SWANS v BOLTON WANDERERS
FA CUP SEMI-FINAL 27th MARCH 1926
We previously featured the programme for the Swans v Arsenal 6th round FA Cup tie in 1926. That landmark victory sees us move three weeks forward to 27th March and a semi-final clash with Bolton Wanderers, a League founder member and three times Cup finalists.
The Swans march to this stage had come with some impressive victories, notably against Blackpool, Stoke, Millwall and Arsenal. Their obstacle to a first Cup Final appearance was the eminent Bolton Wanderers, who were playing in their seventh semi-final, and who, three years earlier, had beaten West Ham 2 - 0 in the famous "White Horse" and first Wembley final of 1923, with an estimated 200,000 crammed into the new arena.
For this semi-final clash there were still a number of Bolton players from that first Wembley final, including the legendary David Jack, scorer of the first ever goal at Wembley, and captain Joseph Smith.
The build up to the game saw the Swans, surprisingly, installed as favourites by the national press, who considered their power and speed as being too great for what was considered to be an ageing Bolton side.
One sore point was the furore caused by the exorbitant pricing structure for the game at White Hart Lane, with prices starting at 2 shillings, and this contributed to an attendance of less than 25,000 in a stadium that could hold up to 60,000.
However, the mood amongst Swans supporters was one of optimism, as many of them packed into the Drury Lane Theatre on the eve of the match to see a performance of the musical hit of the day, Rose Marie. Both teams were in the audience and they received a huge ovation from both contingents of fans and the cast.
The game itself was all over as a contest by half - time, by which point Bolton were three goals ahead, through Smith (2) and Baggett. The Swans team, in modern parlance, simply "froze", and although their second half performance was much improved, there was no coming back by then.
This was summed up by the comment in the Daily Express at the time - "the misfortune is that Swansea were made favourites. Each year the path to Wembley is strewn with the dead bodies of favourites."
And the Daily Mail stated - "Swansea were not recognisable from the team that had outplayed Arsenal."
It was to be thirty eight years before the Swans would appear in another FA Cup semi-final.
The match programme was a standard Tottenham Hotspur issue of 10.5 x 7.5 inches, printed on salmon coloured paper, and running to 4 pages. The front cover features the obligatory cartoon of the day, depicting Swansea and Bolton caricatures.
The rear cover shows the team line ups in the usual "W" format, whilst the centre two pages feature pen-pictures and both teams paths to the semi-final.
All this for the princely sum of one penny !
Estimated value of a reasonable condition copy of this programme - £ 1350
Photo: Action Images
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