On this day in 1966, Swansea Town played their first European match on home soil as Slavia Sofia visited the Vetch.
Despite being Wales’ first representatives in the European Cup Winners’ Cup back in 1961, Swansea were forced to play their ‘home’ leg against Motor Jena in Linz in Austria due to the UK government refusing to issue visas for the East German side.
So it was another five years before the Vetch hosted its first European night with the Bulgarian side, Slavia Sofia the visitors.
The Bulgarians included three members of their country’s World Cup squad in their travelling party and sitting pretty at the top of their domestic league – quite a stark contrast to Glyn Davies’ Swans who were struggling at the foot of Division Three.
Swansea were also at a slight disadvantage having had to play a Football League Cup match against Bristol City 48 hours prior to their European tie – a game which went into extra time before they defeated Bristol City 2-1.
Despite playing a home European tie for the first time, the Swans wore their change kit of tangerine shirts, shorts and socks, allowing the visitors to wear their all white strip.
In a game which saw Ivor Allchurch become the first player to play in Europe for two different clubs, the Swans’ play in the first belied their lowly league position and took the Bulgarians by surprise.
But despite taking the lead early in the second half through a Keith Todd goal, the Swans visibly tired and Tassev scored with 10 minutes remaining to deny Swansea a home win.
Football may have changed quite considerably since 1966, but fans haven’t changed that much.
The match programme for the Slavia Sofia game invited fans to get in touch if they wanted to discuss issues surrounding the club.
“Be provocative, be constructive, be competetive,” urged the notice in the programme.
However, there was a caveat: “We have a manager for team selection – so no letters about this please,” it added!