Five seasons ago, had you said to anyone that Swansea would not only be a top ten side in the Premier League, but had won a trophy and just beaten Spanish giants Valencia – at the Mestalla no less, few people would have believed you.
Yet that is the reality that the side from Wales are now facing. After gaining promotion up through the leagues, culminating in the big one – promotion to the Premier League in 2011, the club’s fans were on cloud nine. Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup are their last three managers and all have instilled a freeflowing style of play that has made Swansea enjoyable to watch.
The Welsh side managed to survive their first season in the Premier League and finish 11th. Their second season in the top flight hailed an improved 9th place finish – and the Capital One cup to boot. A simply sensational story for the small side from Wales. It almost sounds like a fairy tale, and is about as close as you can get in footballing terms – since Wigan were relegated that is.
Swansea are the epitome of a well run club – losing Brendan Rodgers could have spelt a real problem, yet a shrewd board and Huw Jenkins in particular played a blinder and appointed Michael Laudrup. Much like when he replaced Roberto Martinez with Brendan Rodgers. In all probability, it will happen again in a couple of seasons when the highly coveted Laudrup is headhunted by a footballing giant. Most likely in Spain.
The continuity in the style of play and expectations, not to mention policy in the transfer market is a huge part in what makes the Swans so successful and cannot be underestimated. Now under Laudrup, the club are looking better than ever before. They have built a squad who have just the right balance of creativity and spark – not to mention a couple of really special players. They also have the players in defence that can build from the back and more importantly – keep the clean sheets.
Being able to finish in the top ten of the most competitive league in Europe is one thing, but to open their maiden Europa League campaign with a win – never mind away to Valencia is quite another. Yes, Los Che may have their issues this season but for their players not to be overawed by the occasion and to perform like they did is simply sensational.
Michu may well be getting all the plaudits at the minute and rightly so, but players like Ashley Williams and Michael Vorm are second to none and being courted by top four sides – for obvious reasons. Jonathon De Guzman is also a masterstroke of a loan signing, not to mention the likes of Chico Flores, Angel Rangel and Nathan Dyer. The list goes on. Swansea have a really good squad that is only getting better. New boy Wilfed Bony has settled into the Premier League like a duck to water and has shown exactly why Laudrup smashed the club’s record transfer fee for him.
Things are looking mighty good at the Liberty Stadium at the minute, and are set to get even better. Swansea are a club who prove that fairy tales really can come true – and the sky is the limit.
Just how high can the Swans fly? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @LaFoootyettes.