Routledge relishing derby return
3rd November 2013
Wayne Routledge sports a big grin when asked about the time he played for Cardiff City against the Swans in the Welsh derby.
"Ask him,'' he jokes, pointing straight at Leon Britton as the pair share the breakfast table at the training ground.
"He got me sent-off,'' replied Britton with a grin.
It was Sunday, November 30, 2008. The venue was the Liberty Stadium and the two clubs were pitting their wits against each other in the Championship.
In a tense affair, Routledge and Britton found themselves squaring up to each other. It was handbags at dawn, but the duo were both still booked for their troubles.
Then in injury time, Britton challenged Kevin McNaughton for the ball and found himself harshly shown another yellow card for what the referee deemed a two-footed challenge. And two yellows always make a red as the midfielder faced the long walk back to the dressing room.
It added to the drama of a fantastic derby that ended all square after Darren Pratley's opener was cancelled out by Ross McCormack. Joe Ledley gave Cardiff the lead for the first time, ironically from a Routledge corner, before Gorka Pintado came off the bench to grab an equaliser for the Swans in a thrilling 2-2 draw.
"I remember the game well,'' added Routledge. "I had missed the previous Welsh derby at Cardiff City Stadium because I didn't arrive on loan until later that season.
"I had heard all about the Welsh derby before the return game though and the atmosphere at the Liberty was amazing. It was a great game to play in.
"One thing I remember is being tackled by Fede Bessone. It was a rugby tackle, literally. He had his arms around my waist. In think he thought he was playing for the Ospreys. He should have been sent-off for that.
"It was quite funny really because I had forgotten about it by the time I signed for Swansea. Then someone brought it up a few months later and I had a good laugh about it with Fede.''
Despite having 10 clubs to his name, the 28-year-old winger finally feels settled having spent two years in Swansea colours and having played a major role in the club's recent success.
"I sat on the bench once for Aston Villa in a Midlands derby with Birmingham, while I played for Crystal Palace at Millwall, which was the hardest place I've had to play. The abuse I received was frightening. But I suppose Sunday's game will be the biggest derby I will have been involved in.
"I know what it means to the fans. In fact, I was reminded again by a taxi driver this week. He told me we had to win.''
A Swans victory and it will be free taxi rides all week for Routledge.