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Rodgers quotes regards Swansea City and the club that made him
Thursday, 12th May 2022 11:10 by Keith Haynes

It’s a well trodden path for some, but when you look at todays content makers on YouTube and beyond, it’s potentially something they as the new generation of swans fans would look back on with pride, but nothing more. The expectation of premier league football every season became the norm, and the new and younger fans knew nothing else.

And this is where the journey started. That first season in the premier league.

Brendan Rodgers : "Swansea made me what I am today. The way I was treated while I was there - I was afforded everything you would want from a family perspective and a football perspective. I have travelled the world since as manager of Liverpool, Celtic and now Leicester, and people still talk to me about my Swansea team. They talk about the football we played and how they enjoyed watching us."

Brendan Rodgers was the man to guide Swansea City in to the premier league after a dramatic play off final at Wembley beating Reading 4-2 within the ninety minutes. Nearly 87,000 were in attendance. A game that will live forever in the memories of those who were there to witness it. That was 2011, literally ten years, some could demonstrate that it could be nine that the club nearly lost its heart and soul.

It was a magnificent and unheard of story before that year. Fans taking over a football club and taking them to the premier league. From near extinction and relegation from the football league. For us nothing will ever come close. For the football world with very short memories and the Saturday Saturday fan it needs, at times, revisiting.

For some reason the year before I decided to document and write a book on the previous and this particular season, having been commissioned to do so by a publishers in Gloucestershire I set about my seasons work. More about that book below. However, this is about the season, that first season under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers, not so much from a statistics point of view but how the manager perceived matters how the season moved along.

Brendan Rodgers’ Swansea City squad contains 23 players as follows:

Michel Vorm, Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor, Alan Tate, Ferrie Bodde, Leon Britton, Andre Stabilin ( Orlandi ), Craig Beattie, Danny Graham, Scott Sinclair, Nathan Dyer, Steve Dobbie, Wayne Routledge, Garry Monk, David Cotterill, Leroy Lita, Luke Moore, João Moreira, Angel Rangel, Germaine Agustien, Mark Gower, Tommy Butler, Gerhard Tremmel.

Joe Allen and Jazz Richards and a number of other younger classed senior players were available but not included in the list above as they were born after January 1st 1990. With twenty three players confirmed, the swans had two spaces left for any deadline day signings. Fede Bessone and Fulham loanee Rafik Halliche needed premier league clearance. The other, Darnel Situ was available as he was only nineteen years of age. Swansea City made a successful loan bid for Halliche during that 2011 summer transfer window, but several weeks after the deadline, FIFA denied international clearance to Swansea for both his move and Darnel Situ's move from RC Lens, leaving the defender as a Fulham player subject to an appeal by the Welsh side.

Nothing came to fruition.

Overall Rodgers squad looked like this over that season.

The opening game was screened on LIVE TV, the swans went to Manchester City, they lost 4-0 but Rodgers was unmoved. "I was very proud of the club," he said. "It's a historic night, to demonstrate and show how we play was very good. I thought the result was harsh on our team. Certainly for the first hour we showed great confidence on the ball and looked like we could be a real threat. Some of these players have been playing in League Two and came up through the leagues. To play with such quality was big for them. Our game is to construct from behind – I have big confidence in how we play. "You have just got to win games. Hopefully you will see over the course of the season that we have variety in our game. We understand that you have to have penetration as well."

A tough introduction to the premier league indeed.

The highest the swans attained was eighth in the league that season, they finished in eleventh. The swans signed off with a 1-0 win at home over Liverpool, the scowling unmarketable face of Kenny Dalglish removed from his managerial post. The first win for the first Welsh side to compete in the premier league came at home in an emphatic 3-0 September win over West Bromwich Albion. Rodgers of course was delighted. Scott Sinclair scored the first Swansea City top flight goal since Bob Latchford scored against Manchester United in 1983.

The reference point for those remembering this win is the very sad deaths of those four Swansea valley miners that week. Rodgers remembers. “There has been a lot of sadness this week. For us to provide hope and inspiration for the people of South Wales, and in particular Swansea, makes me happy. Obviously our thoughts go to the miners who’ve lost their lives and the families involved. Having experienced a death recently, it’s a very difficult thing to cope with. What football does is provide you with hope and our performance will provide a lot of hope to people.”

Gaining momentum with wins over Bolton and Stoke the swans next real test was Liverpool away at Anfield.,The game ended 0-0 and Liverpool were lucky to get away with not losing the game. "It was fantastic, said Rodgers.”I felt we were equipped to come to a big team and put in a big performance. Today was a chance to show we have now grown into the league. We started very well but to put in a performance like that at a big club with top players fills me with great pride. "I thought we were outstanding. We got a bit of fortune early on but you need that but I don't think there was anything lucky about the result or the performance."

People are beginning to sit up and take notice of Swansea City

There were landmarks that season. The first away win for the swans came in January, a Routledge Dyer one two as Swansea City beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Villa Park. "My players were brilliant," Rodgers said afterwards. "Everything that is good in our game was evident. Our pressing, our passing our interchanges. We spoke last night about our resolve, showing that bit more steel and at the end of it we got our reward."

Nathan Dyer scores at Villa Park

Then came a 3-2 win against Arsenal at the Liberty. “ For us to go and beat one of the top teams in European football and with over seven players who have played far below this level is testament to the hard work we do every day. Especially when we went 1-0 down. We have been the victim of lazy journalism this season, some so called top writers don’t even know our players names, others can’t even remember their right names”

Possibly the most memorable victory away from home was the 3-0 win at Fulham in a two week showing in March which saw the swans beat Wigan and Manchester City. “This performance typifies what we are all about “said Rodgers post match. The swans went eighth in the league. Match of the day spent ten minutes eulogising over the game, talking about Swansea City triangles and the sides effective play. Lee Dixon stated the swans were “incredible”

Had Swansea City carried on that form who knows what would have happened that season ? Similar to the clubs first season in the first division a string of losses and then a revival with a 1-0 win over Liverpool followed. But the season will be remembered for putting the football world straight on a few matters. And the football world remembers it to this day.

Swansea City’s first season in the premier league.

There were tree’s to be pulled up, and they most certainly were.

Buy the book on the memorable promotion season. Click the link below.
⚽️ Keith Haynes ‘Walking on sunshine’

And then the book on that very first season.
⚽️ Keith Haynes ‘A season in the sun’

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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