Tag: Swansea City

Seasons Of Mist & Mellow Fruitfulness: Swansea City & The Premier League

The fixtures are out and the pre-season friendlies have started. This is a time of year for unbridled optimism and Swansea City supporter David James can look forward to his team’s first appearance in the top division of the game since 1983. They’ve had quite a journey to get back there, though. A team that isn’t from England in the English Premier League? Whats that, I hear you say? For those readers from around the world who may not be versed in UK geography, there will be a very special team playing in the English Premier League next season, for the first time since its inception in 1992. Already, the press have been lapping this angle of the Swansea story up and we can expect a lot more of it during the nine months after we kick off next month. Editors, website owners and television editors have probably already got their “Singing In The Valleys” headlines written. We tend to view these cliches for what they are, and such mild annoyance is a minor irritant in comparison with opportunity of a shot at the big time. Supporting Swansea City hasn’t always easy over the years. Our rivalry with Cardiff City speaks for itself, but the Swans even have considerable competition within our own city. Rugby continues to rule the roost in much of our part of the world, and...

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The Twohundredpercent Play-Off Jamboree: Reading 2-4 Swansea City

Swansea City stand firm as an example of how much the fortunes of a football club can change in the space of just a decade. They had been promoted from Division Three (now League Two) at the end of the 1999/2000 season, but tumbled straight back down into it a year later, and this was only the beginning of their problems. The following season, they finished fifth from bottom of the entire Football League and at the end of the 2002/03 season, they managed to haul themselves out of the relegation places with wins in their final two league matches against Rochdale and Hull City. Eight years on from that great escape, they have managed one in the opposite direction. Swansea City will start next season as the first Welsh club to play in the Premier League and the first Welsh club to play in the top division of the English league system since they were relegated from it in 1983. Reading have been here before, though their supporters may choose to forget about their previous appearance in the final of the play-offs for a place in the Premier League. In 1995, they led by two goals against Bolton Wanderers before losing 4-3 in extra-time, and lost in the semi-finals two years ago and in 2003. They made it into the Premier League as champions in 2006 and lasted...

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Dutch Treat in South Wales: Swansea & Total Football

In general, the phrase “total football” rolls off the tongue as easily as “fiery Welshman Craig Bellamy” and often conjures images of marauding fullbacks flying to spaces ludicrously-high up the pitch in an orange blur, engaging in a intricately-woven passing game wearing spiked wooden clogs. Holland’s approach to the game, crafted on the Ajax training grounds beginning in the mid 1950s and played to perfection on European stages in the 1970s, remains an innovation of admiration to football aficionados of the beautiful game. It has been exported across Europe’s leagues, from Rinus Michels of Ajax to Johan Cruyff’s influence over the playing culture still employed to the present day at Barcelona. Arsene Wenger’s Français-Anglais application in North London is a somewhat related variant while over in Wales, Brendan Rodgers has used the totaalvoetbal concept this Championship season to bring Swansea City to the cusp of Premiership promotion. Swansea City? For a club whose crest includes a stylized representation of an elegant bird, though, it feels somewhat appropriate Rodgers and Swansea would be the ugly ducklings in the rather regal family tree that is Total Football. Generally the preserve of the elite, this approach to the game requires intensive training involving teaching players to play in space rather than defined positions on the pitch and a fair amount of ego-swallowing on the part of some players who are compelled to defend their own goal rather than attack the opposition’s goal mouth. Shifting players’ expected...

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The Twohundredpercent Play-Off Jamboree: Swansea City 3-1 Nottingham Forest (3-1 Agg)

Thirty years ago, the football world was a very different place. What we now take to be the Premier League was still the First Division of the Football League, three points for a win were just about to be introduced as Aston Villa won their first league championship since 1910, having fielded just fourteen players all season, and Nottingham Forest had surrendered their name as the champions of Europe after two years with a 2-0 aggregate defeat at the hands of CSKA Sofia in the First Round of the European Cup the previous September, but still finished the season in a creditable seventh place in the table. Much has come and gone over the course of the intervening three decades, though, and Forest find themselves in the play-offs for a place in the Premier League. Swansea City, meanwhile, were heading for the promised land in 1981. The BBC’s Match Of The Day cameras were at Deepdale on the last day of the season to see John Toshack’s team win 3-1 against Preston North End and win promotion to the First Division for the first time on goal difference above Blackburn Rovers, relegating Preston at the same time. They were to last just two seasons in the top flight and by 1986 was back in the Fourth Division, but that team, a team of experience and flair, has come to...

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Match Of The Week: Swansea City 3-2 Nottingham Forest

Things are getting quite congested at the top of the Championship. Just six points separate second placed Norwich City from Nottingham Forest in sixth place in the table and, should Queens Park Rangers find themselves being docked points over the Alejandro Faurlin, even the relatively comfortable gap between them and the chasing pack – they are seven points clear of Norwich and ten ahead of third placed Swansea City – even that could start to crumble. Yet again, the top of the Championship table seems likely to offer us a tight end to the season. Part of the package that comes with such a close run-in is that the chasing pack, all jostling for position, have to play each other regularly as the season enters its final straight and this afternoon third-placed Swansea City are at home against sixth-placed Nottingham Forest. Both teams have already been granted a favour at lunchtime by struggling Sheffield United, who beat Leeds United by two goals to nil at Bramall Lane. It’s a result that has given Forest the opportunity to leapfrog over Leeds if they can muster a single point from The Liberty Stadium this afternoon. At this stage of the season, the margins that separate victory from defeat can be very slender indeed. Much is made of Nottingham Forest’s slide from grace since the glory days of the late 1970s, but...

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