Jack to a King: The Swansea Story review – from near-bankruptcy to the Premier League

This fan’s-eye-view sports documentary directed by Welsh film-maker Marc Evans (who made thrillers like My Little Eye and Trauma) has a story to tell: how Swansea City football club went from near-bankruptcy at the beginning of the last decade to glorious Premier league status.

In dire shape, and millions of pounds in the red, the club was sold in 2001 for a notional £1 fee to a group of businessmen led by Cockney entrepreneur Tony Petty, who infuriated supporters by unloading many star players in an ostensible attempt to cut costs. A grassroots movement of fans accused Petty of being a chancer and an asset stripper and there was a raucous and unpleasant personal intimidation campaign to get rid of him – which the film treats as if it’s all a big joke, interviewing the veterans of this campaign wearing balaclavas etc. For me, that left a slightly strange taste in the mouth. But perhaps Petty didn’t take it that seriously. In any event, an ad hoc consortium of local Swansea fans bought out Petty for £20,000 in cash – precisely the kind of payoff that they suspected him of holding out for – and the club held on for dear life, beginning the long climb to glory. It’s a watchable film of localised interest: the DVD will be a piece of club merchandise, but a competently made one.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Peter Bradshaw, for The Guardian on Thursday 11th September 2014 22.45 Europe/London

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