In 2011 Swansea City made history when they became the first Welsh team to play in the English Premier League since its formation in 1992, after beating Reading 4-2 in the play-off final at Wembley.
Relegation from the Premier League, following a disappointing 2017/18 campaign, brought an end to seven consecutive seasons in the top flight of English football.
Now the Swans must look ahead to kicking-off their return to the Championship with a visit to Sheffield United and hopefully emulating what Brendan Rodgers’ side did in 2011, or perhaps achieve an even greater feat by securing automatic promotion, without the need for a nerve racking series of play-off deciders.
Premier League Years
Following promotion, Rodgers lead Swansea to an impressive 11th place finish in their maiden Premier League campaign, despite being one of the relegation favourites at the beginning of the season.
Swansea’s first Premier League season was full of many highlights, including victories over heavyweights such as Arsenal and Liverpool.
They also managed a memorable victory over Manchester City who would go on to lift the title later that year. This was a very strong City team, albeit not quite as dominant as their most recent title winning team, which has been lauded by many as the best the Premier League has ever seen.
However, victory for the Swans over the eventual league winners was still a remarkable achievement and the great work by Rodger’s throughout the season brought attention from Liverpool, who secured his services as manager on the 1st June 2012.
Michael Laudrup was brought in as the replacement for Brendan Rodgers and began his own tenure at Swansea with a strong start.
An emphatic 5-0 victory away to Queens Park Rangers on the opening day of the season resulted in the Swans being top of the league after one game, sitting at the summit of the top flight of English football for the first time since October 1981.
Whist there was no chance of maintaining this lofty position until the end of the year, Swansea did manage to have an incredible season with Laudrup. In only their second Premier League campaign, they finished 9th, ahead of the likes of West Ham, Aston Villa and Newcastle.
Even more impressive was Swansea’s performance in the League Cup, beating the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea before reaching the final against Bradford in a game which saw them lift the cup in some style with a 5-0 win at Wembley.
In doing so, they became the first non-English side to win the trophy and victory also guaranteed themselves a place in the UEFA Europa League the following season.
However, the next season did not go so well for Laudrup and he was relieved from his duties as manager following a poor run of league games, being replaced by Garry Monk. Monk managed to steady the ship and the Swans finished a respectable 12th that season.
In 2014/15, in what was the fourth consecutive Premier League season for Swansea, the team, under the guidance of Monk, managed to finish 8th in the league. But he too was relieved of his duties the following year, after managing only one win in eleven games, leaving the club 15th in the table.
Monk’s departure ended his 12-year association with the club, and although it’s common practice these days for Premier League teams to quickly replace managers following significant poor run of form, looking back, it’s clear to many that Monk and indeed Laudrup should have been afforded a bit more time in the driving seat.
The frequent turnover of managers has undoubtedly contributed to the recent downfall of the club, ultimately resulting in relegation back to the Championship.
What Lies Ahead?
So what lies ahead for Swansea next season? Coming back to the Premier League at the first attempt is achievable but will certainly be challenging.
The recent appointment of Graham Potter has been seen a positive step towards achieving stability and hopefully this will be a successful and long-term appointment.
The English manager brings fresh hope to the club and many of the Swansea City fans are optimistic for what lies ahead.
Graham Potter maybe an unknown face to some of the Swansea faithful, but for those who followed his work with Ostersunds FK, they will be confident that the club has secured a capable set of hands to restore them back to the good old days.
Potter won three promotions with Ostersunds FK, guiding them from the regional tiers of Swedish football to the top-flight, and also winning the Swedish cup last season.
This is a manager who likes to play possession-based, expansive football with great tactical flexibility.
He achieved some unbelievable results with Ostersunds last term when his side beat Arsene Wenger’s team 2-1 at the Emirates. They also knocked out Turkish giants, Galatasary in the second qualifying rounds of the Europa league, earning applause from even the volatile Galatasary fans.
2018/19 will be a challenging season for Swansea and indeed every other club in the Championship. But it will also present the opportunity to build stronger foundations throughout the club and hopefully learn from past mistakes.
Taking a step backwards in order to then move forward is often the most effective way of achieving long-term success, but one thing that anyone associated with Swansea City must have this season is patience.