Swans History

Tuesday, 29 May 2001, 0:00
7 mins read

Club History

1912: The “Swans” club as a professional outfit was formed at the Vetch Field. At that stage, and until the first season after the First World War, the Club was in the Second Division of the Southern League.

1912-20: For this season they were in Division One of that league. 1920-21: In this season they joined the Third Division of the new English league and finished in fifth position.

1921-22: The division became Third Division (South) and, after finishing tenth on that occasion, they were third, fourth champions respectively.

1924-25: This was the premier season when the Club sat proudly at the top of the league.

1925-26: By the end of this season, the Swans reached the semi-final of the English FA. Cup for the first time, only to be beaten by Bolton. After that season, the Club had a middling spell, but maintained their Second Division status right up to the Second World War.

After the war: A memorable season of free and easy football in the Victory league, the club was relegated to Division Three (South). Two seasons later, they were champions once more and promoted again to Division Two.

1964-65: Their status was retained. So many top footballers graced the Vetch but did no better than finishing seventh. Once again, the side got to the semi-finals of the English FA Cup, only to lose to Preston North End.

End of 1964-65: The Club slipped into Division Three and subsequently into Division Four.

1969-70: There was a brief revival when promotion was achieved, but three seasons later the Swans were relegated again.

1974-75: The new management team of Malcolm Struel and Harry Griffiths saw the start of that fantastic rise. Harry used his bunch of free transfer men and achieved to 11th.

1976-77: Achieved fifth position.

1978: March of this year saw John Toshack arrive as player-manager and the ‘Rocket’ was fired.

1977-78: Promotion to Division Three.

1978-79: Promotion to Division Two.

1980-81: For the first time, promotion to Division One. Also in that first season, the club headed the table three times and were never out of the top six. Sadly, after that, things went wrong on and off the field, and the Club slipped to Division Two and then Three in successive season.

1984-85: It was necessary to get a point from the final game of the season to stop the team slipping from one to four in successive seasons.

1985-86: This proved to be the blackest in the Clubs 70+ year history. On ‘Black Friday’. 20th December 1985, Swansea City AFC Ltd. was ‘wound up’ ceasing to exist.

Dec 1985 to March 1986: Several visits to the High Court were necessary in order to keep the Club alive. In May, Doug Sharpe and his team put their rescue package to the clubs creditors. The Swans had now be relegated to Division Four. Saturday, a weight was lifted when the voting was 10-1 in favour and subject to final High Court approval, Swansea City was alive again.

1986-87: Under Manager Terry Yorath, saw the Swans finish in seventeenth position but this was just the forerunner of remarkable season to follow under his guidance and inspiration. Reaching the play-offs the deservedly won promotion to Division Three with a capacity crowd at Plainmoor, Torquay cheering the 3-3 draw to lift them out of Division Four.

1989: Saw the departure of Terry Yorath for Bradford City and the Club came under the temporary managership of Tommy Hutchison before the arrival of new Manager Ian Evans from Crystal Palace. Swans were lying in seventh position, finished mid table but winning the Welsh Cup gave them a money spinning entry into European football, and losing to Greek team Panathanaikos disappoint the supporters.

1990: Mighty Liverpool arrived at the Vetch for the Third round of the F.A. Cup on 6 January, and a ground full attendance the Swans held the Reds to 0-0 draw, only to lose 8-0 in the replay at Anfield. Swansea never quite recovered from this hammering and finished the season just above the relegation line, with Ian Evans sacked and Terry Yorath brought back to manager the Swansea City team on 16 March 1990. This controversial decision by chairman, Doug Sharpe to bring back Yorath clearly upset the loyal fans and a record run of nine consecutive defeats saw attendance drop to a critical level.

1991: Frank Burrows took over at the Vetch on the acrimonious departure of Terry Yorath in March and delighted the crowd with a Swans victory over Stoke at the Vetch to end the dramatic losing run. The new manager put new life into the team, relegation was avoided and the Albright Bitter Welsh Cup won by beating Wrexham 2-0 at the National Stadium on 19 May and entry once again into European Football. A.S. Monaco arrived at the Vetch on 17 September and won 2-1 in the European Cup Winners Cup in front of a 6,208 crowd and His Serene Highness Prince Rainier. The return leg in Monaco saw the Swans go down 8-0.

1991: A 20,000 attendance at Tottenham on 9 October gave Spurs a 5-1 win and our exit from the Rumbelows Cup. Knocked out of the F.A. Cup in round 2 by Exeter City. 1992: The Swans fell victim to arch rivals Cardiff City in the Albright Bitter Welsh Cup on 18th February by 1-0.

1991-92: The season ended with Swansea City finishing just two places above the relegation line in Division Three.

1992-93: Proved a more successful season for the Swans. Although knocked out by Merthyr 2-0 in the Welsh Cup at their Penydarren Ground on 27th October 1992, Swans reached round four of the FA, Cup only to lose 2-0 in the replay at Grimsby on 9 February 1992. Reached the semi final of the Autoglass Trophy before losing to Exeter City after extra time on 23rd February 1992. However, in Barclays League Division Two, the Swans ended in fifth position and a place in the play-offs. A thriller at West Bromwich Albion gave the Baggies victory and promotion.

1993-94: A memorable season for Swansea City with a trip to Wembley on 24th April 1994, and victory over Huddersfield in a penalty shoot out before 47,733 spectators in the Autoglass Final.

23rd November 1993: Non leaguers, Nuneaton knocked Swansea City out of the F.A. Cup in the replay at Nuneaton. 14th April 1994: Cardiff City repeated their win over Swansea City in the Albright Bitter Welsh Cup Semi-Final with a 2-1 scoreline at the Vetch Field.

1994-95: Swansea City finished Tenth in the Endsleigh Insurance League Division Two and would have secured a place in the play-offs had it not been for a dramatic run of four successive defeats starting at Bristol Rovers on 1st April 1995.

31st January 1995: In the cup Competitions 20,326 spectators witnessed a thriller at Birmingham when the Swans lost in extra time in the Auto Windscreens Shield Semi-Final. 2nd May 1995: Once again Cardiff City defeated Swansea City in the Albright Bitter Welsh Cup Semi-Final at Cardiff.

1995-96: Jason Bowen moved to Birmingham City for £375,000 and ever present in 1994-95, John Ford signed by Bradford City for £210,000!

October 1995: Frank Burrows resigned as manager and Bobby Smith took over as caretaker manager just before his Testimonial which Eric Cantona pulled out of through injury but Bruce Grobbelaar jumped in at very short notice to guest for the Swansea team in which Des Lyttle also appeared, in a match which Swansea beat Wales 3-1.

December 1995: Bobby Smith resigned as manager after just 80 days in charge and Jimmy Rimmer was handed the job of caretaker manager. At the same time a period of uncertainty arose in Swansea City’s hierarchy with the arrival of Midlands millionaire Michael Thompson and his bid to take over the Club.

17th February 1996: Kevin Cullis was appointed manager of Swansea City Football Club along with Paul Molesworth as assistant manager. Cullis, with no previous experience in senior football management and his assistant lasted just seven days. Doug Sharpe once again resumed command.

22 February 1996: His appointment of Danish International and Liverpool star Jan Molby as Manager saw the Swans play five consecutive games without defeat. Unfortunately, Molby’s efforts came just too late for survival in the Endsleigh League Division Two.

1996-97: Swansea City Football Club relegated to Division Three.

1996-97: Assistant manager Billy Ayre appointed for the start of the Season, Billy was previously manager of Blackpool Football.

1997: Spurred on by Jan Molby’s success after success shot Swans up to Fourth spot, a position they retained right up to mid April.

1997-98: Saw new owners Silver Shield take command and new Chief Executive Peter Day took over from Robin Sharpe. Then Jan Molby and Billy Ayre were sacked and Micky Adams took over as manager with Alan Cork as assistant. Thirteen days later, Micky resigned and took over at Brentford with Alan Cork taking over control with Alan Curtis as his deputy. Corky signed Nick Cusack, Tony Bird, Dave O’Gorman, Mathew Bound, Charlie Hartfield.

1st July 1998: Two new players were signed, midfielder Jason Smith from Tiverton and Martin Thomas (forward) from Fulham. Alan Cork was sacked and replaced by John Hollins.

1998: Swansea City introduced their new mascot at this game in the shape of Cyril the Swan who rapidly became a firm favourite with swans supporters and achieved national and international publicity. 2nd August 1998: Swans in I5th position in Nationwide Division 3 in an awful season but finished above Cardiff on goal difference.

1998-99: After a poor start the Swans managed a good mid-season run to finally qualify for the last play-off spot. Unfortunately losing out to Scunthorpe in Extra-Time who eventually won the play-off final at Wembley. Highlight of the season was the 1-0 win over West Ham in the FA Cup 3rd Round.

1999-00: After another poor start with a lot of pressure for the removal of Hollins but this pressure turned the club around in the form of 9 straight wins and 14 games unbeaten to take them into a top of the league battle against Rotherham and Barnet. Barnet eventually slipped off the pace leaving the Swans and the Millers fight it out till the last game where ironically they were to play each other. A 1-1 draw was enough to take the championship back home to Wales but at the cost of a fan Terry Coles was trampled to death by a Police Horse.

2000-01: Steve Hamer club chairman was sacked only 8 matches into the season and coincidently turned the clubs favours very much for the worse. Only winning 3 more matches that season doomed the club to relegation despite the loan signings of free-scoring Giovanni Savarese and two Paris-Saint Germain players Fabiano & Verschave who met up with French team-mate David Romo was snapped up on a free transfer.

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.
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