Paul Ashley Jones gives his view on the top 10 Swans Results in history! Part 1 is detailed below with Part 2 to follow next week. Do you agree with Paul? What would your top 10 Swans Results in History be?
MY PERSONAL TOP 10 SWANS RESULTS
The recent win against Valencia has had everyone arguing whether it was the best Swansea City result ever. This got me thinking about what constitutes a great result? For me it has to be a combination of a number of factors, some if not all of which, have to be present.
Ideally, though not always, it needs to be an important game; secondly the result has to be either unexpected, or at least by no means guaranteed. Thirdly if it occurs away from home and/or against “bigger” opposition then all the better and of course finally, the last element is that the match should have an emotional context to it.
So taking this admittedly completely unscientific methodology and giving each of the four categories up to five marks each (are you still with me?) I’ve worked out what my personal top 10 greatest ever Swans results are. Now I stress here that these are my personal results and I fully expect yours would be different. As they are personal they only reflect my time as a Swans supporter which began properly at the start of our second season in Division 1. Yes – I joined the bandwagon just as the wheels fell off! So there will be no Leeds or Preston 1981 here. Until 1982 I was not yet a committed fan and so cannot in all honestly count such games. I followed from afar but only when I was old enough to travel with friends by train from our home in Carmarthen did I really start following the Swans.
So here are my top 10 Swansea City matches – all presented in date order. For all but two of the games I was there, the remaining two I was following live on the radio or television.
Swansea v Cardiff 1983
They came to bury us and this was clear by the Swansea RIP flags hanging in the away end. It had been a horrible season and defeat at home to Cardiff City would confirm a second successive relegation. With us two nil down they were well on their way but a terrific fight back with two goals from a youth player called Dean Saunders (whatever happened to him?) saw us triumph 3-2 and relegation was postponed – if only for a week or so.
|Importance of game||We were as good as down but at least we didn’t give Cardiff the satisfaction of confirming it. It was a derby after all.||2/5
|Unexpected result||At two nil down a win was definitely unexpected. In fact we only managed seven wins all that season.||4/5
|Away and/or against bigger opposition||Neither.||0/5|
|Emotional Context||The club was in freefall on and off the pitch and it was great to recover from certain defeat to send them back east with their tails firmly between their legs.||3/5|
Torquay v Swansea 1988
This was the first experience of promotion I’d had as a Swansea fan and it was via the play offs. We’d been lucky to secure a play off spot to be honest and this was before play off finals were played at Wembley. It was a two legged affair and we were 2-1 up from the home game. Given the size of Torquay’s ground there were few tickets available and I was left to listen to it with my mate Ian on the radio. Three first half goals saw us cruising but we nearly blew it as they came back to draw 3-3 on the day. At the final whistle we jumped around the room so much that a mirror on my bedroom wall fell and shattered into hundreds of pieces. “That’s seven years bad luck for the Swans” said Ian. He wasn’t wrong either and it was years before we experienced another promotion.
|Importance of game||A Play Off Final. It offered promotion and what we hoped (wrongly of course) was the start of better times.||4/5|
|Unexpected result||With a narrow first leg lead we were slight favourites.||2/5|
|Away and/or against bigger opposition||We were away but were clearly the bigger club.||2/5|
|Emotional Context||You never forget your first promotion do you? Even if you can’t be there to see it. I have a video of the game somewhere. No video recorder though.||4/5|
Swansea v Huddersfield 1994
Manager Frank Burrows had produced a hard working and committed team built when there was little or no money around. They could play as bit too however and had players such as Freestone and Cornforth who would rightly go on to become real club legends. It was the Autoglass Trophy final and if fans disregard the League Cup these days then you can imagine what people initially felt about this. But it was Swansea’s first ever match at Wembley and everyone wanted to be there. I was living in Germany at the time and flew back for the match.
|Importance of game||Before the game it was about enjoying the occasion regardless of the result. That changed once Andy MacFarlane put us ahead however and we realised we could win a Cup. It may not have mattered in the bigger picture but many of the players knew it was probably their only chance to ever lift silverware. Deep down we fans probably felt it was ours also.||3/5|
|Unexpected result||We knew it would be a close game and that we had a good chance.||2/5|
|Away and/or against bigger opposition||We were away – but so were they. Size wise we were pretty well matched.||2/5|
|Emotional Context||It had been a very tough 10 years with very little to celebrate. For a “meaningless” competition there were a lot of tears shed when Cornforth lifted the cup.||4/5|
Swansea v West Ham 1999
This FA Cup replay followed a 1-1 draw at Upton Park in a match the Swans were very unlucky not to win. It was a classic cup night at a sold out Vetch Field against a Premier League team including a couple of youngsters called John Hartson and Frank Lampard. Evening games were always something special and for me this game sums up everything that was good about the Vetch. Real football; real fans; real pasties.
|Importance of game||It offered relief from the routine of league football and was a great financial boost to the club at a time when funds were tight.||1/5|
|Unexpected result||Until that night no lower league club had beaten a Premier League side in the cup.||4/5|
|Away and/or against bigger opposition||We were home but they were definitely bigger.||3/5|
|Emotional Context||It was a great evening and the atmosphere on the North Bank was incredible. We won and deserved to.||2/5|
Swansea v Hull 2003
I find it difficult even now to think back without getting emotional. The build up to the game was incredible and the relief at the end almost numbing. We were in the East Stand as I’d moved our season tickets from the North Bank that year to allow my young son to join us. It was only after the final whistle that I realised what an effect the weeks of worry and frustration had had on me. As we were walking out I kept saying to my mate Robert “I’m not doing this anymore” and I was true to my word. I didn’t renew our season tickets and almost went cold turkey over the next couple of years, seeing only half a dozen games a season. It didn’t last of course but after twenty years of mainly disappointment I was drained and needed to take a step back.
|Importance of game||League status and potentially the future survival of the club. It doesn’t get any bigger than that.||5/5|
|Unexpected result||We were at home against a team with nothing to play for. But we had to win and that puts a whole new kind of pressure on the fans and players.||3/5|
|Away and/or against bigger opposition||They were a club who had missed out on promotion but at the time were clearly bigger than us and destined for better things.||2/5|
|Emotional Context||No other game, and the build up to it, will ever have such an impact. The pressure beforehand; Exeter’s kick off being delayed by 15 minutes meaning they would know our result; taking an early lead quickly followed by two calamitous defensive errors; leveling before half time and winning with the local boy getting a hat trick. This game had it all.||5/5|