Robbie’s Cup Final Coincidence

Remembering The Swans – But Rooting For Bradford

Robbie Dennison in recent years.

It’s significant enough to Robbie Dennison in the build-up to this weekend’s Capital One Cup final that he spent two months on loan with Swansea City. But how’s this for a coincidence?

Not only was the first of his 353 competitive games for Wolves against the Welsh club in March, 1987, but his Swans debut eight years later was at home to none other than Bradford City, their Wembley opponents on Sunday.

“It’s strange how these things work out,” the winger said. “Swansea were really struggling at the time in the bottom five or six of the bottom but one division  and Bradford were going well.

“Frank Burrows was sacked in between asking me to go down there and me playing my first game, so that must be an indication of how things were going.

“His second-in-command, Bobby Smith, took over and we beat Bradford 2-0 at the Vetch Field on my debut, which was probably in the October of 1995. I didn’t score but I think I crossed for Steve Torpey to get our first goal.

“We had a decent run just after I joined and I think I played nine League games in all. There were a couple of defeats as well, though, and Wolves weren’t having a great time because I remember Graham Taylor was sacked while I was down there.”

Dennison’s stay in South Wales has belatedly made headlines in recent years with Frank Lampard – then barely half the Ulsterman’s age – revealing that they shared a room while they were on loan there together.

But did it leave enough of an imprint on a man who turns 50 this spring to fill him with strong feelings going into Sunday’s showpiece?

“It was two months out of a career of 15 years or more, so it didn’t build a massive tie between Swansea and me,” he added.

“It’s hard to develop any lasting loyalty from so short a stay and I find myself siding with the underdogs this weekend.

Dennison in full flight against Sheffield United on the 1989 night on which his spectacular free-kick clinched the Third Division title.

“But I think Swansea will win and I think they will win comfortably. I fear it will be a step too far for Bradford because I think they will be chasing the ball for long periods of the game.”

Back in 1987, Wolves beat Swansea 4-0 at Molineux on Dennison’s debut after a £20,000 fee had seen to it that he followed Alistair Robertson, Andy Thompson and Steve Bull in switching from Albion.

He recalls it as a day Micky Holmes continued his amazing goal streak by scoring for the eighth time in eight matches.

What was more surprising, though, was that Steve Bull was kept quiet as Thompson, Andy Mutch and Jon Purdie also netted.

It’s 25 years this spring since Dennison also scored spectacularly at Wembley in both the Sherpa Van Trophy final and the Football League’s Mercantile Credit centenary tournament.

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