This weekend Swansea City will face Bradford in their first ever major cup final. It marks an incredible turnaround for a team that was almost relegated from the Football League just ten years ago and we feel these are the five key moments that have led Swansea to their historic day.
While the story of Bradford’s success is clear Swansea’s glory is all the more intriguing and we thought we would try narrow down the five key moments from the last decade that have led Swansea City to their date with destiny on Sunday afternoon.
Formation of the Swansea Supporters Trust - 2001
Perhaps an event not entirely appreciated by many a non-Swansea fan and indeed something I knew little about until looking into it. Fans became disillusioned with the running of the club by Ninth Floor plc so around 150 met at Brangwyn Hall in order to discuss the formation of a supporters trust. They stepped up their interest in buying into the club and installing a member on the board after the disastrous running of the club by Australian Tony Petty. In January 2002 an offer of £20,000 was accepted by Petty to buy out his ownership of the club and investors including now Chairman Huw Jenkins became more heavily involved.
To read more on the story you should check out their website here but since that takeover the clubs fans have had a major say in how the club should be run. With an understanding man like Huw Jenkins at the helm they have also had their voice heard in some of the biggest decisions at the club and is perhaps the most successful model of how a supporter’s trust should operate in modern day football.
Win against Hull - 3rd May 2003
Swansea looked doomed for much of the 2002-03 season and were rooted to the bottom of the football league for much of their campaign. On the final day they needed victory against Hull City in order to survive. A hat-trick from James Thomas helped them to a 4-2 victory and what then manager Brian Flynn admitted was ‘a fairytale story’.
Leon Britton and Roberto Martinez were signed from West Ham and Walsall respectively in 2003 and both played in that game against Hull City. Lee Trundle was signed in the subsequent summer period and all three played a huge part in the development of Swansea’s very own footballing brand. Trundle’s trickery and goal-scoring ability allowed for attractive football while Britton’s ball retention and passing ability is still a useful asset in the Premier League today. As for Martinez; he is still the most successful manager (win percentage) in Swansea’s history and instilled a philosophy that saw the likes of Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup chosen to succeed him.
Move to Liberty Stadium - July 2005
While not the biggest of stadiums The Liberty was a necessary step up from the out-dated Vetch Field if Swansea were to become a bigger football club. The club and Ospreys rugby team both needed a new home and Swansea City Council funded a large part of the development meaning the build was also cost efficient. Without this move it is hard to see how Vetch Field could ever have accommodated a Premier League football team.
Play-off win against Reading - 30th May 2011
How much do Swansea owe to the thickness of the post at Wembley and the slightly misguided aim of Jem Karacan’s thunderbolt strike when the scores were 3-2 in this fixture?
In the end Swansea won 4-2 thanks in large part to a hat-trick from Scott Sinclair and the rest, as they say, is history.
Obviously there are other major factors that have led to this moment but ten years ago this weekend Swansea City were thrashed 4-0 at Hartlepool as they struggled at the foot of the Football League.
Now they have a chance at winning their first major silverware in their centenary year and these five key moments have played a massive part in their rise to this historic Sunday.
What do you think was the key moment that has led Swansea to Wembley?