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Alan Kennedy Final blog

PUBLISHED

16:00 25th February 2013

by Alan Kennedy

Four-time League Cup winner Alan Kennedy gives his thoughts on the Capital One Cup Final

What a vintage year of Capital One Cup football we've been treated to. It's been absolutely brilliant, one of the greatest we've ever enjoyed. 

I had the fortunate pleasure of being at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon for the climax of the 2013 competition, and even though the Final was one-sided it was still a total pleasure. We witnessed fantastic football, great sportsmanship, and above all else, a spectacle that was enhanced by amazing support of Bradford City and Swansea City fans. Everyone involved should feel very proud. 

I was sat with Bantams fans, and despite going down 5-0 they all made sure they remained happy, and had a great time. The singing was non-stop. In fact, the further their side went behind the louder they got. To make it more bearable they were having bets with one another around me to see how many they'd lose by - that was the spirit of the day. 

Usually when the trophy presentation is made you'll see one end of Wembley Stadium empty completely, but Bradford supporters stuck around to witness it all. Despite losing, they still saw it as a celebration of the club's achievements – and rightly so. 

On the pitch it was a tough afternoon for Phil Parkinson's players. It was always going to be hard for them to repeat the heroics they showed against Wigan Athletic, Arsenal and Aston Villa, and they simply came up against a Swans side that was too good for them on the day. It was one of the most polished performances I've seen in a while. 

Michael Laudrup has created a very, very good team. I thought they showed tremendous discipline to avoid giving Bradford a set piece or a sniff of goal, and in possession they were better than outstanding; passing and moving with complete and utter control. They gave their opponents nothing. 

The game's biggest talking points revolved around the penalty kick that gave Swansea a 4-0 lead, and by the letter of the law - no matter how sorry we all felt for Matt Duke - he had to be sent off. He denied a clear goalscoring opportunity, so referee Kevin Friend had no option. 

I've heard people say he should have spared Duke and used some common sense and I understand that, but FIFA make the laws of the game and he simply followed them. 

Should the law change? Yes I think it should. I'm an old fashioned kind of guy and back in the old days Matt Duke would have been given a yellow card and a ticking off. I'd prefer to see a return to that situation for similar scenarios. 

Then came the argument between Nathan Dyer and Jonathan de Guzman over who should take the penalty, of course. 

What would I have done if I was the skipper, or the manager? I'd have let Dyer have his chance to make history with a hat-trick. I fully understood why he was so upset and given the scenario - with the match already won - I thought it was a bit cruel to deny him the opportunity to bag a third. 

By all accounts, Michael Laudrup has shouldered the blame for that one, by admitting he hadn't formally decided on his penalty taker. That's unusual, and even so, at that stage of the game I'd still have expected Dyer to grab the ball ahead of the pre-planned taker. Maybe I'm just being soft, I don't know. 

Laudrup is a classy person. I loved the way his side made a guard of honour for Bradford City as they came down the steps and his dignity in victory was lovely to see. 

This is someone who was one of the greatest footballers we've seen in the last 30 years, but he's got no ego. I speak to friends like Jan Molby, who was lucky enough to play with him, and no one has a bad word to say. This is just the guy he is. 

I was surprised he took the Swansea job if I'm being brutally honest but he's taken them to a different level now; and what a high level that is. 

If I were a player right now I'd be looking at Swansea City and thinking, I'd love to play for them. They play football how it should be played, and are the perfect example to teach our kids. The passing is sensational, and the angles they make are just fantastic. 

This is a club that's very much on the up, and one that might one day be in a position to compete with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. It won't be easy to do that, but they have a perfect base now on which to build. 

When I won the League Cup as a player it not only felt special, but it also helped to launch me and my Liverpool team-mates to even greater achievements. 

Once you win a League Cup, or any major trophy, it simply makes you hungrier for more.

I congratulate Bradford City, the true heroes of this season's competition, but for Swansea I can only see more success. This could be the start of even greater things to come.

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