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By Desmond Eynon THE VETCH FIELD 1/8/1912-31/5/2005THE LIBERTY STADIUM 23/7/2005 – NowAn introduction to Swansea City AFC.It all started back in 1912 when the “Vetch” rose from land owned by Swansea Gas LightCO. The name “Vetch” comes from a plant that grew wild there.In 1912 “Swansea Town AFC” was formed and took up residence in direct opposition tothe dominant “Swansea RFU”, adopting the same all white strip.“The Swans” were admitted to the second division of the Southern League. They wonpromotion just before the war and became a founder member of Division Three in1920when the Southern League was incorporated into the Football League. 1
Welcome to the Rollercoaster world of Swansea City AFC.They were promoted to the second division in 1925 as Champions of division Three South.The club fared well in its debut season finishing 5th with a memorable run in the FA cuplosing 3-0 in the semi final to Bolton Wanderers.The clubs fortunes went into decline, but they managed to keep their 2nd Div. status for thenext 16 Seasons .They also became the first Welsh Club in European Competition,( viaThe Welsh Cup) playing East German club Motor Jena and losing 5-1.They reached the semi- final of the FA Cup losing to Preston North End 2-1, both gamesbeing played in 1964. An otherwise poor season, resulting in relegation to Division Three,two years later to Division Four.Swansea Town became Swansea City in1969/1970 Season and were promoted back toDivision Three. Three years later they finished at the bottom of Division Four and in thosedays you needed to apply to the Football League for re- election. Harry Griffiths took thereins in 77/78 season and despite a promising start they fell away and he resigned leavingthe door open for the legendary John Toshack.John Toshack’s Golden YearsJohn Toshack took over at the age of 28 as player-manager, the youngest manager in theFootball League with Harry Griffiths as his assistant. This started the most amazing periodin the clubs history climbing through all four divisions to the top of division one.Harry Griffiths died of a heart attack on 25/4/78 just before the Scunthorpe game. Thistragedy lifted the team on to back to back promotions to the Second Division for the firsttime in 14 years. Toshack used his Liverpool connections to the full. He recruited playerssuch as Tommy Smith, Ian Callaghan Phil Boarsma Colin Irwin (club record fee at the time£340,000), Ray Kennedy and more – all senior professionals, with former Liverpoolmanager Bill Shankly in the background as mentor to Tosh. 2
After consolidation in the 2nd Division they won promotion to the top tier with a 3-1 win atPreston on 2/5/81, the goals coming from Tommy Craig and local boys Leighton Jamesand Jeremy Charles (son of Welsh legend Mel Charles, nephew of the great John Charles).The Swans got off to a flying start with a stunning 5-1 win over Leeds Utd., new boy BobLatchford getting a hat trick. After some memorable victories over the “big” clubs theyfinished the season in 6th position. At one time they had 7 players in the welsh team.On the way back downThe second season in Division One led to a disastrous slide down the table and after twoconsecutive relegations John Toshack was sacked.By 1985 the club now had serious money problems and was fighting for its life. After a tripto the High Court facing a winding up order in December ‘85, they were saved by localbusinessman Doug Sharpe. The Swan’s were relegated to the 4th Division in ’86 and backwhere they started eight years earlier with John Toshack.From 1986 to2001, after many highs, lows and changes of management, the club was soldto Mike Lewis for the princely sum of £1 causing concern amongst the fans. He sold to anAustralian consortium led by the infamous Tony Petty. Seven players were sacked andeight contracts were torn up. A rival consortium led by former player Mel Nurseeventually bought out the Petty group in January 2002.This crisis led to the formation ofThe Swansea City Supporters Trust, safeguarding the clubs future. The Swans avoideddropping out of the Football League on the last day of the season, under the guidance ofBrian Flynn and a superb hat trick by James Thomas.Kenny Jacket took over from Flynn and achieved promotion to League One. The last gameat the Vetch was against Wrexham in the final FAW Trophy winning 2-1. 3
The New StadiumNamed The Liberty Stadium after the sponsors, opened 2005/06 season with a capacity of20,532.They missed out in the Playoffs at the Millennium Stadium losing the penalty shootout toBarnsley. They won Football League Trophy beating Carlisle Utd.: 2-1 and The FAWTrophy for the second year running. They made the headlines beating Premiership sideSheffield Utd.: 3-0 in the FA Cup.Kenny Jacket leaves and former player Roberto Martinez surprisingly returns as Managerdeclaring his love for the club.2007/2008 off to great start winning promotion toChampionship with his eye-catching Spanish brand of football. Summer 2009, Martinezleaves for Premiership with Wigan Athletic taking many of the staff and players with him.Enter Paulo Sousa the brilliant Portuguese player with little managerial experience.Defence minded, finishing the season with record clean sheets in seventh place. He left inseason 2009/2010 for Leicester City leaving the door open for Brendan Rogers the formerWatford and Reading manager. With a couple of major signings the Swans are flying andhopeful of promotion this season.Current Positionspos name P W D L F A Gd Pts1 QPR 39 22 13 4 63 23 40 792 Norwich city 39 19 13 7 68 47 21 703 Cardiff City 39 19 9 11 64 47 17 664 Swansea City 39 20 6 13 54 38 16 665 Leeds United 39 17 13 9 73 61 12 646 Reading 39 16 15 8 64 43 21 63 4
Survey on end of season finishI did a survey on the final positions and I was surprised how many surveyed peopleanswered that they had no idea. Swans Season Prediction No idea 12 Miss out 0 Play-offs 4 Automatic 5 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 Sourceshttp://www.scfc.co.uk/history.htmlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swansea_City_A.F.C.Photo by Mr Numb http://www.flickr.com/photos/mr-numb/3647463610/Photo by Nigel Davieshttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:New_Morfa_Stadium_-_geograph.org.uk_-_32243.jpgSwansea City Football Club & FLPTV Ltd. 5