Swansea City have won the first major cup in the club’s 100-year history, thrashing Bradford 5-0 at Wembley with a virtuoso performance.
Claiming the Capital One Cup means Michael Laudrup’s side qualified to play in Europe next season, a fitting reward on an afternoon when they reminded fans and onlookers why they have, in the recent past, been dubbed ‘Swanselona.’
Swansea simply out-passed their League Two opponents. They were incisive going forward and untroubled at the back. It was not until the final five minutes that Bradford had their first corner, and first attempt on goal.
The Yorkshire club did not deserve to be on the end of such a beating, but will have to satisfy themselves with the fact that they were the first fourth-tier side to reach a major Wembley final.
Swansea went in front after 16 minutes. A swift counter-attack fed Michu and, when his shot was only parried, Nathan Dyer continued his run to force the ball home.
Michu himself got the second. The Spanish forward arrowed a shot through the legs of the defender and into the corner.
Dyer was on the scoresheet again two minutes into the second half.
Bradford goalkeeper Matt Duke – the hero in previous rounds – then felled an onrushing Michu and was shown a red card.
Dyer, desperate to complete his hat-trick, tried to wrestle the ball away to take the penalty himself. It was an unfortunate tarnish, but could not overshadow the brilliance of his performance.
It was Jonathan De Guzman who took, and scored, the spot kick, making it four with still half an hour to play.
He and teammates looked to be enjoying themselves too much to settle for that scoreline.
They poured forward again in injury time, and De Guzman swept the ball in at the near post for a fifth goal that emphasised the gulf in class between the two sides.
It also made Swansea’s victory a record winning margin for a League Cup final. They were of course favourites today, but few expected such a one-sided game.
Swansea’s players formed a guard of honour to applaud their Bradford counterparts back onto the pitch, after they had collected their runners-up medals.
The Welsh side then stepped forward to collect their own medals, the cup lifted jointly by skipper Ashley Williams and club captain Garry Monk.
More than 30,000 fans made the journey to Wembley to support their side, and their voices provided a backdrop of the song Hymns and Arias, as the players embarked on a lap of honour.
Back home in Swansea, many more flocked to pubs and bars, to cheer on their side, and celebrate their triumph.
The prospect of European football completes a remarkable journey for Swansea, who only survived in the Football League pyramid thanks for some last-day-of-the-season heroics ten years ago, in 2003.
They have climbed that pyramid rapidly over the last ten years, and were last at Wembley in May 2011, play-off final victory clinching promotion to the Premier League.
For Swansea’s fans, this was a day to rank among the very finest.