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Swansea - an asset to the Premier League

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Paul Fletcher | 18:52 UK time, Monday, 30 May 2011

Wembley Stadium

Their style of play, their fascinating manager, the noisy fans at their atmospheric stadium and the dignity with which they seem to go about their business - there is much to suggest that Swansea will be a welcome addition to the Premier League.

The Swans became the first Welsh side to reach the top flight in the Premier League era when they defeated Reading 4-2 in a pulsating Championship play-off final at Wembley on Monday afternoon.

They almost went out of business nine years ago and were a League Two club until 2005 but their incredible journey means that they can now look forward to rubbing shoulders as equals with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.

"It means everything," said central defender Ashley Williams. "All of our lives will change now, we can say we are Premier league players and ultimately that is what we have wanted since we were little kids playing out on the park."

The promotion is a personal triumph for manager Brendan Rodgers, who was rumoured to be the fourth choice appointment when he took over at the club last summer.

Rodgers is given Guardiola-style bumps by the Swansea players

Brendan Rodgers was given Guardiola-style bumps by his team-mates

He had lasted just five months in his previous role as manager of Reading before he was sacked in December 2009 but he has rebuilt his reputation after taking the Welsh club into the top flight at the end of his first season in charge.

He is an intelligent and thoughtful man. His answers are interesting and veer away from the path so often trodden when someone talks about football. After his team defeated Nottingham Forest in their second leg of their play-off semi-final, he said that Swansea's opening goal had given his players "the peace of mind" to play their football. I thought it was an interesting and unusual turn of phrase.

He was clearly burnt by his experience at Reading and claims he learnt that none of his footballing decisions can be influenced by sentiment, sticking with players when he should be ruthless. Yet he is also an emotional man. As he explained why he looked towards the sky after his team's victory at Wembley, he was obviously thinking about his late mother and his eyes started to well up.

"I have had a wonderful journey up until now," said the 38-year-old Irishman, who hung up his boots at the age of 20 after concluding he would never be able to fulfil his ambitions as a player. "This promotion will take it into a totally different stratosphere."

Rodgers, who has also managed Watford, was head-hunted by Jose Mourinho to become reserve manager at Chelsea during his first spell as a coach at Reading. He no longer entertains questions about his close relationship with Mourinho, stressing instead that he has done enough to be regarded as his own man.

After Monday's victory surely nobody could deny him that, yet at one point at Wembley it looked as though his team's top-flight aspirations were about to unravel in the most spectacular fashion. They led 3-0 at half-time but huge credit must go to the Royals for the manner in which they stormed back into the contest, scoring twice in eight minutes to turn what was shaping up to be something of an anti-climax into a thrilling contest.

"If we scored the third goal - and I thought we had when Jem Karacan hit the post, then I thought we would go on to win the match," said Royals manager Brian McDermott.

Scott Sinclair finally killed off the contest 10 minutes from full-time when he struck his second penalty of the afternoon, in the process becoming the first player since Charlton's Clive Mendonca in 1998 to score a hat-trick in this fixture.

"The footballing gods were with us today but on what we have done this season we deserve to play in the most competitive league in the world," added Rodgers.

Swansea are patient and probing with the ball, searching out space in a way that has increasingly seen them compared with Barcelona. They play from the back and have blistering pace in wide areas in Sinclair and Nathan Dyer, the club's player of the season. The have ball-playing options in midfield, with Darren Pratley, Joe Allen, Leon Britton and Stephen Dobbie all comfortable in possession.

"I like to think we have done it with bravery," added Williams. "It takes brave people to play the way we did all season and not change at all. In the final we did not do it as well as we can but we tried to get on the ball and pass it."

Swansea's desire to attack will see them compared with Blackpool, who won many friends last season but ended it relegated. However, they have more defensive solidity than Ian Holloway's team. They conceded just 11 goals in their 23 home league fixtures and had the best home form in the division.

Rodgers took over at a club that already had a way of playing but, as with each new manager at Barcelona, he has added his own slant to an established method. Rodgers feels that what he has done is make the team more aggressive in their defending.

Some of their defenders, such as Alan Tate and Garry Monk, have now climbed through all four divisions with the club. They are part of the identity that Rodgers is keen to stress is vital to the club. Yet Rodgers is also very aware of the importance of strengthening his squad over the summer.

"It could be a big mistake if we try to do it with all the same players," said the Swans boss, who feared a player exodus if his team had lost. "It is about building. I spent four-and-a-half years on the coaching staff at Chelsea and I know what is needed.

"We will look to be attacking next season but to do it with defensive discipline. It is absolutely vital for us next season that we are able to defend properly."

There will be plenty of tough times for Swansea, as there are for all clubs trying to get to grips with the rigours of the top flight. But there is a dignity and class about them that will stand them in good stead.

After their victory on Monday all of the players put on T-shirts bearing the image of Besian Idrizaj, the Swansea striker who died suddenly in his sleep last May aged 22.

Swans players in tribute Besia Idrizaj

Swans players paid tribute to former colleague Besian Idrizaj during their celebrations


"With his family watching on television it was important that we showed that we are still thinking of him," said Monk. "Dorus De Vries got a text from his brother that he read out on way to the ground and we talked about him in the huddle.

"A lot of times in this world you are just a number but he was a friend and a team mate."

Swansea can expect committed and loyal support from their fans next season. The atmosphere at a packed Liberty Stadium for the match against Forest was sensational and Rodgers regularly talks about the passion and hostility of the fans.

Monk added: "When you walk around Swansea you do not see Manchester United or Liverpool shirts. All the locals are brought up to support Swansea and that is a massive factor."

Rodgers and some of his players have hinted this season that they feel Swansea is regarded as something of an outpost, a place that easily falls off the radar.

"Some people think that Wales stops at Cardiff," added Rodgers. "But when you come to Swansea you find a wonderful city and one of the most beautiful areas in the world."

Worry no longer. Now that Swansea have reached the Premier League, they are most definitely on the map.

You can follow me throughout the season at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

 

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Good for them. No really. I know, some feel that Welsh clubs should belong to the Welsh League (like Celtic/Rangers to the SPL) but if they are worthy enough to play in arguably the best league in the world, they should. I hope they play with the determination and style of Blackpool next season (I am a Chelsea fan by the way).

  • Comment number 2.

    It's not that long ago since Bolton were travelling to the Vetch field in division four. Welcome to the premiership!

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    "...he was obviously thinking about his late parents and his eyes started to well up."

    Not sure but I think his father is still with us. Just too ill to attend though that may have changed.

    Well done to Swansea.

  • Comment number 5.

    Fair play to Swansea, they definitely deserved it in my opinion. They play very nice football, although they have to really prepare well for the prem or they will get annihilated by some of the big guns.
    The way they demolished Leeds a couple of months ago, best performance I saw from any team against us this season (except maybe Cardiff).

    Scott Sinclair, what a player

  • Comment number 6.

    I was there, as a Reading fan and I have to say that they probably deserved it for being clinical. In all but possession we somehow managed to beat them, but our cutting edge was very poor and we gifted chances to Swansea with some, at times, dreadful defending. I know many Reading fans are criticising Phil Dowd, but he got the penalty decisions spot on (in my opinion) and I was very glad he didn't book Khizanishvili for the penalty, which he probably should have been as going down to ten men would probably have killed off the game. I can't fault Reading's desire in the second half, but over the course of the season, Swansea deserved to go up - if you'd given us the Play-off final at Christmas, we would probably have bitten your arm off for it!

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm a Reading fan, but just want to say well done Swansea, you really deserve it and I wish you all the best for the Premiership!

  • Comment number 8.

    Well done Swansea. Really pleased to see you in the PL. As a Watford fan who bears no grudge against Brendan and thanks him for the work he did for us, I'll be rooting for you guys next season.

  • Comment number 9.

    Nothing against Swansea or Cardiff, but you people of Wales want it all ways and twice on Sundays. You whinge about being left behind as a nation within the British Isles and then you export your only two half decent sides to the English League. Do you ever consider what you are doing to the league of Wales and the smaller clubs that would welcome your support...I guess not.

  • Comment number 10.

    Well done Swansea. A variety of teams have gone up from the Championship in recent years and haven't disgraced themselves (Reading, Blackpool) so its good to see a foreign team get there ;o)

    I have to say I don't know too much about the club although I know a bit about some of the players two of which are following the proud tradition of being successful after leaving Southampton (Monk and Dyer).

    Nitchee, the difference between Swansea and Rangers and Celtic is that Swansea have earned the right to be in the Premier League whereas Rangers and Celtic won't to parachuted in to the Premier League.

    Good luck Swansea for next season!

  • Comment number 11.

    Now then,

    Thanks for your thoughts so far. Barca on Saturday, Swans on Monday.

    On the tube on the way to Wembley I saw two blokes with their sons. One had a jesters hat on, the other a great big scarf (this is the boys I'm talking about). There was just pure joy when they first saw Wembley, it was difficult not to be moved.

    RubberNutz - I've just double checked that and I think you're right. Brendan's father is very ill but still very much with us. I'm the same age as Brendan, who will be managing in the top flight next season. He seems to take everything in his stride, yet I'm sure he would give it all up to have both his parents still with him. Some things trascend all others.

  • Comment number 12.

    Well done Swans! Glad to see you've made the Premier League and looking forward to watching you and Norwich play your attractive style of football - quite a breath of fresh air in philosophy for newly promoted clubs which is great to see and should cover the loss in terms of entertainment of Blackpool to the Championship. And good to see a Welsh club competing in the best league in the world - as a Wellington Phoenix fan who follows his New Zealand based club compete in the Australian top league year in year out, it's a terrific opportunity to grow the sport and I don't think football clubs should be limited strictly to compete in the countries' leagues they are based in.

  • Comment number 13.

    Excellent blog, as ever. Shame about the little Englander attitudes of some. The New Saints, based in Oswestry, Shropshire represented Wales in the Champions League the season. Didn't hear any complaints then. The last thing English football needs is more protectionism - but it seems the penny is very slow to drop, in spite of Man U, the best team in England, being outclassed on two occasions by Barca. Swansea, along with Donny, Brighton and Exeter have shown that playing a continental passing game is not only attractive but successful - particularly when you consider the budgets of each of those clubs.

    Swansea could fall flat on their faces next season - but there's also a decent chance that they will prove that going down the Stoke/Wolves/Blackburn route of strapping 6 footers and direct football isn't the only way to succeed in the Premier League.

  • Comment number 14.

    As a Liverpool fan living in North Wales, i found that most people in these parts were cheering the Welsh sides, despite being a good 260 odd miles away. There is a tremendous amount on national pride in Wales, and while most of that gets thrust into Rugby, people are generally very supportive of Welsh football teams, no matter where they are. Swansea have earned it, they've done it the hard way, and considering other sports lumber England and Wales together (a colleague often comments than when we win the cricket, it's the England team, but when we lose it's the England and Wales team...) i see no reason why there can't be more teams playing in the English Leagues, god knows they're good enough. Anyone remember Bangor playing in the Champions League?

  • Comment number 15.

    Just got back to South Wales and today was possibly the second best day I have ever had as a Swansea fan (behind the day Tony Petty left).

    On the strength of the season we deserve it even if today was not the ost convincing performance.

    To those who moan about us being Welsh, why does it matter? We were invited to join the league 90 years ago and have played in it ever since. Going into the Welsh league would have destroyed our clubs and everyone knows it. Besides we do NOT represent Wales, we represent Swansea.

    There will be obvious comparisons with Blackpool but we are not them, we have a very different style, different ethos as a club, one that will stand us in better ground in the PL than most promoted teams I think.

    Anyway, off to celebrate again now. Best day ever...

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Swansea will go the same way as Blackpool.

  • Comment number 18.

    @Paul Fletcher - Well said. They do indeed sir.

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm at Swansea Uni at the moment and i've been following Swansea for a few years although i'm actually an Exeter City Fan, they've been superb this season and fully deserve their place in the Premier League. Swansea is a great city and i'm sure many fans will see for themselves next season, best of luck to Swansea, i'm looking forward to watching a few games next season in the Premier League.

  • Comment number 20.

    Can we get the "Welsh Clubs in English Leagues" issue straight now. Before it gets out of hand.

    Swansea were INVITED to found the original Football League Division 3 in 1920. Before this, we were playing in the 'Southern League' which was also an English/South Wales based league. When the Southern League started to fall apart due to teams having financial difficulties (not the Swans), we helped found Division 3 (along with other teams such as Reading, Watford, QPR, Norwich, Millwall, Portsmouth and Southampton). So you see, the 3 teams promoted this season, as well as the play off runners up, all entered the Football League at exactly the SAME time! This also meant that there were only 2 divisions worth of teams in the Football League when Swansea joined the party.

    The FAW formed the Welsh Premiership in 1992. Swansea was founded as a club in 1913. Now you can see why Swansea have played and will always play in The Football League. Get out of your head that The Football League is actually called The English Football League. Due to the nature of the Southern League, the South Wales clubs have always competed against the English clubs hence why the league was just specifically called "The Football League". There was no financial sense in moving out of a highly competitive professional league, and moving to a fledgling semi professional league. We've always been in The Football League, we've earned the right to be promoted to the top flight, and we're going to play there next season (while being governed by the FA for the first time, may I add) and there's nothing anyone can do about it because that's just the way it is!

  • Comment number 21.

    #13 - Not sure what Man U losing in the Champions League final to one of the best teams of all time has to do with Swansea competing in the Premier League. And I think it's reasonable to debate the issue without being labelled a 'Little Englander'. Especially considering some of the other insular attitudes that prevail, such as not allowing Welsh players to compete in the 2012 Olympics.

    I'm not even suggesting that Swansea shouldn't be competing in England, just that it should be possible to debate the issue on its merits without spurious references to 'protectionism' (about the most globalised league in the world?!) or insulting those who disagree with the overused and cliched 'Little Englander' tag.

    Anyway, having said all that, congrats to Swansea. I've enjoyed watching them play the last few years and hope they can maintain the same approach in the EPL, as difficult as that may be.

  • Comment number 22.

    @9 - Bit early, but I'll bite. It will help deter future idiots from unloading more anti-Swansea filth onto this blog...

    The League of Wales wasn't formed until 1992. Hard to join something that didn't exist. If Cardiff and Swansea joined it would make the SPL look like the most competitive league in universe. Because of the long history of professionalism, they have simply outgrown it and now dwarf the entire structure of the league. Cardiff and Swansea playing in England is less of a farce than if they were to post 17-0 wins every weekend. Also how do you expect places like Bala (population just under 2000) to accommodate several thousand Swansea fans who want to go and watch their team? The population of Bangor could fit into the Liberty for pete's sake. Most Welsh Premier League fans don't want them in there.

    Also, the runners-up of this year's Welsh Premier League are based in Oswestry - a town in England. Fancy that!

  • Comment number 23.

    @17 - Not sure about that. I think they have a much better defence than Blackpool. They had the second best defensive record behind QPR this season and one of the best last season.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    Congratulation to Swansea and their players and fans. Enjoy next season and don't make any compromises - play like you have done this season and you could be okay.

    I too am a Watford fan, however I'm carrying a rather large bunch of sour grapes. I still resent Brendan Rodgers for the way he accused us fans of 'questioning his integrity' when Reading came calling, only to prove us right at the time. I'm not proud of it, but I was glad he failed at Reading. Now I look at what he has achieved and I can't help but feel like that could have been us.

    So, I'm publicly stating that I forgive him for what he did to us, because I sometimes forget that he also got Watford playing some decent stuff - something that Malky Mackay has carried on with to some degree of success. I'd be happy to see him back at the Vic, but he is destined for bigger and better things, as is much of this Swansea team. We may mourn the loss of Blackpool from the Premiership, but they could easily replace them in terms of entertainment and work ethic.

    I feel a bit better now, and those grapes taste a little less sour...

  • Comment number 26.

    I don't doubt Swansea's right to be competing in the Premier League, or Cardiff's in the Football League. It is just a shame that these clubs that come under the jurisdiction of the FAW - a football association opposed to unification for the Olympic games, play within England. Neither Swansea nor Cardiff would have been satisfactory in the English Premier League, especially as the pair sport grotesque, pop-up stadiums. It's all rather characterless.

    But still, at least they play a decent brand of football and have really earned their promotion through their performances over the whole season.

  • Comment number 27.

    congrats

  • Comment number 28.

    Ian brown once said (lead singer of the stone roses), as a fan was singing from the top of his voice, manchester lalala, manchester lalala. "Its not about where you're from, its where you're at!!" Ian said, and thats god damn right, from a club that was bought for a £1 in 2003, to a club thats now worth over £90,000,000, hahaha thats a joke, you know why its a joke! Because it's about from where we're from, its not from where were at? HaHaHa, its no wonder im laughing,we're laughing all the way to the bank, along with our mates who play up front for cardiff, chris moyles, and the goalkeeper, comedy dave!!

    When I see you Swansea, I just go out of my head,

    And I just can't get enough, I just can't get enough,

    All the things you do to me, and everything you said,

    And I just can't get enough, I just can't get enough,

    We slip and slide as we fall in love,

    And I JUST CAN'T SEEM TO GET ENOUGH OF...

    Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh Duh etc....

  • Comment number 29.

    Congratulations to Swansea! I saw them hammer Cheltenham (think we actually won at their place the season before when Kenny Jacket was in charge there) at the Liberty Stadium a couple of seasons ago in Div 1 (possibly the same season as Blackpool went up) when they played football under Roberto Martinez way above their station. Fantastic football in a fantastic stadium. Unfortunately, I haven't seen what they've produced under, Paola Sosa, was it? And now, Brendan Rogers, but it sounds like they have taken the hint about where football is going, stuck to their principles, and reaped the rewards. Other clubs should take note.

    As I say, Cheltenham were playing both Blackpool and Swansea a couple of seasons, but now find ourselves separated by most of the league ladder. just shows what can happen in a very short space of time.

    Let's enjoy the football, and not allow the poison of nationalism and other forms of bigotry to taint our league!

  • Comment number 30.

    I really don't think it's fair to have a go at the stadiums Gavelaa. You've obviously never been to the Vetch, which was full of character. Ultimately it's not where you play it's how you play that truly matters. Besides that, the sheer volume and atmosphere generated by the Swansea fans soon makes you forget the "grotesque" architecture of the stadium.

    I am a little disappointed that a few people are stating that it's a shame that a Welsh club has been promoted to the premier league. As many people have stated, Swansea was in existence long before the FAW Premier Cup was established. Swansea have struggled for many years and have come close to never playing football again (which as a fan was an absolute nightmare). But they've fought back and have improved so much that they are barely recognisable from the team I first watch play in 1995.

    This was a thoroughly deserved win and I really hope that they can make something of this amazing chance to play against some of the best teams in the world. I also hope that people don't write them off simply because they're from the "wrong" side of the Seven Bridge.

  • Comment number 31.

    Why do I feel that Neil Ethridge of Pinoy Azkals could be in the same league with Swansea? Either way, it's good to hear some team win something they actually deserve.

    --Ri, of Change Rules Football , http://www.changerules.net

  • Comment number 32.

    It's interesting that most football pundits (and fans) always mention Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea when talking about the great clubs of the Premier League. Will Man City ever make the top 4 in these mentions? They can make the top 4 in the league, but it seems that many still don't think they're really there.

    Despite what you say, there are quite a lot of Man U fans in Swansea. One mate that I regularly go to matches with said he would be supporting Man U when they come to the Liberty. These people are a significant minority. But maybe regular Premier League football will change that.

    Well done, Swansea City Football Club - manager, players, chairman, board, backroom staff, and everyone at the club. It's a really family affair.

    People are mistaken if they think Swansea City will be going straight back down. Rodgers is an ace manager and I can't see him allowing that.

  • Comment number 33.

    Sorry but I think Swansea will struggle to cut it in the PL and will find that they won't be given the time and space to play their attractive football that this blog goes on about.

    Having watched some of the play offs though I do think that a lot of people are getting carried away with their footballing approach and forget that in the second leg Notts Forest played them off the park.

    Trust me, the more clinical finishng in the PL will have Swansea struggling and,as Blackpool found out at their cost, there are times when playing attractive football is not the thing to do.

    As with all teams, and managers in the PL, it will be how they take it when (not if) they get played off the park, and how they respond. Nobody on here can predict how they will react.

    One more comment. I have always said, and will always maintain, it is not how good you are in the PL but how your fixtures fall. In the PL if you play a team on form you get spanked but have a chance if they aren't on form.

    Good luck Swansea...trust me, you will need it.

  • Comment number 34.

    @Gavelaa

    "It is just a shame that these clubs that come under the jurisdiction of the FAW"

    I'm not sure "shame" is quite the right word but, if I take your meaning, it is clearly wrong. They should be under the jurisdiction of the FA and the FA only. They were invited by the FAW back in '92 to be a part of it and declined politely, preferring to take their chances in the Football League and now they have their reward having worked to get there.

    Bsck to the football - I sweated bullets watching it on TV. For a team with a wonderful home record, particularly in defence, some of the set-piece defending was next to criminal. Still, it doesn't matter if you concede 2 as long as you score 4!

    Full credit to Reading for making it an incredible spectacle. The sort of game where it is a little sad that someone has to lose.

    Looking forward - a bit more physical steel in the midfield (Britton and Allen are very lightweight) and some practise at defending corners.

  • Comment number 35.

    Gavelaa, (thats original), and other People saying a taffy club should not be in the "English" league are just ignorant.

    Firstly its not the english league - its the Football league. The FA deliberetly did not call it english in the hope of attracting Welsh AND Scottish clubs. Modern football fans.......plonkers.

    I'm all for tribalism but you gotta know your stuff Gavelaa

    Secondly, Geddin U Jacks,

    Unlucky bluebirds. Unlucky.

  • Comment number 36.

    From a Cardiff fan - Congratulations Swansea. I'm gutted of course that it's you and not us but you...but well done anyway...

  • Comment number 37.

    Having been a Cardiff fan for many years i should be gutted that the Jacks have made the Premier league, but strangely i am not. Swansea have shown the guts, determination and (dare i say) style that was needed to gain promotion, something that was, and has been, lacking from Cardiff for the past few seasons.

    A new manager for us may bring a new approach and hopefully we can join you Swans in the Premier League next season for what is the greatest local derby going.

    Once again, Congratulations to Swansea, outstanding, a proud day for Wales :-).

  • Comment number 38.

    let's hope Swansea respect their fans more than QPR, and keep the ticket prices reasonable. . . . it is indeed a wonderful city and a great place to visit. . . . the rest of the Premiership should be celebrating Swansea's arrival!!! both for the quality football they play and for the chance to visit one of the loveliest parts of the UK. . . .

  • Comment number 39.

    Every year it seems the Play-Off final games far surpass all major finals and this year was no different! I don't support either team, but I have really enjoyed watching Swansea for a few years now. Really happy they got promoted and would love to see them do well in the Premier League.

    I really couldn't care less that they are a Welsh club. They have earnt this as much as anyone before them has so congratulations. Would love to see Sinclair and Dyer etc.. kick on and make it in the big-time.

  • Comment number 40.

    I never thought I'd want a Welsh team in the PL but they thoroughly deserved their win, fantastic game and football played the proper way, well done Swans

  • Comment number 41.

    So so proud of the Swans. From being bottom of the entire league, rising through the divisions and not breaking the bank on the way, part-owned by the fans, playing fantastic football. Everything about them is class nowadays. One of the greatest days of my life in Wembley yesterday. Maybe I'm still drunk but will be rooting for Cardiff to join us next season!

  • Comment number 42.

    #20 and #22 - thanks for the excellent explanations, never quite understood how the Welsh and "football" leagues fitted together! Makes sense now. So I take it you cant get promoted from a Welsh league into a football/english league? It just happens that those clubs that were in the football league before the welsh league was formed stayed where they were?

  • Comment number 43.

    Morning.

    Interesting to see so many messages of support from so many different clubs for Swansea. Says a lot about the way they won promotion.

    A few people seem to think they will go the same way as Blackpool. Right now it is impossible to say for sure but I think the point to stress is that it is the way the Swans will try to survive, the process, that will ensure they are an asset to the Premier League.

    One more thing about Rodgers. When the final whistle sounded, securing victory for his team but defeat for his former club, I thought he showed astonishing control and dignity in the way he did not celebrate but looked at the ground as he walked towards Brian McDermott before giving him a hug.

  • Comment number 44.

    OK, so if Swansea and Cardiff want to be part of the Football League then they should accept the jurisdiction of the FA rather than the FAW like Cardiff did when they got Darren Purse's red card rescinded so he could play in the FA Cup Final.

  • Comment number 45.

    Paul, just a quick question.

    Where would you say Swansea most need to strengthen if they are to stay in the Premier League? From the final yesterday I think defensively they need to improve from corners and crossing in general. What players do you see them targeting?

  • Comment number 46.

    As a Reading fan I must say the best team won on the day. As for the Swans being a welcome addition to the PL? I think the team are but I do worry about some of the fans who seem to be stuck in the 80's and for who hooliganism seems to be the norm.

  • Comment number 47.

    I was there yesterday and was at Preston in 1981 when Swansea last got promoted to the top flight.

    All of the debate about FA of Wales and so on is for another day.

    right now I dont care about that, what a moment for te team, the fans and the city. The atmosphere yesterday was extraordinary and with a few additions to the team and Rodgers management I think the Swans will do OK in the top flight.

    But now is the time to celebrate

  • Comment number 48.

    So a Welsh team could win the Premiership (hypothetically) and become English champions, then represent England in Europe? How's that work then?? :)

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    I was there yesterday and after a convincing 3-0 scoreline, I had my nerves turned to shreds after conceding 2 goals. This promotion is something we as a club have worked for and deserve.

    Regarding FA juristiction, from next season the disciplinary panel will be run by the FA with a FAW representative. It's all down to legal technicalities but still far more transparent than FIFa seem right now.

    Swansea probably need 5 or 6 quality players to bolster the side while ditching the deadwood. The significant difference between Swansea this season and Blackpool last season is that all but 1 player playing yesterday is a Swansea player. Blackpool were fighting to bring in players last summer whereas Swansea already have the team, we just need to strengthen.

    My predicted Swansea finish - 12th

  • Comment number 51.

    Batters, with all due respect, the behaviour of the Swansea fans yesterday was impeccable. Passionate and exuberant, yes, noisy and outrageous, yes, but I saw no hooliganism or aggressive behaviour. The fans from both teams were mixed in together before and afterwards with no trouble.
    There were a lot of families there and a lot of older supporers, who, like me have been through a lot with this club.
    What Swansea fans will bring to the Premiership is a passion and support for their team which a lot of the bigger clubs will envy.

  • Comment number 52.

    35.
    At 07:44 31st May 2011, jonahmona wrote:

    Gavelaa, (thats original), and other People saying a taffy club should not be in the "English" league are just ignorant.

    Firstly its not the english league - its the Football league. The FA deliberetly did not call it english in the hope of attracting Welsh AND Scottish clubs. Modern football fans.......plonkers.

    I'm all for tribalism but you gotta know your stuff Gavelaa

    Secondly, Geddin U Jacks,

    Unlucky bluebirds. Unlucky.

    ______________________

    It has nothing to do with tribalism, or ignorance. I am perfectly aware that it is called the Football League, but these are leagues of England, not Wales (nor Scotland), and both the Welsh and Scottish Football Associations have made it abundantly clear on several occasions that they don't want to be involved with the FA. Why is there a complete separation here, to the extent that they won't even form a team for a one-off non-FIFA event yet there is a degree of crossover at club level? Are they not interrelated? Of course they are. The whole point about not unifying for the Olympics is that there is a fear that the satellite country associations would lose their sovereign status within FIFA, so if they really don't want to be associated with England, they shouldn't farm out clubs from their biggest cities to England just because England can better accomodate them. Because lets face it: the Football League doesn't need either Swansea or Cardiff. Nor does the Football System inherently need Wrexham.

    It seems though as these supporters want it both ways and that is the real issue, and so you can see why this is clearly so very disappointing for some.

  • Comment number 53.

    Having experienced the Blackpool surprise, I'm wondering if there's anyone out there suggesting Swansea will be first candidates for relegation, next season.

    Swansea have been playing attractive football for some seasons now and they could be the surprise package next season in the Premiership.

    I wouldn't be surprised if they prove to be more stable in the Premiership than QPR and Norwich, due to the brand of football they play. They've had a magnificent season.

    Welcome to the Premiership.

  • Comment number 54.

    I am so happy they made it to the premier league because they play fantastic football and are a credit to themselves. They are exciting and attacking and with sinclair and dyer they have two wide players that are very dangerous and will attack full backs. But they do have excellent ball players and are very fluid in their play, i think that they do play a bit like blackpool but they are better defensively and their play is sharper. I wish them all the best in the epl next season.

  • Comment number 55.

    @9

    "Nothing against Swansea or Cardiff, but you people of Wales want it all ways and twice on Sundays. You whinge about being left behind as a nation within the British Isles and then you export your only two half decent sides to the English League. Do you ever consider what you are doing to the league of Wales and the smaller clubs that would welcome your support...I guess not."

    Bit late, since Swansea joined the Southern League way back in, oh, 1914 or so... in other words they've been an English league side for pretty much their entire history. Cardiff joined the Southern League just a few years earlier, after their move to Ninian Park in 1910.

    So, um. You're only a century late with that sentiment.

  • Comment number 56.

    @57

    Clearly you know absolutely nothing of the history of the Football League. Swansea and Cardiff have been playing in the English leagues for nearly a century - this isn't a modern issue at all.

    What would you suggest happen, exactly? That they be kicked out of a league they've played in for nearly a century, that both clubs then be forced to sack most of their staff, lose almost the entirety of their income and probably be forced into insolvency because you feel a bit affronted for no real reason?

    Get serious.

  • Comment number 57.

    Tom_Hark - I think Swansea and Cardiff have already agreed to accept the jurisdiction of the FA. I think both teams have always wanted this, but the FA and/or FAW haven't allowed it. It has worked both ways. Sometimes Swansea are been punished more harshly than the English team in the same circumstances. I think at the moment the FA and FAW are just working out how to make the transition. I think it should be in place for next season.

  • Comment number 58.

    A lot of ignorant fans commenting on this blog. It was announced earlier this year that the Welsh teams in the English leagues will be governed by the English FA from next season.

    Try to keep up...

  • Comment number 59.

    Welsh people don't act the way you say. Swansea and Cardiff are raising the profile of Wales by being in the Premier League and Football League. The League of Wales is no comparison and wouldn't attract top players. It seems to be you that has the problem and not the people of Wales. The vast majority of English fans are happy to have Swansea join the Premier League. Your attitude is bordering on racism.

  • Comment number 60.

    best impression of a welshman ive seen. we can look forward to alot of this next season

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm-wEO7ElL0

  • Comment number 61.

    As a Reading Fan I wish Brendan Rodgers, Swansea and the Jack Army the best of luck for next season and hopefully we can have a rematch in the Premier League opening day in about 14 months time (without the 3-0 head start next time).

  • Comment number 62.

    born and raised in reading but a newcastle fan i listened to the game and thought swansea truly deserved the win they play brilliantly as a unit and dnt rely on individual strength like reading with long and kebe etc they are a great team and thank god a welsh team actually gets a shot at the premier league at long last.

  • Comment number 63.

    @ 60, wal_sol,

    Who caught you on camera there?

  • Comment number 64.

    Bangkok Swan - thanks. I'm not sure the Welsh teams received harsher treatment but then the one major incident was the Darren Purse one so you may well be right.

  • Comment number 65.

    Congratulations to Swansea, please please invest in your squad during the summer.

  • Comment number 66.

    Well that was a game of two halves, it was a joy to watch. Even the neutrals had a show put on for them and it is not the first time this fixture has thrown up a great game. Congratulations to Swansea are in order, and comisserations to Reading who battled valiantly in the second half.

    Swansea should be a credit to the Premier League with the type of football they play, and it is the kind of football the kids today should be trained for. The English way of hoof it up to the striker does not work as effectively because the passing game controls the possession and the opposition cannot score if they dont have the ball.

    And finally, like my namesake, I am the Realist. A Welsh club in the Football League? Well I know history so it is all fine by me, and the ones arguing otherwise such as Gavelaa, it is best they go research the topics first because so far over 90% of the English supporters here, by the way they are typing, might be feeling a little embarressed how some people remain in the gene pool. I know I am, but equally confused. The people saying Welsh clubs don't belong in the league have managed to evade the clutches of Natural Selection so far but come the end of next season, the last team to play against Swansea will be shown on TV giving them a standing ovation no matter if they survive, or fall. By then, the history of the situation will have been explained many times on Match of the Day.

  • Comment number 67.

    Whenever I think of a possibility for both top Welsh teams playing in the Premiership, using Premiership cash to build academies and strengthen their teams' future by building strong squads based on local talent, it looks like the best recipe for eventually seeing a strong Wales national side.

    This has to be positive for British football.

  • Comment number 68.

    To those concerned with the FA jurisdiction over Welsh clubs...your concerns can now be allayed...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/may/06/fa-faw-cardiff-swansea

  • Comment number 69.

    To all those carping about a Welsh club playing in the 'English' Premiership.
    Looking at who owns the clubs you've got to ask how English is the Premiership really?

    Arsenal - Stan Kroenke (America)
    Aston Villa - Randy Lerner (America)
    Birmingham city - Carson Yeung (Hong Kong)
    Blackburn Rovers - Venky's Group (India)
    Chelsea - Roman Abramovich (Russia)
    Fulham - Mohamed Al-Fayed (Egypt)
    Liverpool - New England Sports Ventures (America)
    Manchester United - The Glazers (America)
    Manchester City - Sheikh Mansour (UAE)
    Sunderland - Ellis Short (America)

    (you'll have to forgive any errors above, I wasn't 100% sure about some)

    All the big clubs are owned by outsiders and most of the top players are from abroad.
    On top of this you have whole teams in the Premiership who have few if any English first teamers.
    Nationality means nothing in club football anymore.

    Congrats to Swansea, I was shouting for Reading but I hope you manage to stay up next season!

  • Comment number 70.

    Swansea will go straight back down. No money or players.

  • Comment number 71.

    #70

    No money? If you mean no debts then you're right, we owe no money so all revenue can come straight to the club.

    No players? With premier league teams sniffing around the majority of the squad and the quality shown on the many games (particularly the televised ones) this season, I think Swansea have plenty of players and, combined with the cash now available, are able to strengthen with sensible choices.

  • Comment number 72.

    if the welsh teams are allowed into the premiership then surely Scottish teams desrve the right to gain access ,

  • Comment number 73.

    Well done Swansea! Most welcome in the Premier League as far as I'm concerned. I think they'll do the job and stay up. My only issue with a Welsh side in the English league was that of jurisdiction, as it's an uneven playing field if sides don't have the same governing bodies, and that's now been resolved, so I can see no problem.

  • Comment number 74.

    #9

    There are 4 teams currently playing in the English Divisions. All teams have been granted to play in the English leagues and have all worked their way to where they are now!

    There are plenty of reasons why they would rather play in the English divisions than Welsh League.

  • Comment number 75.

    "if the welsh teams are allowed into the premiership then surely Scottish teams desrve the right to gain access , "

    The Welsh teams have been there almost from the start, the Scottish teams have not.

  • Comment number 76.

    Congratulations to Swansea City and well done to Reading for their part in an extremely enjoyable play-off final.

  • Comment number 77.

    (At best) The Scottish clubs would have to apply to join at the lowest entry point (level 23) and work their way up. I suspect they'll be unwilling to give up their (almost guaranteed) Euro football and will struggle to find many decent players with the new budgets on which they'd need to operate.

    Hopefully that puts an end to that debate and please don't anyone say "SKY WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN!!" - Thank you.

  • Comment number 78.

    So proud of manager, players and fans yesterday. A few thoughts:
    Roberto Martinez got us back to our footballing traditions both as player and manager. Got a lot of undeserved flak for leaving but we owe him and he deserves respect when we play Wigan.
    Reading's fans were a pleasure to mix with and accepted the result with grace - better luck next year.
    Double pride in supporting Swans, well run on and off field. Cardiff had 7 loan players, surely play off failure no surprise if no real commitment. Do it the Swans way, Bluebirds, and join us in the bigtime.

  • Comment number 79.

    Congratulations to the swans on their epic journey to the premier league. And for those of you who think there shouldn't be a Welsh side in the English league, does that also apply to foreign players being allowed to play in the English league?. Its time to sit back and think about where clubs like Man U and Chelsea would be if the only people allowed into the English league were English. WHO ARE WE?, JACK ARMY.

  • Comment number 80.

    @79

    Your point makes no sense what so ever... players are one thing but your from a different country! I however think that it's fair enough, you earned your spot (the hard way too) but if your going to be in the EPL you need to answer to the English FA and not the FAW.

  • Comment number 81.

    Swans - absolutely outstanding to see you in the Premier League - congratulations, and one of the best play off games of all.

    To those trying to compare the Welsh teams vs. Rangers and Celtic - don't even go there ! I'm a Rangers fan btw.

    The Welsh teams have always been part of what is now the biggest money spinning national league system on the planet - leave it alone !

    There is no geographical or political reason that Rangers and Celtic couldn't play in the Premier League (they may not qualify if they got placed in the Championship btw !), but there is an overwhelming economic and procedural reason - two teams would have to make way, and given the fact that in any season approximately 14 teams are competing not to be relegated ..... it ain't gonna happen !

    I personally think it's a shame ...... but I will be 100% The Swans next year ..... especially if the fans continue singing like that.

    Go on boyos !

  • Comment number 82.

    Well done Swansea! I wish I could be there now. There must be great atmosphere in Swansea at the moment. (Last time at old stadium in 1999)

  • Comment number 83.

    Well done swansea in getting promotion but laugh of the day, in fact make that the year is Swansea's style is being compared to Barcelona- , is that Swarca then or Swarcelona- i could just imagine Messi et al playing in a stadium shared with a Rugby union team .

    Funny how nobodys mentioned that- the PL managers are going to love the Ospreys ploughing the pitch up- i'll suggest end of Jan for a relaying

    Swansea have earned their shot at the PL but their defence got them there- plenty of sides in the championship scored more goals - impossible to see anything other than the usual fast start eg Blackpool, Hull , Burnley and then a struggle from november onwards

    But good luck to them id be happy to be proved wrong and theres always Wigan to look to for inspiration

  • Comment number 84.

    @ #83

    The Swansea ground staff have produced a pitch that has survived many a game of rugby with no I'll effects. If it was cut up all the time they woul have never been able to play the way they do. Ball at feet or passing along the ground.

    So there will be no problems with the pitch next season...

  • Comment number 85.

    #83

    What are you going on about? You really are a foolish man. The Liberty Stadium pitch cost £1,000,000 when it was laid. It is made up of 33% artificial plastic grass and the rest normal grass. The 33% artificial grass is a network of webbed plastic which provides something for the roots to hook onto and to maintain a lush green colour to the pitch even throughout winter. It makes it very hard to kick large divets out of the pitch as the whole pitch is weaved together.

    The pitch has never been relaid since the stadium was made (6 years ago in 2005). In 2009, the Liberty Stadium groundsman and pitch were named the best in the Football League/Premier League by the FA - even beating Arsenal's pitch. It was the first rugby/football pitch to ever win the award.

    Our pitch is better than many of the ploughfields found in the Premier League at the moment - and we share it with rugby. Some of the teams should be ashamed of that statistic.

  • Comment number 86.

    RE: alarch

    Have you ever watched the Wolves for more than 1 game?

    We DO NOT have a team full of 6 footers, if your a Swan after your ignorant comment I hope you go down, if you aint I do apologise to the actual Swansea fan's and I hope you stay up.

  • Comment number 87.

    "Roberto Martinez got us back to our footballing traditions both as player and manager. Got a lot of undeserved flak for leaving but we owe him and he deserves respect when we play Wigan"

    He inherited a fantastic base to work with from Kenny Jackett and gave him no credit for it. Then he tried to scorch the earth behind him when he left. Every syllable of flack he's gotten is entirely deserved. He's a thoroughly dishonourable individual.

    The FAW issue is one that seems to have gotten a lot of people worked up, but there's really no reason for it. The simple fact of the matter is that SCFC have been appallingly treated by the FAW for years. At least one CCFC season ticket holder sits on the FAW disciplinary panel, which should clarify to everyone why they regularly get bans overturned, and we don't. Moving from under their craven auspices to a far fairer and more even handed FA process is something that the overwhelming majority of SCFC fans have waited a long time for.

  • Comment number 88.

    Well done swansea in getting promotion but laugh of the day, in fact make that the year is Swansea's style is being compared to Barcelona- , is that Swarca then or Swarcelona- i could just imagine Messi et al playing in a stadium shared with a Rugby union team .

    Funny how nobodys mentioned that- the PL managers are going to love the Ospreys ploughing the pitch up- i'll suggest end of Jan for a relaying

    not that funny really - Swansea DO play the same style as Barca end of.

    the Ospreys have always shared the liberty with the Swans and the pitch is still one of the best if not the best in the championship, if you actually visited it you could have an informed opinion.

    anyway i was also at Preston in 81 when we last made the big time and at the Vetch for Hull when we nearly went out of the league but yesterday really takes the biscuit- never have i been so proud to be a Swan.
    a word too to the fans of Reading and Notts Forest - the banter and your graciousness in defeat was superb and you contributed to some of the best games ive seen this season - hope you come up next year.
    UP THE SWANS!

  • Comment number 89.

    @77 Jaunty44

    SKY WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN!!

    ;)

  • Comment number 90.

    Congrats to the Swans. I want to echo the sentiment from my fellow Cheltonian #29 - Drooper. It seems like yesterday our sides were facing each other - and despite what one poster said about the nature of your fans i watched the Robins 3 times at your place (twice at vetch - once at liberty) and each occasion we were welcomed by the Jacks - made a great party atmosphere. Its always nice to see sides from the lower leagues make the big time - Wigan, Hull, Blackpool and now Swansea. Its gives a welcome glimpse of hope to us small fish in an ever growing pond. Dont let a few idiotic comments about Welsh clubs spoil the occasion - just shows how bitter some people can be.

  • Comment number 91.

    First of all I would like to say thank you to the majority of supporters of football on here, who have had nothing but nice and sensible things to say. Also want to say thank you to Reading fans for being so gracious in defeat. I was at the game yesterday and thought that you were the better team for large parts of the game but we were more clinical and held it together after that absolutely mind-pulsating 15 min spell you had.

    With regards to the Welsh team not being allowed in the Prem "thing", i am not even going to explain why all those comments are rudiculous because most people seem to agree and have also explained why they are farcical.

    Also, I would like to thank every one of the managers and players who have worked for the club from the time we stayed up on the last day of the season against Hull up until the magnificant day which was yesterday.

    P.S. good luck to Reading for next season, and also to Cardiff, it would be great to have two welsh clubs competing at the top level (hopefully we can bring in some decent additions to strengthen our already well-platformed team and have another great season).

  • Comment number 92.

    Well done Swansea! I was extremely impressed with how they played the play-off final (apart from bits of defending here and there), but all-in-all, I thought they were excellent.

    It'll be very interesting to see how they now shape up for Premier League Football but I have a feeling they'll do well.

    It pains me to see Craig Beattie hit the big time though. Being a Sheffield United fan, I thought he was terrible when on loan with us. However, I'm sure he'll be back in the Championship next season with some other team (I'm just bitter!)

    Great entertainment on Monday though. Looking forward to more of it on MOTD next year.

  • Comment number 93.

    An assett ?
    They will one of the favourites to be relegated.

  • Comment number 94.

    I was born and bred in Wales but regard myself as British, I am not ashamed of my Heritage, you are what you are born. It's a falicy to think that Wales is seeking independence from the UK, Wales is a proud nation but less than 10% of the UK population. I certainly do not hate or despise the English, I agree there is strong rivalry when it comes to sporting venues, but that goes for any nation. Swansea and Cardiff have played in the English league for decades and like any other team Swansea deserves their place in the top flight based on merit.

    I don't here people complaining about having Welsh players in the Premier League Clubs like Giggs, Belamy, Bale the list can go on and on. You cannot have it both way's, if you begrudge Swansea being promoted to the Premier League because it is a non English Club then stop buying our top Welsh players, that have served their respective clubs with honour. At the end of the day we are one nation, I served in the miliary for my country of UK not Wales and I will stand alongside fellow English/Scottish'Irish and Welsh citizens anytime like I have done already.

    So please don't tar us all with the same brush, Swansea deserves their place there and I am sure they will cause a few upsets this coming season.

  • Comment number 95.

    Fair play, nothing like being in the limelight to bring out extremist attitudes.

    To anyone saying we "shouldn´t be allowed to play in the Engurland Premiershipleeg", either read the responses on here clearly explaining why we can and should be able to play in the Football League system, or do a bit of research yourself.

    Also, nice to see some people claiming "if Swansea are allowed into the Premiership so should the Scottish clubs!".

    Wow! I didn´t realise we were "let in"! I thought we´d played a long hard season over 49 games, and earned the right to play in the biggest league in the world! My bad...

    Jeezzz.....

    Good thing I couldn´t care less about any of that! We´re Swansea City... We´re Premier League!

  • Comment number 96.

    OK, so if Swansea and Cardiff want to be part of the Football League then they should accept the jurisdiction of the FA rather than the FAW like Cardiff did when they got Darren Purse's red card rescinded so he could play in the FA Cup Final.
    -----------------

    Yes we should come under the FA, not the FAW, however this is not entirely a decision for the clubs to make on their own. Most Swansea fans have wanted away from the FAW for many years as it is seen as very Cardiff centric and amateur compared to the FA. Indeed we have felt often very harshly treated compared to our English counterparts at times by a committee who have very little other way of grabbing any publicity other than in connection with outselves or CCFC. The Darren Purse incident was clearly wrong but it was also one of a very small number of wrong decisions that worked in CCFCs favour, usually it is the other way around. They also provided next to no help whatsoever during our troubled times.

    However moving is not simple, it requires ratification by both FA and FAW under FIFA and UEFA guidelines, without that it would inevitably have to go via the courts/CAS and would cost a fortune.

    The fans and I'm lead to believe the directors of SCFC would move accross tomorow if given the option and would have done so for years.

  • Comment number 97.

    Where would you say Swansea most need to strengthen if they are to stay in the Premier League? From the final yesterday I think defensively they need to improve from corners and crossing in general. What players do you see them targeting?
    -----------------

    Two positions stick out like a sore thumb:

    Centre Forward - We have Borini on loan who looks to be a real potentially good player but it's only 50/50 we will sign him at best, we had struggled badly there ever since losing Scotland a few years ago and have nothing close to good enough.

    Centre Back - Ashley Williams is good enough, Garry Monk is a fantastic guy and great captain but is nowhere near a premier league player, Alan Tate is not relaible enough and Albert Serran is a liability. I would suggest one good experienced first teamer to play alongside Williams is a must witha second good younger lpayer potentially on loan to provide backup along with Monk.

    Other positions are questionable as well but none of them as obvious or as key.

  • Comment number 98.

    So a Welsh team could win the Premiership (hypothetically) and become English champions, then represent England in Europe? How's that work then?? :)
    --------------
    No. Man United don't represent England, they represent the FA.

  • Comment number 99.

    From what I can gather, there is no "English Premier League"...there is however, a "Barclays Premier League"

  • Comment number 100.

    74.
    At 13:37 31st May 2011, The Situation wrote:

    #9

    There are 4 teams currently playing in the English Divisions. All teams have been granted to play in the English leagues and have all worked their way to where they are now!

    There are plenty of reasons why they would rather play in the English divisions than Welsh League.
    --------------------

    Actually there are 6: Swansea, Cardiff, Wrexham, Newport, Merthyr and Colwyn Bay.

 

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