The Rollercoaster Decade Of Swansea City
Wednesday, 1st Jan 2020 20:22 by Planet Swans (follow us on Twitter @swansnews)
The stark reality of the decade that just passed is that Swansea City ended it in just about the same league position as they started it - hovering around the edge of the play off positions for a place in the Premier League.
But the ten years that passed in between saw a host of emotions at the club with our longest ever spell in the top division, a major trophy, European football and winning against some of the best sides in Europe.
Had you said all of that at the start of the decade then I suspect that many Swansea fans would have thought it beyond our expectations but that was the backdrop for what has been more of a rollercoaster period than we ever imagined.
More incredibly the football club turned over an income during that period that exceeded half a billion pounds - in all likelihood near to double that - and yet we end the period with the management behind the club furiously trying to balance the books as the legacy of our relegation from the Premier League two years ago.
If anything we close the decade in a much more precarious position financially than we entered it and that undoubtedly is the first challenge that faces the club in January as they try to get things on the even keel that we so desperately crave.
And while we think about the off the field activities of the last ten years we cannot completely wash over the change of ownership at the club which saw us go from one of the most admired models in the English game to just another football club owned by foreign owners. Distant foreign owners at that.
The sale itself wasn't really the issue - I don't think there was a Swans fan out there who would have begrudged the cashing in given the turnaround of the club but the manner in which it was achieved was never going to end well and here we are - three years on - and it still hasn't finished as the legal action from the fans is an ongoing process.
On the pitch though it was a ten year period that we did simply not anticipate. That magical day in May 2011 will live long in the memories of Swans fans everywhere and - maybe appropriately - Scott Sinclair's hat-trick that day remains the last hat-trick by a Swans player in any league match. Brendan Rodgers has gone onto manage Liverpool, Leicester and Celtic but we still have Nathan Dyer, Leon Britton and Alan Tate as memories of that day which gave the Premier League their first - and most successful - Premier League club.
But even after that day nobody would have believed the journey that was to follow. Managed by one of world football's biggest names in Michael Laudrup, winning the League Cup at Wembley by the biggest ever final margin and then coming through the group stages of the Europa League before exiting to Napoli narrowly over two legs. And all that came in a period that was little more than 18 months with some of the Premier League's brightest stars wearing the white of Swansea City - halcyon days indeed.
We broke our transfer record on multiple times but got gradually worse at doing it and sold players for tens of millions of pounds but it all started to go wrong as we made some poor management decisions both to lead the club and behind the scenes as well as the focus being very much on the previously mentioned sale.
We flirted with relegation and eventually succumbed to it with a whimper at the end of the 17/18 season but even during that period we managed our first two FA Cup quarter finals for more than 50 years just to prove that it really was a decade that surpassed expectations but doesn't yet leave a legacy that we can be proud of just many many memories.
The question I guess is would Swans fans take the next ten years to look and feel like the last and the answer would surely be an unequivocal yes on all counts.
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