Wales

Swansea City's rise to Premier League to be made into film

  • 24 June 2013
  • From the section Wales

The story of Swansea City's rise from almost going out of business at the bottom of the Football League to the glamour of the Premier League is being made into a film.

Jack To A King is being directed by Bafta Cymru award-winning director Marc Evans, who was behind Patagonia.

The film focuses on the time from when the Swans were sold for £1 until they reached the top flight in 2011.

Fans are also being asked to supply their stories and pictures.

"Jack To A King is essentially a cinematic celebration of a story that a lot of us are familiar with but don't know the detail of," Mr Evans said.

"The heart of the film is that story from 2001 when Swansea City, this small struggling club on the edge of Wales was sold for £1 to 2011 when that very same club - bought back by the fans - dragged its way all the way up to the Premier League and is one of the most popular clubs in the Premier League.

'Little guy making it'

"It's a success story - the story of a little club that makes it big. It's the kind of story that works well in the cinema.

"If you think about Billy Elliott, The Full Monty, Brassed Off - about the little guy making it - and I think this is a real example of that story.

"We want the film to feel like that, to represent Swansea's achievement that's not just come from the players or from a huge injection of money but from people taking control of their club and going all the way to the top.

"The fans are so much part of the story."

Businessman Tony Petty bought the Swans for £1 at the end of 2001 and his turbulent three-month spell almost brought the club to its knees.

Supporters took to the streets in protest against the Australian's running of the club as he attempted to sack seven players and two coaches, which the Professional Footballers' Association thwarted.

But a local consortium of supporters, headed by former director Mel Nurse, later battled to gain control of the club.

And on 24 January, 2002 - reportedly 24 hours before the club was set to go out of business - they ousted Petty.

A year later, matters on the pitch almost took a disastrous turn for the worse and only a 4-2 win against Hull City on the last day of the 2002/03 season saved the Swans from relegation out of the Football League.

Eight years and two promotions later, they sealed promotion to the Premier League which came with a £90m jackpot.

'Re-birth'

But what is remarkable about their rise is that unlike many clubs, they have stuck to their financial means and refused to break tight budgets in search of glory.

And on top of that, they introduced an attractive brand of football that has won them many plaudits.

Co-producer James Marsh said: "The re-birth of a neglected, provincial football club into genuine Premier League contenders is both a romantic modern day fairytale and a gripping thriller of a story.

"It's a remarkable and surprising tale which will make for an irresistible, highly emotional film that will appeal to anyone who's ever rooted for the underdog."

Swansea City will be giving the film makers unprecedented access to the Premier League club.

A spokesman said: "Swansea City's success has really caught the attention of a global audience."

The film makers want fans to dig out footage involving sounds and images of fans of any variety during those years.

Details of how to send it across can be found on the Jack To A King website.

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