Friday, 28th April, 1911


   A stranger coming to Swindon last night might well have thought that something approaching a good old-fashioned general election was going on. All sorts of strange things happened . Charlie Bannister was carried shoulder high up Regent Street, Archie Bown was carried into the Eagle, and Jock Walker actually went "on the stage!"  Such excesses are only permitted when an election has been won - but, perhaps, they might be winked at when a football cup has been gained.
   It became generally known in the town quite early last evening that the team - and, of course, the Cup - were returning to Swindon by the 9.57 train; and people began to assemble outside the G.W.R. station quite a long time before that hour. By about a quarter to ten a dense crowd had grown up in the open space in front of the entrance, waiting for the arrival of the players. A large crowd of people, no matter what they were waiting for, always seem able to pass the time pleasantly enough. On this occasion the younger portion gave a leather-lunged rendering of "Hello, Hello," every now and then, and, strangely enough, nobody appeared to object. And this went on till ten o'clock.
   Then the Band struck up. Immediately there was a scene of great excitement. People cheered and shouted; young fellows threw up hats regardless of whether they were their own or other people's, or whether they would seen them again; sedate ladies waved handkerchiefs, and did their best to shout. The whole crowd seemed to surge forward towards the entrance of the tunnel. The "conquering heroes" had arrived.
   A moment later, the Band emerged from the tunnel, and behind them came Charlie Bannister, beaming like Harry Lauder, and carrying the Cup proudly on his shoulder. Charlie was smiling almost from the tip of his chin to the roots of his hair; for perhaps a cup of that size called up visions. Who knows? The rest of the team brought up the rear; and what an ovation they received! A brake drew up just then, and the players bundled into it. Skipper Bannister sat on the box seat beside the driver and holding up the cup - "for all the world to see." Headed by the Band, the procession moved off, and was cheered and cheered again all along its route to the Eagle. The men alighted by Mr S. B. Cole's establishment, and no sooner had Bown set foot on the ground than he was seized, hoisted shoulder high and carried into the Eagle.
   But Bannister's light was not to be hid under the "Eagle" bushel. Oh, no! The crowd had big things in store for him! He also was "chaired," and then the procession re-arranged itself. The Band went first, and then came the little party carrying the popular Captain. Charlie still held up the Cup, and Billy Tout, bringing up the rear, appeared to be helping to hold Bannister up. "The Arcadians" was just finishing. "Simplicitas" had just fallen down the well when the public flocked into the Theatre, pit, circles and even the boxes, being rapidly crowded.
   When Bannister came on the stage with the Cup, the cheering was terrific, even for the Theatre. The Band followed, and commenced playing. Then Col. Calley was noticed in the stalls, and he was persuaded to come on the stage. Whether there was a "wee drappie" of something "from the land o' cakes" in the Cup, or not, we don't know, but, at any rate, the popular Colonel raised the Cup to his lips with a cheery smile. Then he handed the trophy to Bannister, warmly congratulating them on winning it. "But," he added, "I hope you will go further next year and win the English Cup."
   "Speech! Speech!" yelled the audiences. But "stage fright" overcame the Town's popular "centre half," and he retired in favour of Walker. Jock came to the footlights. "We thank you very much for your appreciation at our winning t' Coop," he said, and the crowd cheered again, and laughed when Jock hesitated whether to say any more, or not.
   Then the Band played another selection, and the crowd dispersed, feeling that they had celebrated the home-coming of the Cup in a fit and proper manner.