South Wales derby
|First meeting||7 September 1912|
Swansea 1–1 Cardiff
|Latest meeting||8 February 2014|
Swansea 3–0 Cardiff
|Next meeting||26 October 2019|
Swansea v Cardiff
|Stadiums||Cardiff City Stadium|
|Most wins||Cardiff City (44 wins)|
|Most player appearances||Roger Freestone (19)|
|Top scorer||Brayley Reynolds (8)|
|All-time series||Cardiff: 44|
|Largest victory||Cardiff 5–0 Swansea|
(6 April 1965)
The South Wales derby is a football local derby between Welsh clubs Cardiff City and Swansea City and is regarded as one of the fiercest rivalries in British football. Despite both clubs being in Wales, they play in the English football league system and have won English honours: Cardiff the FA Cup in 1927 and Swansea the Football League Cup in 2013.
The first match between the two sides took place on 7 September 1912 at Swansea Town's Vetch Field, a Southern Football League Division Two match ending in a 1–1 draw. Over the next two decades, as they rose to the national Football League, the clubs met frequently not only in league competition but also in the Welsh Cup as at the time they were two of the best Welsh teams and as such often progressed further into the tournament.
Before the 1960s the rivalry was a friendly one and many fans had a soft spot for their Welsh rivals. In the area between the two cities, some fans actually supported both teams. The 1960s saw that change as football culture became more aggressive and local rivalries became more important than shared regional identities.
During the last few decades both clubs have been plagued by football hooliganism, notably Cardiff whose Soul Crew became notorious through their actions, and matches between the sides have often been marred by violence between the rival sets of supporters.
In September 1988, after seeing their side win in Swansea, a group of Cardiff fans were chased into the sea by a group of Swansea fans. Since then, Swansea fans mockingly suggest to their Cardiff City rivals that they "swim away", in reference to the event.
On 23 December 1993 a match between the two sides was dubbed 'The Battle Of Ninian Park' as Swansea fans were placed in the grandstand for the game. As Cardiff went up 1–0, Swansea fans began ripping out seats and throwing them at the Cardiff supporters, which resulted in the home fans invading the pitch. The following day national news showing pictures of the violence shocked the nation, forcing the FAW to ban away fans from this fixture for several years, the first fixture in Britain to do so.
During their celebrations after winning the Football League Trophy in 2006, Swansea players Lee Trundle and Alan Tate brandished a Welsh flag with an anti-Cardiff message and Trundle also wore a T-shirt with an image of a Swansea City player urinating on a Cardiff City shirt. The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said the images paraded at the match, which took place at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, were "of an extremely offensive and insulting nature". The two players were arrested for public order offences, fined £2,000 and handed one-match suspensions.
Although in recent years the hooligan violence of both sides has sharply decreased matches between the two sides can still see serious trouble, as such any games between the two teams are normally subject to a much higher level of policing than normal matches (bubble matches). A heavy police presence was also required when Swansea fans travelled to Cardiff when they played at the Millennium Stadium in the Football League Trophy final in 2006.
In recent years the South Wales derby has taken place less frequently, as Cardiff City moved up the leagues whilst Swansea fell on bad times and nearly dropped out of the football league altogether. The first derby in just under a decade took place in the League Cup on 23 September 2008, with Swansea winning 1–0. The match saw sets of supporters from both clubs clash with police after the match. The return fixture, on 5 April 2009 at Ninian Park, was marred by referee Mike Dean being hit in the head by a coin thrown from the Cardiff crowd, as well as Cardiff fans clashing with police after the match. The violence led to 5 arrests on the day, with more subsequent arrests made thanks to the use of CCTV footage.
The first derby of the 2009–10 season on 7 November 2009 at the Liberty Stadium ended in a 3–2 win for Swansea and again saw crowd disturbance as hundreds of Swansea fans waited outside the ground for the Cardiff City fans to depart. This resulted in a total fifteen arrests made during and after the match. Cardiff City fans also vandalised the North Stand in which they were placed for the game for the second year in a row. Seats and toilets were vandalised, pipe work ripped from walls and doors broken in the away fans' area. The damage was reported to cost thousands of pounds. However, police praised the majority of supporters for their behaviour before, during and after the game which was attended by more than 18,000 fans. Divisional Commander for Swansea, Ch Supt Mark Mathias, who was in charge of policing the match, said: "The overwhelming majority of fans behaved extremely well."
The first South Wales derby to be played in England's top division took place during the 2013–14 season, following Cardiff's promotion from the Championship. Cardiff won the first ever Premier League meeting between the sides 1–0 on 3 November 2013, thanks to a headed goal from ex-Swansea defender Steven Caulker. However, the return fixture at Swansea's Liberty Stadium on 8 February 2014 saw the home side gain revenge with a 3–0 win, the victory coming in Garry Monk's first game in charge as Swansea manager. The second result that season was particularly important, as the teams were separated by just 3 points going into the game, with relegation a possibility for both. Ultimately, Swansea would go on to retain their place in the Premier League, but Cardiff would end the season back in the Championship, finishing in 20th position.
For the 2018–19 season the two clubs swapped divisions, with Cardiff having a second go at the Premier League and Swansea returning to the Championship after 7 seasons. During the season, Cardiff were relegated back to the Championship on 4 May 2019 after losing 3–2 to Crystal Palace at the Cardiff City Stadium, while Swansea ended their first season back in the Championship in 10th place, 4 places outside the play-offs.
|From 107 competitive games:
Cardiff City 44 Wins
Tournament-wide summary, as of 8 February 2014
|Competition||Total Matches||Cardiff Win||Draw||Swansea Win|
|Associate Members Cup||4||1||1||2|
|Welsh Cup/FAW Premier Cup||36||21||8||7|
Only results from English football league system competitions are counted in the following tally. Friendlies and Welsh cup tournament matches are not included.
The most recent game resulted in a 3–0 win for Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
- Cardiff City win Swansea City win Draw
- Swansea Town 1–1 Cardiff City (7 September 1912) – The first ever meeting between the two sides. Billy Ball opened the scoring for Swansea after hitting in a rebound as the ball came off the post only for Cardiff captain Jack Burton to head in an equaliser.
- Swansea Town 3–3 Cardiff City (20 August 1938) – The match took place under the name of a Jubilee Benevolent Fund match and although the match was regarded as nothing more than a pre-season friendly the 10,000 crowd were not left wanting for action as Cardiff went 1–0 and 2–1 up only to be forced to grab a late equaliser to salvage a draw.
- Cardiff City 8–0 Swansea Town (26 October 1940) – A wartime league match ended in disaster for Swansea as they were on the receiving end of the "Bluebirds Blitzkrieg", as it was named, with a hattrick each for John Moore and Billy James and two goals for Reg Parker saw Swansea suffer a heavy defeat.
- Cardiff City 5–0 Swansea Town (6 April 1965) – A match mostly remembered as one of the most sporting matches to take place between the teams. The 15,000 strong Ninian Park crowd were treated to a fine performance from Cardiff, Swansea and Wales legends Ivor Allchurch and John Charles who found the net five times between them (Allchurch (3) and Charles (2)) to doom Swansea to relegation.
- Swansea City 4–1 Cardiff City (7 March 1995) – Heavy snowfall prior to kick-off saw the teams compete in a snow-covered pitch with the use of an orange ball. Late in the first-half Swansea fired in three goals in the space of nine minutes to lead 3–0 at halftime. They added a fourth in the second-half before Cardiff grabbed a late consolation goal. End of this season Cardiff relegated to basement level.
- Swansea City 2–1 Cardiff City (22 November 1998) – Unknown at the time this was the last ever derby at the Vetch Field. Former Swans striker John Williams put the Bluebirds ahead in the 4th minute. But a second half come back saw Julian Alsop equalise in the 65th minute and Matthew Bound to win it for Swansea City in the last minute of normal time.
- Swansea City 1–0 Cardiff City (23 September 2008) – This was the first Derby match in six years. Although they were set to play each other in the league they were both drawn to play each other in the League Cup. This was also the first derby hosted at the Liberty Stadium. A lot of attention surrounded the game but the Swans came out on top as a Jordi Gomez deflected free kick was enough to win the game for them. Cardiff captain Stephen McPhail was later sent off for two bookable offences to further more misery for the Bluebirds.
- Cardiff City 2–2 Swansea City (5 April 2009) – This was the last derby match at Ninian Park. Referee Mike Dean had a coin thrown at him by a Cardiff City supporter during the game which caused an injury. In a very thrilling game Nathan Dyer gave the Swans the lead in the 11th minute. But after a lot of pressure from the Bluebirds, Michael Chopra equalised in the 54th minute. They continued the pressure but couldn't get that second goal. Then the Swans hit back as youngster Joe Allen put them back ahead 2–1 in the 88th minute which looked to have won the game for them. But a controversial penalty converted by Ross McCormack in the 90th minute shared all the spoils.
- Cardiff City 2–1 Swansea City (3 April 2010) – This was the first South Wales Derby at the new Cardiff City Stadium that saw Cardiff and Swansea sitting in Play-off positions, 4th and 5th in the Football League Championship. It was billed as arguably the biggest South Wales derby of all time in respect to the position of the teams and how close it came to the end of the season. The match ended 2–1 to Cardiff with a 91st Minute winner from Cardiff's Michael Chopra
- Cardiff City 0–1 Swansea City (7 November 2010) – A lot of press attention was made in build up to the game as both teams were challenging in the play offs for promotion to the Premier League. Both teams had chances but in the 75th minute on loan Middlesbrough player Marvin Emnes put the Swans 1–0 up which was enough to win the game. This was Swansea's first win in the new Cardiff City stadium at the second time of asking.
- Swansea City 0–1 Cardiff City (6 February 2011) – A lot of attention surrounded the game once again as both teams were challenging in the play offs for promotion to the Premier League. This was also a chance for Swansea to do the first ever league double in the South Wales derby. In a very tight game local Cardiff born striker Craig Bellamy scored an 85-minute winner.
- Cardiff City 1–0 Swansea City (3 November 2013) – The first top flight and Premier League meeting between the pair (and therefore the first ever Premier League game to be played involving no English teams). In a tight affair with few chances former Swansea loan player Steven Caulker headed home the winner in the 62nd minute and Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm was sent off during injury time.
- Swansea City 3–0 Cardiff City (8 February 2014) – The first Premier League meeting between the two clubs to be held at the Liberty Stadium. In what would end up being the largest Swansea City win over Cardiff City since 1995 and the largest in the league since 1954 (also ended 3–0). A tight first half saw chances limited for both sides with Swansea having the most of the possession. Early chances for Swansea came to nothing and the teams went into half-time even. Routledge scored the game's opener after a sublime through ball from Pablo Hernández. Craig Bellamy hit the crossbar with an excellent pile-driving shot soon after, but headers from Nathan Dyer and Wilfried Bony in the 79th and 85th minutes put the game out of Cardiff's reach.
Most derby appearances*
|1||Roger Freestone||19||Swansea City|
|2=||Ivor Allchurch||17||Swansea Town & Cardiff City|
|2=||Alan Harrington||17||Cardiff City|
|2=||Herbie Williams||17||Swansea Town|
|5||Ron Stitfall||16||Cardiff City|
* – Excluding wartime fixtures.
Most derby goals*
|1||Brayley Reynolds||8||Swansea Town|
|2||Ronnie Williams||7||Swansea Town|
|3=||Jimmy Gilligan||6||Cardiff City & Swansea Town|
|3=||Herbie Williams||6||Swansea Town|
|5=||George Johnston||4||Cardiff City|
|5=||John Toshack||4||Cardiff City & Swansea City|
* – Excluding wartime fixtures.
Crossing the South Wales divide
A number of players who have played for both clubs during their career
Newport County are also a South Wales rival, regarding both Cardiff City and Swansea City as rivals, but particularly Cardiff for reasons of proximity and historic rivalry between the two cities. 24,268 spectators saw Newport and Cardiff play at Somerton Park Newport in 1937, which remained a ground record despite other high attendances for derby games between the clubs in the 1970s and 1980s. The clubs' relative league positions meant that Newport have rarely played Cardiff or Swansea since 1989, though they have faced each other in cup competitions; the most recent encounter being Newport's FAW Premier Cup victory against Cardiff at Ninian Park in February 2008.
A 2008 survey carried out by Planetfootball.com saw Swansea fans not even vote Newport into their top three rivalries, instead finishing behind Cardiff, Bristol City and Bristol Rovers, while Cardiff fans voted that they considered Bristol City, known as the Severnside derby, to be more of a rivalry than Newport.
- "Cardiff City vs Swansea City" Archived 12 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine Footballderbies.com Retrieved on 28 January 2008
- "The Top Ten British Rivalries" oleole.com Retrieved on 28 January 2008 Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
- HanesCymru (26 July 2017). "A Supporters' History of the South Wales Derby". 100 Years of Swansea City FC. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
- "Cardiff and the hooligan element" BBC Retrieved on 28 January 2008
- "Hammam calls for anti-thug summit" BBC Sport Retrieved on 14 May 2008
- "News paper report on 'The Night In Swansea Bay'" Geocities Retrieved on 14 May 2008
- "Swansea insults disappoint Hammam". BBC Sport. 3 April 2006. Archived from the original on 14 February 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- "Swans pair arrested over insults". BBC Sport. 5 April 2006. Archived from the original on 23 December 2006. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
- "Police ready for Swans invasion" BBC Retrieved on 28 January 2008
- "Fans clash with police at Derby" BBC Sport Retrieved on 24 September 2008
- "Arrest after ref hit by missile" BBC News Retrieved on 5 April 2009
- "Fifteen arrests at football derby". BBC. 8 November 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2009.
- Dulin, David (7 November 2009). "Swansea 3–2 Cardiff". BBC News. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
- "Stadium damage to cost thousands" BBC Sport Retrieved on 10 November 2009
- "Swansea 3–0 Cardiff". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 8 February 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "Cardiff 1–0 Swansea". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 3 November 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- Dulin, David (6 February 2011). "Swansea 0–1 Cardiff". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- Shuttleworth, Peter (7 November 2010). "Cardiff 0–1 Swansea". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
- "Cardiff 2–1 Swansea". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 3 April 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
- Dulin, David (7 November 2009). "Swansea 3–2 Cariiff". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 7 November 2009.
- "Cardiff 2–2 Swansea". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 5 April 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2009.
- "Swansea 2–2 Cardiff". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 30 November 2008. Retrieved 30 November 2008.
- "Swansea 1–0 Cardiff". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. 23 September 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
- "Saturday night fever for south Wales derby". BBC Sport. 31 August 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2010.
- "Football rivalries: The complete results" Planetfootball.com Retrieved on 28 January 2008
- Dean Hayes, The South Wales Derbies: A History of Cardiff City versus Swansea City
- Martin Johnes, A Supporters History of the South Wales Derby