When Swansea City flew in top flight

By Peter ShuttleworthBBC Sport Wales

Swansea City may be the first Welsh club to grace the Premier League, but the Swans have already savoured some unforgettable top-flight moments.

John Toshack guided the club out of their Fourth Division doldrums to the summit of the First Division inside four amazing years during Swansea's golden era.

The Vetch Field side signalled their lofty First Division intent with a 5-1 opening day demolition of the mighty Leeds United in August 1981, led by Bob Latchford's debut hat-trick.

Their impressive debut season continued with early-season victories over Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland and Arsenal.

Toshack's team had topped the table early on and even led the First Division in late March after a post-Christmas resurgence.

But a poor run-in of just one win in their final six league games meant the Swans finished a creditable sixth behind champions Liverpool, Ipswich, Manchester United, Spurs and Arsenal.

Now as Swansea's current players aim to replicate the class of '81-'82, BBC Sport has opened its archive for the most memorable games in Swansea's first spell in the top-flight.

Highlights: Swansea City 5-1 Leeds United (29 August, 1981)

Bob Latchford and Alan Curtis celebrate
Bob Latchford and Alan Curtis led Swansea's attack in the top-flight

Swansea City secured a historic triumph over the mighty Leeds United in their first game in top-flight football.

John Toshack had inspired the Welsh club from the bottom tier to the top division in just four years and their 5-1 thrashing of a powerful Leeds side was a fairytale start to life in the First Division.

Jeremy Charles opened the scoring at The Vetch Field on the opening day of the 1981-82 season before Derek Parlane levelled for Leeds before half-time.

But Bob Latchford, a summer signing from Everton, guided the Swans to a memorable victory as the England striker enjoyed a second-half hat-trick on his debut.

Alan Curtis rounded off one of the greatest days in Swansea's history as the Wales striker cracked in a stunning shot against his former club.

Highlights: Swansea City 2-1 Tottenham (22 September, 1981)

Swansea City continued their promising early-season form with an impressive win over FA Cup holders Tottenham Hotspur at The Vetch Field.

Wales midfielder Robbie James gave John Toshack's team the lead before England international Glenn Hoddle equalised for Spurs.

But Wales striker Alan Curtis' superb turn and long-range strike ensured the Swans maintained their 100% home top-flight record.

Highlights: Liverpool 2-2 Swansea City (3 October, 1981)

Swansea City almost caused a First Division upset at Liverpool just five months after Bob Paisley's side won the European Cup.

The Welsh club took a two-goal lead at Anfield before two Terry McDermott penalties rescued Liverpool on an emotional day.

Leighton James
Leighton James added a touch of class to the Swansea midfield

Both sides wore black armbands in memory of iconic Liverpool manager Bill Shanklyexternal-link, also the managerial mentor of Swansea boss and former Liverpool striker John Toshack, as the game took place a day after Shankly's funeral.

Wales international Leighton James fired Swansea into an early lead from the penalty spot in front of the Kop before former Everton striker Bob Latchford doubled the advantage in the second-half.

But two late penalties from midfielder McDermott saved the Merseysiders, who went on to win the league and the League Cup.

Highlights: Swansea City 2-0 Arsenal (10 October, 1981)

Swansea City's surprise push for the First Division title continued as the Welsh club beat Arsenal 2-0.

Wales winger Leighton James opened the scoring for the Swans before Max Thompson doubled the lead with a stunning volley as John Toshack's side extended their 100% home record.

Highlights: Swansea City 2-0 Manchester United (30 January, 1982)

Swansea City celebrated their biggest Vetch Field crowd of the season with a 2-0 triumph over the mighty Manchester United.

Striker Alan Curtis slid the Swans into the lead before fellow Welsh international Robbie James doubled the lead as John Toshack's team maintained their title push in front of a 23,900 crowd.

Highlights: Swansea City 2-0 Manchester City (17 April, 1982)

Swansea City's unexpected title push continued as the top-of-the-table Swans beat the previous season's FA Cup finalists Manchester City at The Vetch Field.

Midfielder Gary Stanley gave John Toshack's men the lead with a superb long-range effort before striker Bob Latchford, who scored 12 goals in his first season in south Wales, tapped in the second from Robbie James' cross.

But Swansea, who face Man City in their opening Premier League game in August, only won one of their remaining six games as Toshack's team finished a creditable sixth in their first season in the top-flight.

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