© Alex Saynor 2015
A view of Bristol City’s ‘Shedman’ who has been given a season ticket by the club
Editor Note : Bristol City fan: ‘Eastend Shedman’, as he is lovingly known, already has more than 500 followers on Twitter after popping up at Ashton Gate in his duffle coat and cap, where the demolished Wedlock Stand used to be.
While thousands have been paying to enjoy the Robins’ strong start to the League One season, Ben Swift has been watching the games for free by climbing atop the large out-building at the bottom of his back garden and cheering on Steve Cotterill’s side from there.
In clear view of most of the City faithful – and the players – he has become a bit of a hero for his antics so far.The first game he watched from his unique vantage point was against Oxford Utd in the Capital One Cup on August 12.
“No-one noticed me in he first half,” said the 35-year-old who lives with his wife on Raynes Road. “In the second half, I was drinking a can of lager and the floodlights must have reflected off it.
“The fans spotted me and started chanting ‘East End bounce around’ so I did a bit of a dance and it’s gone from there really.”
The club has also taken Shedman to heart, and doesn’t mind his regular cheeky freebie at all.
Bristol City spokesman Adam Baker said: “It’s a very funny story and has provided some great banter for our supporters in the stadium looking across at him stood on his shed.
“I hope he’s enjoying our good start to the campaign, but I’m afraid he has to make the most of it now because by Christmas the super structure for the new South Stand will be in place and Shedman’s view will be no more.”
In the mean-time, his notoriety has only increased since he did a video interview with the club website.
“When we first bought our house, the plans were going through for the club maybe to go to Ashton Vale,” he said.
“Then we realised that wasn’t going to happen, they were going to demolish the stand and this one (the Wedlock) was going to be first. We thought ‘happy days’, there’s going to be a couple of free tickets for me on top of my shed.”
But sales-manager Ben, who has been a City fan since the 1980s, says the view is not quite as good as he used to get inside the ground, because of the advertising hoarding behind the goal at ‘his’ end.
“It’s all right apart from if anybody scores at this end, because you can’t see it really,” he told the website. “You’ve got to rely on the rest of the ground to judge whether you can jump up and down or want to chuck yourself off the shed roof.”
Of his ever-growing band of followers on Twitter, he said: “It’s unexpectedly taken off. It’s a little bit embarrassing, but it’s all right, it’s not too bad.
“Some people have said ‘look at that idiot’, but everyone else has been quite cool about it to be fair.
“It’s just nice to have something a bit different, I think, with the (Wedlock Stand) end gone.
“It was never really meant to happen like this. It was just me standing, watching a game of football, but I’m kind of a bit of an extrovert and you join in some times, don’t you?”
Once the new stand starts to be erected in the coming months, Ben is likely to lose his view and will be back in amongst the City faithful as often as he can.
He is planning a “big surprise” for Saturday’s game against Scunthorpe and when his final match at the ‘Shed End’ comes, he promises to go out with a “final swansong