastic day out for our group , which was organised by Gareth Davies together with the club. As well as watching a great game, the highlight for our football team was having permission from yourselves to have a penalty shoot out at half time on the hallowed turf. Not many clubs would allow this on match day!
The stewards in the away end deserve a particular mention, as they were really friendly , made us feel most welcome, and even kept an eye on our kit bag during the match. It is a pity there are not more like them at the Liberty Stadium.
As a volunteers, we would like to convey that such a day works wonders for the asylum seekers and really lifts their spirits. Last Saturday will live long in their memories. We are extremely fortunate to have the support of Brecon, Hay & Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees who organise days out in their area. These events take place usually once a month, and involve a large number of supporters who organise a wide range of activities, football of course, being the main attraction!
Thank you once again for a memorable day. We hope you succeed in winning the League. It would be great to have you back in the Football League where you belong!
All good wishes,
Phil and Maria.
Just want to say a big “thank you” for arranging the trip to Hereford last Saturday. We were well looked after by the stewards in that part of the ground, who also kept an eye on our kit bags during the game. You don’t get stewards like that in the Premier League!
The guys really enjoyed the whole experience, especially playing on the ‘hallowed turf ‘of Edgar Street. They were on a high afterwards. Not too sure if we have any budding Ronnie Radford’s in our ranks though!
Everybody involved with the party enjoyed themselves immensely. It made a huge difference to the mindset of the people who travelled and will live in their memories for a long time.
Thanks once again for your input and also for facilitating contact with the Swans.
I will thank Hereford FC for their hospitality.
If we manage to get some 5 a side tournaments going in Swansea with the police and Academy sides, it would be great to see you in this part of the world.
Phil and Maria
Thanks for kind words, but my work was minimal in comparison to what you all do to organise these great days out. Spoke with HFC today and they appreciated being part of a successful day out and having you all now as partners moving forwards.