MATT LEE meets up with former Swansea City, Oxford United and Weymouth defender Matthew Bound to have a chat about his career
Matthew Bound’s up and downs
SWANSEA City have established themselves in the Premier League in recent seasons, but Matthew Bound remembers when they were a million miles away from the big time.
The powerful centre-back had come through the ranks at Southampton, the club he supported as a boy, in the early 90s before moving on to Stockport County and then Swansea in the search for regular first-team football.
The Swans was where Bound really established himself, going on to play a total of 176 times, scoring ten times. During his time with the Swans they were playing at the Vetch Field in the lower divisions – a far cry from staging Premier League games at the Liberty Stadium nowadays.Yet Bound admitted he loved running out at the Vetch to take on all-comers.
“The Vetch was amazing despite the shocking facilities/pitch/changing rooms etc,” he said. “The atmosphere was brilliant, particularly for the cup games at night. The narrow tunnel generally led to some pushing and shoving at the end of most games which was good fun!
“We had lots of ups and downs but the fans were generally great. Playing at the Vetch was always much more personal as you would have more contact with the fans both at the game and after the game in the bar.
“It was quite funny during that period as the gaffer would name the team, we would then put our kit on and creep out to the local pubs around Sandfields to give out our complimentary tickets (I don’t think that would happen now).
“It has to be said that the Liberty is a much better stadium and certainly future-proof but the Vetch was very, very special.”
Although Swansea were struggling at the time, Bound explained how team spirit remained high during his time with the Swans.
“Apart from Oxford, every club I played for always had a really strong team spirit,” he said. “Swansea was great as many of us moved to the area at the same time, spending our first few months in the Glevdon B&B on Oystermouth Road. I think the team spirit was helped because we all lived locally and therefore socialised together (a lot!).”
Although his 16-year long career may not have reached the heights he once hoped, he did mix with a lot of quality players.
“I was lucky to come through the ranks at Southampton so I was fortunate to train and play with the likes of Alan Shearer, Matt Le Tissier, Jimmy Case, Tim Flowers and Kevin Phillips, who was an apprentice with me.
“The best players that I played against were probably Dennis Bergkamp, who was outstand- ing, and Fabrizio Ravanelli, who was up for a battle. Duncan Ferguson was a handful to say the least and had quite sharp elbows! The lower leagues always threw up some good battles – Rotherham became one of the games that we always looked forward to when I was at the Swans.” After Swansea, the Melksham-born defender moved on to Oxford United, but the enjoyment started to go.
“It was time to start thinking about life after football, so I decided to go part-time with Weymouth, which enabled me to go back to college,” said the 42-year-old.
”Steve Claridge signed me although he didn’t last long. I was injured for the first four months which was really frustrating but after that I really enjoyed my time there – it’s a great club with lots of good people involved. I hope they get back to where they should be very soon.”
Since hanging up his boots, Bound has been involved in TeamTours (www.teamtours.co.uk), a sports tour company based in Cheltenham.
“We take teams of all abilities and ages on sports tours, organising the travel, accommodation, games and anything else they might require. Football and rugby tend to be the most common requests but we have run tours for netball, hockey, volleyball and even petanque.We specialise in taking teams from the UK to Holland, Belgium and France.”