Now here is a puzzle for people not that familiar with the idiosyncrasies of the member nations of the United Kingdom and their bearings on sport. Swansea City are a Welsh football club who used to play in the Welsh League but have been for many years part of the English league system. Thus if they do well enough to win involvement in a European competition, they will do so as an “English” club and could conceivably come up against another Welsh club, and indeed in the past Swansea have represented Wales. But if you thought that the Welsh were only interested in Rugby (ignoring their great success at Euro 2016) you only have to take yourself down to Swansea’s Liberty Stadium to hear the voices of many thousands of passionate Welsh fans who have no doubt that their game is the round ball sport and their team is the “Swans”.
Originally known as Swansea Town since their foundation in 1912, the change of name in 1968 came about when Swansea was “elevated” to the status of a city. Their current ground has been the Swans’ home since 1975, succeeding the Vetch Field where they played from the beginning.
Swansea City’s progress in football has been very much one of ups and downs = from promotion to the top tier in 1981 to struggling to avoid being relegated from the Football League entirely just a few years later. The turnaround from such humiliation to a return to the commanding heights of English football is the stuff of legends and indeed a feature film was made out of the Swans’ story. Thirty years after the first period at the top, the Swans entered the Premier League.
2013 saw Swansea City winning the first major trophy in their history when they beat Bradford City 5-0 in the Football League Cup – incidentally the biggest margin in any League Cup final. That gave then quaifucation for the UEFA Europa League where they reached the last 32 before succumbing to SSC Napoli over two legs. Recent seasons have seen the Swans maintain a comfortable mid-table placement, with eighth place in 2014-15 the greatest success point to date.
Many great players have represented the Swans over the years so let’s start with Ivor Allchurch who scored no fewer than 160 goals for what was then Swansea Town. Known as the Golden Boy of Welsh football, watch out for his statue when you visit the Liberty Field.
Leon Britton played for the Club in all four Divisions and was so popular with the fans that when he was on loan they passed round a bucket to pay for his wages!
Alan Curtis has served the Swans as player, coach and manager – known for his body swerve he would just coast round the opposition players.
Currently there has been somewhat of a changing of the guard with players coming and going but the Swans still seem highly competitive as the 2016-17 season gets under way.
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